Roon (+ NAA) vs. Audirvana (+ DirectStream Jr)

I’ve been trying Audirvana for the first time in the past couple days. It sounds great, better than Roon I think (on my gear that is). I cannot identify precisely what the difference is and do not much like descriptions like “airy” or “warm”. Agree w/many others that Roon’s UI is much better.

I wonder if Roon would take on a similar sound signature when played through a NAA (network bridge), such as one of the Sonore rendu products? I’m also considering a used PS Audio DirectStream Junior, which would give me the option of either USB or ethernet connections.

Currently I’m using either a Bluesound Node 2i or a Mac Mini patched directly by USB to my integrated amp (with built-in DAC). The Mini runs Roon Core as well as Audirvana; I’ve also set it up to be a Roon endpoint. I like the features/functions of the Node 2i; its SQ is pretty good, but I prefer the Audirvana-over-USB sound.The latter seems to create a better soundstage (+ equal/better timbre/tonality, separation, detail … with less harshness in complex arrangements, high volumes, or high frequencies).

I realize the only way to know if an NAA/renderer is a good alternative is to buy one and try it out. But I’d be interested in a little feedback from others before going down that path. I suspect I’d be most satisfied with Audirvana playing into the PSA DirectStream Junior (over either USB or the ethernet bridge), but I’m not ready to give up on Roon.

There are those who use Roon’s interface with HQPlayers audio engine and report good results. But you have to host HQPlayer on your Mini, configure Roon to work to it and then point it at the NAA. HQPlayer isn’t free but if you are contemplating gear of the DS jnr’s quality then I don’t suppose that would be an issue.

If you are talking about using a RoonBridge device rather than going to the trouble of employing the whole HQPlayer experience then that too would bring some improvement because of the isolation an end point device brings but it wouldn’t change the nature of how Roon works.

Thanks, Henry. I’ve tried HQPlayer, hosting it on my Mini as you suggested and setting it up as a Roon endpoint. I think I prefer Audirvana, since its UI is friendlier, its price much lower, and the SQ may be a wash. Although I like the fact that HQP can be a Roon endpoint (which effectively hides the complexity of HQP’s UI, once it’s set up).

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No problem. Good luck in your search. I for one couldn’t go with another front end, I like Roon too much. I really enjoyed HQPlayer when I spent time with it but it was still a bit too demanding for a NUC at the time. Now that has been rectified I am already committed to Roon and happy with what I am hearing. That said, I’ve never used Audirvana.

If you are willing to give up Roon to use Audirvana, go for it. But HQPlayer is invisible once setup and allows you to use Roon. It also sounds better than Audirvana.

Although in my experience, HQPlayer does not necessarily sound better than Audirvana (on my gear, in my room, to my ears). Or maybe HQP would, if only I had the patience to work through all the possible settings each one offers.

I have Roon, HQ Player, and Audirvana. I like Audirvana at the imac desktop,and Roon for the other stations. I also purchased the DMG Audio equick plug in with Audirvana. Great stuff.