Roon vs Tidal Connect audio quality

Hi folks, I’ve recently started using Roon with my KEF LS50 Wireless ii speakers, with slightly surprising results.

I had assumed that audio quality would be identical to Tidal Connect via the Tidal app, as the app is just ‘telling’ the embedded Tidal service what to play. But… Tidal playback actually sounds better when using Roon (without any dsp enabled). The music has slightly more clarity and detail. Not a huge difference, but definitely noticeable.

So I’m wondering if anyone can shed light on why this might be. I’m hypothesising that the Roon core (aka my computer) is handling some of the processing for the speakers. Do Roon and Tidal Connect work via a different mechanism?

Grateful for any insight!



Are you having your Roon core do the second unfold? If you post the signal path (click on the “glowing dot” and post a screenshot) folks here may be able to comment on what you have set up.

Thanks! Not sure about the second unfold but I think it’s done by the speakers…
I’m new to Roon so haven’t worked everything out yet. Needed two screenshots to get the signal path in but here it is. Grateful for any thoughts!

Yeah, they are pretty different.

With Tidal connect, the speakers are downloading the track from the internet, decoding it, and feeding it to the speaker’s internal audio engine.

When using RAAT, Roon is downloading the track from the internet and decoding it, then sending pre-decoded audio to the speaker over your local network. The speaker just passes the incoming audio stream to the engine without doing any other work since it’s already been decoded/fetched by Roon.


Hey @Pau_Redstone,

Welcome to the Roon Community! We’re happy to have you and are glad to hear that you’re enjoying what you’re hearing with Roon. Those KEFs are perfect for showing off what Roon has to offer! :boom: :loud_sound:

Great, thanks for the explanation. That’s interesting to know. So with regard to MQA unfolding, is Roon actually doing the first unfold?

No–the first unfold is happening in “MQA core decoder” in your screenshot, which is inside of the speaker.

If you would prefer to have Roon do the first unfold, you can go into device setup for the KEFs and set MQA Capabilities to “Renderer only”.

Aha, right. Thanks Brian. I’ll test that out and see if it makes a difference.