Roon is a wonderful high end service for usability and sound quality. I use it to access Qobuz and tidal subscriptions in hi-res and access files stored on a hard drive (which in my case is in a custom Roon server/computer). Roon itself will not hold back your sound quality. But you need a server to run the software, an endpoint to connect to your dac, and a device like phone or iPad to control it. Lots of hardware options at all price points.
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I chose streaming as my exclusive source for many reasons.
Most will say a TT will give you a better sound but along with that
is the fact that vinyl choices of music are limited. Streaming is growing
every year. I use Roon and Qobuz. My Innuos Streamer is DACless
as I think it should be. It does burn and store. A good DAC is quite important as is something like the Uptone Etheregen unit.
Some people say files sound better than the actual CD. Unproven I believe.
I made a choice between what is the Current heavyweight of SQ- Turntables/ R2R and the ability to find new music every day and put it on my playlist. Quite pleased I must say.
OP "It seems most people are using it for playback in less than audiophile situations,...."
I would venture to guess that very few non-audiophiles are using Roon. As others have stated Roon's sound quality is wonderful but you have to have all the pieces. Like a Roon Nucleus or something similar. I originally used a MacBook Pro then when I switched to a Roon Nucleus the SQ vastly improved. Then adding a LPS to the Nucleus was another huge bump in SQ. Get it right and you will a happy camper.
Better sound is a subjective opinion. Same thing with sound quality.
It can support the same formats, so why not?
If you want equal performance to a good CD player, download Jriver and enable SoX for resampling, load file into memory (before being played) and play as HDCD.
I have a music library on my laptop and files either open in foobar or Jriver.
Regarding DACs - they sound different. Buy one that claims to be accurate/neutral.
432Evo is very good. Audiotroy, I would no longer say it sounds better than Innuos’s top servers. Why? Innuos just came out with their own software called Sense 2.04 version. The sound improvement over Roon on my Zenith 3 is absolutely staggering. Amazing how the software improved the sound at least 35%, if not more! No kidding.
So much more natural, at ease and real sounding. I go back to Roon and it sounds so harsh and unrefined ….. in a relative way.
If playing ripped CDs on the Zenith, put Sense in offline mode and be treated to even better sound. Nothing I have done to my digital front end has wrought out this much SQ improvement. Overnight my Innuos server has become far, far better sounding. You must check it out. Yes, I have SOTA high end switches, LPS’s, ethernet filters, cabling and on and on….
I am a lifetime Roon member and big fan. The Roon interface is still better to use, but I just can’t listen to it vs Innuos Sense. A complete game changer!
Sold my last high-end CD player about 4 years ago and since then the only physical media I have used are CDs that I then rip to my server and play in my vehicle.
I started with a dedicated Mac mini server to play ripped CDs and added Roon (lifetime membership) a few years ago. SQ improved significantly when I switched to an Antipodes DX server that I have upgraded several times. Currently using the Mojo Audio Deja Vu EVO Media Server which I find to sound a touch better than the DX.
I am interested in streaming for 2 reasons; broad selection and hopefully better sound.Streaming will definitely open the door to a broad selection of music (I stream Tidal through Roon).
It seems most people are using it for playback in less than audiophile situations, and compatible equipment is very limited.Not true. Using an upper level dedicated server into a good DAC then SQ equal to or better than what you get from CDs should be achievable. Also, there are many Roon compatible endpoints to choose from.
I think the Roon ecosystem is a lot bigger than you think it is.
It sounds like you have only seen the itty bitty appliances that are out there. Lots of high end DAC manufacturers offer streamer/DACs with Roon compatability, including dcs, Bricasti, Mytek, Auralic, Aurender...
Here's a fairly complete list:
My interest was piqued when I read the Troy Evo comments.
As I looked at the product line I saw only the top product does
not employ wall warts. At $14kUS it should be good. The bottom product is close to $4k and comes with warts. Seems a bit farcical for the EVO folks to trumpet their amazing triple toroidal power supply unit at $14k, then sub in the warts on everything under that. I did love the opening page photo though.
I have had an Innuos Zen 3 since Jan 2021 and oddly have had no
email notice about their new software. I bought new from a dealer.
Doubly odd since the two email questions I have sent them were all answered nearly the same day. Emmanuel was the guy I recall.
I will inquire about the particulars at RMAF.
I have Roon but if it is holding me back I can gladly lose it.
FYI the Innuos Zen 3 I have is making me quite happy. I did add the
Uptone Audio Etheregen and that was nice +.
Roon is compatible with some of the highest end gear in the world.
There are a variety of approaches that you can take. It sounds like you want a Roon Server on your network that will work and talk to your Savant system and the DBX Venu360. These will range in price from about $500 (NUC) to $35K (Taiko). This is also where you want the most processing power as this is the part of the chain that engages the extremely volatile internet.
The second part is the Renderer/Player. This will take the signal from the server and get it ready to be served to the DAC. This does not require a particularly large amount of processing power. It just needs to be a quiet device.
Third part is the DAC. You clearly know what that does.
You can keep all three parts separate or many devices incorporate two or possibly all three of these features in one box. The best devices/systems I have heard usually embrace keeping things a bit separated. It is very common for a great server to serve as server or renderer. I have a Weiss DAC here that is "Roon Ready" and is a tremendous renderer.
I would probably start by picking the DAC you really like. Depending on the DAC you choose, it may (not in all cases) dictate the optimal server/renderer.
For example, Rockna works best with Rockna servers. The I2S connection breaks each element of the signal out and there is a perfect synch between the clocking on the server and DAC. The Rockna Server with a Rockna DAC will outperform more expensive products because of this synergy.
Same goes for Playback. The Dream DAC and their Transport are best together and greater than the sum of the two parts.
Alternatively, a line like Chord doesn't offer a server and matching with a great server like Antipodes is the best you can do.
I in my system, I have a standalone server (Antipodes K40) and use the renderer in my Weiss for one system and a chord 2Go/2Yu combo into an Audiobyte DAC as a bridge for the other and both are brilliant.
Start with the DAC. Build from there.
Not true at all,Roon is by far the best most music organizer out there.Qobuz, and Tidal are huge streaming libraries to complement Roon.the key is having the quality to complement hiend streaming
to seriously compete with discs ,or Flac files.
for example I have the latest Bricasti M3 with Streamer card option.the M3 dac and streamer is a very good example of high end sound without breaking the bank. To complement a direct Ethernet cable is a must,from the router is necessary. I use a decent Quality $200 Wireworld Ethernet cable from modem to router ,from router to Ethernet switch to save $$ the top professional grade 30 ft of Beldon 500 MHz bandwidth , very important here the cheap $30 Ethernet hub is worthless l use the Uptone Audio,Ether Regen
absolutely cleans the digital noise riding on the line and from there to the streamer ,it is now clean ,and a Wireworld $200 Ethernet cable to the streamer. This is the most critical cable I have experienced ,I will buy better in the future, and under the dac an absolute must for top clarity and resolution is a set of 4 ultra Still points. My system sounds very good . Not lacking what so ever.
sure it could be better still if I have another $5-10k. I have roughly
$8 k invested in the dac cabling,power cord ,plenty good for the moment and Bricasti is at the forefront and it’s a modular design
with the future in mind.
IMO Roon is a MUST for the serious audiophile who is interested in digital music. It facilitates very high Fidelity music playback. You can run a Roon core IMO equally well on ani inexpensive NUC as a server streamer costing thousands. I know. I have done both. It is invaluable for music discovery. I don’t know what I would do without it.
You just need to update your Zen to the 2.04 current version. You will have a choice between Roon and Innuos Sense. Select Sense and be prepared to smile. It sounds much better than Roon on the Innuos players. Also download the remote Innuos app. Roon is still a better interface in terms of features, but it sounds harsh and noisy compared to Innuos Sense.
Your dealer can help you.
Grannyring can you still use Roon as a catalog interface and still use QObuz
and bypass Roons software for music with your innous ?I don’t allow Roon to
Take over No executive mode .My Bricasti dac uses its own protocalls
if nothing on Roon is setup like executive made it sounds Waay better..
every dac is different it’s processing and abilities.
the comments on here are mostly very misguided.
1) Roon has zero impact on sound quality. That is up to the resolution of your source files or service and the quality of your dac.
end of discussion.
also, anyone out there saying The cost of their Ethernet cable has any correlation with sound quality has no idea what they are talking about.
kingofgix. Been dedicated audiophile since 1974. And similarly dedicated to vinyl. SME TT, tone arm and cartridge that cost as much as a Hyundai, Pass Labs pre amp and amp. Sound quality streaming equals vinyl...a little different, but pleasing. Get a Nucleus, Farrad power supply, Bricasti M3, Quobuz and Tidal accounts, hook up to your current gear with the best cables you can afford and prepare to be happy. Only listen to vinyl now when grandchildren point to TT and say "what's that grandpappy?"
This will really open your eyes on how to maximize sound quality from Roon. This dealer is not alone in providing verified upgrades commonly available, but their video spells it out nicely >
re ROON and sound quality, in my experience ROON enables perfect implementation of signal transmission via WiFi. I run the ROON core on a (dedicated) MacBook and distribute via WiFi (LinkSys mesh) to two OPPO 205s. Works perfectly, in case of doubt better than USB (to the OPPOs), but this is a marginal ‘better’.
re Ethernet cables, I agree as far as bit for but transmission is concerned. But these cables can carry power, act as antennas, and the more you go up the ladder (CAT 5 -> 8) deal with switching frequencies. There is potential for contamination. WiFi connection minimizes that.
Finally, much to my surprise, inserting a powered Netgear switch between my router and distribution box (house is CAT 5 wired) resulted in clearly better image quality on SONY 4K screens around the house. I can’t say I have now better sound, but this is an indication that there is Ethernet related contamination which can make it through…
All the best!
When I came into the 21st century and stopped fooling around with my hundreds of CD’s and LP’s and started streaming music it was a veritable godsend. I use a ROON Nucleus Rev B to stream music from Tidal and Qobuz. My router is a Gigaspire model made by Calix that was provided by my cable TV internet service, a product which I plan on upgrading in the future. I use a $20 CAT6 Ethernet cable made by L-Com running from the router to my Nucleus, because there is no need for a more expensive one unless you have a much better router. I do use an AudioQuest Diamond USB cable from the Nucleus to my ROON endpoint, a Chord Hugo M Scaler, because I’m not a cable denier, and the AQ Diamond is one that sounds quite nice within my listening chain. I’m all about plug and play convenience. I turn on my Woo WA22 hp amp, put my Focal Utopia headphones on my head, pick up my iPad Pro, and start listening to whatever recorded music suits my fancy. It’s that easy. You can spend thousands on TOTL streaming audio gear if you want to, but it really isn’t necessary if you’re just getting started.
I'm late for this question. I have a Lyngdorf processor ordered. If I ever get my hands on it I will be getting streaming up and running. I have never done so as I'm a CD and TT guy. The MP-40 comes with Roon installed. What else do I need to make Qobuz work ? I strictly want the best SQ, not worried about convenience or storage and such. I just want something that plays good sound, like my CD's do,,, which I realize is impossible, but lets get as close as I can ....
If your unit will serve as a host for your Roon core and will be a server/streamer, then you need a Roon subscription. Then download the Roon Remote app to your phone or tablet. Log into your Roon account and select your Roon core on your unit. Then in Services log into your Qobuz account and you are all set. FYI if you also have Tidal you can login to Tidal. You can also log into Dropbox if you use Dropbox to store your Roon backup files. Hope that was helpful.
Roon has 3 pieces:
Roon Core (a computer, NAS, SonicOrbiter or Nucleus) that runs the main software
Roon Endpoint - a renderer or streamer that feeds the signal to your DAC
Roon Remote - remote control functionality(tablet, phone, mac/PC) where you select what's playing/queued and discover music
This brief article does a decent job explaining it: https://www.whathifi.com/us/advice/roon-everything-you-need-to-know
@sbank @nitrobob I wanted to specify that by running Roon core on a “computer” I think it is optimal from both a SQ and cost perspective to run Roon on an Intel NUC. You can put together an over spec’d NUC w/RAM and SSD for less than (conservatively) $900. That will get you a NUC with a fan that you may or may not want in your listening room but can be on your network elsewhere. Otherwise, you can place the NUC without the fan in an Akasa Turing case for about $170 and now it’s fanless and can be in your listening room. This is what I have done and replaced my InnuOS Zenith Mk3 and PhoenixUSB which cost thousands. I am very happy with the SQ of my NUC. It’s at as good as the Innuos gear for much much less $.
I agree 100% that a NUC is optimal from a cost perspective, but if you aren't interested in assembling one, the Small Green Computer Sonic Orbiters at almost the same pricing, and the pricier Roon Nucleus will provide equal sonics. Upgrading to better power supply on any of these will also provide further sonic improvement.
With little time available and not much interest in putting a NUC together, my choice was a Sonic Orbiter i5 which has been flawless, simple to set up and sounds fantastic paired with a Sonore opticalRendu feeding my DAC in the listening room. The Sonic Orbiter is a good choice if you prioritize champagne sound on a beer budget, but DIY-ish steps like installing operating systems doesn't sound like fun. Cheers,
Ok, so... to get this Roon running on the new Lyngdorf (which I am told ships this week) I need this Sonic Orbiter i5. Or something similar. It will take up one of my 3 inputs on the MP-40 as it only has 3 HDMI inputs. That leaves me one for my Blu Ray player and one for my Cable TV box... If this is the case, I’ll get one ordered... Thanks for the help guys. I also have a Roko but I suppose I can uses an Optical in....
@sbank Well if not interested in even a small DIY, then the SonicOrbiter maybe a good option and based on my experience weighing everything, better than putting out lots of $ on Innuos or other high cost servers, which IMO are overrated. But if you are ok with minimal DIY with nothing more that a screw driver and using a USB computer keyboard, a monitor and a cable to connect a NUC to the monitor then I think the NUC is superior to the SonicOrbitor i5. First of all, if you price out the components in the i5 you are way overpaying for the SonicOrbiter. Plus I am not sure SGC is transparent about the amount of RAM and size of SSD in there. With the NUC you can buy everything on Amazon or eBay. You need a NUC, some RAM (I recommend 32GB) and an M.2 SSD. I recommend 240 or 256 GB. You unscrew the NUC, snap in the RAM and secure the M.2 SSD with a supplied screw. You download ROCK from the help.Roonlabs.com website on a flash drive and follow the easy instructions to minimally adjust the NUCs BIOS settings and install ROCK on the NUC and you are practically done. I did this as a pandemic DIY project. I have a periodic small familial tremor and I was able to do this. I was able to build a NUC 10th Gen i7 with 32GB and 256 GB SSD. I put this in an Akasa heat sink case per the how to videos on YouTube and I built an over specd Roon Core that I can say is better and more powerful than the SonicOrbiter, the Nucleus and the Innuos Zenith Mk3. Plus it beats them all on cost and is at least their equal on SQ. I would venture to say perhaps even better. Roon remote runs snappy with zero glitches. Lastly, no need to pay SGC $29 or so periodically for an firmware upgrade. So I don’t think building a NUC or configuring BIOS and installing ROCK is daunting at all and I am not a computer or IT guy. You also gain the satisfaction of making this yourself and saving lots of $ for some other piece of gear!
I stand corrected on SGCs reporting of RAM and SSD. As you can see 8GB and 64 GB is the *bare minimum* for Roon to be functional and forget any DSP. Plus they are using a Gen3 i5! We are up to Gen10 now and soon Gen11 if it isn’t here already? The investment in their unit is at the bare minimum. Everyone can build with minimal skill a Roon Core server that blows this thing away. Like it said I built a fanless Gen10 i7 with 32GB RAM and 256GB SSD that blows that thing away for a fraction of the cost. Oh, and canceling Roon? Who would ever do that? I have a lifetime subscription and is the biggest bang for the buck in my listening room. It is fantastic for music discovery and sound quality. I think there is some Squeezlite and HQ player integration. But I don’t use that. But for Roon you can’t beat a NUC you build yourself. IMO the Roon Core server vendors in our hobby are not making anything near worth the money. The incremental improvement if there is any isn’t there and I proved it to myself with my InnuOS Zenith Mk3 and PhoenixUSB USB which are since sold. The added benefit of the NUC, and this applies to the STi5 is separation of the streamer from the server. The last thing, I want to say about this is, if you have a high priced Roon core server and you like it, terrific! But what I am pointing out to my colleagues here is that, if you are interested there is a lower cost/high quality Roon core server option that is easy to make that will free up thousands of dollars in your system without any loss in SQ and possibly some gains, you have an option here. I know this because I have experience this and done this myself.
@peter_s you need a streamer in between. You can also have your Roon core server on your network etherneted to a switch and you can Ethernet your streamer for best results from the same switch. Then run USB out from the streamer to the DAC. You can make this configuration more complicated and sophisticated with other devices and optical but the above is the basic configuration. Having the streamer separate from the Roon Core shields it to a degree (large? small?) from any noise the server produces.
It is possible for a Roon Core (PC, Nucleus, etc…) to serve as both server and renderer. It is better to have different devices, a server and renderer, but the same device can serve as both.
For example, you can run a USB cable from a Roon Nucleus directly into a DAC. I literally have a USB running from my Nucleus+ into my Audiobyte HydraVox DAC at the moment.
@verdantaudio and others. What would you recommend as a separate renderer downstream of my NUC? I can build a raspberry pi, and run USB from that to my DAC. In this case, the raspberry pi gets fed by ethernet from my switch/router. Then the raspberry pie provides a USB to the DAC. What other renderers would be better in this situation?
@peter_s You've got the idea, that would work. If you go with a Pi, there are lots variants, the ones with Allo hats get lots of praise, but I haven't heard those.
One obvious renderer alternative that's very affordable is the Sonore microRendu. It's the size of a deck of cards, just ethernet input and USB output. It's SQ will improve as you improve the power supply. iFi is a good cheap option, but a top quality linear power supply is worth serious consideration with this or any renderer really.
IMHO, the microRendu is a tipping point in digital playback value. Chris Connaker at audiophilestyle named Rendus the Product of the Decade.
I can't speak about the quality of a Raspberry Pi. There are a bunch of renderers on the market. I am not familiar with iFi. The only option I have heard under $1000 is the Bluesound Node. Others will be able to offer much better advice than I can.
In the $2K plus range I am familiar with some incredible options. It is just the nature of what I have been exposed too.