PS Audio Octave - evolutionary niches lead to similarity

Reading €10k - best Roon “player” thread brought to mind something about PS Audio doing their own software so went for a look.

There is a click demo of the app. Quite similar to roon if you click the Discover radio button and a bit click to explorer without.

@ged_hickman1 Sure looks like a Roon knock-off at first glance!

Will be interesting to see how it compares once functional. Major projects at PS Audio can take some time.

One more

More competition is great.

We want the talented Roon Team to continue innovating and competition is one of multiple things that can help drive innovation.


I have been playing around for a while with the web demo of Ocatve and I think it is not very good as it is at the moment except for one thing it does a whole lot better then Roon.

This kind of selction method works so much more convenient then the Focus function of Roon. Everything you need to explore your collection in one screen, no scrolling, no clicking, nice overview, brilliant. Now if they would also show genre information directly under the album…

Except it is no where close to the depth of Roon’s Focus feature. Not even the same ballpark.

Wasn’t talking about depth. It has a better layout, a better overview, a better use of screen real estate and much less clicking around, flipping forth and back

Someone with opinions has created a playlist on the demo site.
Looking at it i think it has it feet in both camps, a bit search/focus based like roon and a bit drop down lists like jriver.

" You’re correct. Octave will not be available as just software in the way Roon is available as just software. Octave and its architecture are based on the notion of dedicated hardware and software working together."
$6K US.

Im intrigued as to why PSAudio would go in this direction?
The GUI is as always down to the individual, some will like, some will loathe, Marmite springs to mind.
Roon has my money for now and the reason for my annual subscription, but as I am a fickle human being, I could switch allegiance at any time.
I reserve the right as the customer.

Also expect a bridge iii to be produced for DS streamers. That is expected to be closer in price to the $1K USD mark.

The GUI is as always down to the individual, some will like, some will loathe, Marmite springs to mind.

My Wife being English loves Marmite. For me I don’t even like the stuff to be in our house. I just don’t see myself switching allegiance to the yeast extract. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

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Totally agree, I cant abide the smell of it, but, my wife does not eat red meat and is happy to cater for the fact I do, so with the marmite, beetroot and other assorted odds and ends I dislike, Im happy to put up with it.
Though obver the nine years we have been together, my red meat intake has slowed to atrickle, sometimes I even think im a veggie!

I use Tonal in my main system, and Roon in my secondary system. Unfortunately, Tonal is no longer being developed. There are a few things it does really well:

  • sound quality is better than Roon. I have compared them many times, even ran some blind tests with some friends. The sound is simply better - more natural, more depth. The difference is striking. Comparison was made with Roonbridge on a Mac Mini, and on an Allo USBridge. Tonal stores files online, and is highly optimized for Mac OSX. You can read about it on their website.

  • the other interesting thing about Tonal is the metadata management, which is not based on tags, but on an html description, which can be edited, and is richer than what is available in Roon. I will not go into all the details, but it is an interesting model.

Tonal as of today is a working application but has limitations and I am only using it because of the better SQ.

Unfortunately today all DACs are source sensitive, and many people spend considerable time and money trying to optimize their source. Most DAC manufacturers will admit this: DACs today are not immune to the quality of the source - and techniques to reduce jitter and electrical noise from incoming signals are far from perfect.

Tonal offers a simple and high quality solution. It has not gotten the attention it deserves. It did generate some interest with some streaming services (I will not divulge their name here) who were also impressed with the sound quality and data management. Unfortunately no deals could be made and the developer of the application had to move on and let go of this project.

I am currently using a DAC from ECDesigns. They are working on a new model, expected for year end, that will bring a number of innovations, and promises to be “source immune” (toslink input, Battery power supply, low jitter Pll with custom logic, mirror DAC to reduce noise sensitivity… You can read about some of their designs on a dedicated thread on Diyaudio. A previous model was also reviewed on ).

Hopefully, this will put an end to the insanity surrounding servers and streamers, and provide the ability to use any bit perfect source with very high results, without having to worry about usb cables, reclockers, isolators, fancy ethernet switches and cables, expensive servers with multiple power supplies, etc…

Until then, I will continue using Tonal…

I do not see what added value Octave brings over Roon as an application. They do plan on making it part of a music server, because they also contend that Roon SQ can be improved. It may be just a marketing gimmick, we will not know until people try it. Regardless, I do not believe optimising music servers is the way to go. I put more faith in advances in digital audio conversion, as highlighted above, and believe Roon should stick to what it does best, the application (with some room for improvements).

I see this is now a 2020 delivery, still with a 6k server or a 3k cut down version.