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?  


Hi! Tested Roon for a month as a replacement / plan B for BlueSound OS and to connect with my T+A MP3100HV streamer. Upgraded to life time, bought a NUC using their excellent user fora and never looked back. I'm streaming in flac from my basement, I love the additional info and it made me rediscover some music as well. 

One hears the sound of Roon when using Innuos gear vs the Innuos Sense software. Roon sounds different vs Sense on Innuos gear. Obvious and easily heard with a resolving system.

My digital front end consists of:

Netgear modem/router powered by Keces LPS with my high end DC power cable - Network Acoustics Muon Ethernet cable - Network Acoustics Rubicon switch powered by a Keces LPS with high end DC power cable - Ethernet Acoustics Muon filter to Innuos Zenith 3 with power supply upgrades - Tron Atlantic Signature dac. All plugged unto a Puritan 156 conditioner with the additional Puritan Groundmaster grounding system.

Sense sounds far more nuanced and resolute in my system compared to Roon. So much better that I can only use Roon for background music. I much prefer the inner detail and realism of Sense. Roon sounds muffled and flat in comparison. I repeat, this IS ONLY with my Innuos server and front end digital system. I have heard Roon sound great with Merging Technologies gear.

I do not use any of Roon’s DSP capabilities as an FYI. Also, the better my front end becomes with products such as Network Acoustics, the more obvious Roon’s subpar sonic performance becomes on my Innuos server based front end. Without the NA products and my LPSs the difference between Roon and Sense was far less obvious.



OP--There are many confusing statements in the comments to your post--and many off topic responses such as which DAC/streamer to buy or why vinyl is better or worse.  Bottom line:  Roon was not originally intended to add or subtract from SQ--it was purely software that organized your music library and the libraries of whichever streaming service (Tidal & later Quobuz) that you were using.  Roon later added SQ features such as DSP if  you wanted to use it--i never have but have heard both positive and negative--all room dependent.  The software has evolved over time to overcome bugs that would cause songs to suddenly drop or files to be lost--i love Roon purely for its metadata approach.  You already have Tidal so why not try Roon and see if can tell the difference between streaming directly from Tidal vs streaming Tidal through Roon--i hear absolutely no difference with my DAC.  But be sure you're comparing apples to apples by implementing it the same way (ie via ethernet or USB) you do now for directly streaming Tidal.

One hears the sound of Roon when using Innuos gear vs the Innuos Sense software. Roon sounds different vs Sense on Innuos gear. Obvious and easily heard with a resolving system.

My digital front end consists of: Innuos Zenith 3... - Tron Atlantic Signature dac. 

But that is not a fair test.  The Innuous software is developed to run and feed right to the DAC; it's far more lightweight than Roon.  Roon drives your gear like a stock car driver and is very resource-heavy.  Their solution is to isolate that by feeding the pure PCM stream over the network to a different endpoint that is doing nothing but streaming the data. 

I understand you can A/B Roon on these single server/streamer combo units.  What I'm saying is that since it's not the way Roon recommends using their software, if you want a fair scientific comparison, you gotta stream to a separate, very quiet endpoint. 

It might still sound worse.  But that's the fair test.


We agree. I purchased Innuos as a one box solution. It rips, stores, streams and is both the Roon core and endpoint. When used as intended, Sense simply sounds better in my system. That is all I am sharing. This is intended to help those who own Innuos or are thinking of buying Innuos. I found no sonic gains with my Innuos by housing Roon core on another computer. However, I don’t use DSP and have an NOS dac. I am not taxing the Innuos with my use of Roon and that may be why housing Roon elsewhere on my network had no sonic benefit.

I understand we each have unique digital front ends, systems, ears and preferences. No broad brush realities for all is possible in this passion/hobby. I simply share my findings and hope it can help others with “similar” set ups experiment for themselves.