Sound quality is impacted by roon on Linn devices

Did Linn ever get back to you on this issue?

I haven’t asked Linn yet.


well you should, but my question was directed @Fredrik_Lundholm who had the issue 5 months ago. If he resolved this issue with Linn it might give a clue as to what is going on, as the problem seems to be in the Linn box. It seems he hasn’t posted on the forum since the post above.

Hi Guys, after opening a ticket Linn responded:

"Further to your request,our engineers have listened to Roon and Playlist sources (including Tidal) and did not hear any difference. They measured the audio output and did not detect any differences.

The design of our Roon integration says that the sources should be comparable. Both listening and measurement agree with this.

I recognise that you may not agree, but there is nothing further for our engineers to investigate."

In the post above Roon confirms the output is bit perfect.

Hence I took no further action and decided to live with it as it is. By the way there was some EQ settings that I disabled.

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Thank you. It was not the answer I was hoping for, but at least i know what Linn thinks.

I would complain to Linn under the circumstances. If there is a SQ difference, Linn are probably responsible for it. SQ is left up to them in the Roon Ready certification process I believe. Once the bits are handed over by Roon, Linn could be applying some sort of processing to it (not implying anything underhand here) for their own purposes or to achieve the house sound.

Interesting thread here which may be relevant to what could be going on:

This is Linns respons:

Dear Asmund,
Thank you for your e-mail.
Roon essentially does the decoding and passes a PCM signal to the DSM. If the sound quality of Roon is less than the quality you are receiving directly from Tidal and your own library via Kazoo, this would be something to take up with Roon directly."

Any feedback from Roon? I’ve found the same thing after playing around with Roon DSP settings, still find the SQ slightly worse than the Linn Kazoo.

Now I’m rather at odds with this as I do not hear any difference between Linn via Kazoo ( god what a shit experience) and Linn via Roon. I use a Klimax Katalyst DS - Roon runs on a Nucleus+ the KDS feeds my D&D 8C speakers directly. I must admit - I have tried this comparison on a few occasions, and when I ran Roon on a MacMini, I thought I heard a difference in Kazoo’s favour. But I can’t hear the difference now…go figure?

Interesting! Do you apply any Roon DSP? How does your signal path look like?

I love Roon and I really want Roon to succeed, but the Roon SQ, compared to the music directly via Linn Kazoo, is a letdown, and I hope that someone either from Linn or Roon takes a look at the discrepancies in the SQ reproduction issue.

Do you mind me asking what are you running the Roon core on?

I am “not” sure if your comment is real (read ‘true’).

However, per your request, my Roon Server is run on a dedicated headless Mac Mini 2012 with 16 GB Ram, 4 core i5, and it it wired to the same network as the Linn Akurate DSM 3 (with Katalyst).

Please show me your signal path, and I am sure that I will know what is wrong with your setup.

Apologies if you find that I am using strong words, but too many folks say things just because they like to say things, not really based on their actual systems.

There’s nothing wrong with my setup - I’m not complaining about sound quality in Roon. I too used to run a dedicated Mac Mini for Roon, although use a Nucleus now. I don’t hear any difference

As per your request, this is my signal path - I don’t believe there is anything wrong with it…

Thanks Evo1668, so it looks like your configuration is as it should be.

And Roon sounds better for Qobuz?

I subscribe to both Qobuz and Tidal. The addition of Qobuz streaming has been a definite plus

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I too find sound quality better with Tidal through Kazoo than via Roon. I am using Nucleus+ and a KDSM. I suspect the drop in SQ is the price one pays for the other digital wizardry that Roon is doing. Can quite imagine both Roon and Linn saying the stream is ‘bit perfect’, but bits in music it seems are not just bits - hence why Ethernet cables sound different. They shouldn’t, but they do. Same with Roon and Kazoo. Would be great if the discrepancy could be sorted, but suspect it won’t be. I’ve found a happy medium using Roon most of the time, then switching to Kazoo if I want to do ‘serious’ listening.

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Do you believe you could consistently and reliably pick Kazoo over Roon in a blind test? I’m asking as there could be an element of subconscious expectation bias at play here.

You say in comparison between Roon/Kazoo one sounds definitely better. Yet when mentioning ethernet cables we move to the realms of them sounding different?

I haven’t done any blind testing, no, so bias could certainly play a part. An argument against this though might be that I really didn’t want Kazoo to be better having just paid for Roon! Next time I have a friend over to listen I’ll blind-test them…

Re Ethernet cables, I meant ‘different’ in the sense that some are better than others.

Did quite a lot of back and forth last night in my second system (Akurate DS Katalyst). I still think the difference between Roon and Kazoo is there, but it is pretty small - comfortably less than that between different formats (MP3, FLAC, hi-res) within Roon. As in Roon hi-res still beats Kazoo Tidal hands down. There’s just a slight difference within CD-quality stuff in favour of Kazoo. It feels about equivalent to turning off the DVC in the Akurate - ie small enough to not really bother about.