The vagaries of digital audio-ENOUGH!

I’m about ready to chuck all the “good” digital audio stuff and stick with my Sonos because it simply works every damned time. I’ll just dump the audio signal via dumb interfaces like coaxial or optical into my good system via a Sonos Port because USB just isn’t reliable whether it be Roon or whatever. In the end, Redbook quality is good enough and continuing to screw around with trying to play DSD isn’t worth the time or aggravation.

Frustrated beyond words right now.

Mike in Dayton



And we wonder why the kids aren’t interested :thinking:

I guess I should elaborate.

I picked up an ifi Zen Stream to be able to play Roon direct to my SGCD via USB. When I try and play the files via USB connection, Roon just skips the songs. Heck, even non-DSD playback via USB is a no-go too-same behavior. I PROBABLY should have anticipated this given that the Zen seems to be a fancy Raspberry Pi sort of deal and my experience with these types of things via USB never worked. The only reliable USB connection I get appears to be an iPad or iPhone through the USB dongle. Given that the Zen and an iPad cost about the same, maybe I should just return it and get another iPad and leave it hooked up. I dunno.

I guess the root of my frustration is that with streaming digital, there are too many practical
variables to be able to reasonably troubleshoot. Is it the SGCD? The Zen? Or is it Roon? My USB cable? The Audioquest Jitterbug? A networking glitch? I’m not a babe in the woods on tech, but when you have so many variations, from so many different vendors, it becomes troublesome to nail down what’s going on. Because it’s always someone else’s fault. I mean, the iPad via dongle works, so it probably isn’t the SGCD. Or Roon. I dunno. Maybe I’m just being impatient. But damned if my records don’t play the same way every time. Same with my CDs.

Maybe I’ll just go back to playing CDs. They work every time.


I have no interest in streaming, or even reading about it. For me it’s keep it simple stupid.

Plop CD in tray…Hit play… enjoy.


Couldn’t agree more. CD’s and vinyl, they are never going away.

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I agree to a point. Digital playback can be a real PITA sometimes but it’s worth it in the end. I love exploring new artists and new music, and that can’t be done with a collection of LPs or CDs. It’s like the difference between owning a set of encyclopedias vs. having access to the internet.

I purchased a lifetime membership to Roon a couple of years ago and I also use a Roon Nucleus and feed that signal to my DirectSteam DAC; to me it’s a match made in heaven. I could never go back to limiting myself to just my physical media.


Pick up an innuos mini. Small, reliable, easy to setup, can act as soon server or room endpoint only. It just works. You won’t look back. You can either use roon or their new 2.0 OS (personally, I would stick to roon).

I feel your frustration here and for some it might be with audio systems these days in general. However I am 100% digital, have been for years and never had an issue. Well, I tried a streamer once to “make things simple and less noisy” and that was a PITA. I got jRiver and 80G of my old files on a dedicated laptop streaming Amazon HD and Spotify. I stream to my main system via USB to Matrix and/or straight USB depending. It just works every time no issues. The benefits to me are literally millions of songs at my fingertips. I have discovered a ton of new songs, artists etc. it is more than worth the fees or any issues to date which have been very few if any. BTW, I have never flirted with DSD. My system sounds great with the above sources. Don’t give up on the HUGE amount of music out there you have not discovered yet. Take a break, start with something that works and keep it simple… My 2c anyway.


Have you got the switch on the back of the Zen in the Roon position? Also there are users over at AS that might be able to give you some assistance.

I agree with Redbook. I have found much more difference in DAC vs. DAC then 16 bit vs. 24 bit.

Example… I don’t care for delta sigma DACs at all no matter what file type goes in… they all generate music like sounds that are not engaging to me.

I would rather listen to a 128kbps mp3 going into a Schiit Bifrost MultiBit than any of the delta sigma i’ve heard with hi-res.

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just keep USB out of it. removes 90% of the hassles in 90% of cases :slight_smile:

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Dayton, OH, home of Jazz Central.

This is geared a bit towards “mainstream” but I agree 100% with high quality mastering at any bitrate and actual auditory differences between “normal” bit rates vs “high res”. Also the availability of Redbook vs actual hi res recordings etc.

I bet a superbly recorded and mastered mp3 @ 320 would sound better than a poorly done DSD256. What happens between the performer and the encoder or vinyl stamper is probably at least 95% of what we hear.

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Regarding Darko’s position that Hi-Res recordings and streaming will not be supported by the “main stream” I tend to agree. Spotify and Apple are pursuing the mainstream market and going upscale from mp3 to CD resolution quality. It fits their business model and overall mainstream market demands. That said, those who consider themselves to be audiophiles or frequent this forum are not “main stream” but form a niche market. This niche segment is always in pursuit of continuous improvement within their financial and auditory means. Thus a basis to provide for hi-res exists, though the market may be rather limited.
Personally I have not jumped whole heartedly into the Hi-res scene, primarily as the majority of the music I listen to is not offered in a HI-res format.

For those who do embrace and enjoy Hi-res listening how about listing some of your most favorite Hi-res releases, and explanation as to what you hear that makes the experience special.

Six years ago I bought a NAD Masters ( M250 maybe ) ripper, streamer, player. It has worked FLAWLESS since the time I got it. Great interface. I was looking for simplicity and I got it. I out put it to DSD Sr. I love it and it works every time. No DSD though. I am ok with that. I was always looking for the simplest, reliable path and I found it. It really works for me.


Agree 100%. Another reason I thought trying a DSD, Quadrate etc might be fun but totally superfluous. I rate a system ( mine anyway) on how well it plays all music, not just a specific type or bitrate. I don’t want to be limited in my discovery. MP3, 320 SPOTIFY, Amazon HD, Miles Davis at 24/196, Rock, Jazz, no matter. It should all put a smile on your face imho…

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I do think getting a higher-end streaming setup to work and sound great can often be at least as tweaky as vinyl🤷🏻‍♂️ LOTS of potential variables and “moving parts” so to speak. And - everything matters.


Yup. USB is not really meant for audio. I’m about to pack it in on that interface and just move on.