PS Audio Music Server In The Pipeline?


I have not seen any articles raving about Roon’s sound as being superior to other comparable offerings, although there are those who do not complain about the sound.

Those who like the Roon interface tend to listen to pop (rock, jazz, top-40, audiophile easy-listening (Diana Krall, etc.). For classical listeners, it is difficult to find specific compositions, etc. as the interface is designed for pop. I enjoyed a true laugh out loud moment when Roon claimed Mahler was similar to Couperin. Seriously?

I have heard servers/controllers in my own system which sound better. As I mentioned, many here have reported this as well.

Why is the war lost if the goal is to better Roon? It is far from perfect in either sound or interface. It can certainly be bettered. Roon itself claims it keeps getting better. :slight_smile:


My read as well, although from what I have observed sound quality wins out over price point; that is, PS Audio is willing to push the price point if they are able to make a product that sounds that much better. They always offer an excellent cost/benefit ratio however, even in their more expensive offerings.

I also respect their trickle-down approach of offering products - such as the DS Junior and the forthcoming new entry level PowerPlant - at a lower price when it is feasible to do so. Everyone wins.


Completely agree. Its always better to push the price point a little for a large gain rather than stay where you’re at and be over priced for the feature set or performance. Especially true in a high end market. I have the DSJr and love it but will most likely end up buying a Sr sometime in the future. Without the Jr I wouldn’t have bought into the product line.
They are like a high end auto manufacturer - think McLaren or similar. Hand made with the highest quality components available. Once in a while one of the components fails or one of the suppliers goes away. I am willing to take that risk for the reward.


ELK, I am not sure I would say that Roon’s sound quality is “compromised.” To me, that term suggests that it is not fit for its intended use, so-to-speak – unlistenable. Nevertheless, I agree with you in that Roon (and my Tidal account “attached” thereto) plays second fiddle to the sound of my files played through JRiver Media Center. I have done a lot of listening to Roon/Tidal via Roon and Tidal via MConnect/MControl and I always prefer the files delivered care of JRMC to those presented by Roon, Tidal and MConnect. Others may disagree. If the new kit PS Audio is putting together does not at least equal the performance of the JRMC set up via Bridge II to my DS Jr., and beat it in terms of convenience, I certainly won’t be giving it any serious consideration. FWIW. Regards.


Roon need not be “unlistenable” to possess compromised sound. This is unhelpful hyperbole.

Roon however is noncompetitive as a high-end source. It compromises sound in exchange for its interface.

Just in the last couple of hours we have seen a number of posts in various threads stating exactly this; that Roon’s sound is not as good as alternatives - as you also note.

There is nothing wrong with this if this is where your values lie.


LOL high-end source. That’s a completely different animal.

Saying Roon is noncompetitive is your opinion. That doesn’t make it right or wrong, it is an opinion. I can say the DirectStream DAC is or isn’t as good as Berkley, MSB, DCS, or you enter whatever name you want. That is my opinion.


I think that a big omission about the Roon discussion is what endpoint one is using in front of the DSD - general-purpose PC vs. Aurender or Auralic is a big difference.
After using Mac and PC endpoints with Roon, I’ve been surprised at how good Roon sounds with the Auralic support for Tidal.
Unfortunately, it’s still Tidal, not Qobuz.


With similar settings (software decoding, etc.), I don’t understand how Roon could sound any different than any other software. I play Ted’s bitperfect files via Roon, and they are… bitperfect. The DSD is clocking everything itself so…


Extensively tested a number of software alternatives (Audirvana, JRiver, Roon etc) before making my final decision based on SQ. I would be of the same opinion of Elk’s and others -while the interface is brilliant and the layout very attractive and well designed, I preferred JRMC which is the one I’ve been using for years.


It´s almost impossible to develop a software better Roon. It´s a lost war.
About SQ, I´m prefering to user HQplayer embedded, and Roon just as control. So, I keep the interface of Roon and SQ of HQplayer.
Not a big difference of source. Roon has a pretty good audio quality. The difference is marginal.

But, if PSAUDIO could do that (be better than Roon, I doubt), then they will have a winner in all classes.
Today, a server is not so important to sound quality if you use a clocked switch. With only US$ 800 you can barely hear differences between a unmodded Mac Mini and a overpriced Antipodes CX or Innuos Zenith SE MKII.

A highend server hard to beat need only three things: a great power supply (as Sean Jacobs does), system in low latency Ram Mode, a clocked ethernet input and a clocked USB output with regenerator. The OS and softwares, is there a lot out there to choose. But I know it need to have a PS Audio controlled OS. I just think is not worth to spend a lot of effort on it.


Our goal isn’t to “beat” Roon at the interface race. They have a wonderful interface. Our goal has always been a series of directives:

  • Ease of use. Customers should be able to pick up the interface and be playing music within the first 60 seconds with no instructions.
  • One library. Integrating streaming services should be such that it appears the user has one big library. Search for Beatles and your own copies plus all that are available on your streaming services appear.
  • Engage with the artists. The experience should be immersive with the artists and performers in the same way we engage with the back of the album cover
  • Find new music. Scrolling through the artist’s or album’s story brings up links that connect the user with more music from the roots of what they are listening to.
  • Smart search. Searching for music should be intuitive and a pleasure.
  • Visually appealing. The interface should connect you with the music and be a pleasure to work with.
  • Unquestioned audio. Because we control the hardware as well as the interface we can guarantee the best sound quality technically possible.

I won’t bore you with the actual document which is quite extensive but these are the precepts we are working on.

Central to our Octave system is controlling the hardware and software. The guys at Roon have done a wonderful job but they haven’t yet worried about hardware other than the NUC they package up real nice like. As always, the hardware is key. If you look inside
the Octave server you’ll understand what I am referring to. The computer, for example, is galvanically isolated from the output board. This means there are not only no wires, grounds, or shared power supplies between the output interface Digital Lens, but
only air connecting the two systems.

Our engineering staff has invented the Air Gap Audio Interface (AGAI) to completely isolate the noisy computer from the quiet Digital Lens.

So, yes, user interface is critical. But so too is hardware. If you don’t handle both in just the right way, you’ll never have what Octave will gift to the world sometime in 2019.

The best sounding audio server in the world.

Bar none.


Elk and I are in complete agreement here, both on how Roon treats classical as well as the sound. Regardless of hardware, Roon imparts a sound that makes it a no starter for me.

Octave will solve both the sound problem and classical interface problem.


One would think, as you suggest, all it takes for playback software to sound good is to be be bit-perfect. But we all know this is not true. While Roon may be bit perfect, it still does not sound good.


It´s great!
But the ripping device should be a choice and not integrated. Many of us will never buy a CD or SACD. By the way, you have already a ripping device…


Do you then believe there are no objective truths in audio as to sound, everything is a subjective opinion with no foundation other than preference?

Thus, an MP3 does not objectively sound better than the same recording at 96/24?


Always a bummer when folks are disagreeing about different things : )


What I believe is what may sound good to me doesn’t mean it sounds good to you. For example I believe vinyl sounds better than digital. Now you might not feel that way, and that is AOK. My desire is to get my digital as close to or to surpass my vinyl setup.

Objective truth mean something is true for everyone. No I do not believe that one thing is true for everyone when it comes to sound.


So, there are no objective audio truths. An MP3 does not objectively sound better than the same recording at 96/24.



I think so. Asking if an MP3 sounds objectively better presumes one knows what is right or correct for everyone, and this simply can’t be. I can’t ‘know’ how anyone else processes audio.


Paul, any idea when the server will be in production? Or Bridge III?