Roon vs OS and Native Players - Impact on SQ?

My conclusion / assumption is these designers maximized (or maybe "tuned / shaped") their native players to get best sound versus doing a pass through of the Roon player. 

@buickwilson posted the above statement in the following thread, which I’ve been wondering about for a while. There’s been countless posts from Innuos members stating that their streaming experience is better through the Innuos Sense App in comparison to Roon. I also found this to be true with BluOS in comparison to Roon and Tidal Connect (and naturally Spotify Connect).

I now run Roon through an OpticalRendu via the Sonic Orbiter OS which does not have a native player. As a Roon user I’m wondering:

A. Have other Roon users experienced an uptick in sound quality when they’ve completely stepped away from Innuos or BluOS native players (and others) while using Roon on an OS that does not have a native player - like Sonic Orbiter for example?

B. As a Roon user, how much of a bottleneck are we talking about in terms of diminished SQ when comparing Roon to Aurender, Lumin, and Innuos native players?

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OP you can use Roon with Innuos. I found the sound quality very flat in the Roon environment and having a very revealing DAC and being on a fiber network It was very evident the lack of quality in the Roon ecosystem. I can only think of another UI that I would switch back to and that would be the Simaudio Mind2 player and OS. 

@jacobsdad2000  thank you for that. Totally agree/understand - and soon users of Aurender may be able to use Roon as well. And I think that was the theme I was trying to communicate - Roon and its users’ playlists, album tags, and history being able to transfer from one Roon Ready streamer to another Roon Ready streamer whereas I wouldn’t be able to with Innuos Sense and it apply to an Aurender model (for example).

Your experience in SQ between Roon vs the Innuos native player seems common amongst Innuos users. From what I gather from previous responses, Roon’s SQ isn’t impacted by whether or not there’s a native player available, but instead how Roon is interacting with the streamer’s hardware, with differences in SQ being more pronounced by very good implementation - like that of Innuos Sense -  of native streamers. And because of this, the delta of difference of Roon’s SQ on various Roon Ready streamers could vary (presuming on my part).

I found the sound quality very flat in the Roon environment and having ....

Dont mean much without knowing  the set up details....

Roon is actually hard wired into the Wadax Reference Server operating system.

Wadax was an early adapter to Roon and there are custom Wadax Roon Extensions. very happy how Roon has worked and performed these last 2 years with Wadax.


I was hosting the core on a souped up Mac mini dedicated to that task alone. I turned off everything else and had 16 GB memory and a solid state drive. 

I’m not trying to say Roon can’t sound quite good - it did for me. But, the native OS and library management software to my Auralic unit sounded significantly better. 

I can easily imagine that Grimm and WADAX have optimized things such that Roon performs at a very high level. But I stick with my contention that making software work across a wide variety of hardware/platforms is very difficult - and would be nearly impossible to optimize for each. Just like Windows.

There is an important take away in this that I’ve mentioned before. For those of us with hardware that’s Roon certified - that also has a native app - why not have both? In my Auralic unit, I could easily have Roon for everyday listening and switch to Lightning DS for serious listening. It’s perfectly fine to have both options. That said, I am also perfectly fine with the UI and operability of Lightning DS. So, I just don’t really need Roon. I’d keep it if it sounded better but it doesn’t.

My experience only. YMMV.