Roon Bridge vs. HQPlayer?

I’m using Roon, and considering HQPlayer, but on the fence.

I run Roon Core on my main iMac, with an Android Roon Remote in the listening room, and I have a Mac Mini sitting on and connected with USB to the DSD (son to have a Matrix box between).

I’m presently using Roon Bridge on the Mac Mini, and considering whether to run HQP there instead.

Assuming that I have no interest at all in messing around with filters and all the multitude of obscure settings in HQP, is there any reason to think that it might sound better/different from Roon Bridge as a dedicated endpoint?

I’m fairly sure, but not 100% certain, that the HQPlayer NAA (Network Audio Adapter) would replace Roon Bridge on your Mac Mini. And this would allow the use of HQPlayer in your arrangement, with Roon on the front end.

In my opinion, Roon has subpar audio quality on its own and HQPlayer substantially improves this. HQP is not very user friendly, there is a learning curve, but once you figure it out, its not a big deal. The most graceful way, by far, to use HQP is with Roon as the front end. Having Roon/ HQP on one Mac, and the NAA on another is a preferred way to go vs all on the same Mac/ PC.

Its worth the experiment, and then you’ll know if HQP suits your tastes.

How would one know where to start in the HQP forest of choices?

Ultimately, that’s part of the adventure. Jussi, the developer of HQP is a super clever programmer, but unable to write a manual that explains the filters. He’s too technical, his explanations are Greek. I just played around with a bunch. I like minringFIR and the Closed Form variations, currently. Jussi recommends ext2.

On my Mac, sometimes various filters simply don’t work when using Roon, so I move on to another. I don’t spend a lot of time these days figure out filters, just bounce around a few familiar ones.

At least in my setup, which is all on one MacBook Pro, there’s a clear audio improvement over Roon. The less time spent in HQPlayer’s prehistoric interface, the better. Roon is far more civilized.

I’ve been using hqplayer for many years on highly modified PC. I don’t see any advantage for you to use it with psaudio dac as those use their own algorithms already. Hqplayer have a use with dacs like t+a dac8 dsd where feeding it with dsd512 takes digital audio to next level.

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HQP still elevates sound quality of Roon without using HQP filters (simply set them to none), though Roon has narrowed the SQ gap in the past year considerably.

I prefer Ted’s Snowmass to HQP filters (any of them) but this was not the case with Redcloud.

My experience is all with a very high build Pink Faun server via I2S to DS DAC - the I2S board is limited to PCM only, 24/192 though so my experience is limited to this.

I’ll give HQP a try once I’ve got the matrix in the signal path.
Just for the record, using a dedicated endpoint with Roon Bridge to USB does seem to sound slightly better than Roon Core to the DSD Bridge 2.

I asked Ted about HQPlayer’s interaction with the DS. He says, if I understood correctly, that the DS/DSJ does its same processing in Snowmass (et al) no matter what happens upstream. So using HQP doesn’t negate the processing of the DS/DSJ. Then it comes down to personal preference of what sounds best, Roon alone, or Roon with HQP. In my entirely personal, non-sweeping, narrowly focused opinion, it sounds better with Roon/HQP in my system and that its at least worth experimenting.

Here, I believe, is the relevant post:

I think Ted is saying that although upsampling or converting prior to the DAC changes the DAC processing, it doesn’t change the workload. It also doesn’t make much sense to upsample PCM only part of the way.

Thanks for that. I forget which specific thread I asked Ted the question. But my takeaway, which could be confused, was that it came down to personal taste whether or not to use HQP with the DS/DSJ, that there’s no sweeping definitive rule. He suggested to not upsample PCM to DSD in HQP, but rather upsample PCM to 352 and then send it off to the DAC. And keep DSD as DSD on the HQP side.

I am using HQPLayer filters and noise shapers with my DirectStream and I think the two filters with the NS5 noise shaper sound better upsampling PCM than what Ted uses in his DAC. The filter I like the best is the “poly-sinc-xtr-lp”. The filter I like next best is “poly-sinc-short-lp”. I upsample all PCM to 24/352.8.

The difference is not huge but it is there.

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To my logic, as feeble as it may be, its less about Ted vs HQPlayer, and more about Roon vs. HQPlayer…

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Add Roon Bridge to USB to the list – I like it better than Roon Core to Bridge 2.
I’ve got HQP running but not paid for, and I’ll give it a workout in a week or two.

Yes, HQPlayer with filters and noise shapers turned off does sound better than Roon.

With Roon, the ultraRendu is running Roon Endpoint code and communicates with the Roon Core using RAAT. With HQPlayer, the ultraRendu is running NAA code and communicates to the server running the Roon Core/HQPlayer using whatever TCP protocol HQPlayer uses.

Since the DAC gets the same data…I have tested that…the NAA code must use less resources on the ultraRendu than the Roon Endpoint code and thus runs “quieter” and sounds better. That’s the only thing that makes any sense to me, anyway. I doubt the network protocol itself matters since the DAC never sees any of that.

The fact that I like some of the HQPlayer filters better than what the DirectStream offers is not really surprising as Jussi knows what he is doing and has been at it for a long time. Having options is a positive.


I am using bridge II connection to Roon nucleus and it sounds better than USB.

Are you connecting the Roon Nucleus directly to the DAC via USB or using an endpoint of some kind? I ask because because connection the Nucleus directly to the DAC via USB is not an “apples to apples” comparison to the Bridge II setup.

Nucleus is connected to bridge II via Ethernet cat 6 cable.

That is obvious as the ONLY way to connect to the Bridge II is via Ethernet.

You said the Bridge II sounded better than USB. When you used USB, did you connect the Nucleus to the DAC directly?

What would you consider to be “apples to apples”?

Nucleus–>Ethernet–>Bridge II–>DirectStream

The key being the Ethernet, Nucleus, and the DirectStream are constants.

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