Roon 1.8 sound quality change?

Important to state: I do not use any form of DSP.

Hi @Diethard_Wehn and welcome to the Roon forum.

Put aside DSP and just look at “bit-perfect” which is viewed as a “gold standard” for digital audio transport. How can Roon announce an improvement? They’ve been selling a “bit-perfect” player for a few releases. To suggest this has been improved in 1.8 is to suggest users of previous versions have been “sold a pup”.

@Adam_Arczynski simple objective test confirms this view. Unconscious/expectation bias can be a powerful thing.


expectation bias works both ways.


Even my vinyl sounds better. 1.8 is magic :innocent:


Well, that’s not possible technically with bit-perfect transport - which has been proven - because this background noise must be part of the encoded signal.
But if you are inferring that the noise is being generated by the conversion process, then again we’re looking at something being defective in your DAC.

That this tiny a difference in the lowest octave makes or brakes your listening experience lets me think that a very large amount of the recorded music catalogue won’t ever make into your listening room, since that part of the spectrum is virtually MIA.

I’d really like to see a properly performed measurement of your system in-room…


Top trolling. Bravo.


Not this time. For me it was clear since the first seconds. Emotion was gone but I agree it is not something you can find on many systems. Using the Antipodes music server squeeze player allows to recover emotions so it is not psychological.

Ha, true. Blind to the fact what the test was.

Here we go again :slight_smile:

FWIW I totally agree with you. But this is a rabbit hole of ginormous proportions.

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It’s not so complicated if you lay out the permutations.

There are 2 noted changes that might affect SQ in this release:

  1. change to audio pipe cpu/memory utilization or any other electric/noise impacting changes
  2. changes to DSP dithering.

This effectively generates 4 different use-cases in order of overall potential SQ change:

A. core is well isolated - via wifi/fibre/clean ethernet via endpoint (built in to DAC or standalone) - and you do not use DSP i.e. you run “bit-perfect”
→ you shouldn’t really perceive any SQ changes

B. core is not isolated from DAC and you do not use DSP i.e. “bit-perfect”
→ you might perceive minor SQ difference due to electrical noise leakage from core server

C. core is isolated from DAC and you do use DSP
→ you might perceive minor SQ differences due to DSP output …

D. core is not isolated and you also use DSP
→ you might perceive more SQ differences due to BOTH Noise and DSP


If you are using filters that alter the sound how do you know what was right in the first place?

I basically agree with you, just a little comment about your A option:
A friend of mine is running an endpoint (SotM Ultra + Farad LPS) with a PC as dedicated Roon core. He hears difference when changing frequency of the CPU in the Roon core PC. So a normal ethernet network is not enough for total isolation. He does have a high-end system though.

Fiber on the other hand tends to completely remove the impact of up-streams equipment, as long as they work as they should (i.e. stable transmissions etc).

Yes there is a chance for noise to travel across ethernet. I in fact use an OpticalRendu with FMC to isolate the audio system as much as possible. But I am not sure how much of that can be ascribed to a core more than 1 hop away. If it was direct ethernet connection then that’s not really a ‘network’ of course. One would think that routers/switches in between would contribute as much if not more noise to the end signal but I could be wrong there.
Nonetheless, I will edit my post.

Yes, forgot to mention that but he has his PC directly connected to the streamer (which according to him sounds better than to hop via a switch). Btw, I also use fiber (ethernet → MFC → fiber → opticalModule → streamer). I can play games on my Roon core computer without it affecting the sound quality :slight_smile:

I’m pretty sure the sound changes are related to the smaller waveform indicator. It’s reasonable less energy is going into the waveform and more to the DAC. On a highly resolving system you can even hear the difference tilting the iPad from Landscape to Portrait as the waveform gets smaller.


Scott, I agree 100%. I figured out in addition the following, once you hold your iPad in an exact 37 degree angle you can hear the leading bit of each note dropping into the dac, but I have to admit this works only when you have switched the dark mode on!


Read the introduction from pros of digital measurements.

Viewing the Analog Origins of Digital Signals

What do all these characteristics have in common? They are classic analog phenomena. To solve signal integrity problems, digital designers need to step into the analog domain. And to take that step, they need tools that can show them how digital and analog signals interact.

Digital errors often have their roots in analog signal integrity problems. To track down the cause of the digital fault, it’s often necessary to turn to an oscilloscope, which can display waveform details, edges and noise; can detect and display transients; and can help you precisely measure timing relationships such as setup and hold times. Modern oscillo- scopes can help to simplify the troubleshooting process by triggering on specific patterns in serial data streams and displaying the analog signal that corresponds in time with a specified event.

…May be he guys that claim there is nothing that can be measured or detected, just did not invest in the right equipment but fail to acknowledge it.

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Extract of the relevant section…

Signal integrity impacts many electronic design disciplines. But until a few years ago, it wasn’t much of a problem for digital designers. They could rely on their logic designs to
act like the Boolean circuits they were. Noisy, indeterminate signals were something that occurred in high-speed designs – something for RF designers to worry about. Digital systems switched slowly and signals stabilized predictably.
Processor clock rates have since multiplied by orders of magnitude. Computer applications such as 3D graphics, video and server I/O demand vast bandwidth.
NB: one can add high end digital audio
Much of today’s telecommunications equipment is digitally based,
and similarly requires massive bandwidth. So too does
digital high-definition TV. The current crop of microprocessor devices handles data at rates up to 2, 3 and even 5 GS/s (gigasamples per second), while some DDR3 memory devices use clocks in excess of 2 GHz as well as data signals with 35-ps rise times.
Importantly, speed increases have trickled down to the common IC devices used in automobiles, VCRs, and machine controllers, to name just a few applications.
A processor running at a 20-MHz clock rate may well have signals with rise times similar to those of an 800-MHz processor. Designers have crossed a performance threshold that means, in effect, almost every design is a high-speed design.
Without some precautionary measures, high-speed problems can creep into otherwise conventional digital designs. If a circuit is experiencing intermittent failures, or if it encounters errors at voltage and temperature extremes, chances are there are some hidden signal integrity problems. These can affect time-to-market, product reliability, EMI compliance, and more. These high speed problems can also impact the integrity of a serial data stream in a system, requiring some method of correlating specific patterns in the data with the observed characteristics of high-speed waveforms.
Why is Signal Integrity a Problem?
Let’s look at some of the specific causes of signal degrada- tion in today’s digital designs. Why are these problems so much more prevalent today than in years past?
The answer is speed. In the “slow old days,” maintaining acceptable digital signal integrity meant paying attention to details like clock distribution, signal path design, noise mar- gins, loading effects, transmission line effects, bus termina- tion, decoupling and power distribution. All of these rules still apply, but…
Bus cycle times are up to a thousand times faster than they were 20 years ago! Transactions that once took microsec- onds are now measured in nanoseconds. To achieve this improvement, edge speeds too have accelerated: they are up to 100 times faster than those of two decades ago.
This is all well and good; however, certain physical realities have kept circuit board technology from keeping up the pace. The propagation time of inter-chip buses has remained almost unchanged over the decades. Geometries have shrunk, certainly, but there is still a need to provide circuit board real estate for IC devices, connectors, passive compo- nents, and of course, the bus traces themselves. This real estate adds up to distance, and distance means time – the enemy of speed.


Maybe it is time to put once again some rocks onto the DAC. I’m sure it is not wrong if you put another on on top of your Roon Core.


But then it closes the lid and goes into sleep, for sure it becomes silent hahaha.
I do put weight on audio equipment, but only on top of the subwoofer.