Audirvana Plus vs Roon - High Sound Quality at Lower Cost?
I've recently set up Audirvana, choosing over Roon due to Roon's higher cost. Seems like Audirvana's sound quality is considered to be high.
Does anyone have any experience comparing sound quality of Audirvana vs Roon or other players? I use Audirvana to play purchased FLAC's, ripped FLAC's, and also Tidal HiFi from my Mac Mini with Fusion Drive connected via USB. Looking for input from those who may have taken the trouble to compare. I for one didn't notice a difference, but I am planning to upgrade my system shortly and differences could possibly become apparent as a result.
I was an Audirvana fan/user from 2012 until 2017. convinced it offered the best SQ available. As with most A+ users, I spent many an hour tweaking the settings. Two years ago I decided to try Roon (1.3 at the time). I immediately preferred the Roon presentation. And that's without factoring in the file management and especially the radio function of Roon - which is probably the biggest difference. So last year I coughed up the Roon lifetime membership fee with no looking back. In my experience, you get what you pay for.
I can't answer the question directly as I have never tried Roon. All I can say is; I have been using Audirvana Plus for several years now and have no plans to change anything. I am very pleased with the interface and the player works extremely well for me. I am there?
I think Audirvana Plus is outstanding. I did a brief free Roon trial after installing Audirvana and thought Roon degraded the sound subtly. My problem is that I don’t want my PC in the system, as I prefer to use it for computing. After I turn off Audirvana I noticed occasionally the Printer settings would have to be reset. Not a big deal, but annoying. I didn’t feel that the interface that wonderful but the app works fairly well. I have also heard that the updates can be problematic and was advised not to do them
I have tried Audirvana Plus with the free trial, but really don't see what the big deal is or why I should get Roon. I understand how some people like all the additional information it provides, but if I really care, it's easy enough to go to Allmusic. I couldn't tell any difference between Foobar 2000 and Audirvana and Foobar is free. It is a little more fussy, it took some time to figure out how to play DSD files for example, but it's all good now.
Mahler123, you mentioned you don’t want to use a PC. Can I ask what you have Audirvana running on?
I am using a Mac Mini, “headless” without a keyboard mouse or display and connected directly to my DAC via USB.
On another note, my Mac storage is hybrid solid state and mechanical, which in theory is not supposed to be as good as pure solid state due to added noise on the USB line as well as emitted noise. Not sure this is proven to have an effect though.
Finally, for those saying Roon doesn’t sound quite as good as Audirvana or others, Roon’s Knowledge base indicates that to maximize sound quality, the Roon “core” must be physically separated from the hardware running the player that is connected to the DAC. The core is supposed to be connected via Ethernet for maximum SQ. I believe this is to isolate the audio rig including DAC and player from noise generated by the hardware the core is running on, but I’m not totally sure on the reasoning behind this. Anyhow, just wondering if some who are saying Roon is inferior may be deploying the core and player on one single device which is connected to the DAC. Roon works this way but they don’t suggest it in there Knowledgebase.
I do run Audirvana on my PC. However, I prefer not to use my PC in my Audio System, and that is why I use renderers instead of the PC with Audirvana. I have been using Bluesound, but recently I had a problem where I could not use it for a month. I went back to controlling my NAS with Audirvana and my PC for that time. It sounds truly excellent and the App isn’t bad, but it was a problem if I wanted to use the PC for something else, and I get tired of the Computer boot up, with the Apple notifications, etc
I'll put in another vote for Audirvana. I use it exclusively on a mac mini server and run it from the very good iPad app. Mostly playing local files stored on a NAS but I do use Tidal some. You don't have total control of A+ from the app but it is excellent for playback. Sound quality is excellent.
I have used Roon a lot and I think the interface is terrible. It is so convoluted and cumbersome to navigate. To me, simplicity is king and A+ is way way ahead in this regard. Roon does have a little more flexibility in terms of browsing Tidal, but I don't think it is fun to use. FWIW this is coming from someone age 33 so it is not like I am a geezer struggling to use new technology!
I have been using Audirvana Plus for several years and Roon for almost a year. Running on 2011 & 2014 macMinis.
Most important to me is sound quality and reliability. On both counts, the move to A+ was clearly superior to iTunes. I decided to audition Roon in early 2018 (not sure what version) with the free trial, mainly because of the multi-room, multi-device capabilities.
On sound quality, I preferred A+ over Roon. A+ had better detail and body to the sound. Roon sounded somewhat flat, lacking atmosphere and depth in comparison. I was very disappointed because I love the Roon interface, multi-device capabilities, artist & album info, etc. With Roon it seemed like I could control all my networked systems with a ton of different devices in the house versus A+ which I could not. I don't own an iPhone or iPad so I couldn't sit back and control A+ without stealing one of my wife's Apple devices. Roon also integrated my personal library very well with Tidal. A+ works, but library and Tidal are still somewhat separated in their own boxes.
After several months, all the extra features of Roon compelled me to purchase Roon. A year later, I now essentially use Roon most of the time, because of the interface and convenience of remote controls for all zones. Surprisingly the Radio is excellent feature I did not realize I would enjoy as much as I do. When I do more dedicated listening in my main system, I still use Audirvana.
I will say, I think the Roon audio quality has improved over the last year, although I have not tried any direct comparison. Cheers
I have Audirvana + 3.5.10. I recently tried Roon (14-day trial). I love the multi-device and library management features of Roon. Very easy to setup. I also like how it automatically combines duplicates so that only the highest resolution shows in library. However, I just did a comparison with 3 different songs and Audirvana + beat Roon each time. Roon's soundstage is a bit more flat. I tried Indian fusion, R.E.M.'s automatic for the people in 192/24, and Mariah Carey's One Sweet Day just to have several different genre. Audirvana+ had more robust sound and better soundstage on each one.
I have completely changed my mind on this question since the arrival of Audirvana 3.5. I have a lifetime subscription to Roon so this is a dilemma. Over the past two weeks I’ve been going back and forth between the two platforms but it’s clear to me that Audirvana has surpassed Roon in a significant way. As things stand, I’ll listen to Roon radio but when I really want to *listen* it’s worth the hassle to switch on Audirvana. It’s that clear and that much better.
I listen to bit perfect native files. No upsampling. Roon via Sonic Tranporter. Audirvana from my MacBook Pro. Both feeding an upgraded microrendu.
Where Roon is better: gapless playback between tracks (Pink Floyd albums are intended to play seamlessly between tracks as one continuation and Audirvana has a gap between tracks), Roon radio, user interface with loads of features, multiple zones, streaming from one library to various devices simultaneously. Keep in mind, Roon has many options for filters and maybe adjusting these can improve sound quality. Not sure.
i use A+. i tried as I had an all 3xx JBL system and the 310s subwoofer would not integrate properly... timing was off and i could not get this squared away.. i tried all the switches and moved the subwoofer 4 times... nothing worked. i installed A+ and it took care of the issue.
I recently installed Audirvana on my Win 10 Pro PC (also has Roon) to test the SQ differences. Through my headphones I can clearly hear that Audirvana is superior to Roon. The difference I am hearing is more than the difference I heard when comparing Tidal to Qobuz (Qobuz sounds better; cleaner more incisive, more 'direct' sound); Comparing Roon to Audirvana; There is more dynamic contrast with Audirvana; Roon sounds flatter and less engaging when doing back and forth using same tracks; With Aud, vocals have more "vibrancy" and focus; overall sound has more life to it; If I didn't do the back and forth I would not have believed this.
I am not really happy about this because I have pretty much gotten used to Roon and love the integration.
My DAC is an Exogal Comet Plus; I have selected the ASIO protocol because it was the only one that was available to the XMOS USB 2.0 ST 301C driver that Exogal uses; Roon also uses ASIO protocol, as I can see it in the Signal Path map;
My tests involved local DSD files and streaming from 24-bit Qobuz files. I have not tested Tidal for differences yet;
On the one hand, yay for finding a sonic improvement but quite frustrating, because it seems there is no end to getting the 100% best possible sound from a PC. Assuming both applications handle the memory to USB protocol the same, what else could cause this?