My audio system and streaming service are not yet on speaking terms. Help needed.

For 15 years I have enjoyed my primary home audio system to play a large CD collection that consists of jazz, rock, pop and classical, including some SACDs, using an OPPO BDP-95 as my player, Anthem electronic (AVM 20 and MCA 50), Paradigm Signature S2s on custom stands adjusted to my listening height and a Velodyne DD-15 in a room that allows for proper placement of the speakers and subwoofer along with decor that doubles as room treatment. It is hardly high end compared to some of the great systems some of you have assembled, but it has worked well for me, creating an immersive listening experience with a wide soundstage, clarity of placement of instruments and a balanced and naturally sounding output that is detailed but not harsh.

It's only been more recently that I turned to streaming services, first to stream in my vehicles, than through a pair of powered speakers set up in my home gym so I can more easily listen to music while I work out. I chose Tidal, enjoyed the quality of the sound and the ability to create playlists and explore deeper tracks or related artists, but I have not compared it yet to other streaming services. I have the Todal app on both my iPhone and iMac.

Then my Oppo conked out. While I do plan to try what might be a simple fix, with some emailed instructions from Oppo, I'd like to integrate my two systems, and am truly a newbie in that task. 

I currently use an Eero Mesh server and will soon have the option to upgrade my home Internet to Fiberoptic as that infrastructure was just added to my neighborhood this past couple of weeks, with the connection to my home coming sometime later this month. My listening room is on the first floor, as is the room with my modem and router. 

As for budget, while I don't have any real cap, I prefer to consider options in multiple price ranges, weighing marginal gains versus costs, before deciding. I would prefer to have the flexibility to transfer my disks to an external hard drive for ease of use. I have two 8 TB G-Technology external drives that I have long used to backup computer files, and store video that would consume too much space on my iMac drive, but lack the hardware to burn my CDs to those drives. So I have need for a music server or NAS drive in addition to a music streamer. My CD/SACD selection has been carefully acquired and curated by is hardly massive, no more than a thousand or so. 

As I mentioned, I do enjoy creating and tweaking playlists, so would be open to trying ROON to compare its use to using Tidal directly. I'd also like the ability to share playlists, including with people who use a different streaming service than I do, as I get as much delight sharing music as listening to it, a byproduct of being in a band a long time ago.

So please do fire away with suggestions, issues to consider and your own experiences -- most of you have vastly more experience than I do, so I appreciate whatever you can share.




Qobuz is the best sounding service and has over 500,000 high resolution albums.


Streaming has a very low network demand. My system works without hitch when my iPad will not refresh a page. I operate my two systems with dedicated streamers using a wall wart wifi extender… so the dedicated streamers do not need internal wifi. I know of many +$150K systems working this way.


Streamers are critical components, just like preamp, amp, TT, or DAC. Streamers can provide better sound quality than a CD (those high res albums), or at least as good as CD when the same red book format is streamed. I had 2,000 CDs…. I gave them away.

‘I have been streaming and used everything from iPods, PC, MAC, iPads and dedicated streamers. In general, a dedicated streamer will be vastly better than other option. You can see my current systems under my UserID.

If you choose wisely you get what you pay for. I have owned dedicated streamers from $3K, $5K, $10K and $22K. In each case the sound quality tracked with the cost. While I owned a Aurlic Aries G2, the remainder have been Aurender. Aurender only makes streamers. Their flagship is the most used in audio shows because of its sound quality. I highly recommend Aurender. It does not support Roon. I have used a number of PC and Mac based control software. I am very happy to leave that connection in the past.

I prefer to have a box… like every other audio component. Slap it down and start playing. They have a software app (Conductor) to access streaming, any stored files, connect to your NAS and thousands of internet stations. It is highly regarded, however is not a Roon. I like to listen to music, and with the streaming output on my system equaling the sound quality of my vinyl rig, I find Conductor very good for finding, and consolidating my library… of files and streaming albums/songs.


There are a contingent of folks that have implemented elaborate high end audio network routers and auxiliary boxes and cables and believe they are getting outstanding sound. My feeling is you can do all sorts of contortions or get a high quality streamer. I was in IT for well over thirty years. I got the fiddling out of my system. I want to sit down and hear reliable audiophile level sound quality and not fiddle. A high quality streamer gives you this.

I have Roon but I'm on the fence about it.  It does play Quboz and Tidal and your own library.  A recent addition lets you connect to your home remotely.

It also has built in DSP capabilities allowing you to EQ in the digital domain.

The longer I've had a Roon subscription the less I've liked it though.  Sound quality is fine but they have a strong engineering direction which never aligns with my own needs.  In particular I don't think they do a very good job of searching Quboz (it is weirdly erratic) and has no ability to set preferences between your personal library, Quboz or Tidal

@erik_squires to set preferences between qobuz and tidal in roon go to settings, general

then scroll down to the STREAMING CONTENT PREFERENCES section. There you can select your streaming service of choice and configure your it. 
I love roon interface. Its radio station feature is awesome for discovering new music. Sound quality is very good however depends on the implementation of roon compatibility in your streamer (sound sound best using their proprietary software). 

Thanks, @audphile1 - I didn't realize they had added that, finally.

Still feels like their Quboz searches are weird.

If you’re looking for an easy integration of CDs and streaming I’d recommend looking at the Innuos Zen or Zenith streamer/server as you can load all your CDs directly into it via its onboard CD transport and have all your streaming/physical music available in one place.  Plus, their Sense app is free to manage your music and has gotten great reviews for sound quality, and their customer support is top notch.  The thing is, most of your CDs are probably available on Qobuz (my preferred source), many times also available in hi-res, so you may find you don’t have to load all that many CDs into the Innuos, but it’s easy peasy if you need to with no need for external drives, etc.  If you want great sound quality, ease of use and integrating your CDs, and customer support, the Innuos Zen or  Zenith make for a very compelling option.  Best of luck. 

Thanks @ghdprentice 

I live in Canada, which does not have access to Qobuz, but I may be able to still subscribe using a VPN. One of the first things I need to do is to see if that will work.
Like you, I enjoy the music more than spending time adjusting the technology, so a box sounds appealing. If I were to decide on trying ROON, what would be a low-cost option to try that out to see if I prefer the interface and usability? 

Along with the helpful comments from @erik_squires ​​​​@audphile1 I think there may be some benefit in test-running Qobuz with and without ROON to see what I prefer before deciding on a specific dedicated streamer. Does that make sense to all of you, and if so, what would be an easy way to test-run both?

Also, how does the Qobuz and Tidal libraries compare? I find the latter a bit light in jazz -- I'm a Bill Charlap fan, and while Tidal has his albums from his touring band it does not have recordings from his studio-only New York Trio. 

@jonsher try searching Bill Charlap Trio. It comes up for me in both qobuz and tidal. 
As a matter of fact, I haven’t yet come across an album that was in Qobuz but not in Tidal. The other way around, very frequently. And the selection that Tidal has that’s missing in Qobuz is of really nice stuff (jazz, etc.)

As for sound quality I prefer Qobuz for the majority of my listening but there are some cases where the same album sounds better on Tidal. In other words, it depends.

So here’s my $0.05 as fas as to roon or not…

When to Roon - combination of the following: your music is ripped to a drive, you use one or more of the streaming services, your streamer does not come with a user friendly UI. You are running into blank artwork for your ripped albums and cannot live like that. 
In all other cases Roon is a nice to have. 

I may have missed a use case for or against…so I’m sure other will jump in

@soix -- thanks for the suggestion and rationale; definitely something for me to consider.

@audphile1 Thanks for the detailed overview of Roon. I tend to listen to music with my eyes shut, so album art isn't critical.

Charlap records under both the Bill Charlap Trio (BlueNote) and the New York Trio (Venus Records). The former includes bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington and is the trio he tours with; the latter is a studio-only trio with Bill Stewart and Jay Leonhart and is not on Tidal. He's released 8 CDs with the New York Trio:

Blues In The Night (Venus) 2001
Bill Charlap, Jay Leonhart, Bill Stewart
The Things We Did Last Summer (Venus) 2002
Bill Charlap, Jay Leonhart, Bill Stewart
Love You Madly (Venus) 2003
Bill Charlap, Jay Leonhart, Bill Stewart
Stairway To The Stars (Venus) 2004
Bill Charlap, Jay Leonhart, Bill Stewart
Begin The Beguine (Venus) 2005
Bill Charlap, Jay Leonhart, Bill Stewart
Always (Venus) 2008
Bill Charlap, Jay Leonhart, Bill Stewart
Thou Swell (Venus) 2009
Bill Charlap, Jay Leonhart, Bill Stewart
I’m Old Fashioned (Venus) 2010
Bill Charlap, Jay Leonhart, Bill Stewart

Here's the opening track from Stairway To The Stars: 


The Innuos Zenith MKIII would be a great move- a lot of bang for $4.5K. If the $$$ amount is too steep on that a lot of people get good use from Bluesound products. I think the Vault 2i is going for $1.3K but I can’t speak as to whether it offers better streaming options.

Did the OP ever define a budget?  Also in his lengthy first post I’m trying to figure out the essential issue.  Was he using the Oppo as a streamer, and wondering what to replace it with?  Or is he looking for a different service?

There are a couple of ways to add streaming to your Anthem / Paradigm setup. Unfortunately, the Anthem pre/pro doesn't have a USB input so you'll need a streamer or PC that has optical or coax digital outputs unless you want to buy a separate DAC. (Macs these days don't usually have built-in digital outputs.) Alternatively, you could connect the headphone output of the iMac directly to an input on the AVM 20, if that's convenient, although it could be suboptimal from a noise perspective.


Here's an example from my system. In the basement, I have a Benchmark HPA4 as the preamp with the AHB2 as the power amp. I use a Benchmark DAC 3B as the digital source. A Raspberry Pi functions as a streamer and is connected to the DAC via USB. My Oppo UDP-203 is connected to the DAC using coax SPDIF. The TV is connected to the DAC using optical SPDIF. I use a remote control to switch digital inputs on the DAC and use my phone to control the streaming software on the Raspberry Pi. I can choose to playback files stored on a shared drive on my Mac mini or stream from Qobuz using an Android app called BubbleUPnP.


Hopefully this gives you some ideas. Good luck on getting the Oppo fixed.

I went from playing files through my OPPO to a Vault 2i and then to an Aurender N200.   

The Vault 2i is a great box for the money , no doubt.    So good that you need to spend some $$$ to better it

I never thought I would spend on a streamer like the N200, but I did and 100% no regrets.  It is an awesome machine that sounds great.   Moving files is super easy too, I had some drives along with a back up of my Vault and just copied them over through my PC.    


OP didn’t really say anything about budget but based on the rest of the equipment listed it sounds to me like the Vault would be a good place to start (unless going wholesale on new everything of course!)

"Burn to drives"?

Can’t get past that. Sounds like you need Tidal Connect. Qobuz sounds better.

Integrate with CDs? I suggest Hifi Rose with their optional disc drive.

Dump the spinners for SSDs. You can mount one on board.


+1 @soix 

I use a Zenith MKII with a Matrix-X for i2s to my DAC.  And while I have a Roon lifetime subscription, I’ve found the Innous Sense app SQ superior to Roon.  I don’t use Roon as much anymore.  

I stream both Tidal and Qobuz.  I’m into jazz, blues, soft rock, and old school R&B.  Qobuz sounds more musical and natural than Tidal; Tidal has better playlists and sounds good enough to me.