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!


I'd say it sounds like time to try another Dac maybe the streamer is not the issue.

Maybe the expansion slot you're using for I2S / USB is defective since you're getting the same result as before. Try SPDIF between the Pulse Mini and the DAC and see if you hear the same thing.

I've jettisoned Roon from the chain and am connecting to Qobuz directly through the Innuos Sense App, using a Samsung tablet. That was the principal reason for trading the Sonnet Hermes for the Innuos Pulse Mini. While I do miss the Roon interface, it's just one more paid subscription than I really need.

As for digititis, well, this problem only occurs with streaming in my system. Other digital media (CDs, DVDs, BluRays, and anything that comes through the Roku box) do not exhibit this problem and in fact sound really good unless the recording quality was bad to begin with (e.g. any number of YouTube videos). I have perfectly sufficient power conditioning--Furman Elite PFi15 and Core Power Deep Core on a dedicated circuit. Power cables are all upgraded and are definitely up to the job. 

I'm convinced that there's a weak link somewhere in the chain, but I just don't know what it is. Thanks, Steakster, for the discussion forum links. I'm still reading through those.


Are you still using a PC to run Roon Core? If so, I’d consider something like a SonicTransporter from Small Green Computer.

You might also experiment with Logitech Media Server instead of Roon. I’m pretty sure the Innuos is compatible via Squeezelite. You’d have to give up Roon’s wonderful interface, but it could improve upon the sound quality. The LMS “Material” skin is quite good as a controller for LMS, runs right from your browser.

cooper52 OP

Things begin to fall apart at about the frequencies where vocals live. Here the sound becomes glassy, occasionally shrill, and more forward than it should be. High frequencies generally (like violins, flutes, etc.) can be piercing, and if the music gets loud or dense as in many orchestral pieces, there’s a noticeable loss of composure. The sound actually becomes fuzzy (I hear this as actual distortion) with the musical events all bleeding together in a gelatinous blob.


You’ve described digititus. Solution includes: power conditioning, separating digital from analog, LPS’s, etc. Search for more here.

Updating the update: I’ve put some significant hours into this now, and I assume the Innous streamer has sufficient hours on it and it’s burned in and sounding as it should. However, my complaints about what I’m hearing remain unchanged. There are some things the streamer does really well, like its expansive image and a sound that’s somewhat more fleshed-out than CDs portray in my system. Transients are rendered exceptionally well--drums and percussion are realistic and sharply defined, and the bass is tightly controlled. The spatial placement of musical events is very precise (especially through headphones). So where’s the problem? Things begin to fall apart at about the frequencies where vocals live. Here the sound becomes glassy, occasionally shrill, and more forward than it should be. High frequencies generally (like violins, flutes, etc.) can be piercing, and if the music gets loud or dense as in many orchestral pieces, there’s a noticeable loss of composure. The sound actually becomes fuzzy (I hear this as actual distortion) with the musical events all bleeding together in a gelatinous blob. Yet weirdly, through all of this, the things that the streamer does really well, as described above, it STILL does really well. It’s just that upper frequency range that it can’t seem to control. (FYI, my previous streamer, the Sonnet Hermes acted basically the same.)

I tried Tidal for a short time to see if Qobuz might be the issue here, but they both sounded about the same as far as I could tell. So I’m sticking with Qobuz for now. Is there a weak link in my system somewhere here? The PulseMini is wired via ethernet cable from my AT&T router (300 MBPS fiberoptic internet) over a length of about 35 ft. using CAT5e cable. There’s an ethernet switch at the other end which also connects the TV and the Roku box. As far as I know, none of the cable is shielded (I might be wrong about this though). Would upgrading to CAT6 or higher and using shielded cable make any difference?

Truly not sure where to go from here, so I’d be grateful for any thoughts you may have. Thanks!

Update from OP: Thought I’d try a different streaming device, so I’ve replaced the Hermes with an Innuos PulseMini (about the same price range) and can now stream directly from Qobuz without Roon in the middle. Results are encouraging, but I’m not entirely happy yet. Still using the same DAC--Sonnet Morpheus--but now connecting to the streamer via USB, which required changing the I2S ethernet input back to the USB input. Kind of a pain, but perfectly do-able.

One thing about the PulseMini that really impressed me was its ease of setup. It took me DAYS to get the Hermes working with Roon, and there was some rather bad language involved in that process as you may imagine. The Innuos setup was a snap. Downloaded the SenseApp to my Android tablet and it recognized and connected instantly to the streamer. Signed into Qobuz and was off and running.

So far, I’m hearing improvements over the Hermes, but there’s still an element of glare in the upper mids and some graininess/fuzziness in the presentation when things get dense. It definitely doesn’t sound like my CDs when I play albums I have and know well. What I’m hoping to hear is a gradual improvement in these qualities as I put more hours on it. It’s brand new, so I won’t make any final judgments until it’s had 100 hours or so. I’m also hoping a better USB cable will help. I’m currently using the one that came with it, but I’ve got one on order from Morrow which may help some. We’ll see.

I do have to agree with the Roon fans that their interface is excellent, far better than the SensApp interface, but for me, SensApp gets the job done, so for the moment I’m happy enough with it. I CAN go back to Roon with this device if I ever want to, but for now but let’s see how this goes.


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

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 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. 

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. 

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roon brings alot of value otherwise it would not exist

but it does take some knowhow, some $$ and some patience to make it work

no doubt other companies get streaming to work well without roon

like anything else in this hifi hobby, there is no one size fits all

it took me a while to subscribe to roon, but now that i have i love it, and i do not believe it hurts streaming sonics at all

You gut reaction will be this is too cheap to be any good, it is GREAT, The Martin Logan Unison. It does Quoboz, DLNA, DTS Play-Fi AND it has ARC room correction (which is why I use it and recommend it). I don't use the preamp feature. I use the toslink out into my DAC.It smokes much more $$$ streamers IMO. Check out the streamer here:


review here:


How it measures in my room:




I gave up on Roon and then came back at it. You can read gobs about how to get a lot more out of it right here on Agon (how’s ‘dem Apples) forum. The sound from my Lumin app is a titch better but not a deal breaker. 

Roon nucleus, filtered Ethernet, bandwidth and the whole supporting web of parts matter. Taint cheap but in the world of things audiophile it’s a far lessor ticket item. This might be of interest.

I haven’t been happier since dumping Roon. Both for hardware and tech service related issues.

I moved to Innuos Zenith MK3 and use their Sense app for steaming. Sense requires Innuos hardware. Their new Pulse units are relatively inexpensive and may be worth looking into.


In addition to excellent sound and intuitive app, Innuos has the best tech service and customer support of any company I have ever worked with - anywhere. Outstanding 

I gave up on Roon, its a great library but sound wise not so good.

Look at the Innuos Pulse mini- https://innuos.com/pulse-mini/

Streams Qobuz perfectly, the Innuos Sense app is a reasonable library but sounds leagues better than Roon.

There is a used one https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lisb612e-innuos-pulsemini-network-streamer-black-52529-media-servers if you want to save a few bucks.


Installing Volumio onto an SD card is pretty easy. You just need a PC or Mac, a memory card reader (I use this one) and the Raspberry Pi Imager utility which can be downloaded here.


The imager is nice because it lets you choose your media OS. Sometimes there's an option to preconfigure things like wi-fi before you load the OS onto the memory card which means your device is ready to go as soon as you power it on.


One other note - if you decide to switch to Volumio or another streamer, look into using the UPnP protocol to cast Qobuz from your mobile device. For example, I use BubbleUPnP on my Android phone to log into Qobuz and stream from my phone to my Raspberry Pi running moOde. On iOS devices, I use the mConnect HD app. It preserves the sampling rate and bit depth, so it's great for hi-res audio.

Thanks everybody for your responses. Some very useful information.

To answer a couple of questions posed, the Roon Core is running on my PC (desktop) and I’m using a Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 as the controller. This connects via my AT&T Fiber wi-fi (300Mbps), so I’m pretty sure that’s not a bottleneck.

The Hermes (to re-iterate) is connected to the Morpheus via I2S ethernet cable. I do have the USB module and could change back to it if there would be any advantage to that. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this particular DAC, the USB connection uses the same slot as the I2S ethernet connection, but you have to remove one module and replace with the other if you want to switch formats for this input.

As for using the SD slot to change platforms, I haven’t experimented with this yet--it’s a bit complicated and to be honest, I’m not having a lot of success understanding Sonnet’s documentation on the subject. I guess some experimentation is in order here.

If it’s my router that’s causing the problems, I don’t really know what to do about that. Not really versed in the technology of wi-fi signals and how they might vary.

From the opinions expressed here, it seems that Roon has many great advantages and the majority opinion is that you all seem to like it. So I guess it’s worth making the effort to try to solve these issues before giving up entirely. So at this point, mind still open.

Oh, and yes I DID make use of Roon's knowledge base and support forum when setting everything up, and it proved very helpful. I searched for this particular problem through those sites but didn't find a remedy I thought was useful.

Thanks again for your input.


Have you tired the Roon forum? It's called the Roon Labs Community. I recently had a problem (tuned out to be my network) and the help was first rate.

For Roon sound you can also mess with the DSP feature (a sacrilegious thing to some).

I own the Metrum ambre which is essentially the same as the Sonnet Hermes and also own the upgraded metrum onyx with latest DAC modules.  Cees who designs both the Onyx and Morpheus basically said the upgraded onyx sounds the same as the Sonnet Morpheus.

Anyway I've tried both Roon and Volumio and prefer the sound of Volumio using my above setup and I connect the ambre to the onyx via I2s.  It's easy to swap the small micro SD card inside the Hermes to either use Roon or Volumio.  I just burned the Volumio software onto a micro SD card from the Volumio website and it worked.  Volumio is definitely not as polished as Roon (less options) however it is much more lightweight and no need for an external computer or other device to hold the Roon core.  For me I don't need all of the stuff that Roon does and I preferred the sound quality of Volumio so it works for me.  I'm sure others will listen to both and say the sound quality is the same which could be true in their setup.

Anyway you can try Volumio to see if it sounds any better than Roon and there probably is a free introductory period  Technically Volumio is free but if you want to stream Tidal and Qobuz there is a yearly fee.

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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.

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. 

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.

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. 


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

@dalims4  may have a point regarding router used.  I don’t recall details but do seem to recall something in Roon docs indicating some routers could cause problems with default configuration.  So worth checking to make sure your router is proper for Roon if that matters for you at this point. 

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What @erik_squires said about checking the Roon processing stream. Not familiar with that streamer but could be an incompatibility with the resolution somewhere in the system. Also make sure no unwanted Roon DSP processing is in play. That can wreck total havoc on the sound if not done right.

I am a techie and a big Roon fan. It always sounds fabulous when playing. It is also very flexible on how it does its processing and somewhat complex, so it does not surprise me that it might be difficult for some to get a handle on that or that it might work better on some Roon ready devices than others.


I remember your posts and you finally getting to into the adjustment details of the software. What dac are you currently using?

There are many options out there for quality streaming but if I were to recommend a dac less streamer it would be a Lumin U2 Mini. If the new cost is a problem check out the used market for one or even the previous model (U1 Mini). 
I’m not a streaming fanatic but I do enjoy streaming more since purchasing the U2 Mini- it sounds really nice paired with my dac.

Magna Mano (configurable with i2s)

miniDSP AHD Studio (all but USB and i2s)

Allo USBridge

Pro-Ject S2 Ultra


The last two are USB out

The trick to buying a streamer is:

1 The OS plays the service you want.

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

2   Useable outputs for your DAC.

If USB, a DDC can be inserted to change it.

Does Sonnet have their own control app or can you use UPNP/DLNA apps like Logitech Media Server?

I don't know what the Roon issue you are having but mine has been consistently good, but I only use USB.  Next time you have bad Roon experience it may be good to click on the little star symbol to the left of the backwards icon ( |< ) and see what it says about sound quality.

If you have set up any upsampling you may be having some compatibility issues between what Roon is producing and what can be sent via I2S.


In that range, I’d look at a Sonore OpticalRendu on the used market. It still needs a 3rd party app of sorts to connect it over DLNA, but that shouldn’t affect sound quality in the way Roon has in many situations. Unfortunately there is no Qobuz “connect” of sorts like Tidal or Spotify has, so I believe DLNA is a mandatory.

Here’s a link to how to use Qobuz through OpticalRendu with mConnect:


Older Aurender devices may also fit into your category search, though the OpticalRendu with a quality linear power supply may outperform the early Aurender models. The latest generation are much better performing, but also much more expensive than what you can get for older models on the used market.