Poorer sound quality through Roon than through Tidal

Core Machine (Operating system/System info/Roon build number)

Mac Mini Late 2014, 2.6GHz i5, 8GB RAM. Roon build 416

Network Details (Including networking gear model/manufacturer and if on WiFi/Ethernet)

WiFi - Asus Lyra

Audio Devices (Specify what device you’re using and its connection type - USB/HDMI/etc.)

Parasound P6, USB

Description Of Issue


I am trying out Roon and I like the interface and the remote a lot. Everything is working very smooth. I am only streaming from Tidal Hifi. No audio files. The only problem I’m having - and it’s a deal breaker -is that the sound through Roon is not as good as directly through Tidal. As far as I can see the Roon system is set up correctly. But the sound is thinner - less body - poorer stereo image. It’s almost as there is a phase problem between left and right, or that the audio is more compressed or something. Hard to explain.
I was ready to purchase Roon, but it’s not going to happen if the audio is not sounding optimal. Can you please advice me as to things to try to have this sorted out before the trial period runs out?

Hi @Atle_Rovik,

Welcome to the forum!

We can take a look to see if you have set everything up properly, but generally speaking sound quality is a bit subjective. I would first start off by reading the following knowledge base article (<- clickable link).

I would check to make sure that your Signal Path is outputting Lossless at first and then take a look at the Roon DSP Engine for any possible improvements that you can make. If you are not certain of any steps that the signal path is displaying, please share a screenshot, thanks!

Hi @noris,

Thanks for getting back to me. I’m of course aware that sound quality is subjective, but my subjective hearing is the measurement I’m using :slight_smile: And it would be meaningless to pay money for a product that makes me enjoy my music less. Also, two other people, without my kind of pickiness for sound, pointed out the same difference between Roon and Tidal, so it is not only subjective.
I already read the link before posting this. Unfortunately I am not able to have core and output on different computers, and I have only WiFi. But, as stated, the concern here is the big difference between Roon and Tidal, which are both running on the same Mac, with the same hardware.
The signal path is outputting lossless. I have attached a few screenshots. Let me know if you would need more.

Hi @Atle_Rovik,

Are you using the same settings in the TIDAL app as the one’s in Roon? Can you check your TIDAL app for the following settings?

TIDAL Settings -> Streaming -> Sound Output ->
Loudness Normalization -> Off,
Quality -> HiFi/Master,
Sound Output -> Parasound,

More Settings (Next to Sound Output)->
Use Exclusive Mode -> On
Force Volume -> On

Hi @noris,

I checked the Tidal settings one more time, and I can confirm that they are set as you describe in your post. The same as in Roon.

Hi @Atle_Rovik,

Thanks for checking those settings. According to the signal path screenshot you posted, your DAC is receiving bitperfect output, so it should sound the same.

The only other thing that I see Roon doing here is MQA Core Decoder, which you can optionally disable in your Device Setup tab and listen to the native rate instead (although of lesser quality without the MQA unfolding).

Other than disabling MQA, you may want to try Sample Rate Conversion to see if it sounds better to you, some user’s prefer DSD up-sampling and you can configure this in the DSP Engine and set the DSD capabilities in Device Setup.

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