About ready to give up on Roon and my streamer

Last December I started a thread to address the question of whether a true AES/EBU cable would sound better than a standard XLR when connecting my Sonnet Morpheus DAC to a Sonnet Hermes streamer. As the discussion evolved, (and in the end I abandoned both connections in favor of I2S via ethernet cable) I began sharing my trials and tribulations setting up Roon and getting it to work. Though I was finally successful and did get to spend some quality time streaming favorite music through Qobuz on the Roon platform, I've never been entirely happy with the sound. Apart from the headaches of getting everything to connect together every time I turn it on, I've also experienced some bizarre intermittent sound quality issues with Roon that I'm becoming very frustrated with. Sometimes it sounds pretty good, and sometimes it sounds tinny, shrill, and no stereo image. I haven't changed any settings anywhere, but something's clearly not getting processed correctly. At this point I'm tired of fighting with it.

What I'd really like to do is take Roon out of the equation entirely and connect directly to Qobuz through a streamer, but the Sonnet Hermes is designed to be a Roon endpoint and as far as I can tell, nothing more. If there's a way to get it to connect directly to Qobuz, I'd surely like to know about it. 

Meanwhile, I'm happy to take suggestions for a streamer in the $1K to 1.5K range (new or used, happy with either) that can do this. I really don't want anything with a built-in DAC, as I'm really happy with mine, despite some minor shortcomings in its array of input connections. 

Advice greatly appreciated. Thanks!



Are you referring to an SD slot? Does Sonnet sell these preconfigured for additional streaming services or is this just a download thing?

I’ve been using Roon for quiet some time and it’s been very consistent and stable. I I use Mac Mini 2018 as a Roon core and a Bricasti M3 with network renderer as a Roon end-point. There’s no variation in sound quality. What you’re describing sounds like a compatibility issue and or network problems. I’m not familiar with your components but I would post on Roon forum if I were you, in a tech support section, and attempt to get some help and figure it out. 
As a test, can you use USB cable between your streamer and DAC? If so, try it and see if the issues still persist. 

IFi Neo streamer. Comes with a linear power supply and a converter that changes ethernet to optical. $1299. Get it on amazon, audition it, return it if dissatisfied. Use the digital outputs to go to your dac. Came out late 2022. It will automatically recognize your dac if you turn on your dac first. Recognizes Roon and Tidal. Use mconnect for Qobuz.  That’s one downside. The other is that you sometimes have to choose the output when you first turn it on. Otherwise, it’s a great value. it has bit perfect and up sampling options. The instructions stink imho. Try it. Return it. Can’t go wrong. You might even keep it.

The one with the most options is BlueSound, inferior to choices above and no version available without their DAC.

Can't you bypass their DAC by feeding its output through a USB/Toslink/Coax cable to a downstream DAC?  The Bluesound Node gives you a decent streamer and a pretty rich set of features for $599. 

Roon has the best user interface in the business but IMO depending on streamer/server used not the best sound quality.  I use Innous Sense app with Zenith mk 3 with fabulous results.