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?  


@kray agreed and I definitely employ static IP addresses in my LAN.  For all important devices anyway...streamers, switches, DAC/endpoints, processors, servers, etc.  That could be yet another reason ROCK has been incredibly stable for me.

@sns  said:  Doesn't your admittance that some may not experience reliability issues,  and many testaments from those who also don't experience these issues prove there is no inherent reliability issues with Roon?

No, I don't follow that logic.  Roon offers a lot of features, and many people don't use them and thus don't see the issues.  My supposition is that tag queries and searches tax the database in some way that creates a resource problem and the core application doesn't recover until restarted. It's just a guess based on heavy database usage correlating with Roon choking on many occasions.  But even if I just leave it open for 2-3 days it needs a restart.

And as I said above, using multiple remotes also seems to correlate with some of the stability issues I've seen.  

The problem isn't one is pressing Roon too hard, it''s that Roon is pressing the server beyond it's capabilities. Roon can be both processing heavy or not, be prepared to have more processing ability with server for users maxing out Roon processing.

I've got a dedicated Roon core:  Core i7, 11th generation, 8 cores (16 logical) with standard speed at 3.60 Ghz and peak of 5 GHz, 32GB RAM and a PCI 4.0 SSD - the fasted the board will take.  That machine can probably process 5 streams of 4K video and still run a browser window.  Short of IBM's Blue, what kind of machine do you think won't be taxed by Roon?

IMO Roon gets a bad name by providing many conveniences without more clearly stating the need for more processing power with these convieniences. Roon, with it's complex interface already more process intensive than some of the other players, many servers simply don't have the engine to provide much more than elemental Roon settings.

This is all true...except not in my house.  I have a 10G network and the above spec'd Roon core.  I've been running movies and music over digital networks for over 25 years, have built probably 150 computers over that period, and been the network admin for my own dot-com startup. I've now built 6 Roon cores (we have 2 houses and I upgrade frequently).

I guess what I'm saying is I think I'd have a sense of when software is stable and when my setup is the problem.

Yes, I could tone down what I do with Roon (I use 4 endpoints in a zone, 3 remotes, 2-4 web displays simultaneously) but I don't see why I would.  I push Roon and it piddles.  I see plenty of others with similar issues on the Roon forum.

To be clear, I am a huge Roon fan.  I would just like to see them focus on stability across platforms before pushing forward.  They've made a different calculation and it's their product.  But when I see people say that Roon is perfectly stable I'll call that out.  It is not.  It's great.  But (1) web displays and remotes show the previous artist instead of the current one quite often; (2) remotes "lose" album cover thumbnails and occasionally the full size version; (3) web displays often lose artist images; (4) tracks stop at the end and "play" has to be pushed, and occasionally stop in the middle; (5) Roon pops messages that "files are loading slowly" and stops playing, then immediately remedies that when the Roon core is restarted; (6) Roon will just close itself sometimes; (6) Roon stops playing IP radio frequently, and often tells me the station has disappeared; and (7) crossfade will abruptly stop a track about 5 seconds before it's done playing and then miss the first second of the next track, instead of actually crossfading.

I'm not here to criticize anyone's choice of Roon. But it does have inherent stability problems.  




IME Roon can sound great - but SQ does vary with how you have it implemented, You won't get best SQ having Core and control on the same machine and connecting a generic computer via usb to your DAC.

I posted this in another thread but I think its relevant to this discussion:

I had been running a 2012 Mac mini, with Uptone JS2/MMK linear PS and fan mod, with Roon server for years.

I also use HQPlayer as the output renderer for Roon. Back in 2020 I bought an M1 mini to experiment with and tried various combinations including running Roon all-in-one (control/server) and HQPlayer on the M1. I  settled for retaining the 2012 mini as the separate Roon server and running HQPlayer from the M1 mini - both connected to an Uptone Etherregen switch with the 'B' side of the Etherregen going to a Sonore UltraRendu then to my DAC. 

However I did notice that using Roon in any combination of the above was obviously inferior in SQ to streaming direct from the HQPlayer app on the M1 without Roon. The HQP player interface/functionality is vastly inferior to Roon's, so this was a source of frustration for me. 

Anyway, as an experiment I acquired a second M1 mini (cheapest basic config) and substituted it for the 2012 Mini/Uptone combo. The second M1 mini was run headless like the 2012 Mini, using the same generic cat6 ethernet cable into the Uptone Etherregen switch. 

Roon Server running from the headless M1 mini, with HQPlayer running on the other M1 mini and both connected to the 'A' side of the Etherregen switch with the UltraRendu on the 'B' side of Etherregen, sounds fantastic and indistinguishable from streaming direct to the UR via HQPlayer alone. 


Thanks again @blisshifi  for the explanation and the two factors you raise are imaging of the sound towards more life like and fatiguing peaks which I assume tends towards the higher end of the frequency response. Are others hearing these differences as a result of a streamer change and not related to dac or speakers? Or have you had the experience where the streamer does not not appear to make a difference? How expensive did your system need to be to hear this difference? Did you have lower cost systems before where you could not hear the difference?


I will state that the addition of a separate streamer (Auralic Aries G2.1) made an obvious (to me and my listening companions) improvement to the sound of my Tambaqui DAC.  Do you need a resolving system to hear this?  I suppose, but it was not subtle on my system.  For Fantastic Sonics :) it is needed.  I added the separate steamer (I have Roon Nucleus+ in separate room) in front of the DAC.

I can hear this.  I also heard the improvement with a Networks Acoustics Muon Filter and ethernet cable.

Great threat folks. I have reread several times.

One thing not mentioned is internet disruption. Simply put at times all internet service falters sending if you will a hick-up or quick pause in service. Obviously this will affect Roon and why it may go off/on. There’s only so much a buffer can guard against.

I live in a location with wretched internet service with 2 meg DSL or expensive 12-18 Meg dish being the norm. Fortunately we finally got Starlink and service on par with many other places. Point being you need a fast pipe as those in the business say.

I have gone back and forth countless times between the native Lumin app and  Roon and I can tell no difference in SQ. YMMV

What I did notice is an EtherRegen, clock, good cabling and serious linear PSU audibly improved SQ no matter what app was used. Clean up the noise floor and you shall be rewarded.