Ok I’ve tried both.
I need to explain my setup first though. I have a headless Ubuntu server PC on which currently resides Plex media server for video, HQPlayer and will get Roon headless when it comes out. That is connected to a Synology NAS, where all the files reside. Connected to the TV and HiFi is a modified Mac mini and an Exasound e28 dac, so good for multichannel and stereo audio and video. Also on the network are 2 raspberry pi, each with an Iqaudio dac. The Mac mini currently has Roon server on it, but it will get replaced by RAAT when that comes out, Plex media player and also an HQP NAA. Each pi has 2 sd cards, 1 with Jussi’s NAA image and another with Iqaudio’s beta of RAAT.
I have been trying both of them out with a Pi, As I can’t get the NAA on the Mac to send Dsd to the Exasound reliably at the moment, it insists on sending pcm. It’s a complete pain having to exchange sd cards to compare the 2, but at the moment it’s the only way.
To play using RAAT all I need do is fire up the pi and the iPad choose Roon, select the Pi zone and some music and off we go. Simple quick, easy and wife friendly.
To play using HQPlayer, as it resides on a headless Linux box running an OS without a GUI (a prerequisite), I have to fire up a MacBook, load an X11 server connect to the Linux box and forward the desktop to the MacBook, fire up HQPlayer, choose one of the 3 NAA’s, hope it and Roon have remembered that it’s good to talk, fire up the iPad choose Roon select the NAA zone and some music and off we go.
Simple, quick, wife friendly easy to setup? I’ll leave that to you. I know I could make it slightly easier, by putting a desktop on the Ubuntu server, but I don’t want to.
The only way I’d put up with the faffing, especially if it goes wrong somewhere is if the sound quality was many times superior in HQP. To my ears and with my equipment, which is never ever going to be real top end stuff, I afraid it isn’t.
So I am happy with 90-95% of the quality and 5% of the complication. Making sure others understand how to use what we have is always the overriding factor for me.