Roon + Aries sound quality

I’ve been testing Roon and Aries and I find the SQ lacking compared to running Aries ¨stand alone¨.
I have a NAS and the Roon core on a MacBook Pro (2010).
Was worried about performance of the MacBook but that’s not been a problem, but I find the sound to soft and veiled…
Exclusive mode is not possible when running through the Aries, is it?


The Aries is always running in “exclusive mode”–i.e. directly accessing the USB device with no intervening OS processing. This is true regardless of whether you use RAAT or the built-in output software.

I can’t comment on what you heard–we’ve done exhaustive testing to confirm that the Aries are capable of bit-perfect output over USB and S/PDIF. The hardware details are the same in both cases, so other relevant factors (jitter, analog domain interference, etc) should be identical or nearly so.

It’s certainly possible to defeat bit-perfect output, for instance by turning on Software Volume Control, Volume Normalization, or Crossfade, all settings which activate various forms of DSP. If this is happening, you’ll see it in Roon’s “Signal Path”.

The built-in software probably makes the hardware work harder, since it’s responsible for decoding the audio files. With Roon, any decoding/decompression is happening on the server. I suppose it’s possible that you could subjectively prefer the sound of a harder-working device, even if that sort of thing is not generally considered a positive.

Ok, thanks for your quick and initiated answer.
I’m really enjoying the ¨Roon experience¨ so far. Amazing software, and I’m just beginning to learn all the features.
When it comes to my question, as you point out it’s probably a case of me being used to the particular sound signature of my system setup.

Cheers, Dan

People love to fire flames around on this topic but I will just mention a possible cause from my experience.

I recently heard very audible differences in Ethernet cable between a Melco and Chord Electronics streamer. Going from standard cat 5 to a £40 cable was remarkable. I wonder if the extra journey that your music files are making is causing the difference. Normally it is NAS>switch>Aries. With Roon it is NAS>switch>Mac>switch>Aries.

When I heard the better cable it got so much cleaner, it sounds similar to what you are describing. Perhaps try some local files from you Mac to cut down on the journey the files are making.

Who’s your dealer and what crack did he sell you?


Thanks for your constructive feedback…


forgive me for resurrecting a two months old thread :blush: but…

bought a “femto” Aries, yesterday, hoping it would sound better than my “tweaked” (SSD, JS-2 LPS, USB Regen, Audiophilleo), dedicated, Mac mini running Audirvana but found it does not. the Aries does very well indeed but it only comes somewhere nearby the Mini: not there and not even really close! :cry:

in particular I’m not fond of Aries’ sound signature, so using it as Roon “output device” might help

question is: will Roon’s sound signature overcome Aries’ one? :nervous:


From technical prospective and my own experiences I would say no.
From general experience one never knows in particular setups.
My recommendation is just give it the14 days free trial with Roon, then you’ll find out.

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just for the records: the Aries is now playing much better than the Mac mini ever has :slight_smile:
got there only after powering it from the UpTone Audio JS-2 LPS that was powering the Mac (now powering both) and using both a Regen and Audiophilleo on the USB out

still a smidge warmer than A+ but… :slight_smile:

Roon Server running on the JS-2’d Mac mini comes very close to “just Aries straight”

well… after a full week listening to Roon + Aries (femto) only, I’m now using the latter on its own to stream from Qobuz and I’m just in love with the SQ I get :slight_smile:

does “working harder hardware” sound cleaner, more detailed all along the spectrum, “airier”, brighter (in the good sense), less warm-ish? if so… please make the Aries work harder when used as RAAT! :stuck_out_tongue:
in a straight comparison between Roon vs “another (software) player”(*) with everything else (hardware) being the same… sorry: Roon always came second (in my setup)
don’t get me wrong: I can live quite happily with what I’m getting (in fact I did subscribe Roon lifetime), but… :wink:

(*) only tried vs Audirvana, as that was my previous setup, and vs “Aries alone”, this being my current setup

I realize you’re tongue-in-cheek, but a serious answer to this: there’s no reliable way to transform audiophile adjectives to technical decisions–which are how things actually get done.

Until we’re in the realm of technical measurements or rigorously conducted (double-blind or ABX) listening tests with a population of listeners, it’s all just conversation :slight_smile: . Nothing wrong with that, but not exactly something we can act on…

It is worth pointing out since you’re listening via Qobuz–are you sure that when you’r conducting comparisons, the content being compared is identical?

Roon and Audirvana are different, and were engineered to perform at their best under different conditions. If you were running Roon as a direct replacement for Audirvana without changing anything else, then you were using it in a way that we explicitly state is not best for sound quality.

They also have some features (e.g. upsampling) that we do not have yet. That stuff can totally enhance sound quality and skew a comparison if it’s turned on.

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… let’s forget about A+ as my new setup, with the Aries, sounds better :wink:
(only got there, though, after moving to the Aries all the “tweaks”, JS-2 LPS included, I was using with the Mac mini)

and let me explain my measuring method:

  • play some music
  • go in front of the mirror
  • compare how large my smile gets with the marks already there from last measuring

when the Aries plays straight my smile goes larger than when I use it as RAAT :stuck_out_tongue:

from Aries fw 4.0beta3 Release notes:

"Improvement since Version 3.3:

(Dramatic) Sound quality improvement when play music through Lightning DS or other uPnP control software. (No sound quality change under Internet Radio, AirPlay, Songcast, Bluetooth and Roon input method because of the data is streamed in real time from host device)."



Do you know what they did to achieve the improvement Paolo ?

Introducing Memory Cache. Memory Cache feature will pre-load track into device memory (not SSD!) to achieve better sound quality, it also helps to improve streaming stability. Memory Cache size for ARIES/ARIES LE: 512MB; ARIES MINI: 64MB. Memory Cache function does not work under Internet Radio, AirPlay, Songcast, Bluetooth and Roon input method because of the data is streamed in real time from host device.


sounds like snake oil…

No its not its BS


Same conclusion here, Aries femto on its own sounds better than aries + Roon.

Files arevon the same NAS. The only difference is the mac mini running roon (dsp disabled on roon and aries) on the same network.

I did the same with the aries in upnp mode and audirvana 3.1+ And again it’s better than aries+roon.

My charts :
1- Aries alone
2- Aries + aurdirvana
3- Aries + Roon

With roon, sound stage is not as wide as the aries alone. Everything sound a little boring and darker.
Audirvana is so clean but a little too much clinical. It lacks some warm.
Aries alone is the warmest, less clinical, but the more vivid and textured.

I’m not saiying that roon is bad, just that in my setup, it’s not the best (for sound quality).

If we are talking about ui and user experience, there is no debate, Roon wins with 200km ahead.

[quote=“Deuch, post:19, topic:9234, full:true”]
With roon, sound stage is not as wide as the aries alone. Everything sound a little boring and darker.
Audirvana is so clean but a little too much clinical. It lacks some warm.
Aries alone is the warmest, less clinical, but the more vivid and textured.
[/quote]That sounds strange, I am sure that running bit-perfect with exclusive DAC in Roon does not change the sound in any way (or another way to say that: the music bit-stream is untouched), are you sure you used everything same (cables, DAC intput and so on).

Yes everything is the same.

As i said, i just changed the mode in the Auralic (Room, upnp or Lignhinng). So no change of cable, DAC or everything else.

For men the decoder change the sound in some way. Yes everything is transported in a bit perfect way, and nothing is upsampled or downsampled, but the decoder change things i supposed.

I’m surprised of those results. For me all the solutions must sound the same, but it’s not. I’m trying to use map and compare room vs mpd on a raspberry pi 3.