Sound quality of Roon versus JRIVER

(pat bannan) #20

Rockport Atrias. Thanks for the heads up.

(BryanA) #21

@Slim_Fishguttz- How did you know Pat’s Setup? All he shared here is his DAC (and then his Rockports after your post)?

@pat_bannan - now I’m interested in your setup. Mind sharing what your vision of the absolute sound is? BTW, you might also try using the DSP Engine in Roon and enable Sample Rate Conversion to the highest your Meitner MA1 will do. I know that MDAT will automatically do 2xDSD, but I’ve got personal experience that if you can offload the work of upsampling from your DAC, your sound quality will improve – at least it does with my DCS Debussy and upsampling everything (except 24/192) to DSD. For some reason 24/192 to DSD does not have an improvement and actually sounds worse when upsampled in Roon. At least to my ears. My system: Boulder 2000 series amp, preamp, Wilson Alexias, DCS Debussy.


!st post :sunglasses:

(BryanA) #23

@Slim_Fishguttz: So you’re envious of his Baetis server? Not trashing pat’s media server…I have the same case, but it’s a “C.A.P.S. PIPELINE” – it’s just a PC in a Streacom FC10 case that’s basically optimized for music. The PIPELINE is a DIY project that is laid out on computer audiophile in detail – step by step.Just see

I was thinking there was more to pat’s system that was posted. Clearly we have a couple of great pieces, the Meitner DAC, the Baetis server and Rockport Atrias – but only the Baetis was posted in pat’s first post. Still scratching my head here.


Sorry, don’t get your confusion. I’m impressed by his commitment to his hobby and the choices he made. Not being snarky, but I’m missing your point.

(BryanA) #25

Understood, I also wasn’t trying to be snarky either. You said, “BTW - I am in awe of your setup. What speakers do you have?”

I just assumed you saw a post of his that laid out his system so I became curious about what his system is that’s all. I think we’re all looking at other’s systems for ideas (or just dreaming because we can’t afford theirs and hey, why not look? haha).


I’m sure many people would like to see your system. You should post pictures in -

(pat bannan) #27

Baetis Ref>Meitner MA-1>VTL 6.5II>VTLMB450 Sig III>Atrias… Plan to audition T+A DAC 8, Nagra Classic DAC and DCS Rossini for the final upgrade before I retire and can’t afford this upgradeitis anymore. HQPlayer has been recommended by several people so we’ll give it a try tonight. I bet your system is a rocker, keep up the good work.

(BryanA) #28

@Slim_Fishguttz - just posted it for you to see. Take a look here: Showing (off) your Roon setup - description and photos

(BryanA) #29

@pat_bannan - I love that VTL 450 amp. It’s the sweet-spot in the VTL lineup. Of course if you got the room need the power the Siegfried II’s aren’t shabby either :slight_smile: I’ve heard them vs the ARC Ref 250 Special Ed’s and it’s VTL every time to my ears. Great speed for a tube amp. Only drawback is warmup and wear of tubes – and going nuts with trying out every brand of tubes. I settled on Svetlanas, but GL’s came in close 2nd. It’s crazy how just changing tubes can have such an impact in dynamics and harmonics. I bet they sound great with those Rockports. I am surprise you don’t have a phono setup – most tube folks do.

In the end, I didn’t have the patience for my Siegfrieds (series 1’s) to warm up every evening after coming home from work so I went solid state. The Boulder 2000 (and up) amps are pure class-A and have some of that tube goodness, but are very pure and powerful. I also got rid of phono at that point and went straight digital.

As for your DAC quest, I’ll be interested to learn your choice. You should also listen to the Chord Dave, and the Berkeley Alpha Reference 2 (it’s supposed be rolling out MQA support in the coming months just like the Rossini). Both are great DAC’s and highly competitive with the Rossini (I’ve heard all 3), just not the T+A or the Nagra Classic.

(pat bannan) #30

I’m thinking about punting on the whole Roon thing until I decide on a DAC. I had no idea that there was so much to getting it to sound good and unlike most people on this site I don’t like fiddling around with settings. As for DAC’s, I’ve heard the Berkeley Ref 1 and 2 a total of three times and each time I like it a little less, I think it is just a bit analytical for me which is probably the reason I went with Rockport instead of Magico. I need to look into the DAVE, I also considered the EMM DA2 but I can get the other 3 shipped to me to audition in my system at the same time. Tube rolling? nothing better than having a $60 vintage input tube act like a component upgrade!

(somchai sittichaisrichart) #31

I used JRiver before and happy with its sound. My set up of Jriver is in bit-perfect mode. When I heard about Roon, I tried and find that sound quality is same as Jriver in bit-perfect mode but its user interface is better but decide not to buy because it cost a lot more and I think Jriver is good enough.

However, I have bought Roon because I really like its user interface and some of its features.

As for sound quality, if both are set up in bit-perfect mode, it should sound the same as there is no reason why they are different. But if DSP is used, then it can be different.

I am from Thailand and I am a happy user of both JRiver and Roon.

(BryanA) #32

@pat_bannan: I don’t get the whole separate clock as an upgrade in the DCS lineup. Especially if your source is USB – We all know that asynch DAC’s are the clock, not the source. So why not just make the clock in the DAC up to standards? Further, the output of the separate clock is two BNC connectors, which are clocking information, that feed two inputs on the Rossini DAC. It would seem that the length of the cable and quality could affect timing accuracy/jitter. Putting the clock in the DAC seems to be the more elegant design. Is DCS being greedy, or overplaying their hand? The separate clock is like $4K. It would seem to me that they put an inferior clock in the Rossini just to market a separate clock that is “better and improved”. I kinda get it for the full Vivaldi stack as there are synchronous sources that can end up feeding this stack. But even the DAC alone has a USB input, yet they sell a separate clock.

What kind of music do you listen to? I’m curious because you said you found the Berkeley too analytical. To me that might imply you listen to Classical and Jazz. Some genres like Pop and Electronic/EDM thrive off from analytic sound. I see what you’re talking about esp when you lay out your system – you’re into tubes and that’s a very different sound. I’m actually surprised you picked the Meitner DAC at all. I found it and the EMM DAC’s to be too analytical compared to the Debussy or anything DCS. With that in mind, I think you’ll like the Rossini a lot, but the DAVE is going to throw you for a loop; I and many good friends agree that it’s highly addictive, lush and non-fatiguing.

As far as all the settings in Digital Playback software, you should definitely avoid HQ Player – it’s highly confusing and configurable and without someone who knows it in and out, it’s very hard to get it setup right. The filter selection alone is mind boggling. I’m not bashing it; it’s an incredible piece of software. But it’s something that you could get optimized for a certain genre/album/source only to find you have to go through the whole customization exercise again for a different input type (soure/genre, etc). J. River takes all that off your plate and sounds good out of the box. Roon does a great job as well, but like you, I do find them different sounding. I do give Roon credit in that the playback quality has improved with every release. The recent addition of the DSP functionality made it an order of magnitude more capable.I don’t see those kinds of changes being made by J.River; they appear to keep adding functionality that I didn’t care about. In the end you’re best to keep apples-to-apples when you do your DAC evaluations and use the same player with the same settings across each DAC; at least initially. As I said in my earlier post, upsampling everything to DSD made an audible improvement to the sound quality my Debussy produced. I suppose if you were to look at a DAC that had internal upsampling and another that didn’t, you might want to try enabling this feature and see if they sound the same as before the change. You might be pleasantly surprised.

(Mr Fix It ) #33

Too had JRiver MC22 and Roon but have since abandoned the JRiver and concentrating on Roon as i find its far more flexible and easier to configure - plus the Tidal integration is great too.

Nice to know another in my part of the world…I travel to BKK a lot…living in Singapore.

(Radu Popescu) #34

This cannot be overstated. A 0.5 decibel difference means your preference leans one way or the other.
Time and time again blind testing done properly and measurements have debunked audio myths and snakeoil products from speaker cables to USB “purifiers”.

(Jeff) #35

I don’t understand this statement at all. When you buy a DAC you often get one filter and you can’t change it for source/genre etc. Because the filter choices are vast in HQPlayer doesn’t mean you have to start switching them for every genre, album etc.

Personally I use one filter, usually a variation of poly-sinc (linear phase). If a DAC is dry poly-sinc-xtr is a good choice it gives you that Chord Dave like euphoric lushness with all the similar pre and post ringing.

Fortunately Roon doesn’t let you change HQ filter settings on the fly so it forces you to find the best filter for your DAC and leave it.

1 Like
(BryanA) #36

Hi @DrTone – My Debussy has more than one filter; more DAC’s than you think have at least two filters. Respectfully, I disagree with you about changing filters in HQPlayer (or in your DAC). Here’s why I think so (please correct me if you have experience or knowledge to the contrary – I’m not a filter expert but know enough to be dangerous :smile: – But I am speaking from my experiences with filter settings when I was playing back music either through my Debussy or with HQPlayer) : So in my experience, some filters are better suited for certain types of genres. For example, a pre-ringing filter is more effective when applied to a solo piano recording, like for example one of my favorites: Maxence Cyrin’s “Novo Piano” (the whole album), than a Choral music recording like another of my favorites, Gabriel Fauré’s “Libera Me” song from his Requiem. The decay of the piano is very different when you switch between the two. Also, the sound when the hammer hits the string can reverberate in your head in a very annoying fashion with the wrong filter - it’s very artificial sounding and just doesn’t sound natural.

It’s been my experience that some hi-end DAC’s have the ability to switch between filters while listening because they realize the exact thing I’m saying. My Debussy has the ability to switch between filters with the press of a button on the remote, and so does almost every DCS DAC. Esoteric DAC’s tend to have multiple filters - the D02x has four that are user selectable. The Chord Dave has two filters (PCM Plus or DSD Plus), the Ayre QB-9 DSD has a switch called “Listen and Measure” that selects between two filters (I’ll submit this isn’t the most straightforward/elegant method of switching between the two filters on the QB-9)… I could go on and on, but you get my point. Most hi-end DACS now have user selectable filters. Those within DCS’s lineup are somewhat different than other’s, but nonetheless they are selectable digital filters that deal with how the DAC will process the signal; typical are a). sharp, linear phase w/pre-ringing or b). non-linear phase and no pre-ringing.

Finally, here’s a snippet From the DCS Debussy Manual: “The choice of filter may depend on the type of music you are listening to.The DAC remembers the last filter selection for every sample rate.”

I appreciate you sharing your favorite settings in HQPlayer, Jeff; I’ll give that one a try and reinstall HQPlayer. I’ve never really gave it a lot of time when I switched to Roon. I previously used it with J River. I’m surprised you can’t go into the settings of HQPlayer and change the filters in-between songs. I wouldn’t really want to do it in the middle of a song; maybe if I’m experimenting with filters I would, but if I’ve got a few down to what I like then I’d likely just do it between albums or listening sessions (I don’t go from Choral to Electronic/EDM in the same session :smile:) ! What specifically prevents you from changing those settings on the fly? Anyway, thanks for the info.

(Jeff) #37

Filter changes in HQPlayer require a transport stop and new load of a filter which isn’t seamless or quick. Most run HQPlayer headless and Roon has no interface to change HQPlayer filters.

I understand allot of DACs have multiple filters, I’ve owned 3 different ones with mulriple filters. My current DAC has 7 different filters.

Anyway, telling someone not to use HQPlayer because you need to change filters constantly isn’t good advice.

(BryanA) #38

I don’t disagree with you Jeff. HQPlayer is very powerful and can do a lot of good things. But my advice was tailored to Pat. If you read Pat’s post, he said, “…unlike most people on this site I don’t like fiddling around with settings.” He also said he was going to punt on the whole Roon thing because there are a lot of things to take into consideration. IMHO, if he’s intimidated/dismayed/“or just doesn’t like fiddling with settings”, then HQPlayer is gonna make him run for the hills. It’s all settings and fiddling.

The more I think about it, the better advice would be to tell him to use JRiver as a playback source and feed it with Roon (you can select JRiver as an output device in Roon). At least he would get the same results he’s getting from JRiver – if he hears a difference he likes with JRiver, this would essentially be using all the great features of Roon, with the playback of JRiver. So perhaps there’s an even better piece of advice for him. I hope you’re still following this thread @pat_bannan and try this out.

(pat bannan) #39

So we did the DSP Engine thing and it might have made a slight difference but the Roon and everything else is going away until I settle on a DAC. Many years ago I bought an Audiomeca DAC that I dearly loved but when I decided to make the leap from CD I went back to the guy I had bought the Audiomeca from and he suggested the Meitner which is a good DAC if you like that clean analytical sound. Hence the reason I am looking to replace it. Due to more research on my part I’ll be doing a shoot out next month between the Rossini and the NagraClassic. Thanks for your detailed feedback and I appreciate your tone…Blind test? Pshaw , 5 for 5 I picked JRiver… Roon has so much going for it, I wish it was’t so.