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New Roon user. This is not too bad


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9 hours ago, Phobic said:

hmm, i kinda wonder if this is more about your setup than it is an actual intrinsic problem with roon itself.

I've been a big critic of roon in the past (especially on its price v features), but I struggle with spotting audibly how roon is worse than the OEM solutions in a Linn setup if I'm honest.

are the issues manufacturer and/or implementation specific?

There seems to be widespread criticism of the sound quality of Roon independent of system. All one needs to do is a bit of comparing with ones own streamer / server using a few different methods of file retrieval and playing. It is pretty obvious to my ears. 

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7 minutes ago, Fourlegs said:

There seems to be widespread criticism of the sound quality of Roon independent of system. All one needs to do is a bit of comparing with ones own streamer / server using a few different methods of file retrieval and playing. It is pretty obvious to my ears. 

I don't disagree with you, I'm just questioning if it's always the case? is it an issue with RAAT, or the core itself maybe?

I've done some quick simple testing and struggled to tell a difference casually on a Linn setup, I guess that's because as @Cable Monkey said earlier they aren't using the RAAT protocol but use Linns own method which is based on Linn's songcast

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Songcast is used to share audio between Linn Products when using Roon. It does not use RAAT (Roon Advanced Audio Transport) for sharing Music so cannot be setup as a Roon-Ready sharer.

The Songcast stream contains the raw unprocessed music stream, the metadata information for the Music playing and timing information.

  • The raw music data is the same data as received by the sending Linn DS. This maintains the same music stream is processed by ALL Linn DS players, (sender and receivers).

Are there any issues in principle sending the timing over a physical network interface (not wifi) rather than USB?

As a side note Linn don't use songcast when streaming, normally they use UPNP and send the raw FLAC file to the streamer for decompression and PCM extraction - I don't know for certain what's being sent via songcast, I always assumed it was PCM but it might not be.

You're also able to put a Linn songcast client on any PC and then play out of the PC to the Linn streamer as though it were a sound interface, I'm wondering how this might sound using HQplayer....

I might give it a go, though I always found the songcast software a bit flaky in all honestly.

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Unfortunately, both Airplay and Songcast have two fundamental problems related to sound quality. One is limited format support (no DSD) and the other is that the clock is driven by the source, instead of the receiver (the endpoint surely will have the best crystal in the room).

https://community.roonlabs.com/t/whats-wrong-with-upnp/2101/3

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in both cases of Airplay and Songcast, the sender sends packets to the receiver at a constant rate, based on the clock inside the sender. The receiver reads these packets, and plays them using the clock inside the device. You’d think this was perfect quality, but let’s do a simple thought experiment:

Let’s say your Mac’s clock is 10% faster than your DAC’s clock. Then, whether it is Roon, iTunes, or whoever, sending CD quality data over Airplay or Songcast will send 48510 (10% extra) samples every second instead of 44100.

There’s no way in these protocols for the receiver to say “slow down! you’re sending data too fast”, so the receiver has to deal with this situation somehow. It could drop the extra 4410 samples, creating one big glitch, or perhaps many small glitches over the course of a second. It could perform an Asynchronous Sample Rate Conversion (ASRC) in software or hardware, taking a quality hit in the process, or it could bend its internal clock to match the clock of the source. Clock bending is the highest quality option of the above, but it doesn’t stop the music from playing 10% too fast.

This is what we mean by the clock being owned by the source in these protocols.


@Rik, In the case of your Linn devices in a linked situation, the clock is owned by the DS, but that’s because you are still using UPnP instead of Songcast to get media into the Linn DS. If you used Songcast, you’d be at the mercy of the source’s clock. Also, if the clock in your Sneaky DS’s deviate from the master clock in the DS, it’ll have the same problem of having to conform to the master clock. This is a fundamental problem when linking zones in any system, since no two clocks will ever be in perfect sync. In this situation, bending the secondary clocks is the best option.

So in a purely Linn hardware driven environment, where the stream is driven by a high quality clock that you trust, there is little quality concern. That’s not the situation when source like Roon, iTunes, or the Linn Songcast audio driver interact with a protocol like Songcast or AirPlay, since in those cases, a computer is clocking out the stream. Since there’s no way in the Songcast protocol to recover the high quality clock from your master device, the computer’s system clock is used, and all Linn devices must compensate for any deviations from perfect using one of the techniques mentioned above.


The right solution here is to allow the sender to synchronize it’s sending to the receiver’s clock. This can be done through clock feedback from receiver to sender, or it can be done via many different flow control mechanisms. RAAT does this.

You can read about the Songcast protocol here: http://wiki.openhome.org/wiki/Av:Developer:Songcast:Ohm 17

I kinda think this isn't really an issue on the Linn end point to be honest, a modest buffer can easily sort it out, and the Linn streamers must have pretty big buffers given the UPNP implementation.

I wonder if we're back to a clocking discussion again for the RAAT implementation on the K50?

Edited by Phobic
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There is some interesting discussion on the dcs forum with regard to Roon sound quality Vs Mosaic  apparently they have measured and there is no difference in signal in to what comes out but even so dcs users seem split 50/50 as to which they prefer.

What I  took away was dcs seem to be saying there is no measurable difference it's just listeners personal expectation biases.

Edited by JamieMcC
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2 hours ago, Fourlegs said:

There seems to be widespread criticism of the sound quality of Roon independent of system

Wow, until I read this I was completely unaware of widespread criticism. I read lots everyday, how did I miss this? RAAT is better than not in my observation and I'm aware of the Innuos story line but I had assumed the people involved were in a minority. How can a product as big as Roon be as successful as it is if the SQ is off? Widespread in a few users groups in a few forums? Out of curiosity, what do you estimate widespread to be 50 people?

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I would guess for probably over  90

52 minutes ago, Tintinabulum said:

Wow, until I read this I was completely unaware of widespread criticism. I read lots everyday, how did I miss this? RAAT is better than not in my observation and I'm aware of the Innuos story line but I had assumed the people involved were in a minority. How can a product as big as Roon be as successful as it is if the SQ is off? Widespread in a few users groups in a few forums? Out of curiosity, what do you estimate widespread to be 50 people?

I would guess for probably over  99.9% of users roon  will bring a noticeable upgrade to their listening experience.

The 0.1% making the noise being folk who have statement systems or folk with a grudge against having to pay a subscription or media related hyjinx or just those who prefer a different sound signature.

The question that's not being answered is what is better and why it is better.  

How are the ones and noughts delivered better one way than another if they are all transmitted correctly the end results you might expect to think are ultimately down to dac and clock implementation and that portrayal by down stream equipment in the system.

We all have personal preferences what sounds great to one doesn't to someone else. 

Edited by JamieMcC
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43 minutes ago, Tintinabulum said:

Wow, until I read this I was completely unaware of widespread criticism. I read lots everyday, how did I miss this? RAAT is better than not in my observation and I'm aware of the Innuos story line but I had assumed the people involved were in a minority. How can a product as big as Roon be as successful as it is if the SQ is off? Widespread in a few users groups in a few forums? Out of curiosity, what do you estimate widespread to be 50 people?

Perhaps I can refer you to another word, 'several', which in legal terms means more than one.

All I can say is that whenever I have tried to get advice about configuring Roon to have equal sound quality to other playback methods it has been suggested that my mission is unlikely to be successful.

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Maybe it depends who you ask. It could well be if you ask a manufacturer who does not have a roon licence, you will get a different reply from one who does. One thing you can be fairly sure of in hi fi is that their will be a contrary opinion. You can also be fairly sure that some snake oil marketing will create a problem to be solved at some expense where non really exists.  Forums are probably the worst place to get anything approaching a balanced view, the loudest ''special'' views tend to take over and subject. 

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I have no interest in Roon...purely as an observer it's obvious it's designed for the best user experience and integration of local libraries with Tidal/Qobuz. Ultimate SQ has never been Roon's stated design goal. 

The fact that Roon sounds the same as any other playback method to most people (compared to what?) does not mean that there cannot be a better sounding alternative if SQ is the overarching goal.

Roon, by design, does a lot of extra stuff. All extra computing creates additional noise, so it's clear there is the potential for audible SQ degradation (both real and imagined, you can argue which one till the cows come home).

Edited by Heckyman
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4 hours ago, JamieMcC said:

The 0.1% making the noise being folk who have statement systems or folk with a grudge against having to pay a subscription or media related hyjinx or just those who prefer a different sound signature.

I happily pay my roon fees and honestly struggle to hear any difference between roon and upnp on my system, however I  still want and expect roon to perform perfectly, it should be no worse than alternative solutions, though given the price premium I think there's an expectation for it to sound better if/where possible. (and that's ignoring it's DSP capabilities).

think it's a reasonable ask of a premium product for 100% of people, especially when they market it as such on their front page "HIGHEST QUALITY AUDIO - Roon extracts the best sound quality from your audio equipment by ensuring bit-perfect delivery, as well as giving you access to powerful DSP for a customized listening experience."

4 hours ago, JamieMcC said:

The question that's not being answered is what is better and why it is better.  

How are the ones and noughts delivered better one way than another if they are all transmitted correctly the end results you might expect to think are ultimately down to dac and clock implementation and that portrayal by down stream equipment in the system.

that is the right question, but the answer isn't just down to getting bit perfect data sent to the DAC with the right clocking, processing of the bit stream adds overhead e.g. where the FLAC file is decompressed might have an impact.

Edited by Phobic
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I am trying out Roon with various settings at the moment including HQPlayer.

Roon has some great technical backup and advice for sound quality and this is a good page to start and it has links to other Roon advice pages.

https://help.roonlabs.com/portal/en/kb/articles/sound-quality

Note that throughout this Roon emphasises that there are settings and hardware choices which affect sound quality but they give advice as to how to mitigate the sound quality vs Roon user experience balance and hopefully to the point where there is no trade off.

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3 hours ago, Fourlegs said:

I am trying out Roon with various settings at the moment including HQPlayer.

Roon has some great technical backup and advice for sound quality and this is a good page to start and it has links to other Roon advice pages.

https://help.roonlabs.com/portal/en/kb/articles/sound-quality

Note that throughout this Roon emphasises that there are settings and hardware choices which affect sound quality but they give advice as to how to mitigate the sound quality vs Roon user experience balance and hopefully to the point where there is no trade off.


Are you sure you're not using a dodgy cable ...... ;-) ;-)

xD Ducks and runs for cover xD

(PS - I really like your cables ;-) )

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