What makes One Music Server Sound Better than Another?

So this week my Mojo Audio DejaVu music server that I have used for the past 2-3 years crapped out. Benjamin at Mojo was more than helpful and the DejaVu is on its way to Mojo Audio where it will make a full recovery.

Thankfully, I still have my Antipodes DX2 Gen 3 (their former flagship) music server so I hooked it up. After wrestling with Roon protocols, transfers, and set-up menus, I was able to get it going so I have music. The DX and my Sonore Sig Rendu SE opt. are both connected to my network so the DX (like the DejaVu), is only being used as a Roon core and the Sig Rendu SE serves as the Roon endpoint for streaming Tidal and Qobuz, with a direct USB connection to my DAC.

The point of this thread is to ask, how come I perceive the the DejaVu server as sounding better than the Antipdes DX? In fairness, the differences I perceive are not great but it seems the DejaVu is fuller sounding, more tonally rich, and bolder. Is this why some here spend $10K+ on a Grimm, Taiko or something else?

If a server is basically a computer, sending digital information to a streamer/endpoint and, assuming that digital information is transmitted asynchronously and reclocked by the DAC’s master clock, and assuming noise is not the issue (i.e., both units are quiet and there is an optical break between the network and both the server and endpoint) then what are the technical reasons one should sound better than the other? It is not that I want to spend $10K+ on a music server with a lifespan of maybe 5 years before becoming obsolete, but I would like to understand what more you are getting for your money. So far, the best I can come up with is lower internal noise as the major factor.

As a side note to the above, when I thought things looked hopeless for getting set up, I scheduled a support session with Antipodes and, although I lucked into the solution before the meeting time, Mark Cole responded ready to help. Setting up the session was super easy and reminded me of the superior level of support I had come to enjoy from Antipodes during the time that the DX was my primary server, including multiple updates and 2 or 3 hardware upgrades, which prolonged the service life of the DX. Good products and good company.



Sorry, I'm not answering your question. I just wanted to agree with your comments about Mark Cole. I do love the sound of my Antipodes music server, but Mark provides outstanding support.

The point of this thread is to ask, how come I perceive the the DejaVu server as sounding better than the Antipdes DX?

Were you doing sighted listening tests?

@ricred1 - No need to be sorry, the praise is deserved IMO.  The K41 would be my sweet spot based on how I am set up but I have watched these things over the past 10 years and the service life of these servers seems to be south of 5 years before they become obsolete, making it an expensive proposition.  Antipodes did better than most at prolonging the life of my DX by offering the 2 or 3 upgrades I had them perform, and of course - it is still working as I sit here and listen!  Manufacturers like to say they have created a modular design for easy upgrades but regardless of how they initially sell it, you most often see an entirely new product are rarely a true upgrade opportunity.  Antipodes did a lot better than most.

I will also give a shout out to Benjamin at Mojo Audio, who also responded very quickly and based on pictures was able to let me know the DejaVu can be repaired.  He is another who will upgrade existing units until it doesn't make sense.  Unfortunately, he is no longer making servers, but I sure like the musical sound of his DACs.

@yage - You got me...of course it was sighted since I had to move connect the DX after the DejaVu failed.  Yes, there is the possibility of no real SQ difference except what is in my head. 

However, I am still interested in what others say because if the no difference path is true, then why are some paying so much money for their servers.  This is NOT a thread to bash those who do pay a lot for their server but rather to help me understand why.  I am interested in hearing the technical reasons why there should be differences in the case of a server only assuming the unit is reasonably current with an adequate processor, appropriate software, reasonably quiet power supplies, and SSDs if internal drives are used.  I am curious what I would be getting for my money if I were to spend $10K or more.

what are the technical reasons one should sound better than the other?”


IME, better parts + power supply and above all, implementation determines how each streamer is voiced. My streamer stood the test of times, in 10 plus years of ownership; Aurender never faltered.

Don’t know but it probably has something to do with how the DSP in each is implemented. With digital streaming pretty much anything is possible. 

@lalitk - Good to know about the longevity of the Aurender. Only downside for me is that I don’t plan to give up Roon so I need something that works easily with Roon. Still thinking about the K1, since I only need it to perform the server function.

To your implementation comment, when I opened it to take pictures, I noticed a lot of shielding and compartmentalizing inside of the DejaVu server. Benjamin at Mojo is big on the small details.

One thing I still don’t quite get is the folks associated with audio high end, such as Atkinson at Stereophile, who use a Roon nucleus server. That type of observation brings me back to my question, if those sound just as good at less than $3K, then why do others spend north of $10K?


What makes One Music Server Sound Better than Another?

The point of this thread is to ask, how come I perceive the the DejaVu server as sounding better than the Antipdes DX?

what are the technical reasons one should sound better than the other?

Some people are comfortable with using pattern-over-process in their purchase-making choices. I suspect you will not get a response that details process. Always patterns, which require less diligence to describe than process - it’s easy and feels as real as could be. Seems pervasive, but perhaps less hazardous in hifi discussions than in politics, education, etc.? 


So to answer your thread headline question:




Your two boldface questions, @mitch2  : the first one is answered by psychology textbooks nearly a century old and/or ethology / consumer preference studies in peer-reviewed lit up to this day. Your second question will probably not be answered because, thus far, no evidential support for such a thing seems to exist.


Plenty of reasons given for servers to “sound different,” but if they’re all opinion, a good third boldface question might be Why doesn’t this standard change? Rhetorical question, that is. 😉


@mitch2 few reasons I can think of…start from the point if entry and power supplies. Better Ethernet isolation, better power supplies result in lower noise floor, better processors isolated better to minimize noise, better clock if you’re using coax or AES outputs, galvanic isolation and or reclocking before the USB out (de-crapofier).

When your streamer is also a Roon Core it has higher processing demands. Whether it uses buffering or caching matters as well.
And how much noise does the streamer display create by tolling the processor, etc.

you hear what you hear. No blind testing necessary. 





3,424 posts

@mitch2 few reasons I can think of…start from the point if entry and power supplies. Better Ethernet isolation, better power supplies result in lower noise floor, better processors isolated better to minimize noise, better clock if you’re using coax or AES outputs, galvanic isolation and or reclocking before the USB out (de-crapofier).

When your streamer is also a Roon Core it has higher processing demands. Whether it uses buffering or caching matters as well.
And how much noise does the streamer display create by tolling the processor, etc.

you hear what you hear. No blind testing necessary.

“Say what I just said, but with inverse wording.” 😆

Cheers, @audphile1

Inside the capacitor type effects the sound ,also bellison power regulators are very clean but add a bit of warmth the power supplies also can dictate sound quality 

there are many internal items especially too the quality and brand of Ethernet cables.

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Thanks all.

It is an interesting comparison given that both servers were positioned and connected in the exact same way to the exact same equipment. Isolation is provided by an optical breaks between the router and server, and also from the router to the Sig Rendu SE opt. streamer, and LPSs are used on all the converters and network equipment. Therefore, the incoming signal should be completely isolated from the audio equipment by optical fiber. Based on the discussion, I will conclude what I hear may result from:

  • Improvements in processing between the older DX and the DejaVu, coupled with increased demands in running Roon,
  • Improvements in isolation of components within the DejaVu over the DX, and maybe in the implementation of the network connection,
  • Finally, maybe I have a bias in what I believed I was hearing. The more I listen to the DX, the more I am ok with what I am hearing.

In any event, the DX is older but would still work quite well for somebody. Mark Cole offered to update the processing remotely and maybe I should take him up on that and then listen for differences. I could then more easily sell it when I get the DejaVu back or move to something else.

The other thing I seem to be learning is that this digital thing is sort of a crapshoot. Server, streamer, DAC, all play a role but it seems to be hard to pinpoint the impact of each on the overall sound. Adding the Sig. Rendu SE opt. seemed to elevate the SQ I heard in specific ways. Also, changing out DACs results in a clearly and reliably audible SQ difference in my system, which surprises me less because of the DAC's job of converting from a digital to an analog signal. I probably shouldn’t be surprised that different streamers sound different from each other, but I still don’t understand why.

@mitch2 the two streamers you’re comparing are approximately on the same level. That is definitely one of the driving factors in the differences you’re hearing. There may be a difference between how one stream renders tone and presentation vs the other. It’s a matter of preference. If you want to experience difference in streamers, order a WiiM Pro, a highly hyped up streamer with built in dac. Use its digital out and compare to antipodes or mojo. You can return it if you don’t like it.
Forget the psychological aspect of it. One listen is all it will take.


As to why the streamers sound different, I listed few reasons above. 

I will say that if one attempts to account for how modern digital audio technology performs using the same approach and factors as in teh past with older analog only technologies, they are likely missing the boat to a great extent. Pretty much anything is possible with digital (DSP) and the devil is in the details case by case, which alone accounts for why different products sound different, either by design or otherwise. Robust analysis using measurements is the key to understanding each case properly.  Anything is possible regardless of price tag. Otherwise, yes its pretty much a crap shoot.

yes servers have different sound quality

in our case we mport the 432evo servers and the difference in sound quality between models is very evident.

In the case of our highend model vs our Aeon model the parts are identical with

The one big change is how the clock board is powered,.,just isolating the clock board enables theserver to produce a larger soundstage,greater clarity, and a more analog like presentation..

So in server design, even tismall  differences in data isolation, yields noticicible audibile changes.

Dave and Troy

Audio Intellect NJ

us importers 432evo music servers

I will try to weigh in with my 2 cents worth on this subject, FWIW.  I owned what I considered a very good streamer with a suggested list price of around 6000.00, the only problem was the fact that I hated the app used to control it.  I finally got to the point where I just couldn’t deal with the app any longer, so I emailed Joel at Upscale Audio to get his opinion on the difference in my server vs the Aurender N20, especially since it gets a lot of praise on this forum.  He unequivocally told me the N20 was in a different league altogether.  I really didn’t want to spend the money at the time for the upgrade but decided to go for it anyway.  What the heck, it’s only money right?

When I got the N20 installed in my system I did a direct comparison between my original server vs the N20 by playing the same music and switching between the 2 inputs on my DAC.  I have them both hooked up with Audioquest Carbon AES/EBU XLR cables to my PS Audio MK2 DAC.  I was disappointed on my first listen because I didn’t really hear a big enough difference to have spent that much money on the upgrade.  At that point I just turned everything off and thought now what, do I send the N20 back and just keep what I had or what.  I decided to listen to the Aurender for a couple of weeks just to see how it played out, and to also play with their app to find out how easy it worked, what a difference an app makes as far as an interface goes, even though it isn’t perfect, it is still a far better experience than what I was used to.

After a couple weeks of listening to the N20 I decided to compare it to my original server again.  This time I was totally blown away by the difference in the sound, every time I listened to the original server it sounded like I put up a screen or something between me and the music, the soundstage seemed to collapse, and the music lost a lot of what I would describe as musicality.  I think I made the right decision by keeping the N20.  I know there are probably better servers out there, but I can’t imagine getting better sound from my system than the N20 gives me without spending a lot more money, I also understand now why the N20 garners a lot of praise from the folks that own one.  I should also add that their tech support is first class, with a response time that is very impressive.

@vandy357 that’s about how long the Aurender needs to break in. My N200 settled after couple of weeks. 

In another thread on another forum, I was berated for not knowing that Roon changes the sound on all servers. I asked if it was because of its DSP feature and was told no and that I was an idiot. He said that the basic software in Roon changes the sound. Is any of this true? Roon by itself changes the sound of every server from the Node to the N30?


It certainly did on this one, it just absolutely blew my mind that there was that much difference in the sound after a couple weeks.  I have always been a believer in break in time but have never experienced that big of a difference in a piece of equipment.

@curiousjim it’s an interesting question. I wouldn’t say it changes the sound on all servers. I just don’t know if it does. I owned Lumin U1 Mini and Auralic Aries G1. 

I will say though, that on Auralic, I preferred the sound quality of its native Lightning DS app. On Lumin, I preferred Roon. I believe it is due to signal processing taking a different path. In example of Auralic and using Lightning DS, the stream is cached, and that might potentially reduce the noise and result in cleaner processing. With Lumin, Roon sounded just a slight bit smoother than the Lumin native app, which is very user unfriendly by the way. In both cases, I had Roon DSP disabled. 

@audphile1 - Yes, the two servers I am comparing were at approximately the same level, when new, although the DX is older technology. The DejaVu seems quite well built with regard to spacing and isolation of internal components, isolation of connections, and power supply. All of these things may be adding up to the fuller, richer, sound I perceive through the DejaVu, maybe?

I am sure the WiiM Pro would be an interesting comparison but it is a player/streamer and the comparison I am making is between the two servers/Roon cores. I already noticed a sonic difference moving from my Metrum Ambre player/streamer to the Sig. Rendu SE opt., so I am certainly convinced on that front.

@mapman - No DSP here, just 24-bit, 192kHz, PCM into an R2R DAC, or 24-bit, 96kHz, PCM into the older technology SMc DAC-2 (delta sigma). I have a Benchmark DAC here and could try DSP, but I really have had no desire to try that yet.  Do I understand correctly that DSP can put additional demands on the server processor?


just isolating the clock board enables the server to produce a larger soundstage, greater clarity, and a more analog like presentation

Still curious how something like isolating the clock board affects those analog sonic traits when sending a digital signal. The digital signal is still read at the other end, corrected as needed, reclocked, and converted to analog. Does isolating the clock board somehow modify the digital signal that gets sent? Does it affect jitter? What is the technical mechanism for these changes? Not trying to be difficult, and I am certainly not saying it doesn’t sound different, but I would sure like to hear a technical explanation of how that isolation changes a digital signal.


I don't have Roon but that almost makes me curious enough to try it just to find out if it does change the sound of my N20.  That could be true I guess, but doesn't sound logical to me, am I missing something?  I have compared the sound of Qobuz to the sound of cd's recorded to the internal storage in my N20 with a small fraction of the time preferring one over the other, most of the time the songs I have compared sound the same.

If we are talking about a music server only with no on-board streamer, then teh connection between the external streamer and the server is a basic client/server data connection like any other application on a network. THere is absolutely nothing there that has to do with sound quality, just data transmission from a to b.

Now, say the connection is too slow, and the data cannot be provided to the streamer fast enough at full resolution. In this case it is possible that the streamer could negotiate with teh server to provide a lower resolution data stream that could easily impact sound quality upstream.

THis is all speculative but technically possible. The other possibility if the connection is poor is that the streamer has to wait for more data and pauses the music stream to the DAC accordingly until it receives all data needed.

SO two points:

1) the connection from server to client (streamer) makes no sound. The only issue is can the data be provided fast enough or not and that is more about the strength of teh connection, especially if say the connection is via wifi/wireless rather than wired ehternet.

2) The connection from streamer to DAC is where sound quality is more likely to suffer, assuming an adequate network connection is in play upstream as described above. Timing errors can occur between streamer and DAC (jitter) and greatly impact sound quality if not addressed. It is even possible with wired network connections that say one server introduces more noise into the network than another and that noise finds its way into the signal path from streamer to dac and adds jittter. The good new is many good quality modern DACS are jitter resistant and do reclocking themselves as needed.

So the devil is always in the details case by case even with the same gear in play. The details for digital streaming are much different than those for traditional analog gear alone. If swapping music servers alone (not streamer or DAC and same quality network connection and exact same source file at same resolution and same format)) makes a difference in sound, most likely it is introducing more noise into a wired network connection and teh streamer is allowing that to leak into the signal path to the DAC, and maybe even teh DAC is not jitter resistant.





Benjamin at Mojo is big on the small details.

That is what it is- breaking down every single part of the process and determining the best approach for each one. Dozens of small details add up a significant change.

The power supply is the biggest factor, from what I have read. Some of the current best (Grimm, Antipodes) have gone away from linear power supplies and have developed their own switch mode power supplies. When you consider in one Antipodes box there are 3 of these, 4 processors, one high powered one for the server, a lower powered one for less noise for renderer, each one designed from the ground up for one singular purpose- higher quality audio, it is easy to understand the 10k+ prices.

This is a good read if you want more on the process from Antipodes: Antipodes

click on "our approach" on the left after landing on that page

Power supply on a server alone could only impact sound quality if it is noisier and that noise leaks into teh network connection and makes its way all the way to a DAC with poor jitter rejection. So it is possible but also avoidable in various ways if so, some more cost effective than others. If you have other computers on teh same network, chances are those in sum are introducing more noise into the network connection than any single device, including teh music server, unless teh music server has some issue or is just poorly designed. A good quality jitter resistant DAC is probably the first best defence/solution, not a new music server.   I'd address that with the DAC if needed first, then see what happens.

BTW, I use Wifi/wireless connections with all my streamers mainly out of convenience but sound quality is top notch I’d say as long as all wifi connections are strong, even with high res files streamed from Qobuz. If streamer wifi connection is weak, Roon will simply just give up and move on to the next track in the queue, but not a problem I find again with a strong wifi connection.  

@mapman - Your points are valid and I agree but they mostly do not seem applicable to my specific situation.

  • the server and streamer are independently connected to the network through a wired Ethernet connection, and each of those two wired Ethernet connections have an in-line fiber optic cable between the component and the network connection
  • all network and peripheral components are powered by LPSs that are connected to their own dedicated 20A circuit
  • in the case of the streamer, there is only a very short Ethernet cable at the router end and then an optical converter and fiber optic cable extending the entire distance to my system room and directly into the streamer (i.e., the streamer itself has a fiber optic input)
  • All connections to my main system are wired and do not use wi-fi, however, my auxiliary (living room and outdoor) systems are connected by Roon endpoints directly wired to Orbi mesh satellites, but those systems are not the topic here
  • there are no noise issues that I discern
  • the DAC is a $10K (when new) model with a fairly high quality JLSounds USB input used by other high end manufacturers

The issue is not that my system doesn't sound good, but that it sounds better with one server than with the other and I am curious why that is.

The issue is not that my system doesn't sound good, but that it sounds better with one server than with the other and I am curious why that is.

@mitch2 why is that an issue? I’m also not sure why it is so surprising to hear the difference between streamers. There’s a difference between preamps.  Different amps sound different. But when it comes to digital, somehow it’s impossible to get past that 1s and 0s 🐂 💩. 

It also seems very odd to me that you bought into the concept of fiber conversion for your network with LPS units on the FMC modules but you can’t seem to comprehend that streamers can sound different and that actual components matter more than all that clutter you created with copper to fiber to copper conversion. Dude…none of that💩 does anything to make your system sound better. But the components do.
I have tried the FMC several times on several streamers. I call BS. Because all it did is made it sound much worse than the simple router to streamer connection with a very good cable. 

Treat streamers and DACs the same way you treat amps, preamps and speakers. Forget the “it’s all 1s and 0s” narrative. It’s a defense mechanism for the ASR crowd that can’t afford a decent streamer and DAC. Peel away from it man. 

@audphile1 he is talking about servers not streamers.

Only two things I can think off that could make servers sound different as alluded to above:

1)noise introduced on the network wires that make it through the streamer to DAC signal path and add jitter

2)Something on the server is mucking with the raw file data before sending to streamer. Could be different advertised features in different products capable of this, or could be processing baked into the server for some reason, perhaps to create some kind of unique house sound for a particular product line.



I have tried the FMC several times on several streamers. I call BS. Because all it did is made it sound much worse than the simple router to streamer connection with a very good cable. 

There must be something beneficial to it otherwise Playback designs wouldn't suggest it as their proprietary link. But for sure that is a different level than buying some low-end converters and fiber and slapping them together. I imagine by the time one spends enough for quality optical connectors and switches to make a difference perhaps they are probably better off taking that money and getting a better streamer and streaming cable? 

@mapman oh poop I missed he’s streaming with Sonore. Scratch everything I said. Lol

thanks for setting me straight!


 he is talking about servers not streamers.

If one box, such as the Antipodes DX2, can be both a streamer and the server why is it wrong to call it a streamer? 

@mclinnguy it’s not wrong. The op is talking about the mojo device specifically and as a server. I am not familiar with it but from what I read it is both: an “integrated” server and streamer in one box , but same reasons would apply regarding why it may sound unique or different from other similar devices. A streamer in particular is a more likely place for DSP tricks to be implemented. Take Roon in particular. The DSP engine included in Roon is capable of totally transforming the sound in various ways as desired.

Recognizing that this is an unpopular view for some on this forum, I still feel compelled to offer a counterpoint.  For years, the official position of Roon was that assuming a basic level of isolation in the streaming chain and sufficient power to run the software, the server doesn’t affect sound quality.  And the Roon founder has authored many technical posts on the Roon forum in support of this position.  (He’s quite good, btw.)

Of course, shortly after Harmon acquired Roon, Roon announces the Titan, signaling a pretty significant strategic change.  They are discontinuing the Nucleus and Nucleus+, whose competition at the “low end” of the market was Small Green Computer and diy NUCs.  They obviously rushed the announcement for CES, as they don’t even have a picture of what the Titan looks like cuz it doesn’t exist yet.  What’s the strategy shift?  They’re gunning for the high price, high profit end of the market, Aurender, Innuos, Lumin, Antipodes, etc. What does the Titan offer?

“Nucleus Titan, starting at $3,699 base price (U.S.) is the only choice for those seeking a premium Roon server that promises a superlative Roon experience paired with breathtaking visual appeal.

  • Nucleus Titan features include: 
    • Precision-machined billet aluminum enclosure crafted from a solid block of premium metal.
    • Stunning aesthetics, designed for display and admiration.
    • Available in three elemental shell finishes: metal, stone* (composite), and wood.”

That’s it.  It’s prettier.  So the technical reason for spending a lot of money on a server is that the manufacturer makes more profit.  

Now to be clear, contrary to what I’ve been accused of by others on this forum, I don’t believe that everything can be revealed by measurements, or that cables don’t matter, etc.  I just believe that right up to when the digital data stream is introduced to your DAC, measurements can pretty much tell you everything you need to know(e.g., bit perfect-ness, jitter, power supply noise, etc.).  From the DAC onwards, I think standard, ASR-style measurements are woefully inadequate, and yes, in tha analog realm - which includes the DAC, power cables and interconnects (within reason of course), matter. I’m just a big believer in spending money where it can make a material difference (and not wasting money where it doesn’t).  

I would tend to agree with @mdalton and plan to do some posts very soon  relating some recent experiences/experiments I have done that support those conclusions.

Although servers can be personal computer based, “audiophile” servers are designed differently with different parts. Since it’s generally accepted that different parts (resistors, capacitors, transformers, power supplies, etc) can sound different, I would expect servers to sound different as well. Is the OP asking why better parts and/or superior implementation sounds better?


"Is the OP asking why better parts and/or superior implementation sounds better?"

Not exactly. Both the servers I recently compared were designed and constructed by manufacturers known for fastidious attention to detail in the areas of power supply, shielding, and isolation, and both were the flagship unit for those manufacturers at the time they were built. Both have "better parts and/or superior implementation". One is a bit older (2014 era.) while the other is a little under half that age. The installation of both servers in my system was exactly the same and included fiberoptic isolation between server and router, and between endpoint and router, which should mitigate electrical noise on the Ethernet lines.

I perceived a bit fuller, tonally richer, and bolder sound from the newer server (which is headed back to the manufacturer for repair), and I am curious what aspects of the design or implementation would result in those sonic attributes being different between the two servers, assuming what I perceive is real and not a bias of some sort. I am trying to understand "why", considering this is a digital signal, one would sound different (and better) from the other, when connected to the exact same receiving equipment?

Based on the discussions I have read here and elsewhere, I am left with the impression that the reasons for the sonic differences are not fully understood but that processing, isolation (mechanical and electrical), and power supply are likely affecting the digital signal (maybe wrt to timing and lower jitter) that is received by the endpoint, and that these effects result in a slightly different analog presentation after the signal is converted in the DAC. In short, it seems the better designers have improved their implementations over the years so I should trust what I hear and purchase what sounds good to me, not unlike most stuff in this hobby.

Thanks all for the responses.



So much commentary. Have you considered trying a roon nucleus?

It's a computer yes. But if you couple that with a decent streamer dac which is where the true value is you should be in pretty good shape. The merits of spending a lot of money on a server are questionable in my opinion. 

So much commentary...The merits of spending a lot of money on a server are questionable in my opinion.

Actually, if you take a look mitch has a perfect purchase/sale record on A’gon of 568 (i.e., experienced).  Doesn’t seem like excess commentary for an interesting question from someone who walks the walk.  And I’ll bet dollars to donuts he has his own opinion on the benefits of using a server in his system already thought through.



Please confirm this is Roon core/server running on both?

If so its possible different versions of Roon are running on each. If so, tehn its very possible the resulting sound could be somewhat different.

Even if same version running on exactly same OS on both, then next thing would be to make sure all Roon setting that affect sound quality (everything short of any added user defined DSP) are the same, for example volume limiting and any other parms that may affect the streaming. I know there are many that may be somewhat different with version but can’t list them all off the top of my head.

Of course an easy first check to compare is to examine the streaming pipeline in play using the Roon endpoint. Is the processing exactly the same in both cases being compared? If not that alone could very well result in a difference in sound.

Assuming streamer is similarly isolated from any network noise (from server of any other devices attached to the same network) as you indicate, and assuming you are using Roon to stream in both cases, changing only Roon server/core hardware my bet would be differences in teh Roon software implementation on each is most likely to result in significantly different sound.

Doesn’t Roon have their own optimized version of Linux (Roon OS) optimized for Roon? Do both servers use that? That would seem to be the best choice of OS to run Roon core/server on.

I run Roon core/server on WIndows.  Not optimal, but still works pretty well and sounds very good.   I might move to an appliance with Roon OS someday just for kicks.  I removed a lot of unneeded programs on my Windows PC and turned off a lot of resource hogging features  to help make Roon happy running there.  My only issue is periodic slowness with the GUI.   All my Roon devices connect over very strong Wifi.



Post removed 


  • Both servers use a version of Linux, maybe not the same - I wouldn't know
  • In both set-ups, the server (DejaVu or Antipodes DX) is what Roon considers a Music Server running what is called Roon Server in the Sonicorbiter app (essentially, it is serving as the Roon core, only)
  • In both set-ups, the server has only a single direct connection with the network/router, and no connection to the streamer or to the DAC
  • In both set-ups, the Sonore Signature Rendu SE optical is what Roon considers a Network Player (or streamer) and is running what is called Roon Ready in the Sonicorbiter app 
  • The Sonore Signature Rendu SE optical is NOT connected directly to the server but has a single direct connection with the network/router
  • The Sig. Rendu SE opt. is connected with Mojo Audio's Mystique EVO Pro DAC via a direct USB connection currently using Network Acoustic's muon USB cable


@mitch2 thanks for that info.

So given all that, my bet is any difference in sound is due mainly to differences in the roon server implementations.

Can’t totally rule out increased jitter with one device attached versus another, but from what you describe this seems to be less likely, especially if one can assume the DAC is jitter resistant.

DId you indicate you also have a Benchmark DAC? YOu could try again with that as a test and see if there is a difference. My understanding is BEnchmark DACs are all very jitter resistant hence their stellar reputation.

Inquiring minds want to know...


Try something like the new mega-optimized Roon server device/appliance recently announced and one would expect that to perform to the max for sure especially at that price. I might consider it or something similar running latest and greatest Roon and Roon OS someday if it seems to catch on and especially if performance is measured and confirmed independently. On paper that would appear to be the bomb, but time will tell.




I agree with your conclusions. Trying to understand the “why” is elusive. Many manufacturers design improvements then listen and maybe adjust designs before being to market. It’s not that they have a specific sonic that they try to match and/or reach a specific level. Our hearing acuity is much more sophisticated than current science can measure, even if we could measure we don’t know what to measure (iirc John Curl said this).

My own experience is that confirmation bias is a huge challenge for all of us.  A/B comparisons are really hard, and aural memory sucks.  And the potential differences we’re talking about, if they exist at all, are really small.  For example, where I agree there are material differences - DACs - teasing out those differences, reliably, is challenging.  A friend of mine and I did a DAC shoutout with 4 DACs:  dcs Bartok ($10k), Gold Note DS10 ($5k), Mytek Brooklyn ($2k), and an Okto DAC8 ($1k).  We were both surprised at how subtle the differences were.  Predictably, he preferred his dcs, I preferred my DS10.  

Why have a computer in your listening room? Why use usb and all the gimmicks are trying to make usb better? Years ago when I used a dac with usb, I had the Auralic Aries server because I thought it sounded better than Lumin and Aurender, plus the Lightning DS software was light years ahead of the Aurender software. Then I got a great sounding dac with Ethernet and i2s with Roon and now I have my server in another room and it sounds superior to using usb.

@mitch2 the best streamer you can hear today is the Taiko Extreme, soon to be outclassed by the latest offerings. This is out of my price range and your stated range. What they have done to build this "streamer" should be the foundation of what you’re looking for. Power is the number one consideration. I won’t go into the other factors too much.

I’ve been building my own music servers for many years, having followed discoveries that have led to what Taiko is doing. I’ve built my own server as close to the Extreme as possible as well as built similar sounding servers. Each server or streamer will have its own sound profile. What I have targeted is what many look for; clarity with a black background, an expansive but accurate sounds stage and as close to a real life or analog listening experience as possible. There are other characteristics but these I’ve found are critical. The main goal is to reduce noise introduced by components.

In your search, if able, evaluate power and timing attention in the forms of latency and other digital impacts like jitter. The other critical factor I’ve found is upsampling ability. Upsampling in addition to being able to play high resolution sources is a significant factor in sound quality. My DAC can process DSD1024 native and PCM 1.536MHz so I upsample to those frequencies and I absolutely hear a difference. My DAC has NOS capability so I do that from my server/streamer. This means I have better control over the variety of available filters.