Music software

For those who have experience with the various software music programs does anyone want to try to rank in order of SQ only? I-Tunes, Roon, JRiver, HDplayer, Amarra,Audirvana, others?

Mark H.

Sound quality only.

  1. Audirvana = JRiver

  2. Roon Endpoint = Foobar

  3. iTunes

  4. Roon Nucleus

Personally, I run Roon. Interface is great.

My experience to date ranked best to “worst” (but still exploring the comparison of apples to apples higher resolution files):

  1. Ripped or downloaded files via JRiver Media Center
  2. Roon 1.6 (Tidal and Qobuz)
  3. iTunes*

*Not a fair comparison b/c I have not really figured out how to play iTunes/Apple Music files in my system basically the same way I have experienced the other programs.

[Main system components and signal flow are: iMac -> Router via Wi-Fi -> TP Link Media Converter via Ethernet -> TP Link Media Converter via Fiber Patch Cable -> TP Link Switch via Ethernet Cable -> PS Audio Bridge II Ethernet Bridge Card in DirectStream DAC via Ethernet cable.]



Having used Roon and Audirvana on the same hardware my opinion is Audirvana is the better sounding.
Just a shame that it is such a crappy piece of software (I used the Windows version) and the remote is abysmal. So I use Roon for now as the interface is currently second to none.
I am looking for forward to seeing Octave on the Bridge 3 when it is released hoping it can sound as good (or better) as Audirvana with an interface similar to Roon.

For anyone not satisfied with Roon SQ, get a trial of HQPlayer. I don’t use HQP to upsample, just pass straight on through…it sounds better than Roon alone. Roon becomes the interface only with HQP handling the ‘sound’.

I’ve tried them all on a Mac. Based on SQ only:

  1. Roon with HQPlayer
  2. Amarra 4 Luxe (very close to #1)
  3. Jriver
  4. Roon or Audirvana

For ease of use:

Roon with HQPlayer. None of the others compare at all. The gap between Roon and the others is large. Amarra is a mess. Jriver and Audirvana are better, but no where near Roon.

HQPlayer is a little complex to set up, but once set, it’s left alone and Roon is the GUI.


Roon + HQPlayer -> Matrix -> DS Jr. (i2s input).

Best by far in my system.

What do you get out of HQPlayer?

I’m running Roon from a Mac Mini, networked through a Bridge II/DS.

I have a similar question about HQPlayer. If I understand it correctly, HQPlayer upsamples very accurately. Given that the DS will do the same with whatever signal it is presented, what advantage does HQPlayer provide? I currently have a DSSr feed by a Roon Nucleus.

Thanks for any light you can shed on these questions.

HQPlayer really elevates Roon. Roon has a great GUI. But HQPlayer has much better SQ, in my opinion. HQP can be the sound engine for Roon. And HQP has tons of different filters you can play with for different sounds, I personally would not use Roon if it wasn’t for HQPlayer. And vice versus as HQP has a terrible GUI!

Do the free trial of HQP, its worth exploring, though there is a learning curve, its not that hard, plenty of help on CA…

I don’t really get it. Can someone advise me on how to set it up?’

PS - there isn’t a visible option for a trial.

If you download HQPlayer, its inherently a trial until you buy a license. There’s a reseller on CA (Bibo01 is the user) who sells HQPlayer licenses at about 30% off, all legit.

For a Mac, I believe HQPlayer plays for 30 minutes or something in trial mode for forever. I forget the deal with Windows.

Here’s a basic guide. It takes some figuring out to get HQPlayer setup, but I’m no computer genius and was able to do it. Once HQP is setup, you have to integrate it with Roon, which is easy. Roon has a simply KB document for that.


Many thanks. CA - Computer Audiophile?

I wonder how @tedsmith feels about HQPlayer?

Yes, now known as Audiophile Style

I believe Ted uses Foobar. And Paul uses iTunes with BitPerfect.

Did you ever try to use Amarra 4 Luxe as the player controlling Roon as seems to be popular with HQ Player since the up sampling of HQP seems to be over kill with DSSr or Jr?


Amarra does not work with Roon in any capacity. Amarra either works by itself, which sounds great but is a buggy mess to live with. Or Amarra can be the backend sound engine for iTunes which is ok, but Roon plus HQPlayer trounces it in both sound and function.

Roon has worked with HQPlayer to make it possible to use the two together. Amarra is more of a competitor to Roon.

I am using Amarra 4 on the MacMini which integrates Qobuz, Tidal(including one unfold of MQA) and ripped local ripped files. It sounds pretty good and creates playlists, but getting files to the DSJr via the Bridge II and MConnect sometimes sounds a bit better. With Roon with or without HQPlayer, it would seem that I could use either signal path-Bridge II or USB to the DSJr. Any thoughts about which might be better from a SQ standpoint? I am contemplating updating the USB path with Matrix and maybe a 12V linear power supply.

Thanks, Mark.

HQP doesn’t work with the Bridge II, with or without Roon. If you want a Bridge II like separation, you’ll need one of the Rendu or SOTM offerings. But as has been noted at length on another current thread some 600 posts long, the Matrix X-SPDIF 2 sounds amazing with the DSJ/ DS. And Roon + HQP works very well with the Matrix, that’s my current setup. The Matrix converts USB to I2S and does some other magic…

The new beta of A+ 3.5 sounds much better, more body and less edgy.

The interface is much improved and much less glitchy.

Thanks for the heads up. I’ve tried A+ many times in various configurations with several tube simulation plugins etc to tame the edginess to no avail. Just emailed Damien in hopes of getting in on the beta…