Roon sounds less clear and without the same detailed accurateness than Qobuz an Tidal Windows Software

Core Machine (Operating system/System info/Roon build number)

Windows 10 Proff./Intel Core I5-7200 2.50GHz 2.71 GHz, 8 GB RAM
PC ONLY does the Music Job, no mail, no Office, Nothing except Music, next to Windows only Qobuz and Tidal is installed, McIntosh Asio Service and now Roon Server module

Network Details (Including networking gear model/manufacturer and if on WiFi/Ethernet)

CABLE Ethernet connection

Audio Devices (Specify what device you’re using and its connection type - USB/HDMI/etc.)

B&W 802 D3 loudspeaker, Goldkabel 440 Rhodium cable, McIntosh MA 8900 Amplifier with DAC onboard directly connected to Audioquest Coffee cable USB to the above mentioned PC

Description Of Issue

Maybe you can help me. A german Magazine praised the roon Software for a far better Usability and an even better Sound, if you compare Qobuz or Tidal Client to the roon Software. Until now, the listening with the Qobuz and Tidal app on Windows was the state of the art, because I was able to use my HiRes subscription with hearable Sound improvement. So I was happy with the solution. I used my 3 month Trial subscription offered by B&W Group to test the magazines results. The Usability is far better and without any doubt a 100 % Argument to subscribe roon. But also 100% NOT the Sound.

Although the app confirmed a lossless Sound the Sound is not that detailed, not with a far stage, some Instruments sounds not that authentic. If I hear roon alone, it seems ok, but if you compare a few tracks the differences are quite clear. I invited my Music Friends to confirm, my ears are in good mood, but they were able to confirm my view, roon is far away from the same Quality or even better Quality.

I contacted also the Magazine, the verify my results with their Tests. So my Question is, do you have any idea to arrange anything different to make roon subscribeable for me, the app is really great, but not the Sound!!!

Thanks for your support.

Your best bet is to run Roon (or Roonserver) on your Windows PC hooked to ethernet. You can (or should) move that out of your listening environment. Hook a RoonBridge device (like a MicroRendu, but there are a LOT of choices) to ethernet near your McIntosh and run the USB from the RoonBridge to the DAC.
How much this matters depends on a number of factors. Roon is fairly computer intensive and can generate more noise than the Qobuz streaming app. If your PC is relatively noisy this noise can enter your DAC via the USB cable. If the DAC is noise sensitive, that noise could affect your music. At least that is the theory.
The RoonServer/RoonBridge two device setup separates the noise generating device from the USB output device.
In my limited experience I found the following:

  1. Going from a dedicated Windows 10 PC running ‘only’ Roon as the core to that same computer running Audiophile Optimizer produced a noticeable sound improvement. It wasn’t ‘tremendous’ but it was meaningful.
  2. I set up a NUC running ROCK as my core and put it in my basement connected to ethernet. The PC I had been using as the music server was now set up running only RoonBridge on Linux. The USB from this RoonBridge went to the DAC. I’d say the sound here was equivalent to scenario #1.
    In my case the “PC” was a C.A.P.S.v3 Zuma with a SOTM USB card. So that computer was already pretty optimized for sound. That may explain the relatively small changes.

Thanks for your support and your idea, to help me in my matter.
I think, I would not spend time and even Money to install other OS or will use something additionally.

I think I can compare two Software Options, roon and qobuz eg on one maschine. If I check roon, qobuz Services are down, and if I check qobuz, I switch and roon Server Service is down as well. So These two Systems will not disturb each other.

If there is in fact a noise difference, both will come from the same System, so I can not see there a cause, although you are Maybe Right.

I hope, someone can give me some Fingerprints how to Setup roon System that I can easily have the same good Quality as I have with the origin Software.

Thanks for aditional support.

Otherwise the roon Software is out of Question.

Do make sure you are comparing EXACTLY the same albums in Tidal/Qubuz. There is another thread in this forum that highlighted that some albums are mixed completely (and very obviously) differently to others.

Thank you for your idea.
I did, I marked my tracks as favour and so I am sure, I used the same.
But thank you anyway.

It might be most effective for you to post a few screenshots of your settings. There are the basic Audio settings for your device (the McIntosh), the Advanced settings just below them, and perhaps the USB settings you are using on your DAC. It will be easier for the Community people to see if something is obviously wrong than try to predict what will be best. Example of basic Audio settings for my DAC device:

Have you read this article in the Knowledge Base? It might give you some ideas.

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Just an Information for those who Maybe ask for WASAPI and Asio:
There is no Quality difference between Output via WASAPI and Asio.

Er, does the MA8900 have MQA capabilities? You’ve set it up that way, but the reviews I’ve seen don’t seem to mention MQA capabilities…

McIntosh definitely doesn’t do MQA.

I tested the Sound also with NO MQA, the Sound did not Change.

But thanks for your help.

Any other ideas?

Long shot but have you got volume leveling set? Many do not like roon’s default LUFS setting.

Also, the last time we checked, the Qobuz track volume levelling metadata were still being calculated/populated.

You both mean the volume Fixing ?
What can be wrong with it and how this can be responsible for the worse Sound?2019-04-29_15h30_15

We’re referring to this:

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As Joel says it is the feature that reduces the percieved dynamic differences between tracks and albums that were all originally recorded in different ways. Pretty much indispensable if you like shuffle or radio or playlists etc. rather than playing albums straight through.

By default roon sets this to -14 LUFS but you may prefer a different setting of -21 LUFS or -23 LUFS. The choice depends on your tastes in music and the voicing of your replay equipment. Some have initially reported roon as being a bit lifeless compared with other players they are used to but adjusting the LUFS to taste may fix this for you.

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there is a difference if I Change the LUFS Setup. It was mentioned -14 and I changed to -18 and -21 and -25 at least.
The closest Version to what I named origin (qobuz app Sound) was 18, but Maybe I have to Play around a bit.

BUT: I want to hear the pure Sound, and also the loudness, the Music was planned with. I Paid a huge amount for my Hardware, to make sure, I will be able to hear the Music as clear as the Studio musicians made it, but now I have to learn, the Sound depends on obviously technical Details and there will be no original Sound, Nothing what we can call the true Sound of a Music track.

Never the less, the top Sound from qobuz app is still not available with roon.

What About the other Settings at that area, are they responsible for the Quality?

Thank you so far for your support.

As far as I am aware, turn off Volume Levelling and the endpoint will get the same bit-stream direct from Qobuz or Roon… I should hope this is the case and Roon is not modifying the SQ or bit-stream in any way with no DSP.

I am ready to be corrected, 'cos I don’t actually know.