Why I cannot hear the difference: DSD256 vs 44/16?


I cannot hear ANY difference between 44/16 and DSD256 as per the following signal paths:

PC HQPlayer —>
Wifi —>
NUC Roon bridge —>
USB Denafrips Venus II —>
Schiit Vidar —>
Magnepan LRS

And this:


NUC Tidal/Roon —>
USB Denafrips Venus II —>
Schiit Vidar —>
Magnepan LRS

Denafrips Venus II recognizes and plays both signals, but I cannot tell the difference.

Thank you for your inputs!
Regards, Marc

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Silk purse, sow’s ear?


If the source 44/16 is the same, up sampling it won’t necessarily make it better - it can’t add any information. I may well sound different, some may prefer it :woman_shrugging:t2:

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I am a little confused about your HQplayer signal path.
As far as I know, HQplayer cannot play to Roon bridge, or can it?

Indeed, I use Roon Server on the NUC, not Roon Bridge.

Sorry, but now I am even more confused.
Where is HQplayer running, on your HQplayer PC, or on your NUC running Roonserver?

I have heard that a large group of professionals claim that there is no scientific basis for a presumption that the difference can be heard…


I think this means you have a good DAC. The DSD conversion is meant to help recreate the analog waveform with the highest accuracy. If your DAC already can do that, there’s no need for (and no discernable difference with) the DSD version of the signal.


@ Dirk:

HQPlayer is running on the PC

Roon Server is running on the NUC

Thank you!

Still trying to get a better understanding.

Let me first explain my setup.

I have an Audiolinux server, runnning both Roon Server and HQPlayerEmbedded

In Roon I have added and selected HQPlayer as my output device, as you can see in Setup-Audio

Then, I have HQPlayer Embedded configured to make use of USB to the USBport of my T+A 8 DSD dac. This dac makes use of Amanero Combo 384 interface (hence the name in the config screen)

Can you please provide the same configuration screenshots of both your PC and NUC?


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On Windows10 PC running HQPlayer:

On Windows10 NUC running RoonServer: HQPlayer NAA

Roon Audio devices:

I probably completely wrong here, and defintely willing to learn, but a number of things do not seem right.

But first 2 important questions:

  1. If you play with HQPlayer, which device is actually connected to the Denafrips using USB:
    the HQPlayer PC or the NUC ?
  2. If you play with HQPlayer , do you change your audio zone on the NUC?

What looks very strange to me is that you seem to expect the HQPLayer NAA to do all the heavy lifting that HQPlayer actually does .
I do not say this cannot work, but normally it is HQPlayer Desktop (or Server) that does all the heavy lifting, and the HQPLayer NAA is used on a leightweight device to transport music locally over ethernet .

Maybe it is time to try to get some help from 2 very knowledgeable people here
@andybob and @jussi_laako


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In this picture output is not going to HQPlayer, but straight out from Roon. In addition, the Denafrips drivers must be disabled at Roon side when using HQPlayer, otherwise there will be conflict and problems.

The HQPlayer and the Denafrips Venus II are each assigned to a zone.
I can switch back and forth between them:

The NUC only is connected to the DAC using USB.

Hi Marcos

Again, I can be completely wrong here, but as I understand it now, I am even surprised that this setup actually plays music through your DAC, when selecting the HQPlayer PC path.

I hope you agree with me that, as your DAC is connected (only) to your NUC, the last step in ‘bit transport’ has to go from your NUC to your DAC.

So, you are in fact creating a loop from your NUC to your HQPlayer PC, back to your NUC again, which is then outputting to your DAC.
To start with, you are sending the signal forth and back over the same wifi connection, which does not sound like a great idea.

Even more important, HQPlayer NAA on your HQPlayer PC is configured to transport to your NUCroon Denafrips USB interface.
I am not 100% sure, but I strongly believe that the only way your Roon on your NUC can reach your DAC is through the Denafrips ASIO endpoint as that is configured active.

To summarize:
In my belief, this is the way your music flows when selecting the HQPLayer zone:

Tidal --> internet --> router --> Roon on NUC
Roon --> HQPlayer PC
HQPlayer PC ( back to ) ----> Roon NUC
Roon NUC --> ASIO --> Denafrips USB interface

I am baffled that it should work, but if I am right, than it is clear why you don’t hear any difference between the 2 zones. All the HQPlayer filters, dithering/modulating are overruled/replaced by the filtering done by Roon on the ASIO interface.
You are actually listening to the same thing.

But again I can be completely wrong, and would be happy to be proven so.

EDIT : in fact there should be a simple way to test if I am wrong or not.
What happens if you disable in Roon the ASIO output on the NUC, whilst selecting the HQPlayer zone.
If you hear music, I am wrong (and then I am completely lost). If you don’t, I am probably right.


The NAA is on the NUC, meaning the WiFi HQPlayer leg is only one way, coming back to the NAA over Ethernet, but otherwise that was how I interpreted the signal path.

I don’t know the answer to the question, but I am surprised by the -50 dB cut in the Roon signal path.

Dirk,thank you for your thoughts…

I tried as per your idea (ASIO desabled):

And it plays…

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Once it leaves Roon the audio only comes back to the same PC via NAA and out to the DAC. Roon is not touching the audio stream again. Presumably, it is setup this way because the PC is a noisy large super rig and the NUC is just handling Roon for searching and the NAA module. It also leaves open the option, to remove HQPlayer from the stream if so desired by just choosing the ASIO out from Roon straight to the DAC.

  1. Try a source other than Tidal for comparison
  2. Try using DSD7EC, you might have to drop the output to DSD128 depending on your Core and if you have CUDA going.

Good to learn I am wrong.
Does it make any difference in SQ?

SQ is not impacted for me by routing the audio through multiple boxes. I’ve done that for years, From roon to an HQPLayer PC to a different PC for output. If your network is not good, you might get dropouts, but I have not found a SQ difference just because of the setup itself.

HQPlayer, absolutely makes a difference to the sound quality. How much really depends on source, DAC and what filters and other options you choose in HQP as to whether the difference is close or very noticeable. Like I mentioned in my post to Marcos, the “EC” options make a tremendous difference when upsampling content to DSD. But, they are wickedly power hungry.