The fine line between laziness and complexity

So many of the discussions here on Roon ultimately reflect the different attitudes we each have in our willingness to learn, try and master new complex systems. Because it is a powerful and complex set of tools, Roon can also be harder to learn and master than simpler solutions. An even better example is using REW or Dirac to develop convolution filters that provide better room rsponse for our audio. Using HQPlayer or Audirvana to upsample our music to take advantage of better filtering is yet another example.

None of them is “easy.” As a result, we can get frustrated because it takes too much time, or too much work, or we got it wrong and thus we don’t get the desired sound improvement from our efforts. Rather than admit to our own shortcomings, we tend to blame the software or claim that there is no real improvement. My guess is that those who use Roon with distributed systems, using software for both upsampling and room adjustments both love what Roon has built and see it as more than cost justified. Others use it to drive a single end point and legitimately can’t justify the expense for things that iTunes can probably do well enough for them.

But, in the middle are a lot of users who absolutely could benefit from these capabilities of Roon (and the related software tools, like REV, Direc, HQPlayer, Audirvana, etc.) but just have not or cannot devote the necessary time to learning how to derive the “extra benefits” these tools can provide us. The new French company “Home Audio Fidelity” is an interesting solution for this – they create the convolution filters for you as long as you send them enough test data to build them.

But, I’m curious on a boader level. How many of you, if you are being honest would put yourself into the following categories:

  1. I know these software tools can do a lot to improve my sound quality, but I simply cannot afford the time or cost to learn how to fully use them;
  2. I have made the investment and I see meaningful benefit from a) Roon’s extra capabilities, b) upsampling and/or c) room correction;
  3. If there were tools, like “Home Audio Fidelity” out there that made the process both simple and affordable, I’d take advantage of them
  4. I’m just not a believer, I don’t think any of these tools make enough of a difference to be worth my time or money.

That would be 2c for me: Roon with Dirac. Room correction made an enormous difference for me in the sub 180Hz range. It is in a different league compared to the usual tweakery.

Measuring the room and using Dirac is easy enough, but finetuning the filters is no fun and requires brutal honesty when listening. I will probably have some HAF filters made in the near future, just to compare (I can lose the MiniDSP with Roon doing convolution – yet another box gone). I seriously doubt that HAF will improve on the filter I currently employ, but it will be fun comparing them.

I’m not in any section. I don’t use the DSP as I don’t feel I need to. My Meridian and Bluesound systems sound just great. Why spoil it?
For me Roon is a great interface that allows the flexibility I need. My Audio books are there, my music can be arranged to suit me. Tidal integration is superb too.
What’s not to like?

I’m in the 2c camp as well. Plus a bit of 2a.
2c : Acourate based convolution (as @RBM states : mainly used for the lower frequencies, below Schroeder. The difference this makes, cannot be overstated).
2a : On top of the convolution, I often apply a bit of Roon PEQ (low shelve) under 80Hz-ish. Why ? Because quite a lot of my albums are either too weak or too strong in this region. At least, in my opinion. There is no generic adjusment, that sounds best for all my records.

I intend to apply convolution to all of my 4.2 channels in the near future. But it seems to be a bit complicated with Acourate…

I do not mind this type of complexity : I will only need to do that once or twice, and there’s a big reward.
The actual day-to-day use of Roon must remain easy and lazy, however. No compromise accepted there ;-).

Tried 2 - bought calibrated mic, focusrite 212, acourate, tried and tried and tried various measurements, various settings as per forum recommendations etc but just couldn’t get the convolution to sound any better. In fact it sounded far worse. I have meridian 861v8/ID41 and 8kse’s. Have thought about posting to acourate forum for help but have to admit a lot of the chat there is way above my head. Bought the DSP book on Amazon and tried with their dialog box settings but couldn’t get my curves to look that similar to theirs. Maybe I’m missing something simple, but I’m usually ok with this sort of thing.

So perhaps a 2D option is needed - tried all the bells and whistles but prefer it without dsp correction!

Thanks Chris. I expect there are a lot of folks in your category who conclude it isn’t worth it. That was certainly my original experience with Dirac. And there are folks like James Tanner of Bryston, who are completely opposed to any notion of messing with room response at the hardware/software end rather than fixing the room itself. I myself am tempted to let the HAF guys try to do it for me. My guess is that quite a number of Roon customers would be quite pleased with the results of a proper implementation but have struggled as you and I seem to, to get it just right. I’m not yet willing to give up on it (particularly as I have gotten big benefits from learning how to do upsampling right – a 9-month learning curve – and guess that room correction could be the same).

I was a 2c and when I heard of HAF I was curious to find out if I‘m doing it right or if it can be done better. It can, so I became a 3 and it improved SQ to a level I‘m getting addicted. Roon made the use of room correction using FIR really simple and well integrated. Nice work! So nice, that I wish it could be used with other sources available in computer audio and not only with local files.

Could you clarify? Does using the HAF filters in Roon’s convolution engine only apply to local files (i.e. doesn’t apply to Tidal content)?

2(a),(b) and ©

One day I hope to tinker with the API.

I’m in 2, and I agree with @Marco_de_Jonge: I’m willing to accept a lot of learning curve and a lot of effort for something I do once, but I am very demanding on daily simplicity.

I used Acourate to set up Roon DSP convolution; the learning curve was very heavy, even with investment in a book, but once learned doing it was reasonable, I did a secondary room and plan to do my son’s system too. But in daily use, it is completely invisible. I never tweak or adjust. I won’t turn off DSP to allow MQA, too fiddly, I sacrifice MQA instead.

@Chrislayeruk, I thought my Meridians sounded great too, the room is large and high-ceilinged and irregular, but they could still be significantly improved. And the library with bookshelfs (in the book shelves) was even significantlyer improved.

Also why I hate metadata grooming, or managing content transfer to mobile devices. It can’t be automated, once and for all.

I think my acceptance of initial effort and intolerance of ongoing effort relates to a life spent in IT. Of course the ratio has to be reasonable, and it must hold up long term.

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Should work for Tidal, too, but I have no access to it at the moment.

For me, 4. Though I do acknowledge things like filtering and reconstruction algorithms can make an audible difference, unlike things like boutique USB cables and AC power cords. Just not enough for me to care about very much. Far more productive, I think, to worry about things like room acoustics and transducer placement (recording and playback).

For me Roon is all about the interface, not trying to squeeze more audio performance out of digital files. Critical comparative listening is very hard work and I’ve mostly lost interest in doing it.

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I share your hatrid of grooming metadata, which indeed doesn’t seem amenable to automating once and for all, even with Roon… One reason physical media still have a lot of appeal to me. I can just file them any way I like.

That impresses me.
I always lose physical stuff.

This is what makes the audio hobby both so interesting and frustrating to me. First, let me agree that Roon is a terrific interface. But it is also a terrific software tool for more complex in-house systems. It is also a software tool for better listening. Fortunately, it is priced at a point where any one of those three things is enough to justify its cost, for all three it is dirt cheap.

But I also see people lieterally spending tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars searching for that last iota of better sound (or maybe they are just trying to show off, just like many of the folks who own high performance cars and never use that performance) and yet low cost things (like software) that can make differences as large as spending thousands more get ignored.

I don’t disagree in the least about USB cables and AC Power cords (although I believe they can make real differences; those differences rarely correspond to cost and are so difficult to measure that it comes down to personal preferences). I also agree that room acoustics and recording and playback details matter far more. Personally, I use Roon for the interface, for the across the system network benefits and for its superior sound qualities, especially as enhanced by its working together with other software like HQPlayer and Tidal.

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I couldn’t agree more with this. I’ve spent the weekend listening to three different mixes of a potential live album we are doing. Makeing observations and suggestions that the mastering engineer has to interpret and the artist will have to eventually sign off if the results qualify for approval. (I’m not alone in this, we all chip in)
I’d like to say, I can’t wait for release, but I can as I really want a break to just enjoy the music as finally presented.

The good news, SWMBO apologised for singing along to mix 3. I reassured her that’s its OK. If she is singing along the recording must, at least, be musical. :joy: