Roon SQ questions

Hello all,

I am trying to work various issues with my system, not all involve Roon, but I do have a few questions, just looking for some, what I guess would be opinions.

  1. Can / does Roon provide SQ similar to a good CD/SACD disc player ?

  2. What effect to SQ does Roon automatic de-sampling of DSD level files to 24/176 (usually), if being used with a non-DSD DAC ?

  3. Is there a significant difference playing DSD files from Roon thru a DSD capable DAC ?

Thanks, Wayne

  1. Roon is a software transport system for playing locally stored or streamed music. How it sounds depends on what is in your audio system. In my experience, with no DSP of any kind, and with my system, Roon playback of local and streamed music sounds frickn awesome.
  2. Only you can tell that in your system, in your room.
  3. Does not compute.

If I may be so bold as to add a 4) - list your system, network, library size etc. as asked for in the Support section so that folks who are keen to help have something to go on.


Hello, I appreciate the response. I did not list anything else as I do not think it matters. It is about what ROON delivers in general to any system.

Such as question 2. Has anybody been able to compare DSD level file(dsf I believe ?) that has been down-sampled to 24/176 to go into a 24/192 DAC, vs. the same file played with out sampling into a DSD capable DAC. Or for that matter both into the same DSD DAC.

Again what does this down-sampling ROON is doing to the eventual SQ ? Is it a drastic change to the overall SQ or is it very subtle, and possibly not noticeable at all ?

The “correct” answer would be “that depends on the DAC”, but I think it’s safe to say that with a decent DAC, it is very unlikely anyone can hear a difference between playing DSD directly and playing it after down-sampling to 24/176.4 or 24/192.

please don’t get me wrong, but have you considered searching the forum before asking?

You’d find loads of threads turning into partisan slugfests about opposing “opinions”.
You’ll have days worth of reading time to bask in all sorts of opinions.
If that’s not enough for you, check out threads about all sorts of questionable paraphernalia, also turning sour and sarcastic.

What for do you ask for even more “opinions”, as you freely admit to?

Why is it that you aren’t interested in facts and proof to finally settle your nagging doubts, in order to be able to just enjoy music and forget about Audio Nervosa?


1 Like

And when he’s done with all that, I’d strongly suggest digging deep into the MQA threads :face_with_monocle: :crazy_face:.


Hello Internet, does anyone have an opinion?


It does matter; Roon is transparent since its purpose is to deliver bit perfect digital audio to your DAC, i.e., unlike an SACD [player] it does not “colour” the sound.

Take a look at these articles, and search the forum. Ultimately, use your ears.

Just curious, how does an SACD color the sound?

1 Like

From my experience of auditioning players, different manufacturers sounded different. In contrast, transports and Roon do nothing to the stream.

1 Like

Unless the player is outputting analog, it won’t do anything to the stream, just like Roon.

1 Like

Whether players output analogue or digital or both, what goes on inside them is often unknown. For example, some will upsample whilst others apply filters; indeed, some Roon Ready devices clearly demonstrate this in the signal path. Thus, the player modifies the signal or, as I said, “colours” the sound.

I’m just highlighting a difference. For example, the Roksan K2 was a pleasure to use (for me, in my room and setting), but it was warmer than Roon direct to DAC. Bluesound and Cambridge apply DSP that can’t be configured too.

Yes, but Roon is more complicated. A CD/SACD player holds media, is a transport, and a DAC all in one unit. This combination will sound different than any other media, transport, and DAC. All these things sound different. How much different depends on the analog section of your system and how revealing it is against the digital section. When comparing to a CD player think of the following:

Files / Stream - This is your media
Transport - This is a digital transport or streamer. It takes the media and hands it to the DAC.
DAC - This converts the digital audio bits into analog

In the middle of your files and transport is Roon Core. Roon Core can also be your transport if you plug the core directly into a DAC.

The short answer is none but that isn’t accurate. However, none, is a good enough answer for today because of the following: A DSD DAC and a PCM DAC sound different. The way they work is different. The DAC itself has more to do with what you hear than the conversion. So, really, what your question should be is what is the effect between the original PCM and an original DSD converted to PCM. And, again, this is hard to answer because you never know if the two are from the same master. I have a couple albums that contain DSD and PCM files from the same master and I generally prefer DSD converted to PCM. However, I’m a huge fan of DSD so I’m probably letting my bias play tricks on me here.

Yes, but that has nothing to do with Roon. As I said above DSD DAC and PCM DAC do different things to arrive at the analog output. You can’t really compare or say one is better. You can only say you prefer one DAC over the other. And, in the case of some DACs that employ two separate paths within the electronics to do DSD or PCM you could also say you prefer one side of the DAC over the other. But you must figure this out for yourself in your own system. Roon won’t influence which DAC you prefer. It’s only delivering the bits.


Thank you, I did get some good answers that got me what I needed. I know the subject of questioning sound quality using ROON can be unwelcome, at least from what I am told. I am just trying to sort thru some decisions I need want to make as I approach retirement, and what I want to do with my stuff. So for now, thanks for the info.

1 Like