Sound quality poor

Roon Core Machine

Mac Mini M1 16 GB RAM

Networking Gear & Setup Details

Roon Core connected to Router TPLINK AXE75

Connected Audio Devices

IFi Zen Stream connect to Topping D90SE DAC to Musical Fidelity M5si

Number of Tracks in Library

1200 albums aprox. Tidal and local.

Hello, the first thing to say is that I have read all the posts about it, but I open it again since they have been around for some time and they were concluded.

I’m sorry to touch on a recurring topic and that I’ve seen that being in the community is bad, but it’s not really my purpose, quite the contrary, I’m a Roon user and I would like to continue being one since there is no other similar option in terms of metadata, search for new music, etc.

The fact is that the sound quality in my case is worse than other options that connect via UPNP, my conclusion after many tests and attempts to improve (without success), is that something has to do with RAAT.

I use an iFi Zen Streamer connected to a Topping D90SE and a Musical Fidelity M5si, and a Mac Mini M1 as a core (although I have tried with Windows and other machines) and although I would like to use Roon, the difference that I notice is important, what makes me go back to Jplay on this one.

I have tried changing network cables, wifi/ethernet, using DSP (currently it fails if parametric equalizer and MQA are activated, it is only possible with Roon decoding and it is worse), HQ Player and nothing gives me a result at least the same as the others. platforms.

Any ideas? Thank you

First of all, since you don’t have a Roon Nucleus, you should remove any reference to a Nucleus lest you will confuse people. I think you mean “Roon core,” not Nucleus.

I would look at your DAC, amp, and speakers to improve SQ. Also, are you getting lossless, high resolution out of your setup?

@Jose_Luis_de_la_Cruz, looking at this topic and your previous I believe your Roon Core is a Mac Mini and not a Roon Nucleus so I’ve have amended your post to avoid confusion.

If I’m wrong, my apologies, please message me to clarify and I can further adjust.

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Show us a screenshot of your Roon signal path please


Hello, sorry for the confusion, my Roon Core is a Mac Mini M1, on the other hand @Carl, I play lossless, and my equipment is not “Hi-END” but it is not the problem, it is ok, and I compare it with the same, regarding To technical aspects, humbly I’ve been doing this for a long time and I think I’m an advanced user, as I’ve said I’ve tried everything at that level, I always prefer to play in bitperfect, but I’ve tried upsampling (via Roon and HQPlayer), Roon’s DSP, various Cores different, etc, without getting the same result as for the other platforms in lossless and bitperfect. I repeat, I do not intend to belittle Roon in front of others, but to achieve the same quality to be able to use Roon for a long time.

My equipment is high-end (or what most people would probably call it) and it sounds just as great with Roon as it does with UPnP after ensuring consistent volume.

UPnP does not have to be bit-perfect and, from my very limited experience with it, is often not. Depending on your choice of server for UPnP you may want to double check that you’ve got it in a bit-perfect configuration.

However, in stating all that, there is no magic knob to make Roon “sound better”. RAAT is bit-perfect. That’s all you get. It’s also immensely transparent. You’re probably hearing what your system really sounds like. You said you tried HQP but that doesn’t mean much. I can configure HQP to sound worse or better than not using it at all.

Also, you need to describe what’s lacking. What are you hearing / not hearing?

Plenty of people have had to “upgrade” to get the best out of Roon. Again, this isn’t something wrong with Roon its simply a fact that Roon itself is a bit more transparent to the source than a lot of other servers. I have no idea why. The detail is there for sure. Plenty achieve fine digital playback chains with Roon. Others prefer to use other software.

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These statements seem to contradict each other.

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I don’t disagree. I can’t explain the contradiction. You’d almost have to believe there was something about the digital playback chain which influenced what we hear beyond just the bits.

Well, you either believe in magic or you don’t. There’s no in-between.

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I too would cautiously describe my system as “high end”. However, there are differences in the SQ between individual players with the same hardware, settings and volume.

And what does the creator do with these statements or does that help?

I think, and I’ve read many posts, that’s not a topic for this forum. The manufacturer (Roon) does not comment on this topic and the users are addressing themselves.

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How are you testing this? I’m not trying to be against what you say, not being sarcastic or prove any point. Maybe you’ve got an insight that I do not know and would help me. I sometimes do hear differences but for me they are small and not constant*. If my hot tea did clear my nose maybe I’ll hear less ringing. And when the differences are unreliable I try to follow logic and the bit-perfect argument.

*not high end, m1 mini core>Zen Stream>Zen Dac sig>LA4>C 298

Well of course there are differences between different volumes. It’s paramount to adjust for the same volume when comparing. That’s why I said that my system sounds the same with Roon and UPnP when I do that.

It’s also possible that a particular streamer differs in the implementation between RAAT and UPnP and then sounds different. But this would be caused by the different implementations, not by RAAT itself as was claimed

They say that RAAT is bit-perfect and that’s all a network protocol has to be

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maybe I didn’t make myself clear or my translator was bad.

With the same hardware and the same volume, I hear differences on my system between ROON and other players.

I agree, the other difference, besides the player, is the transfer protocol (RAAT vs. UPnP/DLNA).

In my imagination, bits & bytes = 1 & 0 arrive at my DAC in both cases. I stay digital until the external DAC. Still, I hear a difference.

Sorry if I expressed myself unclearly.

Ok regarding the volume, but there is still no guarantee that a particular streamer uses the same digital and DAC pathways for RAAT, UPnP or whatever. E.g., built in DSP may be in effect for one but not the other. Before looking for a difference because of the protocol as such like the OP did, this more likely explanation must be ruled out

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This is understood. No issue with translation here. What we need you to do is describe what the differences are. Based on your description of the differences we may be able to offer suggestion to bring Roon closer to your expectation which was set by the other player.

The kid in me still believes in magic. The adult in me is willing to spend money to prove him wrong. The kid in me is making us both broke.



Regarding the streamer, OK. I understand that, but I assumed that RAAT / DLNA / UPnP have the same input and therefore take the same path internally. If it isn’t, then you’re right. Will we find out?

I have to change a long held opinion at this point. In the past I have ROON Core on different machines, Windows in WHS, Roon Rock on a Nucleus and PrimeMini (i3/i7) with linear power supply, Synology DSM 7 (no docker). I have always found and maintained that changing the machine for the core (for me) does not result in any changes in the sound. A PI was never an option for me.

This was also the case with the changes mentioned above, but today I have to take it back. I moved the core to an Antipodes S40, also with a linear power supply S60. And note that there are definitely differences in the SQ depending on the hardware of a core. And at this point it wasn’t the minimum requirements of a core, which the antipode doesn’t meet either. Be it a CPU that causes less dirt, internal processes or dealing with electricity and RAM. I don’t know it!

Even my simple singing cans, the Naim Cube Gen. 2, no longer sound so muffled behind a curtain.

I have not (yet) tried the LMS, which went in this positive direction on the NAS (parallel to ROON) on the S40. I don’t have a result with the Meitner MA3 yet, I’m still working on it. The first impression was that SQ in ROON is also really good.

No magic, no religion, just my personal perception.

You have to ask the hardware manufacturer I guess. They can do whatever they want when using UPnP, I don’t know if Roon Ready certification makes some requirements. Naim, for instance, has built-in DSP, in particular in the Mu-so (where they are very proud about how DPS helped them overcome some of the limitations of the all-in-ones) but also in the streamers further up. Not sure if a Mu-so Qb is the equipment that’s best to make judgements about supposed network protocol sound differences. That said, my NDX-2 / 555PS DR / 252 / SCDR / 300 DR sounds amazing with Roon and UPnP and I hear no difference after upping to volume a tiny bit with Roon, which I believe has a little lower volume on the NDX-2


I wrote it and already knew what was to come.

I certainly do NOT make any fundamental judgments about the Naim Cube Gen.2, hence the term “singing cans”. But I can very well identify changes in the SQ that sound much more pleasing and relaxed to me, and put them into perspective. No high end, no religious debate.

But thanks for the hint.

I’ve known my Naim Cube Gen. 2 for months and years, from multiroom to alone, I’m also familiar with my music. Sometimes the cans play all day long. No online streaming.

@ I don’t have to ask the manufacturer, I just tried it, found it and gave the hint. I’m just a consumer.