Roon doesn’t sound any different. It’s playing the same digital data.
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I posted over on the Auralic forums what people thought about Roon versus Lightning DS. For the most part folks said soundwise they were equivalent or Lightning DS sounded better. Roon was deemed better for organization and particularly integrating a home music library and Tidal. You can read that thread here:
If you prefer the organization then it’s a grest deal, but to be clear it should sound exactly the same on a device that offers both Room and Tidal directly. It’s processing the same bits in the same way. Once you start adding other hardware and paths then sure, but in this instance I can’t imagine how it would sound any different.
I get that, but it’s still pushing the same bits over. I guess there could be a very slight difference depending on network noise but I doubt you’d be able to tell. My point is mainly that Roon isn’t doing anything different. It’s just sending the same bits as Tidal to the DAC portion of the device.
All software sounds different. Any software has better sq than iTunes. I liked DS Lightning over Mac mini running audirvana 2.x. Since I replaced my Auralic Aries with external dac with usb to running ps audio DS with bridge with Roon, sq is much better. I can’t do an a/b comparison using roon vs DS Lightning because DS Lightning won’t see the DS bridge.
I’m not totally sure which difference you are seeing but if the same Tidal bits are making their way to the dac then it shouldn’t matter. It could be one of those two is decoding and re-encoding, like AirPlay does. For th OPs case, sending Tidal data to the dac over WiFi with Tidal directly or with Roon should result in the exact same data stream making it to the dac.
I've used Audirvana for 6 years because I really enjoyed the sound and thought it probably couldn't be bettered (especially in recent updates). Last year I tried Roon. I think it sounds better and in spite of the cost I'll extend my subscription - it's worth it. I've tried going back to A+ but the difference in SQ has me switching back after a few minutes. No matter what people in this thread are writing, they're not the same.
@janehamble Did you try different upsampling settings via iZotope in Audirvana, or did you not use upsampling? Just curious.
I have Roon, and I also have the Audirvana trial, and I keep going back and forth between the two, trying to figure out which is better suited for my preferences (not a trivial task). Anyways, Roon's GUI and music mgmt are much better than Audirvana, but it's about the sound right?
@1markr oh yes, I spent many an hour tweaking with iZotope - often diligently following the precision guidance of others, or just experimenting. I eventually moved away from upsampling, as I have done also with Roon. One major plus of Roon is the ability to toggle so easily between settings, or turning upsampling on or off on the fly. It makes it so much easier to find the settings that really work with your equipment.