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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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.


It looks like certain Aurender models are now Roon Ready and can be enabled for use with video and written instructions here. I would be really curious to hear from the Aurender Roon users.

Ready mode is a free upgrade available on all Intel-based “N-Series” and “ACS-Series” models. The “A-Series” (A200, A15, A20, A30) will be added soon. Older AMD-based models including S10, N10, W20, W20SE, X100, X100L, A10, A100, N100H, N100C, N100SC will not be compatible with Roon Ready mode.

Here’s everything you need to know to get started using Roon with your Aurender:

Here’s everything you need to know to get started using Roon with your Aurender:

  1. You’ll need a Roon subscription in order to get started. If you don’t already have a Roon subscription, sign up for a free 60-day Roon trial subscription here: Free 60-Day Trial
  2. Your Aurender is Roon Ready. That means it will seamlessly discover and connect to a Roon system running on your network. But, a separate Roon Core is required to interface with any Roon Ready devices. The simplest, most powerful Core is a Nucleus. You can also download and install the Roon Core for free on Mac, Windows, Linux, select QNAP and Synology NAS devices, and Intel NUC running ROCK. For more info on how to set up a Roon Core, take a look at this short and informative video.
  3. Install the Roon Remote App on your iOS, Android, Mac, or Windows device.
  4. Update the Conductor App to the latest version on your iOS or Android device in the App Store or Google Play store.
  5. Update the System Software on your Aurender by going to Settings ➡️ Software Update in the Conductor App.
  6. Enable the Roon Ready service by going to Settings ➡️ Streaming in the Conductor App (register your Aurender if prompted).
  7. Depending on which Aurender model you are using, you may have to choose the desired Audio Output that you want to use with Roon. This allows Aurender and Roon to optimize the settings for maximum performance with each output, without compromise:

When I owned Auralic Aries G1 I compared Roon to Lightning DS. I cancelled Roon subscription. I restarted it later in with Lumin U1 Mini and actually preferred Roon over the native Lumin software in both sonics and UX.

It depends on the design and implementation of the OS. For example Auralic used SSD cache, albeit not huge in capacity but enough to be able to leverage it in their implementation and processing. In addition to whatever else the proprietary firmware was responsible for in making the difference.