Roon vs JRiver

Hi all,

I am using JRiver currently on my laptop and am quite happy with it for earphone listening via an AQ Dragonfly.

With the recent rave of Roon, I downloaded the trial to find out more about it and whether it is worth the costly switch. The Roon sub is $119 a year or $499 for a lifetime sub which is hefty compared to JRiver's one-time price of $29.99.

When I compared Roon with JRiver, and I only did this with my laptop, AQ Dragonfly and Shure earphones, I find that Roon's noise floor is rather high compared to JRiver which is actually almost dead quiet. Maybe I am not setting it up correctly but the Audio set-up tab seems rather straightforward and intuitive.
The other thing about Roon is you can't set sampling rates with the versatility that JRiver offers.

Has anyone else compared Roon with JRiver?
I would appreciate any input before I make the decision to stick with JRiver.

Thanks in advance.
J. :)
Given how quickly the digital playback environment changes and how quickly companies go in and out of business, I'd be very cautious about a "lifetime" subscription.  Never heard Roon, so no knock on their product, but it is a new spin-off company and who knows what could happen (like a competitor buying them out and killing the product)  (of course, that never happens) 
Thanks for the input. It is good advice not to go for the lifetime sub. And there isn't much justification to pay the steep yearly sub compared to the very reasonable one-time price for JRiver, including the regular upgraded versions.
Guess I will stick with JRiver.
J. :)
But, does JRiver allow you to explore artists, genres, tracks, etc. in the same manner that Roon does across Tidal and your library?

If not, it's an apples-to-oranges comparison in terms of functionality. If you don't factor in the advantages of Roon (if they're at all important to you), then your decision will be made simply on the two points above: Cost, and Something that hasn't even happened.
A JRiver license is $49.98 and the upgrade cost for each new version is between $20 and $26. New versions come out about once a year.

JRiver does not have Tidal support and will not, You can run Tidal software and pump the sound through JRIver, but JRiver has made it clear they will not incorporate  Tidal into their product.
Thabks, all.

The primary deciding factor for me is sound quality. The other functions and Tidal are secondary.  

The higher noise floor with Roon is just too significant for me to ignore.  

I haven't upgraded my JRiver since version 19 and so have not kept up with the pricing.  I am quite happy with the sound quality of this version although I am unsure as to how much it can be improved with each new version.  

Will try Roon again some time down the road.  Hopefully, they would hae the noise problem solved by then. 

J. :)
Glad to help. 
I treid Roon, and promptly canceled it within the trial period and continue to enjoy Jriver 21.  Roon was to quirky for my machine (does not like other audio players on the OS and really (REALLY) wants a 64 bit OS.  

when I cancelled, I advsied what the isues were (incompatability, unstable, crashed my PC) and all they kept doing was offer me a lower price.  I love it.  I talk quality - they talk price. 

I just signed the petition "Bring together Roon & PS Audio Bridge II" and wanted to see if you could help by adding your name.

Our goal is to reach 100 signatures and we need more support. You can read more and sign the petition here:

This is the letter on the petition that is addressed to PS Audio’s Paul McGowan and Roon’s Brian Luczkiewicz

Many of us own PS Audio PerfectWave DAC products. The PS Audio Network Bridge allows the PerfectWave DAC to operate at its fullest potential, and that potential is a force to be reckoned with! For many of you, I am preaching to the choir. This DAC & network enabled Bridge is one of the best available on the market.
Roon is simply the most impressive music management software that I have ever seen, and I think I have seen them all! It is beautifully designed so the experience of listening to music is enhanced while using it, rather than countless other programs that are a tedious distraction. Roon is not overcomplicated, yet it allows us to correctly configure the precise controls that a proper hi-fi DAC such as the PS Audio PerfectWave DAC requires.
For those of you who are Roon users, I urge you to check out the PS Audio PerfectWave DAC. For the PS Audio owners, you MUST download the trial to Roon right away! It will change your life!
This petition is to show support to the good people at Roon & PS Audio. They are already working together to try to figure out how to integrate Roon & the PS Audio Bridge, so this petition is to help them give the project some steam and get it done! Please sign this and forward it to any Roon or PS Audio user that you feel is appropriate. The more support we demonstrate may just push this past the tipping point!
No prob, Mark. Glad to help.
Personally, I find Roon a well developed piece of software.  I find JRiver to be fine sounding, but an extremely poorly designed app. There is no comparison. Not even close!
Sorry to say that you are compare apple to orange.
If you want to compare SQ you should compare with jPlay, HQPlayer, XXHighend just to name a few. and each of them has Pro and Con just like JRiver.

However, if you want to compare music Management. Roon is second to none that currently existing. And just to say Roon might be a new name but people who did Sooloo 10 years ago and also HP Music.

Hope this clear things out. 
I certainly agree that the Roon interface is the best out there today....

J. :)
I am testing Roon, JRiver21, and Foobar2000 on a T+A MP2000R DAC/streamer, T+A PA2500R Amp, Piega Classic 60.2 speakers, Kimber and Wireworld cables.
The Roon interface is the best I have ever seen. JRiver is usable, and Foobar is not verry well.
The sound of JRiver and Foobar is much better then Roon. I do not know what is wrong with the Roon sound but I do not like it on my equipment.
My experience is quite different. Jriver is crashing (on all computers, not only mine) when you select DSD upsampling and press skip a few times. 

I had ZERO such a problems with Room. It has been super stable to date (Xeon 8-core processor, 64-bit system, 16GB ram).

Roon's library management is easily the best in the biz. So is the Tital integration and their iOS app. They have been developing their software for over 10 years (they first started as Sooloos) - and it shows.

You can greatly improve the sound quality in Roon by adding HQ Player plug in. This is how I use mine.
Elberoth, what is the hq player plugin? Is that available for both Mac and PC?
J.River had never a crash on any computer I have seen. I use native DSD (DSD64 - DSD256) no up or down sampling, and had never a problem.
The computers are Intel dual and quad Core Celeron, AMD Quad and Eight Core, 2GB, 4GB and 16GB RAM. ZERO problems with J.River.

You are right about the software managment. Roon is by far verry much better then J.River.

But the Roon sound is terribly, all detail in the music is gone. The sound is more importend then operating and managing the software.
I will try the HQ Player plug in.
Roon is simply better with metadata. That means nothing to me. I just want great sound and Jriver gives it to me. Also the cost of Roon is rediculous. What happens to your lifetime subscription when they go out of business.
Don't know the significense of Roon incorporating Tidal and jriver not. When I want to listen to Tidal I just stream from Tidal
Agree with Alan, and I do the same.  Over the weekend I discovered a way of having Tidal going though JRiver/ASIO vs the PCs or Windows audio path (PC - USB to Mcintosh D100 DAC, can probably be done w/other DACs.)

Can't say that the sound quality one way or another is better or even different, but this way I can take advantage of the JRiver's DSP settings if desired.
I was going to give Roon a try until I looked at the licensing. I use two systems, on for development and playing around and the other for actual use by the family. With Roon I would need to have 2 licenses to do that. Also, I spend time in Florida during the winter. I cannot take my main system so I either use a laptop or connect through the Internet to my main system. Unfortunately, Roon only works on a local network. So, the only way to use it remotely is to license it to yet a third laptop system which I take with me. Net, I need 3 licenses ($360 a yea) or 3 lifetime licenses ($1,500). That is not going to happen. Plus, even then, I do not have remote access no matter what. I get remote access and the ability to install on several systems for $25 a year from JRiver. As much as I would like to try Roon, the cost and lack of remote access means I will not be able to use it.
Alan, to say Roon is simply better with metadata is a big understatement.  I agree, it is expensive, but the user experience taken as a whole is on another level compared to JRiver and other software.  When I listen to music, I like the control software to be as little as a burden as possible.  JRiver is old fashioned and poorly designed from a user experience standpoint.  Roon on the other hand goes the other direction.  Not only is it a joy to use, but the advanced use of metadata allows me to quickly rediscover hidden corners in my collection.
I stopped testing Roon and removed it.
I've used JRiver, I dropped it and went back to the Free Foobar 2000, I used both in conjunction with and without JPlay. I didn't use it very long, but I tried XXHighend.  Foobar and JRiver sounded better than XXHighend... This forum and my feeble mind convinced me that if i'm not paying for something it can't be as good. What it came down to for me is that I became very comfortable and learned the ins and outs of Foobar so well.  Its free and its sound quality is on par with the few that I've tried. Getting your music labled (tagged) is an extra step, but its second nature to me now. I could be persuaded to change,  but I've got Foobar 2000 down and that's were I'm staying for the time being. 
Good luck to all, but I wanted to share my experience. Tim
Is it true that in order for my ipad mini 2 to control roon, it has to be 64gb? I bought a 32gb ipad and just read a support thread on a room forum saying it has to be 64gb.

Hello All!!

New here but this thread deals with an issue I'm actively trying to resolve:  Roon or JRiver?

Got both on my machine and AB tests show to my ears that the JRiver sound is more dynamic and clearer. At same volume set, Roon is softer and subdued. However, Roon metadata is outstanding and the interface for playing music is superb. The JRiver playing interface is still largely text-based and harks back to a Windows file system appearance. 

JRiver is struggling to import my cover art from file (I know its there) and I'm having to manually import cover art either from file or the internet album by album. Roon breezed through this with no problems.

One major drawback on Roon is that its library is virtual, being the result of links rather than an import.  So when anything in the library is deleted, the original source file is actually lost from disc forever!  The community seem quite happy to live with this and set much store on backups. I find it such a major departure from best practice that I now doubt the whole Roon project. Reviews on the Google Appstore regarding the touchscreen app have also not been reassuring.

I sense a fundamental cultural difference between the two organisations: Roon is agile, fleet-footed and empathises with the user; JRiver is more corporate, a little less connected with the user, but strong on standards and best practice.  There are advantages to both, I suppose.

Got a year's subscription on each, so got a bit of time to make up my mind.

Got both on my machine and AB tests show to my ears that the JRiver sound is more dynamic and clearer.
Got the Roon free trial just to find out my iPad is too old to use the app. Oh well, no good to me now. Jriver works just fine for now as I too am a bit antiquated.

how do you "run Tidal software and pump the sound through JRIver". Please explain.


pixelphoto - I should have been clearer. Tidal software itself does not allow you to redirect the output to JRiver, unfortunately. I use Bubble UpNP on an Android tablet, available in Play Store.  It has Tidal support and can send the output to JRiver's DLNA renderer. It is not as nice an interface as the Tidal App, but it works fine. It lets me send  HiFi, CD quaility output to JRiver for playing. You can also send it to another DLNA renderer if available.

Bubble UpNP allows you to choose the renderer for output, and all you need to do is select the JRIver renderer. In JRiver, you just need to be sure the DLNA rendered is turned on DLNA in Tools - Options - Media Network - Advanced. I think it is by default. I play the CD quality files directly, but you can also use JRiver's DSP studio if you wish.

Bubble UpNP is a easy way to use Tidal through JRiver, as long as you have an Android device.  Give it a try and let me know if you have any questions.
I have both.  Roon for about a year, and jRiver for about three years on 21 presently.  I prefer Roon for the interface (except for classical music metadata - more below) and for the computer architecture.

I am using a CAPS Carbon server feeding a microRendu via ethernet cables to a PS Audio Perfectwave Directstream dac.   I also have both players on my desktop system using an idsd nano dac, and high-quality small monitors with a sealed sub under the desk.  Both systems use my NAS as the storage device.  My desktop computer is 64bit running Win 10.

This thread made me question the relative sound quality of the two players so I tried an experiment using my desktop system because it is very easy for me to switch from one to the other and the near-field listening reveals differences very immediately.  Using Norah Jones's "Come Away With Me" (I like well recorded/mastered female vocals for evaluating systems) on redbook for a PCM test: Roon revealed a more 3d and richer sound.  I tried raising the volume on jRiver because the smaller aural image made me think it was lower but it didn't change the result. Winner - Roon.

Next I tried Quiles and Cloud "Seminole Star" also a well recorded/mastered female vocal, this time on DSD.  Same result but even more apparent, Roon has higher SQ in all the ways I can think of.  

I have never played jRiver through my microRendu, but I will try to configure that if possible and repeat the test on my big rig and if succesful write it up here.  

As far as classical music metadata - neither player is great, but jRiver allows me to customize how I list my music a lot better than Roon.  In fact I have a hard time finding some of my classical albums on Roon and it takes me a few tries using different approaches to find an album that I know I have (but don't know the name) using it's composer and genre to locate it.
Do you know DigiBit’s aria server?, they seem to be the best for classical metadata

I have both Roon and JRiver. I have used JRiver for a few years but just started using Roon with my acquisition of a Music Vault server. My DAC is a PS Audio Directstream.

I always found JRiver to be very complicated and unintuitive to use both from the perspective of just getting it to work with my DAC and music organization/selection.

 When I first tried Roon, I also found it to be easy in setup but unintuitive for music playback until I realized that it was structured around a very different paradigm for listening to music... one that I think better reflects how I actually approach music.

There are three fundamental issues that I consider in music playback.

The first is sound quality and I give both JRiver and Roon an A+ in this regard. One can debate who is ahead at present but this is a very dynamic issue and whomever succeeds commercially is likely to be the leader here in the future.

The second issue has to do with how I like to interface with music selection. Do I feel today like listening to a particular album, a random selection of a genre or exploring some new things I have never heard before. Here, Roon is the hands down winner. You can play an album, have a Pandora like radio experience or have it suggest new things to you.

The third issue is album meta data. I like to know who is playing what, where the artist came from, who else is closely related to them musically, what they had in mind in creating this album etc. Here also, Roon excels.

This is not to say that Roon is perfect today. There are lots of issues.  But, hey, I think this is the bleeding edge of music for the future so you have to be patient if you want to live there.

Roon could do a better job of allowing you to organize different genres - like how about a jazz vs classical vs rock vs other tab for separating libraries.

Roon could provide better metadata. still has more info than you get with Roon.

Genres should be way more refined than just "Jazz" or "Rock". As a jazz fan I recognize atleast 20 different major genres of jazz (Be-bop, Hard-bop, West Coast Cool, Kansas City Blues etc.)

In any case, it is the future and I think Roon is more tuned in to it.

I use Plex with Plexpass which has many similar features to Roon.  Automatic tagging in the library is very good and hundreds of genres are supported.
After two weeks listening to roon and hqplayer, there's no way I go back to jriver. SQ of the combination of roon and hqplayer is phenomenal. I feel sorry for those who can't tell the difference between those two.
Having purchased the LampizatOr DSD Komputer prototype music server that I reviewed (you can read it here:, it used Daphile as the player and storage system. However, I was able to get it upgraded to Roon with HQ Player when I sent it back to have an issue with the power button fixed under warranty, as they now use that, as opposed to Daphile. Already a winner, the performance of the Komputer went up noticeably. In fact, when I played a track on it after I got it back and my wife got home from work, she said that she noticed a difference in its sound -- and she really liked it!

I will be posting up a review soon at my Ayllon Media site soon.


By the way, I have JRiver on my old Toshiba laptop, which was my go-to music server and still remains in my possession.  In fact, I used it to listen to music while my Komputer was sent back to Poland.  It's nice, but not nearly as enjoyable as Roon.  
Hi Jon,

Did you tried Daphile yet?
The Audio Dandy streamer use it and it based on the same hardware as ROON ROCK
Daphile is open source and free to use! and it also can play DSD
A review you can find here:

Trie it, and let us know what you find of it


Audio Dandy

Don't feel sorry for us folks.......Carry on with your Roon/HQ Player. Sound Galaries dealers seem to post on all the forum with the same fan based comments.
I have not yet listened to Roon
I have used Daphile for a while
now i am running snakeoil-os.
it is absolutely free.
great sound
many options and easy to use.
you can choose the Music server that you prefer

I have an Intel NUC in our living room that I play my NAS ripped CD’s and HiRes through a SCHIIT Bifrost Multibit DAC. I just purchased the PS Audio Stellar DAC/PreAmp and S300 but it isn’t here yet. I also have a SCHIIT Modi2 in my my home office that I listen through a SCHIIT Vali2/Paradsound amp. So does that mean if I want to listen to ROON in the living room and my home office I need to buy 2 licenses? Or can I share across on both PC’s in my house like my JRiver? I wanted to try Roon but I don’t want to shell out 1K if I like it and want it on 2 PC’s in the house. Does anyone know the answer to this one?


I use Roon on both my Music Vault music server or I sometimes use my Macbook pro as the server. Roon makes me choose one or the other at a time but I can switch back and forth. A little bit of a hassle but no cost.