Sound Quality of Roon vs Other Music Players

There has been some work done showing that different software running on the same PC produces different amounts and different kinds of electronic noise. The different amounts/kinds of noise can be transmitted to your DAC and influence the sound of the analog output. That would be the reason two bit perfect players could sound different.

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Maybe I am imagining things, but I feel that Roon is definitely sounding better than JRiversMC20. I am playing all kinds of music and mostly hire files. My Roon is installed on a Mac mini with Ayre QB9-DSD as the DAC, pre-amps are ARC LS27, power amp is A-21 parasound and Revel F208 speakers.
I have turned off everything in the MC20 and let it play unaltered like the Roon. These are my observations:

  1. Roon sounds fuller, like a fully rounded piece.
  2. Plays louder at the same volume level kept for both. This is certain.
  3. Slightly warmish, and I love this. The Bass player deeper and tighter, if thats possible.
  4. I can’t find any differences in mids,
  5. The Highs are perfect as others have also mentioned, no trace of sibilance’s.

It’s been just two weeks with roon for me, so I guess these observations are to be taken with pinch of salt. Still in the process of getting used to Roon completely destroying my metadata tags and replacing it with its own. Taking a while to figure out where’s everything.

Having said that, I haven’t felt discouraged or messed up. In fact the opposite is true. Im having fun figuring Roon out, while listening to some serious quality music. Glad I took the Roon plunge.

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Totally agree. I’ve always felt JRMC20 sounds sterile or flat when compared to Roon or A+ on my MacMini.

On Windows it may sound different but to my ears JRMC20 is the weakest as SQ goes (but it’s greatest strength is the JRemote which bests all other iPad remotes).

I like the way Roon sounds – definitely better than JRMC. However, I still prefer Signalyst HQ, though it does take some work to get things running smoothly.


I’m pretty sure that Roon doesn’t destroy any of your own metadata. The version about to be released should have a lot more options to edit metadata though.

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Roon coupled with jplay double PC setup both running windows 10 and fidelizer 6.12 free destroys anything i’ve ever tried in term of sound quality. musicality, frequency response, detail retrieval, smoothness, soundstage, body etc, etc, etc, etc… name it it’s all there even with mp3 files and gets better all the way to DSD. scary good. JRMC 20 (can’t compare JRMC 21 cause Jplay use has been banned by it’s creators) is no contest although i love its video playing capabilities. heard the sound of wind chimes amidst the chirping birdies at the end of Rush’s “The Trees” for the first time ever thanks to Roon after years of critical listening and from an mp3 file for that matter and it sounded like real wind chimes :slight_smile: i can die and go to heaven or almost when Roon will have incorporated a great video player the likes of JRMC in its program or given me the option to route the sound of other video players through it :slight_smile:

The sound stage is by roon noticeable bigger as by JRiver 21. The sound is much more life-like by roon. I use Meridian Prime Headphone Amplifier, Hifiman HE-560 headphones, Audioquest Diamonds and Coffee usb cables with JitterBugs.

I just started using Roon. Sorry to bump an older thread, but, I hear this too. I have been using JRiver for two years, and immediately upon using Roon, same DAC, same amp, same ASIO drivers, everything. It sounds different.

It sounds bigger, fuller, more spacious. This should not be the case. There should not be this kind of difference from a software change. But, it is there! The skeptic in me, though, is trying to debunk this as I type. This has to be my imagination!

But it sounds fuller. And I have much less sibilance! Things that were once harsh aren’t anymore. I can crack the volume on my amp using my HifiMan HE-560 headphones, and no edge or harshness.


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Hi Andrew,
roon and jriver sound different. Nearly all the time I prefer roon and it was the reason why I’ve bought it, but I have some recordings which sounds “better” for me with jriver…And it’s a perspective of a headphone guy.

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