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

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.