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!

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Spend the time to troubleshoot as there should not be an issue with the Roon system. From what others have posted it may not be simply plug-and-play which is unfortunate these days. That said, plenty of streamers out there to compare to that do not require that you use the internal DAC in the device. 

I recently purchased the Lumin U2 mini. It was very simple to setup and stream Qobuz. You basically have two apps to manage the device - Qobuz and Lumin. You  link Qubuz to Lumin to view and play music. As with any streamer, it’s best to have a network connection (home run) to an unmanaged switch or router. This will eliminate any buffering. Another option is to look for an open box player for sale. If you can find a reputable dealer in Oregon or Florida, there is usually no sales tax if shipped out of state. This may vary by state. Hope this helps. 

Try one of the new PS Audio AirLens streamers--I've found the galvanic isolation and reclocking sort out the mess of streaming any type of audio. It's also a Roon endpoint (which is my use case in my main system), but also can use DLNA.  It offers I2S output to a DAC.  It was designed to specifically clean up issues with any type of streaming (from a NAS, Roon Server, Qobuz, etc.) so it might be worth giving it a try.  I think they might have a 30 day trial period on it.

i would suggest an eversolo master or gustard r26 as excellent performing, high value streamer/dacs -- i use both with roon, flawlessly - zero setup or drop out issues. lovely sound