Sound quality of Roon

I am considering trying Roon.  I have been using my Bluesound Node but I am going to upgrade as I do enjoy streaming more and more using Tidal.  It is quite an investment to get a NUC or Nucleus and then have a separate tablet to control it all.

But apart from the cost I have read some people say Roon does not sound good.  Their streamer by blah blah sounds better.  Is this true?  For all that is required to use Roon, the hardware, the subscription and all, would Roon be popular if it made digital streaming sound bad?

I would love to hear people who have experience comment on this.  There is info on the Roon Labs discussion site but as you can imagine it is saying this is BS Roon sounds great.  I guess Roon as a software also has had updates, so maybe this is a thing that might have been true in the past?  


From my experience…when I had AURALiC Aries G1 streaming Qobuz, after comparing streaming with AURALiC Lightning DS vs. Roon, the Lightning DS sounded better to me. Slightly. But enough to cancel Roon. I then switched to Lumin U1 Mini. To me Lumin sounded better in my system.
And because I wasn’t entirely in love with the Lumin UI, decided to give Roon another shot. This was about a year after I canceled Roon. I actually ended up liking Roon better than Lumin both sound and obviously the interface just hard to beat. I’ve done comparisons of Lumin to Roon and Tidal connect on Lumin to Roon. In all cases I preferred Roon. Attribute it to Roon’s multiple updates in tbat timeframe I was not using it or just the Roon readiness implementation by Lumin, not sure. But I’ve been using Roon ever since. 

Mac Mini was serving as Roon core in both cases. 

I would recommend trying Roon for free for 30 days as long as you have an adequate computer to run the Roon core on and it’s on the same network with your streamer you should be ok. Risk free. Especially if you have your music ripped to an external drive. 

Excellent question. Roon is software that offers a system for

you to find and organize music. Tidal, Qobuz, Amazon etc are all services 

leasing access to music. About $25/month for Roon and any one of the 3 music


Roon also sells streamers. You can buy anyone's streamer if it is "Roon ready"

and use Roon with it.

Some Streamer companies do not want to drop their drawers to Roon for

the Roon Ready approval. Their private secrets exposed to Roon. Making

alterations to their company programing-Companies like Linn- is abhorrent to them. 

Linn recently cut a special deal with Roon and are going Roon Ready too

after realizing "If you can't beat'em, join'em".

So what should you do? 

The Streamer upgrade will not improve SQ.

The DAC is the thing to shop. The Denafrips Ares 2 is one good value.$800

I chose streaming as my main source and happy about it. I find new music everyday for a minimal monthly fee.

The negative about Roon is the absence on any live CS support.

Their attitude is- Go ask somebody else in the community. Such BS.

You make it, you sell it, you service it.

When your internet is down you have no music.

I bought an Innuos Zen 3 which streams/Rips/Stores in one box.

$2,400 is what I paid 2 years ago.

No DAC in it which is what I wanted. 

DACs are getting better, cheaper every day.



It was explained to me by one very particular small euro company that they 

found when whatever Roon required to be built in to their product for approval

degraded the sound. I believe this guy was telling me the truth. 

Now that said are my ears capable of hearing this degradation?

Or do I enjoy the Roon software enough to say its a trade off I will live with.


I believe that eventually all Streamer makers will fall under Roon's control.

People want the service as it is good and getting better.


A Streamer is a computer. Some may be built better than others but your

BlueSound is the best value going in HiFi gear today. 

Sorry for the book but you hit a subject I just finished investigating 

and am happy to share it.


The Streamer upgrade will not improve SQ.

I’d have to disagree. This hasn’t been my experience trying Mac Mini as a streamer via USB, then AURALiC Aries G1, then Lumin U1 Mini. Each device imparts its own sound signature with Mac Mini being the worst of the bunch in a capacity of a streamer. 

+1 @audphile1 If I were you I’d strongly consider upgrading to an Innuos Zen Mk3. Not only is it a much better streamer than the Node, you can load any CDs you have directly into it and have all your music in one place. To your question, by all accounts Innuos Sense sounds better than Roon. I don’t know Roon nor will I likely ever because I prioritize sound quality over convenience. Last, I highly recommend you do a free trial of Qobuz if you haven’t already — good interface, tons of hi-res music, and none of all the unfolding crap and editorializing of MQA, which is a total sham IMHO. FWIW and best of luck.

My advice is to see if you can try it yourself. 

I haven’t noticed a difference - it’s simply an interface change to simplify playing from a hard driver or multiple streaming services. I have a Roon-ready device from Moon so I can use Moon MiND app, Tidal Connect or Roon.  (My audio dealer uses Roon when people audition systems and there's several 100k+ systems in their listening rooms)

Here’s what I like:

  • 1 TB hard-drive to store my music (allows me to free up my server for space for movies)
  • Meta data - it’s like having access to the liner notes of the album and Rolling Stone at the same time.
  • Recommendations for music based on history - I use it when I’m looking for background music
  • Access to radio stations I haven’t found in Tune-in via the MiND app

Here’s things I don’t like:

  • Search priority starts with your library - prioritizing hard-drive over streaming. My hard-drive is MP3s and I’d prefer a FLAC file over MP3 when available. I either have to click to select the FLAC version or add the "subscription" version to my library so it selects the higher quality version
  • The volume buttons on the iPad change the volume button on the stereo. Accidently touching the button can raise the volume quickly

I prefer Tidal over Qobuz - based on sound quality and my musical tastes. I recommend Roon if you use more than one music streaming service or have more than one system you are using.



When I moved up to the >$3000 streamer/ digital player strata, the degree of audio improvement was not subtle. Linear power supplies in high-end gear matters.

@overthemoon let me try and help you there…in Roon settings, general…scroll down to STREAMING CONTENT PREFERENCES. Under it you will see Streaming service preference. Select Qobuz or Tidal from drop down. That’s going to ensure the version played by default is either Qobuz or Tidal, and not the mp3 from your library. 
Let me know if that works. 


Roon sounds better than ever and IMHE unless you compare to a rare very high cost SOTA streamer with proprietary software(e.g. DCS or Aurender), Roon SQ is going to be equal for you. The user experience is fantastic. Few who try the free monthly trial choose not to subscribe.

Roon is run by guys who came from Meridian and care about SQ. They get it and will continue to make improvements. New products & companies are getting added to Roon Ready all the time. This benefits us all for a few reasons:

  • Incompatible hardware issues impact their response to software issues
  • Wide adoption supports longevity
  • Competition among hardware makers supports innovation & quality/value

I am a vinyl lover who runs digital for musical diversity. I run Roon Core on a Sonictransporter, keep 4TB of music on a NAS, and feed both to an OpticalRendu streamer into Denafrips Pontus II DAC. I stream Qobuz via Roon. Compared to using Lumin, Linn and other DLNA/UPNP apps and Minimserver on the NAS, sound quality is equal. Reliable connectivity is better by far with Roon.  Roon also integrates room correction if your're interested in that.

The integration of my personal library along w/Qobuz in Roon is hard to beat. You can use phones, tablets or laptops as may not need to buy a tablet. It looks and runs great on both my Macbook and iPhone. 

I agree that Bluesound is okay, but a better streamer with a good linear power supply will definitely give you better SQ for not much investment. For Roon Core, you can trial with most computers and if you decide to stick w/Roon then add dedicated core (e.g. NUC or Sonictransporter) when you can afford that step. Cheers,


Thanks for the comments. The replies are interesting but still kind of confusing. I see that the Innuos Zen Mini Mk3 can work as a Roon core computer and also has a DAC built in, so maybe that is a pretty reasonably priced option to get started. For now I am discounting the few voices who insist their streamer sounds better than Roon as it seems to me like they like something so much better because they just spent several thousand dollars to buy it. This happens alot maybe too often.

If you get the Zen Mini it’s pretty much mandatory you get their upgraded LPS as it significantly increases performance. The DAC in the Mini is nothing special so plan to upgrade that asap. The thing is, once you add the LPS to the Mini you’re knocking on the door at the price of the Zen Mk3, so that’s definitely something to consider.

not sure how relevant my viewpoint is here; but the Wadax Reference Server and Dac have Roon hard wired into the operating system, including automatic upgrades, and it sounds fantastic. easily the best digital music reproduction i have heard.

Wadax fully embraces Roon, and so gets the most out of it.


All five streamers I've acquired after BlueSound sound better. There is that.

And their OSs make browsing and playing tracks easier than BluOS.

No I never got a Lumin but reports say that their OS is clunky.

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After doing much research I recently purchased a Innuos Zen MK3. It arrives Tuesday. I was first looking at the Mini+LPS but my dealer gave me a slight discount on the Zen so for ~$500 it made sense to get the regular Zen vs Mini+LPS

I’ll be coming from a Roon NUC. My subscription was coming due in Sept and was thinking of purchasing the lifetime. That got me on the track to search out the Innuos. So add the $700 for Roon lifetime and the Innuos made even more “Sense” :)

You buy Roon for functionality, i.e. music management, plug and play, multi room, and especially DSP. However since Qoboz does not think us Canucks deserve QBOZ and Tidal sucks, we went Amazon HD and there is no Roon Support. Don't really miss it. USB DAC in the main system, and use Fire sticks in other systems with HDMI / spdif extractors.

Roon is for convenience. Vinyl is for when you want the best musical reproduction.

That said, I'm putting more time and money into components downstream of my NUC Roon Core.

Here the answer to your question regarding how Roon sounds on an Innuos product. Roon does not sound as good as Innuos’s own Sense software. Sense sounds much better if your system is resolving and high quality. Not even close on my Zenith MK3 and Tron Atlantic dac combo. I have a lifetime Roon membership, but after comparing to Sense I can no longer listen to Roon. Roon sounds flat, a tad diffused and lacks resolution. I would only use Roon for background music with my particular system. This is true with Innuos streamers/server products. Roon can sound wonderful with other server/streamer brands.

I prefer the user experience of Roon over Sense. Sense is very good, but Roon is the best I have used. I just wish Roon sounded as good with Innuos gear in my system. Some will find Roon sounds just fine with their Innuos and that is fine for them and their systems.

Great digital sounds heavenly today and does not take a back seat to many vinyl front ends.

Let's accept/assume that Roon streaming sounds inferior to directly streaming Qubuz, Tidal..etc..  Where, at what stage does this degradation take place?  I'm assuming that you have already turned off processing/modification within Roon.

I don’t directly stream from Qobuz. I use the Innuos Sense software. Using Sense with Innuos servers/streamers sounds best if you have a nicely resolved system. 

I don’t directly stream from Qobuz. I use the Innuos Sense software. Using Sense with Innuos servers/streamers sounds best if you have a nicely resolved system. 

When using Roon, is the Roon Core server internal to your Innuos, or is it external and if external what hardware are you using?

@past The Streamer upgrade will not improve SQ.

The DAC is the thing to shop. 

No doubt written with good intentions and well-meaning sincerity, but not factual for many. There are legions of experienced streamers who will confirm that upgrading to higher quality streaming hardware unquestionably improves the sound quality. It by no means just about the DAC. It is about both the streamer/server and the DAC.


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Sound quality of Roon just fine, with so many variables and unique streaming setups extremely likely many opinions on it's quality will be offered.


Per @mikelavigne . Do you think what may be best streaming equipment existent would use Roon if it offered diminished sound quality!


Roon sounds best with separate endpoint, all processes turned off, therefore, dsp, volume leveling, analysis, etc.


Also, Roon likely has deepest pockets of all music players, not likely to stand still on either interface or sound quality.

With all Roon features turned off, what do people think Room is or is not doing that makes the sound better or worse?  DSP was about the only reason I wanted to keep with Room.

Roon is very flexible if you truly want the best streaming experience ,and Taylor to your audio system liking.

with a little lear7ng effort HQ player is by far the best out there and Roon was designed with this jus T look up the reviews, then on Roons instructions 

for $250 a steal !!

I’ve found Roon sounds better than the Innuos Sense app on Innuos Zen MkIII.  Then I found Roon running on a NUC as a core and using the Zen as only a player sounds better still.

I suggest the OP read the many videos and reviews on Roon and why someone would and would not use it.  If you want it’s features the set up a core and DAC.  The confusing part is some higher end streamers can be cores and DAC all in one.

i also agree with many here that said unless you get a super high end streamer then there is no sound quality degradation from Roon.  There is something to be said for a high end all in one unit with super short paths and all high end parts and isolation. How can you go wrong with that. 

I for one love Roon. I don’t do vinyl and don’t want to.  Roon is the best interface and it’s way of music discovery is second to none.  I will totally agree it’s not for all but if you want to explore it’s for you. 

Oh my. My post was clear. Roon does not sound the same or as good as Sense in my particular set up. This can be heard very easily unfortunately. Roon sounds great with other streamers I have heard, just not as good as Innuos’s own Sense on an Innuos server in a resolving system.

I house Roon core on the Innuos. It was my core and end point when I was using Roon. No DSP. My dac is NOS also.

I love Roon as an interface. Love it. Just wish it sounded as good as Sense on my Innuos Zenith.

I’ve had a Roon nucleus for 3 years.   I use an iPad for the remote.  Sounds great and the interface is fabulous…I’ll never go back….

This is a great thread especially for someone like me who is new to streaming. 
I do have a question about Roon. I understand the organization and the added value of Meta data, but how can Roon improve the sound from Tidal or Qobuz? Isn’t that what the hardware in our streamers do?

BTW, I put a USB “Y” adapter on my Node N130 and have a 4 TB hard drive and my output to the DAC on the other and The Bluesound software see’s the hard drive and I can play from it or whatever services I want. Easy Peasy.


Roon is pretty well unrivaled in terms of options, interface, and usability. It is, however, a very heavy software. Roon prioritizes features and end user experience over sound quality (although it has improved over time).

There is a tremendous amount of network activity occurring within Roon. High amounts of network activity can contribute to the "harsh" sound often attributed to digital audio. Minimizing network activity within the server can net positive gains. I believe this is a major reason why alternatives such as Sense, Lightning DS, and Stylus are reported to sound better. Taiko set out to mitigate the impact of network activity on sound quality in their proprietary TAS software. This was a major focal point for them, and many SGM Extreme users report that streaming from Qobuz/Tidal now sounds indistinguishable from playing local files.

OK.  First post.  Everybody's musical journey is different.  We all have different setups in different rooms.  It's about you.  We learn from each other but it's about you. I am not trying to over complicate things, although I might be past that point.  I use 2 Roon Nucleus devices, (one a Nucleus Plus) with a lifetime subscription.  The other is just as a streamer into a Massdrop Airist R2R dac (yup).  The other (Plus) is the core.  I also use a Lumin X1.    Was going to sell the Nucleus but decided to try it on the Airist dac.  Well now the Airist sounds as good as the Lumin.  Different but just as good.  Roon is no joke.  Get a Nucleus and a great dac and you will be done.  All updates are automatic.  Features out the wazoo.  I believe that once you reach a certain plateau, a lot of the things we buy in this hobby are just different, not necessarily better.  The thing is trying to find out what works for you.  For me Roon is possibly the most important cog in my machine.  

In my system (high resolution, with electrostatic speakers), I've compared Roon to a simple DLNA setup, both running through an Auralic Aries G1. I get excellent sound either way.

Years ago, Auralic made firmware improvements that put Roon on parity with their own software in playback through their equipment. There is no intrinisic reason that Roon can't sound great.

Many audiophile reports of "noise" turn out to mean simply that one thing is preferred to another. This is almost always with sighted comparisons and not attempted blind. Preference may be due to expectation bias, heightened attention, or favoring something already owned. I would be wary of subtle differences (even if reported as "major") that have zero objective measurable component. Not to say that they can't exist; just that as humans, we fool ourselves easily and often.

interesting post and ensuing discussion, i took the leap into roon in january after some 18 months of resisting... i must say i am quite pleased, don’t feel the sound is compromised but maybe i have more to learn still on this front

1) fascinating that some streamer makers feel they have i-p to protect from roon, so they don’t buy in 100%, and while they may allow roon to work on their gear (due to roon’s popularity), they may also subtly compromise its performance relative to using their own, proprietary interfaces - reminds me of a discussion on spotify’s strategy of thinking of streaming controllers we use as precious real estate to compete over...

2) i recall really figuring out roon took a good while, there are numerous ways to deploy it, at the processor/nuc level, how the music stream is taken to an ’endpoint’ then to a downstream dac, whether built in features that can affect the sound are or are not used (dsp, volume control etc) -- roon itself on its site does not make all these permutations crystal clear, and that, plus the fact that alot of audiophiles are actually older folks, usually not the most tech savvy, it makes it pretty hard for noobs

3) the roon trial thing is a red herring in my mind, cuz to try it right you have to set it up right, have the right hardware, make the right choices, and some those things are expensive and typically are not bought on a trial basis, and even if they are, one hardly fully gets their arms around all the choices and capabilities and proper setup within a typical 15-30-45 day trial period

4) i think the most confusing thing is that one needs a computer to run roon’s core program, and yet it is best not to take the music stream out of that same computer’s usb port, even though it is right there waiting to be used!! ... there is yet more hardware to buy to get a sufficiently cleaned stream delivered to your outboard dac (switches, filters, bridges, fmc and so on)... i can see some folks starting by pulling the music stream out of the core machine then saying hey why does it sound so bad...

5) then there are some units like the innuos ones, i e zen or zen mini... they can be used as an endpoint or a core or both, but using their hardware to be the core machine may compromise the speed and the sound of what is delivered

so it is alot to comprehend, much of it ample, fertile ground for eyes glazing over and getting frustrated, then on top of that some folks say it sounds bad -- holy moly!!

op, i do hope you are getting some clarity from all this nice discussion you have started with your initial post, and i wish you good luck!


Roon doesn’t have a sound. It just plays files. 

I love Roon. I built a ROCK kit. 


Excellent summary.  After reading your post and looking at your equipment, your opinion carries the force of experience.

+1, @grannyring

I use both Roon and Sense.  I have a PS Audio Direct Stream DAC w/ Bridge II and Innous Zenith MKII streamer.  I bought the Zenith about 5 years ago and a life time Roon subscription.  

On the Zenith, I did A/B testing between Roon and Logitech Media Server.  I found LMS sounded better, but Roon’s interface is so much better so I stuck with Roon as my primary music management system. (I ran LMS from a NAS for years and years, long before I purchased the Zenith.)

Once I tried Sense in my music room system, there was no looking back.  I still use Roon for whole house stereo to Riva Wand wireless speakers on my first floor, second floor, and backyard.

In my music room, I did A/B testing using Sense via the Zenith into a Matrix DDC using i2s to the my DAC, and Roon into Bridge II in my DAC.  Sense sounds much better.  Using Roon and Bridge II, I’ve found that Qobuz HIRes generally sounds better than Tidal MQA, but not by much. 

For critical listening, I use Qobuz.  I listen to Tidal a lot because that’s where I started and have about 20 lengthy playlists that I’m too lazy to recreate in Qobuz.  And Tidal has more music to my liking (old school Soul/R&B, contemporary Jazz, and soft Rock) - and I think Qobuz playlists suck.  By that I mean, Qobuz mixes way too many music types into their playlists and their definition of Soul/R&B is mostly hip hop music which I can’t stomach.  Tidal’s focused playlist are so much better than Qobuz’s mixed bag playlists, and Tidal’s “My Mixes” playlists are awesome (IMHO) because they are automatically generated by Tidal based on the types of music that I play.


How does Roon Sound?

I copuld add my opinion here. I have one. I also have a nose, and a cup of coffee, none of the three are useful to you.

Roon sounds liek the systems its implemented with.  As noted, the DAC is #1.  A streamer ought to make little difference, but does for a few reasons.  First, the software (lik Roon) must run on hardware.  Isolating the hardware ground noise from the DAC is one source of improvement.  While the USB inputs are often isolated, i have a 3-stage approach to ridding me of noise:  1) my own power supply for Roon; 2) a bridge between Roon and my DAC, and 3) dedicated USB power in my bridge.  Note i built my own.

A second "sound thing" is the various processing performed. You can up-sample, or not. You cna choose the type of upsampling. You can choose an MQA first unfold or not.  You can set buffer windows. Most of these will in the end be opportunities for improvement,

My experience is that between Tidal and a great DAC, along with just plain solid engineering in the middle (no fancy cables or routers) you deal with 99% of the sound.

In any event, if set up right, it can sound truly great.  And the various features, remote capability, multi-room, synch-ing are terrific.

I run Roon on ROCK on a NUC with an LPS that i built. Warning - the NUC is an absolute power hog on turn on, my LPS is HUGE (8A regulated out).  Holy carbon footprint batman.




My Bel Canto streamer with  it's "Seek" app might be a little quirky but sounds terrific.  Can someone tell me why I would need Roon?

multi-room, room, synch, remote via phone/tablet/PC, DSP, metadata library.....


You don't actually need any of this, but i want it.

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I have been enjoying Roon and Qobuz, running on a Roon Nucleus Plus server, connected to a PS Audio DirectStream DAC with a USB cable for several years now and find the sound quality to be awesome!  I used to also have a Tidal subscription, but didn't need both of them, and had no complaints about the sound quality of that, though doing significant "A/B" testing, for some reason I can't explain, the sound quality of Qobuz seemed a tad bit better.

Before purchasing the Roon Nucleus Plus server, I ran Roon, Qobuz and Tidal on a Dell laptop, USB to the DAC and the sound quality of the USB on the Dell wasn't at all in the same league as the Roon server.

This why I have the Simaudio 280D and 680D in my 2 systems. Running the Mind 2 streaming application on my IPads or IPhone. On occasion I run them through my Roon core that is installed on a MS Surface through my network. I have fiber to clean up the data stream.

95% of my streaming is internet radio, Radio Paradise in particular and I use the Moon Mind2 app and streamer in my 680D. 


i'll add to #lalitk - you do not need a lot of power to run Roon -- big caveat -- unless you want to use DSP and/or synch and upsample to multiple rooms.  The you may.

I trialed Roon on a 12 year old macbook pro laptop running normal software in addition. No issues at all.  USB to DAC.

That's not how i deploy it today, but it works well.


I do suggest a bridge for isolation and to allow you to put roon wherever nad have your system elsewhere

I have a similar set up as oldschool1948 and ejr1953

When I went down the streaming rabbit hole, I started with Roon and thus no experience with alternatives to Roon

I do not have a Roon Nucleus as I have no need to store files

I started with a Roon core running on a Lenovo i4 laptop with 8Gb of RAM, no SSD and wifi connected to my network - it was functional but not entirely stable 

I upgraded the laptop to an i7 processor, 16Gb RAM, with some SSD and wired direct to the network switch

I do not know that the SQ improved but the stability was better requiring fewer reboots and dropped songs

For the record I've never had a song drop on Tidal, with Qobuz I drop approx 10% of the songs

In both cases I found the Roon SQ to be exceptional

I hear the best versions of the same old songs I've listened to for the last 40 years, streaming through Roon to my PS Audio DSD

I cannot recall the last time a played a physical CD

If I could change anything I'd like to remove Microsoft from the equation, not sure that would improve the SQ but all the bloat, OneDrive, AV, patching updates, etc - the timing of such is typically not convenient and I'd like to spend less time babysitting Bill Gates and more time listening to music

I'm happy with Roon and only wished I'd bought a lifetime subscription the first or second year

Happy listening guys and enjoy the journey

"I have read some people say Roon does not sound good." Piffle to that.

Done right it sounds fantastic with no difference between that and the native streamer app. @jjss49 said it all best. You need all the bells and whistles. 




Even as an IT/tech guy, the options/ requirements to implement Roon makes my head swim. Found an inexpensive way to try it, figuring I could upgrade afterward.  Have not looked back. It’s changed how I listen to music. Implementation…

- CDs imported to iTunes using ALAC encoding on a Windows machine. 
- Roon core running on same machine. 
- Apple Airplay adapters (used $30) listening on an eero mesh network. 
- Using my iPhone for the UI. 

Listening to Quad 63s powered by an Mc352 with Marantz front end.  

Short story is after two years, I’m going to buy the perpetual subscription this year. And I’m not planning an equipment upgrade at this time. I’ve AB’d some demanding recording with the CDs with this configuration and can hear no difference. (I do hear the AAC/ALAC difference.)

I, too, wish Roon interfaced with Amazon Music, but Roon sez AZ won’t send them the data needed for it to work. So I use the Airplay rig for that, too. SQ has been fine from AZ except where they show a selection as “remastered.”  Always sounds terrible…

FWIW. Intro to Roon cost me $60 for 2 two systems on the 30 day free promo. $200 annual subscription after that…

Commenting on above, i strongly suggest a wired connection if you can. It leads to significantly fewer dropouts etc., - although mostly if you are sending high rate data.  There are many options to either lower or raise both the SQ and load in Roon (as i described above).  Airplay  also  limits SQ options.  So why? Aside from convenience - and people asking abotu ultimate SQ are not prioritizing convenience....

@zgas-music I think you’re leaving a lot of performance potential on the table using a computer and Air Play. I just bought a relatively affordable iFi Zen Stream for only $399 (along with their iPowerX power supply to further suppress noise) and my streaming sound quality now surpasses the performance of spinning CDs. Also, I think Air Play may limit resolution to 24/96, which seems like an unnecessary limitation to have these days. Last, if you haven’t already by all means do a free trial of Qobuz as it has by many accounts/reviews the best streaming sound quality and the most hi-res content available. My $0.02 FWIW.