Roon Software Decode Fail or am I doing something wrong?

So, I’m using Roon because of it’s additional MQA software decode functionality for devices that I have which don’t have their own MQA DAC and I’m seeing some odd things.

So I have a SMSL M400 DAC hooked up to some KEF R3s with a custom Apollon Audio Purifi amp.

Through Roon there is a light I haven’t seen before next to MQA on the DAC which is purple, usually it’s green or blue as explained in MQA docs, I’ve not seen anything in their docs about purple. This light shows when I let Roon do the first unfold.

For my devices settings the default and for the above results it is set to “Rendered Only”.

If I change this to “Decoder and Renderer” the quality dramatically increases, so much more detail.

Does this mean Roon’s software unfold/decode isn’t up to par? Is it recommended to let hardware do all 3 layer unfold if it supports it therefore?

If you have a full MQA DAC, let it do the work.
In settings a ROON ready endpoint will configure that way automatically.
I also get the purple light if Roon does the decoding, which happens for me if I link zones. Meridian 210/ Bluesound pulse.

Should be no drop in SQ unless your breaking the mqa chain using Roons core decoder. Show your signal path from the app so we can see what its doing . If you want to perform any DSP in Roon and maintain mqa signalling then you need to set MQA to renderer only. I have the SMSL SU 9 and when I had Tidal it sounded no different using either method, just one allowed me to add some headphone EQ.

If it’s this different then yes I’ll get another M400 for the living room.

I don’t really see the point in Roon then if it decreases quality over as basic as Strawberry player :smiley:

100% it doesn’t sound as nice when Roon touches the stream.

It sounds better even when just playing straight to the M400 from PC via strawberry player. Maybe all that networking really is effecting it, thought that was the point of Roon.

I need a NUC or something next to the DAC to run Roon bridge on anyway, I don’t really see the point over just mounting an NFS there, I have to do the same on Roon server anway. I’m really not seeing the point of Roon right now when there are clearly better working solutions before it even existed.

Coming back to this.

Everyone here keep shooting me down for criticising the software, but aren’t we all here for the best that can be achieved in terms of sound quality?

I’ve just done some testing again here with Roon v/s Deadbeef player and Strawberry, that play direct using ALSA (as apparently does Roon). However, there is a Stark difference in SQ.

Without Roon everything is much airier, Roon dulls things down.

I am playing MQA files, with the device set to Renderer and Decoder, Fixed Volume, No DSP, the transport states the endpoint is USB ALSA so surely SQ should replicate my local player??

Last I checked neither Deadbeef nor Strawberry plays/decodes MQA at all, so why are you using an MQA file in Roon?

That isnt how it works, both through those players and strawberry I am passing the stream straight to the DAC.

My point is therefore that Roon is doing something negative with the stream, and the question is what and why…

It is supposed to be software focused on exactly this, delivering the best sound quality for hi res audio, and its being beaten by a single guy who forked clementine? Really?

Just to be clear because it isn’t, you are saying that you are sending the same file through all three players bit perfect to the MQA DAC? Because that is how you have to compare.

I thought you were trying to compare a Roon software decode sent to a DAC vs. players just sending the untouched file to the DAC. Since, you discussed the software Decode process in Roon; a process those other players are not doing.

Im not using Roon to software decode no, that’s why its a problem.

Got it, sorry for the side chatter, I had misunderstood what you were comparing.