Empirical Comments on Roon or anything else

I am sorry if I am sounding like a jerk but frankly, I am a little tired of folks that have never used Roon and then make comments on the value of the solution. I think most comments on its value are next to worthless unless you have tried using it for 30 days in an adequate set up. I could also say the same for any value statement on any product/solution that you have not used or have direct empirical experience. I think that the PS Audio family benefits most from folks that have tried a product or solution and have developed some actual empirical evidence to share. Lashing back and forth with uninformed opinions is mostly a waste of time and typespace. I respect folks that develop empirical experiences with products and share them with the rest of this family. Merry Christmas folks.


I’m a lifetime subscriber to Roon, coming up on four years of using the product. It’s a great program, and continues to develop.

I’ll be interested in Paul’s new Octave server setup, and the rollout of associated equipment. Never can have too many options…

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I am a lifetime Roon subscriber starting on my 2nd year. I love the interface, experience, and don’t regret the purchase at all. I am sure that I would also buy the lifetime subscription at the new higher price. It is obviously not for everyone and that’s OK. I also don’t hear the degraded SQ issues that some people mention.


3rd year into my lifetime subscription. It’s interface and metadata abilities, along with Qobuz integration, have transformed how I listen to music. My SQ is amazing - I have my Roon-core configured to send the bits, unaltered, directly to the DSjr over WIFI (via an old Apple Airport Express with 1ft ethernet cable covering the last leg to the DSjr.). Roon has its faults, but overall, it is a pretty amazing software product under constant improvement.

I’m in my third year and I’m a Lifetime user. Roon provides convenience, detailed information and enhances my listening experience to no end. The sound is exceptional. There’s really no easy way to compete with a Roon Rock Server on a dedicated NUC for the money that I’m into it for. I wish Paul and Co. good luck with Octave. It’s always interesting to have options. However the heavy lifting has been done already in terms of the interface and user experience. We’ll have to see how Octave differs and how it sounds.

Subscribed for three years up to a year or so ago, agree with it’s fabulousness as an interface and deliverer of metadata - though I often felt some of the reviewers left something to be desired. I’d rather not read reviews by someone who doesn’t care for a particular genre or artist and does a Wiki search to meet some quota. Admittedly daunting task reviewing everything ever recorded ; )

I also tended to agree with those who felt that Roon did not help with sonics. But that was, oh…a million years ago in Music Server Years. I did not go Rock-or-Whatever, as I doubted the sonics of the software, having heard things sound better without Roon. But I can’t say with utter certainty that that was all there was to it, and can’t comment on whether the sound has changed since then.

I agree the reviews are hit and miss at times. I’ve been a lifetime subscriber of roon for about two years now. The value for me is it’s a portal to most of the recorded music in the world over a very usable interface. Between my 30k local tracks, TIDAL and Qobuz, I usually have multiple format and mastering options of what I want to hear.

The big thing for me though is how simple it is to listen to what I want in the room where I am at the time with no single streaming requirement. I have a mix of Dutch & Dutch, KEF LSX, Apple Homepod and Sonos Playbar. I can also give my guests the same capability by downloading an app and adding a profile for them on my core.

Roon provides my portal to most of the recorded music in the world with the ease of playing it where I want, when I want in my home.

Very good case for what’s great about it. It has often seemed to come down to what you place the highest priority on. I’m a big GUI/usability guy, and as such I miss it. At the time I gave it up, I was annoyed by the fact that it required a Roon Core to run it, and that I seemed to be paying a sonic penalty for that on top of the multi-box thing inherent in that.

But I guess you end up with multiple boxes one way or another.

I think another thing is/was, that I dislike subscriptions, and the way they “tie” you to what you’re subscribing to, and motivate you do do things within the ecosystem. While I initially waffled, it went from $350 lifetime to $500, so I stuck with yearly until I decided to try something else. So if I never go back to it, I “saved” vs. having bought a lifetime sub. But still wish I’d gotten the $350 Lifetime ; )

I think in part my bias was informed by 15 years of prior Slim Devices use. An amazing community that is still functioning even years after its demise at the hands of Logitech. A guy in Germany developed an app to control Squeezebox devices called iPeng (because he felt like it, and liked Penguins) and gave it away for years. I still use it for those devices, wherever I feel like putting them (analagous to tmurray’s wireless devices).

Recently hooked up my Transporter to my 2nd system, and found that someone has developed a Qobuz plugin, so I’m streaming Qobuz through it as I write. But this was from the Olden Days, when everyone Got Along and Helped Each Other Out. Hardly on the Bleeding Edge any more. But amazing that, about 18 years since I started using the stuff, it is still happening. It’ll be interesting to see which current players are still standing 18 years from now - including me ; )

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I am a student in decision making and bias. I have drawn up the anology that using a GUI is like learning and being fluent in a certain language. Once fluent in that native language you have a hard time looking at other languages without some bias. I mention this because I am a hard core Roon guy that is willing to try Octave to try to discern the potential sconic differences of an Octave server vs my current set up. I honestly am not sure if I can give the Octave interface a fair unbiased look without unlearing my Roon language habits. I think we are all better off understanding that our biases are real and are many time hard to overcome. Thank you for your insights @badbeef

Well, with respect to that, I went to Auralic/Lightning with no pain whatsoever. Except that it does not have anywhere near the volume of metadata and reviews that Roon has. Though I’d read that Aurender allegedly had the edge on sound, many mentioned their UI being weaker than Lightning, so I went with that, as I was coming from the 800-lb. gorilla of UI, Roon. The Auralic stuff is beautifully made, well sorted out, not the most expensive, and great sounding. So, fits the bill for now at least.


I went painlessly from Auralic Lightning to Roon in February 2019, because my all-in-one system had a free software upgrade that included becoming Roon Ready. I immediately optimised the hardware with an Innuos Roon Core server, better power cabling and a direct fibre optic connection.

I think it is a mistake to think of Roon like adding a component. It provides an ecosystem and you can optimise your hardware within it. I am delighted with the sound quality. I do not use any filters and the all-in-one system upsamples everything to PCM 24/192.

Functionally, it is on a par with other front ends, but I use it to distribute music over 4 static systems and a portable unit within the range of my network (my house and a workspace at the end of the garden), which is its unique functionality.

My research found that units from the likes of Auralic, Roon Nucleus, Innuos, Little Green Computer etc are all optimised along the same technical principles to reduce noise and optimise the sound, all with a range of prices - you get what you pay for. It’s all about quiet processors, linear power supplies, skeleton operating systems, buffering methods, vibration control etc.

The classical music search engine was terrible, but Roon 1.7 is stunningly good compared to 1.6. It was clearly rebuilt from the ground up and makes Roon invaluable to me. Roon 1.7 made lifetime membership a no-brainer, even at the increased price.

I just don’t see the point of anyone trying to reinvent Roon. $100 p.a. is not a lot of money for the services that it provides. It was obvious once my system became Roon Ready.

Well, since you asked…

My perspective is heavily shaped by my background in IT and in science more generally. I’m an idealist in a lot of ways: it’s simply true up to a certain point that “bits are bits” and I absolutely love breakthroughs like the DS DAC that take us closer to that ideal in practical measures.

By that I mean that I am taking full advantage of this DAC’s unique strengths and I don’t spend any time or money on upstream tweaks. My Toslink input works all the way to 192kHz and with no other electrical connections to the DAC bringing ground noise etc it just sounds fantastic.

Roon is an excellent complement to this: bit-perfect playback where that’s a benefit (eg MQA, DSD), high quality digital processing when that’s desired (PCM volume adjustment, EQ etc), integration with lossless streaming services like Tidal, ability to let USB DACs or other Roon-ready endpoints be the master clock for playback (not actually a feature in my current setup, but broadly a good idea). Add to this a really good UI with lots of desirable features and a large ecosystem of compatible devices and you have a product that deserves its place at the top of the current market contenders.

I pay annually for Roon, because again with my IT background I’m sympathetic to the need of developers to have an ongoing income stream. I’m sufficiently well-off that the potential savings from buying a “lifetime” license isn’t really a concern, but I am glad that option is available for people.

The TSS DAC will probably make the biggest claim to bits-are-bits of any DAC ever developed. I don’t think there’ll be any difference in sound quality at all between different bit-perfect playback ecosystems and connection types when that machine is in play and the digital side is properly separated from the analog side in terms of electricity supply and RF noise. At that point, Roon vs everything else becomes a discussion about features and convenience only.


@badbeef I actually followed your lead a while back and also am using the Aries G1 as the renderer for my DS Dac. I have gone back and forth with using Roon and the Lightining app. I am lazy and mostly use the Roon app. Might need to spend some more time learning the nuances of Auralic’s lighting app but have found little to no sonic difference between Roon and LIghtning. I could have poor ears.

@minnesotafats - So what is running Roon, and you’re using the Auralic as the end point? Or bypassing it?

Tried Roon for 30 days, didn’t like it, much prefers Jriver.

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I think people get very used to a particular software or streamer and switching to a new setup will seem foreign and likely inferior to your prior system.
Trying to learn a new system is not enjoyable for me and it takes a really better experience to make me want to switch. Just my opinion.

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According to the rules stated in the first post, you have met one prong to allow you to comment; you have used Roon for 30 days.

Now for the second prong, did you use it on “an adequate set up?”


I have a 3 year old Baetis Prodigy server running the Roon Core. Connected to the G1 via wifi and the G1 is connected to the DS DAC with a Straighwire Coax cable.

Oh, hell, if “adequate setup” is a requirement I’ve lost all permission to comment. :wink:


Sorry for the snarky adequate comment/poor definition. Roon can be run on some pretty noisy pieces of hardware and endpoints. That is what I was trying to convey by the statement. Most software will sound crappy on noisy systems.