Roon sounds noticeably better than Sooloos! Why?

I’ve just migrated our showroom’s Sooloos collection system over to Roon. I’ve noticed that Roon sounds noticeably better than Sooloos with the exact same content, equipment, etc. :thinking: I’m curious why?

@support, can you please give us a quick overview of why there would be such an obvious improvement in sound quality?

The equipment is a QNAP TVS-682 running the Roon Server (and also running the Sooloos Core for comparison), played through a Meridian Ultra DAC, D’Agostino Momentum pre & monoblock amps, & Wilson Alexia 2. Only switching iOS apps, the differences were not subtle. It’s curious that the file-handling alone inside the QNAP resulted in such an audible difference. Any explanation(s) would be appreciated (so we can explain to our clients, too)!

Hmm, do you have the DSP functions active on Roon?

How is the qnap connected to the DAC? USB or Ethernet or something else? Same way as the sooloos system?

I just checked, and the top-most "DSP Engine"was Enabled…but all of the sub-options – Headroom Management, Sample Rate Conversaion, Crossed, Parametric EQ, and Speaker Setup – were all individually disabled. I repeated the comparison test with the main “DSP Engine” disabled, and am still hearing a Roon-is-better result (in a “more articulate, focused, and more-space-between-the-notes” way).


I’ll repeat the testing in the morning with fresh ears, and other colleagues’ ears too. (n.b., Three colleagues also agreed that Roon sounded better than Sooloos.)

The signal path is all ethernet: QNAP on network, and Meridian ID41 card inside Meridian Ultra DAC also on network. No special network cables. The only difference is running the “Meridian Sooloos” iOS app versus the “Roon Remote” iOS app…

I can only hypothesize that it’s something in the way the Sooloos Core software is packetizing the PCM data versus how the Roon Server software does it, which results in a cleaner reconstruction of the PCM stream via Roon?

If you are connecting by ethernet to the ID41 and Roon is not doing any DSP, it’s hard to see a way there is a technical difference.

Maybe the generally far better experience of Roon is just making you happier? :wink:

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As I understand it you are connecting to your Meridian DAC via Ethernet as a Meridian zone in Roon ? If so then conventional theory would have it that a TCP/IP connection (is that how the Meridian protocol works ?) over Ethernet could occur by carrier pigeon or smoke signal and sound the same (better due to galvanic isolation). Obviously subject to a buffer big enough to enable playback.

Let’s ask @brian if he snuck anything special into Roon’s handling of Meridian zones compared to Sooloos.

Edit: I think we can agree it’s not lack of weight in your speakers (113 kg each). I thought mine were monsters at 70kg. I may have to start a heaviest speaker thread !

Go for it!

Reminds me of this:

Build 234 switched RAAT from UDP to TCP. However, the Sooloos / Meridian network streaming protocol has not changed it’s still predominantly UDP not TCP.

(I wish Meridian would drop it and adopt RAAT, but I suspect it’s a tall order for Meridian as I’m not sure if their IP stacks on their hardware is up to the task.)

My Meridian DSP8000SE come in at 105 kg, but they contain five amps, DACs and DSP, and a kilowatt power supply, that’s cheating.

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We’ve heard this feedback from many others, too. The way that Roon and Sooloos speak the Meridian protocol is extremely similar, but most everything else is quite different.

Roon is generally better at utilizing multi-core hardware than Sooloos was, it does a lot more memory buffering during playback, and it’s more carefully tuned to deliver packets in a steady (rather than bursty) fashion. That’s not to say that Sooloos is doing anything wrong–just that a lot more optimization effort has gone into Roon. Most of this work was focused on stability/reliability, not sound quality directly, but it’s possible that it’s having effects there too.

Personally, I haven’t had a Sooloos system in my life for close to five years now, so I barely remember what it sounded like :slight_smile:


Thanks for the response @brian!

I have a somewhat different question — I am in the process of migrating from Sooloos to Roon, have the Roon core running on a QNAP NAS, and a Meridian Ultra DAC. While I can obviously send the audio to the Ultra DAC using the Sooloos protocol I was wondering if I would be better off buying a Roon Ready Network Player, and connect the Ultra DAC to that player via USB? I would then be able to connect via RAAT.

It would be better in that you would eliminate limitations of the ID41 and the Sooloos protocol (96/24). On the other hand, you may lose the UltraDAC icon in the play bar.

I have a similar situation, with an 818.
I have it connected over the Sooloos protocol, and in parallel with a MicroRendu and a USB connection.

The Sooloos protocol has that 96k limirptation, but on the other hand it gives me volume control from Roon.

I have very little music over 96k, and for those few examples I don’t notice any difference. Nor do I notice a difference if I set Roon to upsample 96 to 192. Probably because the 818 (and the UltraDAC) does an excellent job of upsampling. Nor do I benefit from sending DSD because my Meridian DSP speakers are PCM based, so it gets converted anyway.

So I prefer the convenience of volume control on my Roon iPad panel.

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Very helpful! Are you happy with the microRendu? Other than volume control are they any downsides? Is MQA fully supported?

Yes. It does its job well.
There are people who are all gaga about this thing, saying it has a miraculous effect on the sound, bla bla bla. I don’t know what they are talking about. My sound is fine. Inserting the MicroRendu in the chain did not degrade it. Fine.

MQA is passed through the MicroRendu without problems. The Meridian decodes it.