Roon Endpoint Streamers - Direct Comparisons between Current Offerings?

Have any of you directly compared sound quality between any of the current offerings of streamers when used solely as a Roon endpoint/streamer? This assumes Roon core and any local music file storage is being operated on a separate device (i.e., a separate server).

I have listed several of the current options below and while a few of those offer additional features, such as server capabilities, hosting of local file storage, or operating players unique to their manufacturers (i.e., other than Roon), I am interested in their performance solely as a Roon endpoint/streamer. Other suggestions not listed below are welcome, but please consider a $5K -$10K price range.


  • Sonore Signature Rendu SE optical v3.0 - $5,350
  • Auralic Aries G2.2 - $6,099
  • Innuos Pulsar - $7,999


  • Aurender N200 - $6,300
  • Antipodes K22 - $9,000

@audphile1 - Good points.  I thought I heard Aurender was, or was soon to be,  Roon ready.  I unintentionally left Lumin out.  What would be the the appropriate Lumin product (streamer only, $5-10K)?

@mitch2 the Lumin U2 streamer only or the previous U1. 
I also heard Roon certification is being worked on by Aurender and I’m very curious how it will work vs the Aurender proprietary Conductor firmware responsible for processing the signal that entails caching to its internal SSD. Not sure if this will be the case with Roon and it may impact the sound quality. We’ll wait and see. I haven’t cancelled my Roon subscription yet though. 


When I first delved into ROON. Th core was iMAC hosted with a BDP pi endpoint. The ROON soundstage was pancake flat vs the BDP/MPD standalone stream of Qobuz and RadioParadise @Redbook resolution. Then I Made a few improvements to the network and cabling but the big move was re-hosting the Core on SGC i5 running the Sonic Orbiter OS (Fedora Linux). Game changer now ROON sounds as good as the BDP/MPD streamer sans the most critical listening.

The Signature Rendu SE is based on the Sonic Orbiter OS.  So +1 for the Sonore.

After looking a bit closer, the streamer market seems fluid with manufacturers revamping line-ups, frequently upgrading models, and increasing prices.  This may not be the time to put money into a newest model streamer.

In the Lumin line-up, the U2 at $5,000 would fit the range while the U1X at $9,200 seems to be the former U1 with a better outboard LPS.

Auralic continues to upgrade streamer models with the Aries G2.2 (that recently upgraded the G2.1) apparently being upgraded to a G3 at $10,899.

I have compared my SOnore Optical Rendu and the Lumin X1 using fibre directly from my network switch. Both sound different and are equally good.

However, I also have a PlayBack Designs Streamer-IF that I bought for $2k. I am only using it with SPDIF out and Ethernet into the streamer (no fibre). I do not know what Andreas K. has done inside that unit but that streamer sounds amazing. Sort of in-between the sound of the smooth and refined Sonore with the loud and brash X1. I plan on eventually getting the PlayBack Designs Dream DAC and then use the fibre stream out of the Streamer-IF. That should be even better.

My Streamer-IF is the previous streamer model PBD sells. I think the new streamers they sell can be used with many more output types, including USB. I would look at them even though they are seriously expensive.

Playback Designs | the finest audio playback in the world

I would think this streamer would work well even connected directly to a noisy computer given the reputation of the designer.


BTW - the Lumin U1X seems to me the internals of the Lumin X1 streamer (what I owned)