Local Streaming server SW sound quality differences

I thought I start a thread about this, as some others may also have experiences.

My starting point was many years ago when I compared Jriver with Roon and heard quite some differences in favor of Jriver at the time. Recently, as you can read in another thread, I had quite some surprising experiences with software settings in Jriver, influencing sound quality. So after I clarified this for me, I also wanted to make the Roon comparison again.

My optimized preconditions are, that I installed Roon on the same PC I use for Jriver, which, as all network periphery, is on a separate power circuit related to the audio power circuit. I stopped all background scanning agents in both software configurations and connected both with the Airlens. Comparisons are super easy, as one can directly switch and play tracks on each SW.

  1. I compared a) DSD256 by Roon with b) DSD256 by Jriver (DoPE deactivated) and with c) previously downsampled (Korg SW) DSD128 by Jriver (Bitstreaming/DoPE activated).

  2. I compared a) DSD64-128 by Roon with b) DSD64-128 by Jriver (DoPE deactivated) and with c) DSD64-128 by Jriver (Bitstreaming/DoPE activated).

  3. I compared a) PCM by Roon with b) PCM by Jriver (DoPE deactivated) and with c) PCM by Jriver (Bitstreaming/DoPE activated). I know, the DoPE checkbox should have no influence on PCM, but it has for whatever reason.

Most differences I describe need the very best airy, reverbant and enveloping sounding recordings to be so obvious.


To anticipate this:
Roon seems to have clearly improved since I compared it many years ago! Differences need concentrated listening, but once registrated, they stay clear if one’s on the hunt for the final touches and magic, but there’s definitely no reason anymore for the majority of listeners to go away from Roon for SQ reasons as it was before imo.

Comparison 1. was hard to differentiate, as differences were more obvious on some and less on other tracks and I partly also had varying results. As a final result, c) usually sounded best and a) and b) were mostly very similar with varying but quite tiny differences. Even the differences between c) and both others were quite small if at all.

Also in comparison 2., c) won over both others in a similar way, just a bit more obvious than before and again a) and b) sounded hardly any different.

Comparison 3. was more obvious (although there’s the least logic reason for it). C) won over a) similarly as before but it won more clearly over b).

So as a result, in my comparison Jriver in the DoPE setting still won over Roon (and partly even more clearly over the non DoPE Jriver setting), but the magnitude of difference is not comparable anymore with the past (in my memory).

What have been the main characteristic differences?
Jriver (DoPE) won in terms of longer decay, more intense and deeper reverb into the soundstage, better transparency and more palpable/enveloping voices, on some tracks better bass control…summarized: a little bit better spacial information and resolution.

Again: in a way that most wouldn’t bother at all and some just for the very best recordings. If you like Roon and are no absolute air/3D junkey with a magical setup, no need to act. Halfway nitpicking Jriver users should try the DoPE setting if they didn’t check the box so far.

By the way:
highest DSD and PCM resolutions are a game changer for me with really great recordings. Since then I feel about DSD64 as about CD quality before. Everyone who still missed something, knows why, since much of it is there then. What a pity that it’s just a tiny fraction of digital music yet.