Too many folks are piling on against the notion that the sound quality may change due to different remote devices. The idea presented is that the remote isn’t in the signal path, so it has no effect.
While it is true that remotes aren’t in the signal path, they are in fact the only devices that can change the sound quality! One cannot control the DSP settings and volume setting and zone leveling settings and device settings and probably other settings in any other way but using a remote, and these settings all impact the sound.
Why is that relevant to this discussion?
Well, these settings seem to be kept on the server and are independent of the remote being used unless the remote, on user action, explicitly changes them. But some of them seem to be linked to the user profile, and the user profile is somehow linked to the login or owner of the remote device.
remote device -> user profile -> playback & other settings -> sound quality
In other words, if you’re connected to the server as profile X when using your iPad remote, but profile Y when using a laptop, and there are differences in the two profiles’ settings that affect the sound, then you will get different sound simply by changing the remote device.
It is possible that there aren’t any settings stored in user profiles that affect sound quality. This is an open question for me. I have seen differences over the years when using my wife’s iPhone (which activates one profile) versus my other remotes, which all seem to use profile “Eric”, but I haven’t paid enough attention to nail this down.
Worse, there is no definitive, in-depth documentation on this feature – what profiles contain and how they interact with the system – partly because roon changes so often and the documentation is often old. For example, this page, last edited in 2016, sent me down a rat-hole looking for DSD modulator settings: https://kb.roonlabs.com/DSD_to_PCM_Settings.
So I will always be open to reports that sound quality differs between remotes because, unknown to the user, the remotes interact with the server using different profiles that can change the sound quality if the profiles have different settings.