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Roon RAAT - DLNA/Upnp - Volumio

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I have been a Roon / Tidal users since 2015. When I first heard about Qobuz, I managed to get a UK-based free trial account. I used Linn Kazoo at the time to stream to a Sonore UltraRendu using DLNA/Upnp. I really hated the Linn Kazoo software, it was full of bugs, and it felt like going back to the Stone Age compared to Roon. But I remember that I heard a really good sound, which from memory I liked more than Roon / Tidal. I decided to wait until Qobuz comes officially to the States. But the conclusion at the time was that Qobuz sounds better than Tidal. 

 

Roon 1.6 come up and Qobuz support was added. At the same time, Qobuz offered me a free test in their beta-closed program in the US. Perfect timing! I was excited to hear the same excellent quality from Qobuz, but it did not sound the same. I started wondering why. Is my memory playing tricks on me, or was it really different?!? In addition the ultraRendu I also have a Allo DigiOne Signature Streamer, which I have been using more recently. I got another SIM card and installed Volumio. It's super easy to switch between DietPi (Roon endpoint) and Volumio by just swapping out the cards and power cycling the streamer. It takes about a minute. So I tried Qobuz there, and I heard very similar sound to what I heard with the Linn Kazzo / DLNA/Upnp the very first time I tried Qobuz. 

 

If you go to the Roon forums, they have many articles and explanations how superios RAAT is to DLNA/Upnp. How DLNA/Upnp was put together as bits and pieces and it's afterthought, while RAAT was designed to modern standards, etc. etc. Reading that makes me think Raat is superior. But that's not what my ears hear. 

 

Has anyone else compared Raat to DLNA/Upnp? And what is your experience? I am going to do more listening tests, but at this time I am thinking that Raat somehow impacts the sound in a negative way, which looks like more significant difference in sound than the difference between Roon and Qobuz is on most recordings.

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8 minutes ago, crenca said:

Sometimes bits are just bits.  Assuming RAAT and UPnP are doing their jobs neither should sound different because the data is the same...

That's what I thought too. Not anymore, though... 

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5 minutes ago, vassils said:

That's what I thought too. Not anymore, though... 

 

Assuming Roon nor the provider of your UPnP solution are lying and appling out-of-spec DSP to the PCM, then your experience can only be explained either by your own bias, or something else in your playback chain.  In other words it's neither RAAT nor UPnP in of themselves.


Hey MQA, if it is not all $voodoo$, show us the math!

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4 minutes ago, crenca said:

 

Assuming Roon nor the provider of your UPnP solution are lying and appling out-of-spec DSP to the PCM, then your experience can only be explained either by your own bias, or something else in your playback chain.  In other words it's neither RAAT nor UPnP in of themselves.

 

That makes perfect sense in theory but does not explain what I am hearing. I like Roon, and I bought a lifetime subscription in 2015. I am biased towards Roon and want it to sound better. But that's not what I am hearing. I understand very well how streaming works. And I don't think we would find a logical explanation here. I just wanted to find out if other people have made similar comparisons and what their conclusions were.  

It may not be that Raat and UPnP sound different. It could be the software. Bits are bits but on a resolving system you can clearly hear differences between different players. Oops, I think I just opened a big can of worms... 

 

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The discussion of RAAT vs UPNP is a bit of red herring with regards to sound quality though. That's more a matter of correctness, something software engineers apparently value greatly. I'd be surprised if anyone at roon is saying RAAT sounds better than UPNP.   Anyway, in trying to account for the differences in sound some have posited that the heavier CPU overhead of Roon is a factor. This can of worms has been open for some time, as I'm sure you know! Quite a bit of fruitless back-and-forth on the Roon forums. 

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27 minutes ago, vassils said:

 

That makes perfect sense in theory but does not explain what I am hearing.

 

 

It's not "theory" at least in the way you're using the word.  Respectfully the explanation you're looking for lies elsewhere.


Hey MQA, if it is not all $voodoo$, show us the math!

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@arglebargle

Right. Roon is not saying that RAAT sounds better. They say a lot of good things about its design but not necessarily that it sounds better or worse. 

 

@crenca

You are probably right too. I realized what happened. I just discovered that Tidal and Qobuz sound different on different software. I have only compared software when my computer was connected directly to my DAC and I was playing local HiRes files.

So now when I use streamers between my server and DAC, my first thought was that it was the streaming protocol. But I am realizing it's the software. And I know, I know, people would not believe me - bias, placebo effect, snake oil, bits are bits, whatever... I trust my ears and know what I am hearing. The software sounds different, and I am not particularly happy with my discovery!

 

Thank you for your responses. You helped me get on the right track. 

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1 hour ago, vassils said:

I have been a Roon / Tidal users since 2015. When I first heard about Qobuz, I managed to get a UK-based free trial account. I used Linn Kazoo at the time to stream to a Sonore UltraRendu using DLNA/Upnp. I really hated the Linn Kazoo software, it was full of bugs, and it felt like going back to the Stone Age compared to Roon. But I remember that I heard a really good sound, which from memory I liked more than Roon / Tidal. I decided to wait until Qobuz comes officially to the States. But the conclusion at the time was that Qobuz sounds better than Tidal. 

 

Roon 1.6 come up and Qobuz support was added. At the same time, Qobuz offered me a free test in their beta-closed program in the US. Perfect timing! I was excited to hear the same excellent quality from Qobuz, but it did not sound the same. I started wondering why. Is my memory playing tricks on me, or was it really different?!? In addition the ultraRendu I also have a Allo DigiOne Signature Streamer, which I have been using more recently. I got another SIM card and installed Volumio. It's super easy to switch between DietPi (Roon endpoint) and Volumio by just swapping out the cards and power cycling the streamer. It takes about a minute. So I tried Qobuz there, and I heard very similar sound to what I heard with the Linn Kazzo / DLNA/Upnp the very first time I tried Qobuz. 

 

If you go to the Roon forums, they have many articles and explanations how superios RAAT is to DLNA/Upnp. How DLNA/Upnp was put together as bits and pieces and it's afterthought, while RAAT was designed to modern standards, etc. etc. Reading that makes me think Raat is superior. But that's not what my ears hear. 

 

Has anyone else compared Raat to DLNA/Upnp? And what is your experience? I am going to do more listening tests, but at this time I am thinking that Raat somehow impacts the sound in a negative way, which looks like more significant difference in sound than the difference between Roon and Qobuz is on most recordings.

I have heard this many times and occasionally the other way around.

 

Try Roon with SqueezeLite on the ultraRendu by going to Settings / SqueezeLite and pressing Save. Also, you have to enable SqueezeBox support in Roon Settings.    

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On 1/25/2019 at 10:48 PM, vassils said:

So now when I use streamers between my server and DAC, my first thought was that it was the streaming protocol. But I am realizing it's the software. And I know, I know, people would not believe me - bias, placebo effect, snake oil, bits are bits, whatever... I trust my ears and know what I am hearing. The software sounds different, and I am not particularly happy with my discovery!

 

Thank you for your responses. You helped me get on the right track. 

 

There is no software involved in the decoding of audio file tracks from online music services like Qobuz when using a UPnP/DLNA streamer - the UPnP/DLNA streamer is the audio file player. The UPnP/DLNA streamer receives the audio file tracks exactly as provided the the music service's online server, either directly or via a proxy server.

 

The same cannot be said for RAAT driven Roon Endpoints, which receive the audio signal output from the Roon Core Server software itself decoding the audio file tracks being streamed from the music service's online server - the Roon Core Server (software) is the audio file player.


We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.

-- Jo Cox

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2 minutes ago, Cebolla said:

...

The same cannot be said for RAAT driven Roon Endpoints, which receive the audio signal output from the Roon Core Server software itself decoding the audio file tracks being streamed from the music service's online server - the Roon Core Server is the audio file player.

 

This is true.  However, Roon claims the Core is bit for bit (i.e. no DSP) unless you intentionally choose, like when you allow Roon to "decode" MQA or when you intentionally apply DSP (EQ, upsampling, etc.). 


Hey MQA, if it is not all $voodoo$, show us the math!

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Not saying otherwise - my point was to highlight an incorrect perception by the OP.


We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.

-- Jo Cox

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That might explain the subtle difference I hear when I use Roon. Well, even if that's not the reason for the difference, there definitely is audible difference. 

UPnP/DLNA software sounds very similar to streaming directly from Volumio running on Allo DigiOne Signature, which does not involve UPnP/DLNA. Roon sounds a little bit different than that. There are things I like about Roon (i.e. bass) and there are things I prefer from Volumio (i.e. wider soundstage and arguably a little more lively). I did go back and forth many times and so far I like Volumio a little bit more to my taste than Roon. We are not talking about a significant difference here... I will probably keep both and use Roon for my day to day listening and discovering new music, because the interface and metadata is so good, and Volumio (with all its bugs and crappy interface, which makes me even wonder sometimes how they can release this to the public!) for critical listening. 

 

@vortecjr

Thank you for the advice. I am moving away from the ultraRendu, but if I decide to put it back in my system, I will give it a try. I always thought RAAT is more advanced and never even considered trying anything else. Well, I actually tried AirPlay once and was very disappointed. 

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After listening for a couple of weeks, I can undoubtedly report that I prefer streaming Tidal/Qobuz from Volumio in my system than streaming from a Roon ROCK using RAAT. I don't know exactly why.

As much as I like Roon, I switched away from it for critical listening. I still use it for non-critical listening. Roon's soundstage is more compressed in my system. Volumio sounds more alive, more dynamic, more open, etc. I am not trying to start an argument, just sharing my experience. 

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5 hours ago, vassils said:

After listening for a couple of weeks, I can undoubtedly report that I prefer streaming Tidal/Qobuz from Volumio in my system than streaming from a Roon ROCK using RAAT. I don't know exactly why.

As much as I like Roon, I switched away from it for critical listening. I still use it for non-critical listening. Roon's soundstage is more compressed in my system. Volumio sounds more alive, more dynamic, more open, etc. I am not trying to start an argument, just sharing my experience. 

I like the sound of Roon Server running on a computer and outputting to an endpoint running Squeezelite-R2 (either a NUC running audio-linux in ramroot mode or a Digione Signature running the pi version of GentooPlayer in ramsystem mode). 

 

There's a setting in Roon Settings (Setup section) that allows you to enable squeeebox support.  After enabling that, Roon will be able to see and play to devices running Squeezelite (Squeezelite-R2 in my case).

524834189_ScreenShot2019-02-09at1_41_17AM.png.d499aeb53e4ea49d4f9e8ebdefd243bd.png

 

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