Roon and CXN/DSD disappointment. DSD suggestions please

I don’t know the CXN and I’m not a Mac user, but this whole conversation baffles me. There are lots of Mac users on this forum, and they do not get downsampled by Airplay.

It isn’t about DSD, or real,y about the CXN either.
Maybe you should start a new thread reframing the question so you can get some Mac advice.

What baffles me is the focus on DSD, because we know that the CXN converts DSD to PCM internally. So the DSD-PCM-conversion happens in any case, if not in roon, than in the CXN. What’s the point in feeding it DSD at all?

We can worry about the semantics afterwards. The point is the CXN should accept and work with DSD. It isn’t and that is the problem to be solved.

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My point was, it seems this setup can’t even play hires pcm?
So it’s not a DSD problem but a connectivity problem?
It’s like, “my cell phone keeps cutting out so I can’t discuss German philosophy.” It’s a cell phone problem, not a philosophy problem.

Or did I misunderstand? Just skimmed the thread.

Hopefully, you’re annoyed at Cambridge, not Roon :wink:

@Henry_McLeod offered you one, which is to use the cheapest Windows machine you can find as a Roon Bridge.

One possibility for this (AFAIK, a bit more expensive than the Chinese boxes he mentioned), if you want something that’s minimalistic is a PCEngines board similar to the one that Bryston used for the BDP-1. It should run Windows. It’s a bit more expensive than a RasPi, and getting Windows installed might be a bit tricky (even though it should be possible).

Another option might be the USB out of an Intel Compute Stick, which should be less dyi-y, so easier to get running, and cheaper. You do need to check if it’s oomphy enough to run Roon, though.

It’s a mix of a problem with the Cambridge DXN having limited OS support, and @MarkO not being certain who to be upset at for it. And also, maybe, getting understandably confused as to what runs where in configurations like his (or Roon).
As far as I understand things, Cambridge’s CXN is essentially a 10 year old ELAC Discovery Music Server with a USB input they never bothered to get working on 'nix, making high-bitrate not work with anything other than Windows, but it’ll still play DSD from whatever server software it’s running if you plug a hard drive in directly and control it from desktop client software that isn’t Roon. It also has some form of Airport compatibility, which means it does show up in Roon, but with all the limitations that come with Airport. The dac in it also doesn’t do native DSD, but Mark would nevertheless want native DSD input.

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No he didn’t Harry’s solution involved a window end point which proves the point had accept that DSD is not possible with Roon//CXN/MAC. Suggesting that adding in a Windows endpoint is not a solution.

Don’t put words in my mouth. I only researched the problem with using USB 2 with a Pi endpoint.

I am upset with myself for buying Roon with the set up I have - MAC/wired network/CXN - hi res files includign DSD that Roon downsamples to 44/16 as it does with Airplay seems to be some sort of reluctance to admit that in this forum. Seems to a strong emotional attachment to a software music player.
I’m happy with my CXN and USB play when I don’t use Roon - I can hear the difference.
I liked Roon much much better than anything (Plex, J River, Audionirvana) tried in terms of interface & I love the radio feature - just playing from my library, awesome!
I’m primarily a vinyl listener and I like the DSF files I’ve heard and, I admit, I’m struggling a bit with how complicated all this is. It just seems like DSD files are really hard to play if Roon is used . And I don’t see why I would use a software player unless I was using it wirelessly (in my wired network) because if I to want play from the device (say Hugo 2, Lumin D2, CXN, etc etc ) I would operate from that devices direct connection to my amp and play DSD & not use a software player. I use a device remote to control play & volume
I’ve been buying DSD albums from Analogue Production and just want to play them to their potential.
Sadly, I genuinely feel that if a spent $2500 USD plus on high DAC player with native DSD capability and used Roon as a network player playing from my wireless MacBook, Iphone or IPad I have no idea if I could play my DSD files from Analogue Productions and hear them as DSD files.

I’m responding to Xekomi - I really appreciated your suggestion and was just clarifying the point he made. Your response was great and was consistent with what I was looking for in my query. Sorry if there was a misunderstanding there.
:+1:

You have no reason at all to be upset at yourself. You’re also completely right that your current setup won’t allow you to play files back at HiRes. You bought, in good faith, a hardware device that doesn’t have the type of support one could legitimately expect, so you’re right in your understanding that, if you decide to keep your CXN, you need to add a box so that Roon can speak to it. All everyone here has been doing is trying to help you find the cheapest way to get around Cambridge’s lack of support.

There’s no “reluctance to admit” Airplay isn’t the best way to send music to a DAC. Of course there’s much better ! Do you think people on this forum would be building RaspBerry boxes or buying expensive streamers if they thought Airplay was all that ?

You’re already using a software player… it just happens to be the same age as your CXN, and built into it. In Roon parlance, think of your CXN as a “Cambridge-ready network player and core”. Because you can’t update the software player built into your device, you need to find another way to add Roon functionality.

What Henry was suggesting was, so to say, upgrading the guts of your device by adding an external box. The only difference between your setup and what many here use is that instead of using a small, silent, screenless box running linux, you’d have to use a small, silent, screenless box running windows just so you can get driver support from Cambridge. This would allow you to use Cambridge’s software DSD => PCM conversion instead of Roon’s (the Wolfson WM8740 inside your CXN doesn’t support native DSD, the WM8742 does, but that’s not what Cambridge builds into their streamers). In a setup that follows Henry’s advice, you’d be controlling Roon playback from your mac / iDevices, not from the windows box.

If you were willing to use Roon’s DSD-PCM converter instead of Cambridge’s, then you could pick any of a multitude of streamers with SPDIF out, and use that input.

So you’ve got plenty of choices: keep things as they are and let go of Roon, get Roon to do the DSD conversion for you and spend a couple of hundred bucks on a RasPi + SPDIF output bridge, spend a bit more on a Windows bridge, or sell your streamer and upgrade to one of the super-nice, DSD native and Roon ready options you mentioned.

Great suggestions and some valuable information that clarifies some stuff for me very nicely. I really appreciate the time you (and others here) have given to my queries. All shaping for a nice upgrade!

I may try the Raspberry Pi in the meantime for the fun of it and some education!

Thanks.

The RPi plus Ropieee just worked

Go to the Ropieee sticky , follow the instructions

It just worked

But beware you’ll get 24 96 because of the CA Linux issue we uncovered you will have to set the CXN to USB class 1

Mike

Hello @MarkO,

I’m sorry that you’ve been having trouble getting Roon and your Cambridge CXN working the way you would like it to. We’re here to help, and if you’d like I can make a new thread in the support category to help walk you through getting things set up as optimally as possible.

There has been a lot of noise in this thread with a lot of helpful suggestions, so I just wanted to help clear up some things and give an overview on why you may be experiencing this behavior.

  1. The Cambridge CXN only supports DSD playback through two of it’s “inputs”, networked UPnP and USB. Since Roon Ready networked devices use the RAAT protocol instead of UPnP (partially to avoid confusion like this). In order for you to use Roon and play DSD to the device, you will have to use the USB input and use the DoP (DSD over PCM) DSD playback strategy.

  2. Some users have brought up an interesting point which is that the CXN internally re-samples DSD to high resolution PCM internally. While there are different methods of re-sampling DSD to PCM, I would encourage experimenting with Roon’s built in sample rate conversion. You may find that it’s equivalent, if not better than the sample rate conversion built into the CXN.

  3. Unfortunately, this leads to another issue which you may run into. The Cambridge CXN has an improper/broken USB implementation that is known to break when using certain operating systems (especially Linux). We have received multiple reports of this happening when the CXN is in “USB 2.0” mode. Since Cambridge is not a Roon partner, we don’t have hardware in-house to test this with. Many users report that changing to “USB 1.0” mode allows them to play back to the device. However, since this limits playback to 24/96 kHz max, you will not be able to stream DSD using DoP or any higher sample rates than this.

  4. As you have noticed, when playing to the Airplay input on the CXN, the bit depth and sample rate are limited to 16 bits & 48 kHz max. This is a limitation of the Airplay protocol, and is not something that we have control over. When you play high resolution content to your device using the Airplay protocol, Roon is intelligently sensing that the protocol will not support streaming that file in it’s original format and converts it to a stream that the device will accept and actually play.

I hope this paint a clearer picture and provides some clarity on why you are seeing this behavior. As far as further troubleshooting, I would recommend the following

  1. Connect the CXN to your Roon Core computer. Then open the Settings>Audio page and make sure that you have enabled the CXN device that appears under the “Connected to Core” heading, not the Airplay zone for playback. I would even recommend disabling the “Cambridge CXN” that appears under the Airplay heading to avoid confusion.

  2. Make sure that the CXN is set to “USB 2.0” mode. Then try playing back both regular CD quality and high resolution PCM files to the device. If playing back PCM files doesn’t work, unless Cambridge fixes their USB firmware for the device, you will have to revert to “USB 1.0” unless you move to a Windows based computer/remote.

  3. If you have high resolution PCM playback working, now would be the time to test DSD playback. Make sure that in Settings>Audio for the CXN, when you open “Device Setup” for the device that the DSD Playback Strategy is set to “DSD over PCM V1.0 (DoP)”. If playback doesn’t work, you should then set this option to “Convert to PCM” and allow Roon’s resampling engine to do its work.

I know this thread has gotten very noisy (with lots of people trying to help! thanks everyone!), if you’d like me to open a new thread in the support category for you where we can give you some more focused attention, I’d be glad to do so!

-John

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Sorry I am bit delayed but I have tried the various options that John has suggested , here are the pictures.

Linux Ropieee has been discussed above in detail and results in USB ie 24/96 at best so I’ll leave that

This is a Windows 10 laptop connected to the CXN by the Audio USB Port (ie the “little square one”) , the CXN set to USB Class 2 . Windows has the CA USB Driver installed . Windows recognizes it and says “Ready For Use”. My Headphone amp is connected and gives a Sample Rate read out, albeit limited via Coax to 24/192

The device settings are …

Having never used it like this I trust they are OK

I now played a std 24/192 track and the audio path shows

Audio%20Path%20192

pretty much as I would expect

I have a SACD ISO file which I converted to DSD64 (DSF) and DSD 256

Playing the DSD 64 i see

Audio%20Path%20DSD64

The CXN shows “USB Audio DSD”, my headphone am shows 24/176.4

Now I played the DSD256 and see

The CXN shows “USB Audio DSD”, my headphone am shows 24/176.4

ie Roon downgrades the DSD to 64 , presumably because CXN only supports DSD64

Converting tyhe SACD ISO to Flac 88.2 I see

DSD-FLAC

The CXN shows “USB Audio 88.2 kHz”, my headphone am shows 24/88.2

I think that simulates all the options .

The bottom line is a small (cheap) windows device acting as a Roon End Point should replicate these results and allow Roon to pass DSD64 to the CXN. The Linux option we have seen will not

Unfortunately I do not have a Mac device to complete the Trilogy

It follows what we would expect from @John 's post above.

Hope this helps

Mike

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PS in all cases the LAN Cable was out of the CXN and the AirPlay option in Roon was disabled. The laptop was connected via wireless (TRAVELLER is simply the name of the laptop)

Mike

The cxn will except dsd via usb hardrive, or usb stick plugged in the back port.
You can stream dsd from computer to cxn.
To stream with jriver ect, make sure your streaming as is.

Cambridge explained to me that dsd is converted to pcm 176kz.

I don’t use Roon at the moment , but you should be able to stream dsd .
Remember you cannot send dsd through usb only 192.

Dsd sounds anaz8ng.

That’s not the case, all the examples in my post today were via USB

Yes you can put a HDD into the rear USB port and run DSD direct to the CXN but as I showed with a Windows End Point Roon can pass DSD 64 to the CXN which is what Mark is after ( I think)

In either case the CXN will convert to 176.4 as my Headphone Amp shows

It is possible via Roon , and other software

Mike

A post was split to a new topic: Roon to a USBridge and then to the Hugo2

Mark
I have the same player. The cxn.
I have a friend who is using Roon. Same problem as you are having.
Now as for dsd playback… I can tell you that dsd sounds dam good on on cxn, I have played dsd on mytec .
The cxn is indistinguishable, playing dsd.
As for roon! Like others have suggested not a lot you can do.
I use jriver and hqplayer to stream to the cxn.
Most of my collection is dsd 950 albums and counting.

Use jriver and stream .

I have solved my issue with the CXN and Roon by purchasing the SOTM SMS-200 Neo (following a suggestion here). It works brilliantly. Cost me a bit as I also went for the S Booster power supply. Now SOTM is the end point into the DAC. Huge improvement in sound quality. Also upgraded my USB audio cable. I then added in a SOTM audiophile Cat 7 (with filter) Ethernet cable and I could hear further improvement.
Thanks for all the suggestions here, very helpful and generous.
I was motivated to make Roon work because I love the radio feature and Tidal integration - how great is Tidal!
DAC upgrade next and maybe Nucleus.