Roon Endpoint Streamers - Direct Comparisons between Current Offerings?

Have any of you directly compared sound quality between any of the current offerings of streamers when used solely as a Roon endpoint/streamer? This assumes Roon core and any local music file storage is being operated on a separate device (i.e., a separate server).

I have listed several of the current options below and while a few of those offer additional features, such as server capabilities, hosting of local file storage, or operating players unique to their manufacturers (i.e., other than Roon), I am interested in their performance solely as a Roon endpoint/streamer. Other suggestions not listed below are welcome, but please consider a $5K -$10K price range.


  • Sonore Signature Rendu SE optical v3.0 - $5,350
  • Auralic Aries G2.2 - $6,099
  • Innuos Pulsar - $7,999


  • Aurender N200 - $6,300
  • Antipodes K22 - $9,000

Might consider expanding inquiries to include (in the $2k to $5K) :

Bryston BDP-3, $4.5k

PS Audio Airlens, $2k

Moon Mind 2, $2k+


Note:  I use the now discontinued Bryston BDP pi as an endpoint and its been rock solid in that capacity and a big bang for buck solution. ( core on SGC ST i5).

@jbuhl - I appreciate your thoughts but would like to stay focused within the approximately $5-10K (new) price range for clarity when comparing devices.  Also, anything significantly below or above that price range would likely be paired with a whole different level of system components, which would affect the reliability of comparisons.  However, if you or anybody else are aware of sub-$5K streamers that truly compete with those listed then, for sure, discuss them here.  Otherwise, I respectfully suggest you start a new thread for a different price range.  

Otherwise, I respectfully suggest you start a new thread for a different price range.  

No thank you. 

@mitch2 Aurender isn’t Roon ready…not yet at least. Lumin is Roon ready though. 
I don’t have experience with Auralic G2.2 but when I had G1 it sounded better using Lightning DS. Lumin sounds smoother, to my ears, with Roon and I preferred the U1 Mini as a Roon endpoint. 
Aurender N200 with a music library loaded onto Samsung SSD mounted inside the streamer sounds awesome. But no Roon and it isn’t clear if and when it’s coming. 

@audphile1 - Good points.  I thought I heard Aurender was, or was soon to be,  Roon ready.  I unintentionally left Lumin out.  What would be the the appropriate Lumin product (streamer only, $5-10K)?

@mitch2 the Lumin U2 streamer only or the previous U1. 
I also heard Roon certification is being worked on by Aurender and I’m very curious how it will work vs the Aurender proprietary Conductor firmware responsible for processing the signal that entails caching to its internal SSD. Not sure if this will be the case with Roon and it may impact the sound quality. We’ll wait and see. I haven’t cancelled my Roon subscription yet though. 


When I first delved into ROON. Th core was iMAC hosted with a BDP pi endpoint. The ROON soundstage was pancake flat vs the BDP/MPD standalone stream of Qobuz and RadioParadise @Redbook resolution. Then I Made a few improvements to the network and cabling but the big move was re-hosting the Core on SGC i5 running the Sonic Orbiter OS (Fedora Linux). Game changer now ROON sounds as good as the BDP/MPD streamer sans the most critical listening.

The Signature Rendu SE is based on the Sonic Orbiter OS.  So +1 for the Sonore.

After looking a bit closer, the streamer market seems fluid with manufacturers revamping line-ups, frequently upgrading models, and increasing prices.  This may not be the time to put money into a newest model streamer.

In the Lumin line-up, the U2 at $5,000 would fit the range while the U1X at $9,200 seems to be the former U1 with a better outboard LPS.

Auralic continues to upgrade streamer models with the Aries G2.2 (that recently upgraded the G2.1) apparently being upgraded to a G3 at $10,899.

I have compared my SOnore Optical Rendu and the Lumin X1 using fibre directly from my network switch. Both sound different and are equally good.

However, I also have a PlayBack Designs Streamer-IF that I bought for $2k. I am only using it with SPDIF out and Ethernet into the streamer (no fibre). I do not know what Andreas K. has done inside that unit but that streamer sounds amazing. Sort of in-between the sound of the smooth and refined Sonore with the loud and brash X1. I plan on eventually getting the PlayBack Designs Dream DAC and then use the fibre stream out of the Streamer-IF. That should be even better.

My Streamer-IF is the previous streamer model PBD sells. I think the new streamers they sell can be used with many more output types, including USB. I would look at them even though they are seriously expensive.

Playback Designs | the finest audio playback in the world

I would think this streamer would work well even connected directly to a noisy computer given the reputation of the designer.


BTW - the Lumin U1X seems to me the internals of the Lumin X1 streamer (what I owned)


@yyzsantabarbara - I remember hearing about Playback Designs and their buffering technology at least 10 years ago. Amazing seems to be a frequently used descriptor. Many praises about the SQ. Pricy though for the new stuff - Playback Designs MPS-X Streamer, $11,500. American company, certainly worth a look.

BTY, I would be comparing any other streamers that I try to a Sonore Signature Rendu SE optical that I picked up a few months ago.  As you said, smooth - like butter on a hot biscuit.  I am currently running the USB into a Singxer SU-6 DDC for purposes of connectivity flexibility.  The SU-6 doesn't change the general character of the Sig Rendu and it certainly doesn't hurt SQ.


Might I put the $5195 Rose RS130 Network Transport up for consideration.

Just put in an order for one after my local dealer let me take their demo unit home for a week. Although Rose has their own app, I used it as a Roon endpoint. Trialed it by both Kimber D60 Coax and Curious USB into my Rockna Wavelight DAC. Also tried I2S, but only had basic non audiophile grade HDMI cable on hand with which to give it a go. Via USB was nice. Via Coax was truly impressive. By comparison made my very competent Bricasti M5 seem congested. Once some things are heard they cannot be unheard. Much more air. Expansive soundstage and imaging. Simply no listening fatigue. And on top of that the unit is drop dead gorgeous. My system lives in the living room, and I had my wife’s full backing when I placed the order. If my dealer would have allowed me to purchase their demo unit I would have held on to it. Most likely will be April by the time I get my unit. The Rose has an OXCO clock, and my thinking is the benefit of that clock is more apparent with synchronous outputs all other things being equal, explaining why my experience with coax was so much better than with USB. My guess is that with a decent I2S cable in my case it would be better still. The Rose allows for connection to fiber via SFP, something I’d like to do down the road. You can also use an external clock if so desired. I very much liked the potential upgrade path.


Good thoughts on the Rose.  Their units have been getting positive feedback lately.  I have owned the Bricasti M5 and while I like the Signature Rendu better, it is still a good unit so bettering the SQ of the Bricasti through the Rose is an achievement. 

I have found that the Melco Server/Streamers in Roon Mode offer some of the finest streaming sound quality. You would be looking at the new Melco N5 - the second from the top Melco N1 model. These are not cheap but nor are they super expensive streamer/servers compared to much of the competition. See if you can get an N5 (or an N1) home to try in your system. Contact Luxman America for your closest US Melco dealer.

What about Roon’s Titan NUC?

Considerably less expensive than your minimum threshold (chosen why?), and designed by Roon, specifically for being a Roon endpoint streamer.

I have owned 2 different Lumin components and highly recommend their products based on my personal experience.  I would look at the U1X or U2 based on what you are describing. One of the best things about Lumin was the support.  I had some set up questions in order to maximize sound quality and they walked me through all of the settings on the app step by step.  I actually got live support not a chat bot or an "email me your issues and we will get back to you in 48 hours". One other thing I like about Lumin is that they are innovators and constantly push out new firmware updates.  Check out their website and see all the new items they have.

Good luck and let us know how you make out.

Post removed 

Another option is the Bel Canto Stream 2, though it’s 2k. Mine is connected via AES to my dac, Bel Canto DAC 2.8, and it’s rock solid. The SEEK app is great and I alternate between a SGC i5 sonictransporter running roon on the same network switch.

Those guys in Minnesota know a thing or two about streaming.


+1 on the  A Cappella III by Musica Pristina. Under radar boutique, US manufacturer. Between $5,500 and $7,800 depending on options. I use it with my Terminator Plus via I2S and couldn’t be happier. End game for me. 

I would not rule out substantially less expensive streamers.  There are a number of good websites featuring reviews of streamers at various price points that include measurements of jitter and noise (SNR), which are the key differentiators across streamers (assuming you’re not paying for proprietary software to restock, up- or ovesample, or perform DSP).

Here’s one:

Here’s another from hi-fi news (I find the measurements section done by Paul Miller to be particularly useful; you can compare the performance of relatively inexpensive streamers to high dollar models more easily):


And yet another:


Finally, there have been a number of good discussions on other threads that have fleshed out the issues and different perspectives on streamers:




Good suggestions here - thanks everyone.

The HiFi Rose RS130 looks interesting and would maybe be good for what I intend. I was also interested to learn more about the Musica Pristina A Cappella III, and the American company which I was not previously aware of.

I was asked about the price range, and would answer by saying that I own a $1,500 streamer/endpoint, the Metrum Ambre. It is competent, operates flawlessly without any glitches whatsoever, and sounds pretty good, so I agree that streamers do not need to be expensive to sound good. However, I also own a Sonore Signature Rendu SE optical, and that unit displays an even more natural tone as well as a more dimensional presentation. These are not night and day differences but certainly noticeable. I want at least that higher level of performance and I suspect I will need to be above $5K to achieve it.

I was hoping to hear from more of you who have made direct comparisons between some of these units but I guess I am not surprised that not too many have.

I know this is $2,500 above your specified budget, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention the wonderful Grimm MU1 streamer ($12,500 w/o storage, $300 additional with 2TB storage). Sonically the best I've heard!      

As I understand it, your streamer uses a Pi; not sure how Mesttum implements the Pi, but in its freestanding form, the pi has been measured as having more noise than a few other relatively inexpensive alternatives, such as the iFi Zen, the Volumio Rivo, the Holo Red, and the Pro-Ject S2 Ultra.  Not sure how immune from noise your dac is, but here’s an excerpt of a post by John Westlake, the S2 Uktra designer, regarding the Pi and his implementation:

“As a co-designer (with Jarek) I can help answer some questions about the ProJect Streambox S2 Ultra - ProJect is our 3rd OEM “customer” for our streamer solution :)

The roots of this design is based on our own internal requirement for a streaming solution for a crowd funded DAC I've been developing for the past few years. The crowd funded group consists of about 150 development sponsors – so I have to be creative to maximise the limited funding resources.

One requirement for the DAC was for a Streaming solution that allowed HiRes Bit Accurate (no data manipulation), DSD support and allowed the DAC to be Audio Clock master. With our limited 150pcs to 200pcs DAC production – nobody was interested in supplying a streaming solution so I was forced by such circumstances to turn to an open source software.

The Open Source community is very active in this area, but the hardware solutions are based on non optimised off-the-shelf computer hardware. While the Raspberry Pie is a great low cost computer hardware – however it’s been designed with cost as the primary objective and understandably not with audio optimisation anywhere near an important consideration.

So while there is zero chance we have the resources to develop / support the streaming software for our small volume group sponsored project, we can develop the hardware with our eyes closed shut.

It became apparent that Volumio offered the best feature set (just missing SBT / LMS support) – but as an old school turntable / CD user I struggled with its UI. I needed to find a way to have a customised version of Volumio, but with only 150 to 200 potential units there is no way we could afford to directly pay for the customised software development.

So, as our requirements where rather desirable for HiFi manufactures (Bit Accurate HiRes (no data manipulation), DSD support and allowed the DAC to be Audio Clock master) I developed a plan to offer our streamer hardware solution to a few select customers I’d worked with in past (who all struggled to find a decent streaming solution).

Now with a rather large carrot (the potential of large OEM sales) – I was able to convince Volumio’s founder Michelangelo that he could make a nice little business from developing a custom OEM version of his software that would work with our hardware platform – in exchange we would get a supported software solution for our 150 – 200 group funded DAC :)

After several false starts (BeagleBone, and a few other cheap Chinese SBC’s) we about gave up on the streamer side of the project when the raspberry Pie foundation released the long promised Quad Core industrial version of the RPi3. This industrial version of the RPi3 called the CM3 module allows us to optimise the streamer hardware (PSU, RF and Clocking) while maintaining software compatibility with RPI. An important goul of our streamer solution is that we wanted an optimised “audio” streaming solution while not limiting the customer to a single software solution – for those skilled in software they can install any of the RPI based media players (Moode, LMS and even Kodi) etc.

Another important advantage of the RPi based CM3 module is the use of onboard eMMC memory thereby removing reliability issues (and speed) when using “External” SDcards.

In answer to “why the extra cost” over the standard RPi3 – it’s required to give a basic explanation of the RPi3 weakness WRT high end audio applications (remember is designed as a lowest cost computer platform NOT a highend audio streamer). These weakness in no way are a criticism of the RPi3 – but rather its design limitation from my perspective as an audio designer.

Basically its weakness are all based on Clock Phase Noise (Jitter) and local PSU noise (which directly impacts the Jitter performance) and also the resultant local RF emissions:-

1. The USB HUB / LAN IC is clocked by the CM3 SoC which has significantly higher jitter then an external Clock oscillator. More detrimental is that fact that clock phase noise is heavily correlated with the SoC software processing – resulting in Data correlated jitter.

2. The USB HUB / LAN IC PLL clock circuits are powered from the switching supply rail that also powers the SoC Memory, so as data is “processed” though the memory this causes modulation of the PSu Rail directly correlated with the Data patterns which then modulates the critical PLL in the USB HUB / LAN which is used as our USB “source” via this noisy PSU rail.

3. As one would expect little care has been taken with the quality of the 5V rail for USB DAC power – in fact its really pretty poor by “Audio” standards.

4. There are multiple “free running” switching regulators on the RPi PCB – whose clocks are not related to the USB clock Rate so there switching products are free to induced multiple / complex RF and Ground noise spurie in the system.

I could list more weakness, but you can start to appreciate the “Deficiencies” (not unexpected) of the simple Rpi3.

1. The little ProJect streamer tackles these issues by making the USB 24MHZ clock the system “Clock master” and cleanly generating the LAN’s 25MHz clock and the multiple local switching supply’s operating from a divided down synchronised frequency of this 24MHz.

2. Great care has been taken with the internal PSU’s – I count 8 low noise PSU’s of the top of my head.

3. The USB host signal from the CM3 is RF filtered and USB “Detoxed” (the poor Phase noise of the CM3 USB Host controller) is attenuated by two Cascoded USB Hub bridges (and RF filter) resulting in a much attenuated USB Jitter on the “DAC” USB output.

4. The DAC 5V feed has a very low noise regulator – whose voltage and current can be monitored via the streamer software.

5. The DAC 5V USB voltage output can be disabled via software for DAC’s that don’t require 5V.

6. An external USB bypass to the DAC USB output is proved, this bypass “Detox’s” the external USB signal in the same manor as applied to the RPi CM3 USB Host output.

7. 16GB onboard eMMC is available for OS / software & local files.”


+1 Grimm MU1

I think it is worth the money. I have had one in my system for a while. While it is not as good as my Aurrender W20SE nor is its price. I think it a good choice… or an Aurrender N20. Which I have not heard head to head… but I would wager on the N20… but no Roon for the N20.

Isn’t the Grimm MU1 a server/streamer combination? Any sonic advantage to using it in the streamer, or Roon endpoint, capacity only?

I like the Holo Audio Red as a Roon endpoint.  Well engineered with very low jitter.  Why spend $5K to $10K on something that is built to be a streamer with custom software etc. and then just using it as an endpoint?  Put the money you save into another component that will level up your sound in a more significant way.  Just my 2 cents.

The Holo Red looks interesting but not sure what would make it outperform my Metrum Ambre as a Roon endpoint.  The Ambre is a Raspberry Pi device with onboard LPS and Femto clocks.

What I do like about the Red is the option to use it as a streamer/endpoint or as a DDC, but I already have a Singxer SU-6 DDC.

I’m not sure it would since I don’t know the Ambre.   I missed your post about your existing setup.  I have heard the Innuos Pulsar and Auralic Ares G2.2 but not in my system or with the same DAC.  So I don’t know what their relative sonic differences might be. I just think you’re splitting hairs when the technical aspects of streamers are so close.  Good luck with your search.


I have heard the Innuos Pulsar and Auralic Ares G2.2 but not in my system or with the same DAC. 

Understood that the set-up was not the same but otherwise can you share any particular thoughts about the sound of either of those two streamers in comparison to the other, or was your impression simply that they both sounded good?

Innuos pulsar  excellent better then Roon and very good interface 

hq player a powerfull program innuos now can use,and built into Roons back end 

to improve sound quality to your taste.

It depends if this endpoint is going into your main rack or solo headphone rig.  I’m a Roon lifetime and have been since it started, which led to years of progression to where I’m at today. Today i run Roon on NAS. 

- Mac mini ssd and memory modified (shelved)

- Oppo 205 (early end point just use for CDs nowadays) Active

- Project S2 Digital Box - Sold

- Matrix Audio Mini Pro 3 - great little unit and enjoyed - Sold

- Brooklyn Bridge 1 (received new Brooklyn Bridge II but selling here on Audiogon, loved 1, love 2 but don’t need it anymore) Active but unplugged.

- Eversolo Master DMP-6 - Love with my Woo Headphone rig - KEPT

- Eversolo DMP- 8 (a Swiss Army knife had in main system for a few months, just sold on the Roon Community Forum.

- Meitner MA3 (Current Main, simply love, and done chasing for what works well and balanced in my system given components, cables, speakers and room).  A significant, pricey upgrade but joy.  



Hi @mitch2 :

Isn’t the Grimm MU1 a server/streamer combination? Any sonic advantage to using it in the streamer, or Roon endpoint, capacity only?

The Grimm MU1 is definitely a Server (Rooncore) and Streamer.  You can now see them for just under 10K lightly used.  It is far and away superior to my old Auralic Aries G2, or any embedded bridge in a DAC I have heard.  And you save quite a bit not needing a different Roon Core and its associated cords and power supplies.  It is incredibly stable as Core, again much more so than my finicky Auralic unit.  It sounds very organic and natural, and many have called the pairing with the MM Tambaqui a perfect match.

The MU1 sounds amazing with my MM Tambaqui.  But it is not as yet functional as a Roon endpoint ONLY.  Per my conversations with Grimm, it soon will be.  This is really only an issue if you have two systems, where one runs Core and the other needs to be endpoint only.

I also would look at an Aurender N20 or one down, but again for me it needs to be Roon Certified as an endpoint.  Aurender has repeatedly stated this is coming, but not yet.  I personally would not buy an Aurender N series (the only ones touted as soon to be roon endpoints) until it happens.  It's Interesting to me that I have seen more N20's for sale in the last 6 months than ever before.

You will continually hear that other software sounds better than Roon.  I believe this but love Roon, so I want to have both available.  Hence, no Aurender until Roon certified.

@fastfreight @mitch2 

The MU1 sounds amazing with my MM Tambaqui.  But it is not as yet functional as a Roon endpoint ONLY.  Per my conversations with Grimm, it soon will be.  This is really only an issue if you have two systems, where one runs Core and the other needs to be endpoint only.

Nice posts. To be very clear regarding the above quote, the Grimm will feed Roon endpoints on your network just as any other Roon core server and the device/dac connected directly to the Grimm receives the proprietary optimized feed. In other words, I have the Grimm in my main system feeding my main dac and the other deivces/systems around the house serve as Roon endpoints from the Grimm. 


Im not sure why anyone would want to use the MU1 as an endpoint only however I suppose a $12k upsamplers/optimizer Roon endpoint isn't out of the question in our hobby.

Hello @ghasley ,  Yes, 100%.  I use my Grimm MU1 as Core / streamer in my main system and my second system uses my onboard Tambaqui in my Makua as Roon endpoint.  But the internal Bridge / Streamer in the Makua (Tambaqui) is not as good as the Grimm MU1.  So I could conceivably have one MU1 as Core / streamer in one system and a second MU1 in my second system as endpoint only.

I will likely keep waiting until Aurender gets Roon certification for their N series regardless, as I can then pick which endpoint is better suited for each system.

Having two good systems can be problematic, as every time one gets better the other seems left behind!!  Quite a first world issue, but makes comparisons much easier and noticeable.

@fastfreight haha...about every two years I sell off my second system, upgrade my main system further and then...begin building a second system all over again. Self loathing is commonplace in my house while doing so. Hope you are well!

I am also in the market for a server/streamer to run ethernet into my Bricasti M1SE. Have been thinking about the Melco, but have been utterly indecisive for over a year now.


This is really only an issue if you have two systems, where one runs Core and the other needs to be endpoint only.

I am running three systems with my server/Roon core in my network room and a separate endpoint connected to my network for each of the three systems.  Based on my listening, the streamer/endpoint has more influence on SQ than the server to the point where it seems the server only needs to be competent and reliable.  The endpoint in my main system is a Signature Rendu SE optical that feeds a Singxer SU-6 DDC.  The SU-6 provides a variety of outputs that I have connected to two different DACs that I alternate in that system.  I have been interested to read the positive reviews of the Grimm MU1, but I don't really want to go back to another one-box solution (previously had Antipodes DX and Mojo DejaVu) so I have been looking at the different high'ish end steamer options for my main system.

You will continually hear that other software sounds better than Roon.  I believe this but love Roon, so I want to have both available. 

I went with the lifetime Roon option early on and I like the metadata too much to give it up, so I have been looking at streamers that work well with Roon.  I sort of keep coming back to the Innuos Pulsar and would also be interested to try their Sense app player, but only if I could easily/quickly switch between it and Roon.

I too will sing the praises of the Grimm MU1. It is a Roon core and a streamer and is superb as both.  It replaced my Roon Nucleus plus and was a tremendous upgrade.  

Based on my listening, the streamer/endpoint has more influence on SQ than the server to the point where it seems the server only needs to be competent and reliable.  

This.  Bravo! 

Based on my research (I flirted with going with the Grimm MU1), the MU1 does have USB out, however, the real benefit of the MU1 is only seen with its S/PDIF and AES/EBU outputs. The synchronous outputs receive the benefits of the MU1’s clocking and upscaling. Using the USB output would be a waste of the MU1’s capabilities.

As far as the Innuos Pulsar, its only output is USB, albeit a seriously reclocked USB. Innuos is still in process of getting it Roon certified but it can be used as a generic Roon endpoint.

The Grimm and Pulsar were both on my radar, but ultimately I went with the Rose RS130 after a week long in home audition.

Mitch in trying to address your original post. Leaving perceived value out and just honing on sound quality, my Optical Rendu being served by the SGC Sonic Transporter i7 is my 3rd best sounding rig. My Innuos Zenith M3 with outboard Pheonix reclocker is a clear step up even with Roon. (Like you I have a lifetime subscription) Now if instead I use the Innuos Sense instead of Roon, now it gets way better still. Flipping  between Roon and Sense does take a configuration change and services to restart. (Perhaps a minute total)

I also just purchased an Antipodes K50 which was purchased used within your price range. It does the Roon dance right with lots of user installable HD space, speedy interface and a high quality streamer in one box.

Purely based on the 3 streamers you presented, the Auralic would be my least favourite (on the cold side to my ears) then the Sonore Optical Sig, however the Innuos to my ears is a significant upgrade. Good luck with wherever you land!

Thank you @ianderson for your post that directly compares some of the options I am considering. 

I have a SGC i9 G3 on its way here so will start there on the server side along with my current Signature Rendu SE optical as the endpoint, which I believe would be considered a step up from the opticalRendu depending on the PS you used.  I like having an endpoint with a USB output, which I can connect into my Singxer DDC, from which I can run a variety of output connections to a couple of different DACs I am using.

After getting the i9 set up, I believe my next step may be to compare endpoints between the Sig Rendu SE o and the Innuos Pulsar about which I keep hearing good things.  The other configuration I considered was to purchase an Innuos Zenith M3, to use as a server only, to feed the Pulsar as the endpoint.  Either way, having the Pulsar as an endpoint would allow me to try the Sense app, which is possibly a reason to choose the Pulsar over the Sig Rendu SE o.  My plan is to get the i9 set up and then directly compare the Pulsar against the Sig Rendu SE o in my system.

You don’t need to start with expensive high end streamer options to get top notch sound with Roon. I do it with many Roon endpoints ranging in cost to $0 on existing computers, tablets, smartphones to a newer $500 streamer to another that cost way more. THEY ALL SOUND REALLY REALLY GOOD, no obvious flaws!!! Toss in smart use of Roon DSP and you can have it all on most any reputable Roon endpoint.

I run Roon on at least 6 or 7 different devices in my house as needed and RoonArc remotely. WHich Roon is best? I have no clue. It’s the rest of teh system Roon is running on at the moment that really matters. Maybe some day I will attempt some kind of unbiased direct a/b comparison but frankly I really don’t care. IT’s not rocket science! Start with a computer tablet or smart phone for not much. Add to that from there as needed. I’m sure the reliable high end Roon devices sound great as well. They better considering the systems they are most likely running on.


The fact that Roon runs on all these different endpoints from commercial computer up to high end streamers is one of its most valuable hardware lock-in!!!  The others are sound quality, User experience and extremely powerful and flexible DSP.  Roon is perhaps the single best investment a 21th century audiophile and music lover can make IMHO.


So I am a big Roon fan, eh?



There are many options in Roon that determine how it sounds. Not all are categorized under DSP (which is optional to use).


My point is, if one really must, before comparing Roons, one better have a good handle on all the ways how you configure Roon that can affect the sound, in order to be able to truly compare apples/apples.


Roon is very powerful and flexible in regards to how the user can impact the resulting sound depending on settings. It can be a little overwhelming frankly at first. So lots of ways to use or abuse Roon merely based on what settings are in play. Start with default settings and tweak from there as desired.


Personally I would not worry about what other Roons sound like until I have used teh one I have to full potential for best results.


Learning and understanding what all those optional settings actually do and which might help versus hurt may seem like a somewhat daunting task, but one that is most worthwhile mastering.


It can also be fun and educational just changing settings one at a time and comparing. You can always reverse each step along the way as desired.


Doing room correction correctly with DSP alone is a total game changer in many cases, but doing it right takes some learning, time and effort.


I’d recommend best practice of first adjust for the room (often good sound public enemy #1) , then you can layer other filters on top of that to tweak the sound as desired to personal preferences. Roon users have documented how to do this using Room EQ Wizard freeware. Just google search Roon room correction

My experiences for optimizing Roon Sound:

-I am a lifetime Roon subscriber for some time and love the features.

-avoid all DSP as much as possible as to me it adds noise.  You don't hear noise     per say, but it destroys the soundstage and ambiance.

-for critical listening only run one Roon endpoint at a time.  This is easily heard if you turn other endpoints on and off while critically listening.

-for the above reason, I have moved away from having 4 Roon endpoints in my home.  Now my bedroom and master bathroom (hardly critical areas) are now the new Sonos ERA 300 speakers which are really good.  They are extremely stable and sound just fine in my bathroom and bedroom. It is easy to add playlists from Qobuz onto your Sonos system.  The Sonos ARC is also excellent, better than my Marantz AVR with a passive soundbar.

-I am not saying Roon sounds better than Innuos Sense or Aurender Conductor.  But the features, ease of use and music discovery of Roon are better and it still can sound amazing.

-I would not buy a high end streamer that is not Roon Certified as an endpoint. (come on Aurender!!!).

-the main place I NEEDED DSP was the master bathroom.  the Sonos ERA 300 easily adjusts its frequency response to the glass and tile environment.



We carry all (3) brands and happy to answer any questions on how these sound and operate. The Antipodes is a special unit! I think it depends on preferences using Roon vs. Conductor app as well. 


-avoid all DSP as much as possible as to me it adds noise. You don’t hear noise per say, but it destroys the soundstage and ambiance.

My findings do not support this assertion. I have custom DSP settings for 4 pair of headphones and 4 rooms and the results are all positive..

There are many ways to use DSP, but you have to do it right to reap the benefits.

DSP can easily make things worse done wrong.

The devil is always in the detail.

-for critical listening only run one Roon endpoint at a time. This is easily heard if you turn other endpoints on and off while critically listening.

I only run 1 at a time for critical listening and only multiple at once on a few occasions for background music. I could see where sound quality might be lowered by design if needed because load on Roon is higher if streaming to a group of multiple devices concurrently, especially in case of high res streaming, but have never attempted a comparison. I do suspect even if so, the differences might only be clearly heard in a "higher end" system.


In any case, another nice feature of Roon is it shows you each step along the digital processing pipeline from source to end, so any difference should show there. I’ll give it a shot next time I stream to a group versus single device and see.