What advantages are there to using Roon with Tidal vs Tidal app on its own

I use tidal with an imac ssd and a soon to acquire hugo 2 dac. what advantages are there to using roon with tidal vs tidal app on its own. as far i can see just metadata from roon? or am i wrong. finally is it true tidal does not output a bit perfect signal and roon can using exclusive mode? can someone explain this point to me. with regards to tidal masters i will leave that on passthrough as i do not want any mqa decoding as i prefer the filters in the hugo 2. any help much appreciated.

Tidal is capable of bit perfect output if you use the desktop app. It has to in order for the Masters to work. Roon is more versatile. Multiroom, remote endpoints, DSP and better overall appearance but at a price. Plus it can deal with music you may own which Tidal cannot. But if you simply want to stream Tidal via a desktop app then Roon may possibly be too much depending on the age and performance of the iMac.


My imac is late 2013 with a 512 gb ssd so no worries there. and very high res screen. is it worth subscribing to roon as i only use tidal and have none of my own music files or collections? so it would be for the GUI and metadata only or does roon sound better than tidal? i am also slightly put off by the audio settings in roon as they seem very elaborate? exclusive mode etc. i am a complete newcomer to audio software.

Roon has a free 14 days trial so perhaps you should try that and see whether you like it?

Roon has many nice features that Tidal hasn’t :slight_smile:

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You can try Roon to see if it suits you but just to deliver Tidal it may be way more than you need. Obviously most people here are fans of Roon but with different usage. I don’t know how many of us simply stream Tidal using Roon. As for how Roon sounds, it sounds good to me but I am more concerned about a nice user experience which Roon does better than anything else I have used so far. And it is great for researching music, musicians and composers which works well with Tidal.

So it is not common to use roon if you don’t have your own collection and use streaming services only? so it comes down to whether the price of roon is worth the GUI/metadata which i’ve seen on you tube and look very nice. i wonder how many use roon exclusively for tidal?

Roon offers a great user experience but it’s not only about that. Like @Henry_McLeod already said, Roon offers many nice features that Tidal doesn’t. For example you can create a multiroom system with Roon, you can control Roon via tablet/mobile, you can run powerful DSP on Roon (for example digital room correction and upsampling), you can have remote endpoints with Roon etc.

Although I do have a ripped library on my NAS, I find I use tidal far, far more. Roon’ s metadata and links have enabled me to discover new artists, albums and genres that I would never have stumbled across without it.

As stated above, try the free trial and see for yourself. I, too, was dubious, but am now converted.

Are you going to be using the Hugo mainly at home or also out and about? Bear in mind that Roon can’t currently be used ‘on the go’ so if thats important - considering your library is all Tidal - it may be easier to just stick to the Tidal App. But as has been suggested already, download the trial and see for yourself whether you think it’s adds value.

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I would think that unless you have your own local collection or very specific needs to beam your music through other endpoints, that Roon is overkill for use of Tidal alone. There’s actually some lag in Roon picking up new titles and such in Tidal. I love Roon but I think its utility without a local collection is pretty limited, except for the audio networking element.

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I agree with most of the comments here that the key value of Roon is in the metadata, more specifically the “serendipitous discovery” that the metadata enables (I have written extensively about that, e.g. here).

But when it comes to sound quality, a lot of people are “corksniffing”, focusing on minute differences among various software components. But the room and the speakers have a vastly greater impact on the sound. And that means that if you care about sound quality, Roon is a bargain for providing room correction, especially since you can tailor RC for each room where you play, and even for headphones.


What is the situation now regarding roon’s ability to keep up with new tidal releases? is that sufficient to put me off roon if i will be using it mainly with tidal??

I have subscribed to Tidal twice before using the app in my iPad and Airplay to my avr. Both times I found the SQ to be lacking and the library interface clunky and less than efficient. So I dropped it after a couple of months.

I decided to bite the bullet and try again, installing the Tidal app on my Mac Mini and running it through Roon. Well . . . . . the SQ jumped up several notches and the complete integration into the Roon library/playback system sealed the deal.

Tidal, as of last weekend, is now an integral part of my Roon environment.

I subscribe to Roon and will probably continue despite the fact that 90% of my listening is on Tidal and Qobuz. Don’t need multi room, have Sonos for that. Another option for me is the one I use most of the time as the sound is clearly superior on my setup… Audrivana. it plays the small amount of high res music I have on the computer in addition to both Tidal and Qobuz. And, it has a wonderful remote control capability on my iPad.

as a complete newcomer to roon i could do with some help on a few points. @support

  1. can i use an ipad pro as a single device to access roon as with a laptop. ie roon core?

  2. if i use an ipad or macbook air how can i ensure roon does not upsample or downsample music from tidal?

  3. is there an equivalent function like roon exclusive mode on ios with an ipad pro so when using roon with ios how do you ensure the ipad pro is not interfering? also in roon exclusive mode is the roon app bypassed as well the computer os? so tidal supplies the audio file direct to dac?

  4. finally are new tidal albums now showing on roon without delay? many thanks to all.

EDIT: I just read that ipads can only be used as remotes. can i then have my imac for core and ipad pro as remote but with my chord hugo2 dac connected to the ipad pro?

You could use your iPad Pro as a network endpoint by using iPeng 9 (including the in-app purchases needed for Roon integration), but since you’ve made a substantial investment in your DAC, you’re probably better off going with a “proper” Roon endpoint. These are available across a spectrum of price points (e.g., an SBC-based USB transport like this vs. a purpose-built, turnkey endpoint like this). These are just examples; there are numerous options available.

No, that would make it an endpoint, which it cannot be atm. You can plug the hugo into the imac and then use the ipad to control music playing through the imac to the hugo.


after careful thought and being new to roon type services i am interested in the metadata/gui for a very simple headphone system comprising imac 27 , chord mojo dac, oppo pm 1 headphone. i have 4 specific questions.

  1. how do i ensure roon doesn’t upsample tidal?

  2. is roon playng tidal sq the same as tidal sound quality?

  3. does roon exclusive mode bypass roon app and computer os to feed a pure untouched audio stream to dac?

  4. are new tidal albums showing straight away on roon?

  5. for tidal only with roon is it normal to use roon just for gui/metadata? (imac will be core and only device used with roon)

Just make sure you don’t have “Sample Rate Conversion” enabled in Roon. You can check your signal path in Roon to make sure your settings are correct for what you want. In this case, the signal path should show as “Lossless.”


No. Exclusive mode is not directly related to this. Enabling exclusive mode basically means that no other applications have access to the audio device when Roon is using it.

Currently, there’s a delay before new Tidal releases appear in Roon. I think it’s usually a day or two.

There’s GUI/metadata, and you can also have multiple zones, which are very nice if you want to have music from your library playing in more than one room. There are also lots of DSP possibilities.

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