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Playing Roon over RAAT - Does the server matter for SQ?


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Again, it makes no sense…the same data is being sent by HQPlayer either way.

 

The only possible explanation for a difference is when directly connected to the DAC the server is being utilized differently which might change the electrical noise going to the DAC from the system. However, this issue goes out the window when the NAA is in play. 
 

Expectation bias is the most logical explanation here.

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I don't know if I'm explaining this wrong or what it the problem here. So I'll try again - when comparing the two setups I mentioned, it does not matter what goes out of HQP. The only thing that was changing was what was going in to the HQP. Roon stream vs. HQP getting the data on its own.

 

I have no idea about your expertise in digital audio playback, but this is my experience. And in my experience it's not just about having a bit-perfect data stream. It also matters how that data stream is created and how the data is processed before it's sent out. Not sure if you ever tried to run Roon Core on an OS like Euphony. Again, I'm not an expert on OS and audio kernels, but Euphony is using a modified Linux kernel specifically designed for audio playback, e.g. like Audiolinux. The focus is on timing, latency, interrupt requests, etc... that's all I know. And I can hear a clear difference, same as everyone else I talked to who tried Euphony. In the past I was also running Roon on NUC/ROCK only and thought it can't get any better, because it's all bit-perfect. Well, I was wrong.

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47 minutes ago, SQFIRST said:

Roon can sound as good as your baseline system. Is it easy to get it there? I will have to say, No. But just wanted to add my perspective and this is a good topic to hear everyone discuss.

Yes, understand your argument, though my system is fairly lean in terms of hops between devices.

 

I do not use DSP at all. You say you use convolution but surely not when comparing UPnP served files with Roon?

 

I might try the EtherRegen when the new version comes out. In relation to this I did test running the ethernet connection to the dCS Rossini over 100m instead of 1g (it has two ethernet ports, one with a 1g ethernet chip and another one with a 100m one). All these audiophile networking devices seem to have a 100m port for streamers. I don't hear a diff tbh. 

NUC10i7 + ROCK > dCS Rossini Apex DAC + dCS Rossini Clock 

SME 20/3 + SME V 9” + Dynavector XV-1s > vdH The Grail

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo

Signal cables: Kondo Silver, Crystal Cable phono

Power cables: Kondo, Shunyata, van den Hul

system pics

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38 minutes ago, Yiakubou said:

Forget about NAA. I was testing it also while having the HQP PC connected to USB DAC as mentioned. And it does not matter anyway. Again the only difference between the two scenarios mentioned was in Roon continuously streaming to HQP vs. HQP grabbing the data files on its own, not relying on any external continous data stream. Whether HQP was connected to USB DAC or via NAA to an endpoint does not matter in this comparison as that was not changing when switching between the two setups.

Via USB that is not necessarily shocking: Roon is taxing your CPU more than HQP alone.

NUC10i7 + ROCK > dCS Rossini Apex DAC + dCS Rossini Clock 

SME 20/3 + SME V 9” + Dynavector XV-1s > vdH The Grail

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo

Signal cables: Kondo Silver, Crystal Cable phono

Power cables: Kondo, Shunyata, van den Hul

system pics

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17 minutes ago, miguelito said:

Via USB that is not necessarily shocking: Roon is taxing your CPU more than HQP alone.

What do you mean exactly? I am upsampling to DSD using HQP, so the load on CPU on HQP PC is significantly higher than on the PC that's running Roon or Euphony Stylus. The USB DAC was connected to the HQP PC as output obviously, so once again - changing between Roon or Euphony Stylus as an input or control method for the HQP does not change anything in the HQP output. That is defined by the HQP settings that remained the same when switching between the two mode.

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3 hours ago, miguelito said:

there was one track of the lot I tested which was bizarre: Shuggie Otis's "Purple".


Thanks for a great new music - I listened to this on Qobuz via Roon and it has a nice vinyl like sound. Your description of it sounds like you are getting a lot of digital hash.

 

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1 hour ago, SQFIRST said:


Thanks for a great new music - I listened to this on Qobuz via Roon and it has a nice vinyl like sound. Your description of it sounds like you are getting a lot of digital hash.

I don't think so. It sounds amazing on both Roon and Mosaic, just slightly different.

NUC10i7 + ROCK > dCS Rossini Apex DAC + dCS Rossini Clock 

SME 20/3 + SME V 9” + Dynavector XV-1s > vdH The Grail

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo

Signal cables: Kondo Silver, Crystal Cable phono

Power cables: Kondo, Shunyata, van den Hul

system pics

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14 minutes ago, miguelito said:

I don't think so. It sounds amazing on both Roon and Mosaic, just slightly different.

That is a good problem to have as variety is interesting :)

 

I misread your earlier remarks about the soundstage to be negative. In this case, it may well be that the Mosaic processor does handle Roon different. Very interesting and will stay tuned in case you discover something new on this in future.

 

Happy listening!

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55 minutes ago, SQFIRST said:

I misread your earlier remarks about the soundstage to be negative. In this case, it may well be that the Mosaic processor does handle Roon different. Very interesting and will stay tuned in case you discover something new on this in future.

I think it is different playback software, I don't really know. Most of the time the difference is pretty subtle. It was quite noticeable in this case.

NUC10i7 + ROCK > dCS Rossini Apex DAC + dCS Rossini Clock 

SME 20/3 + SME V 9” + Dynavector XV-1s > vdH The Grail

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo

Signal cables: Kondo Silver, Crystal Cable phono

Power cables: Kondo, Shunyata, van den Hul

system pics

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IN my experiences I have found that though minimal, the server does have an effect on sound. In my case I always get the best sound quality on Ubuntu Linux Server whether I was running Roon by itself, Roon with HQPlayer, or HQPlayer by itself. My only explanation for this was that with the desktop OS on a Mac, there was too much other processing going on in addition to music playback versus the Linux server OS which has next to nothing running other than the barest of essentials to run and play music.

 

However, I found a bigger difference by not using Roon at all than I did by switching to an Ubuntu based server.

No electron left behind.

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2 hours ago, AudioDoctor said:

My only explanation for this was that with the desktop OS on a Mac, there was too much other processing going on in addition to music playback versus the Linux server OS which has next to nothing running other than the barest of essentials to run and play music.

 

In my experience there was no difference in sound quality while running Roon on standard Windows (where you have lots of other stuff) vs. e.g. Roon's ROCK (which is a minimal Linux OS already).

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9 hours ago, Yiakubou said:

 

In my experience there was no difference in sound quality while running Roon on standard Windows (where you have lots of other stuff) vs. e.g. Roon's ROCK (which is a minimal Linux OS already).

 

Great.

No electron left behind.

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On 10/13/2022 at 7:31 PM, miguelito said:

Has anyone experienced a difference in sound quality between various servers when playing over the network - specifically Roon's RAAT?

The article is deleted, but I remember Michal Logva compared Sonictransporter vs a NUC, and he found sound differences.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 11/6/2022 at 12:48 PM, BryanS said:

The 2 box PSU is out of this world. In my setup I didn't find anything I liked better. 

Thanks for sharing the photos.  Impressive.

Digital:  Sonore opticalModule > Uptone EtherRegen > Shunyata Sigma Ethernet > Antipodes K30 > Shunyata Omega USB > Gustard X26pro DAC 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha and Delta power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps, Stillpoints Aperture panels

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On 11/6/2022 at 3:58 AM, VASKA said:

Hello to all members. I am a very new to the forum. However just last month I made the jump from using a mac mini with all Uptone Audio mods, as Roon core, to using a dedicated Audio Transport - the Pachanko Constellation Mini. Then I also upgraded further by including a Diretta target / Diretta ethernet protocol to the Pachanko Constellation.

 

The investment came after auditioning near all options available (RAAT/bridge...) to me at this price point (eg sotm 200 ultra neo, lumin...). My budget was Euro 2-3k so not anything extraordinary (considering RAAT price range is between Euro 1-50k). I am the "budget" user...

 

Here's a few thoughts on what differences I saw in my system....may help other members considering such setup.


___________________________________
Other System Components:
Speakers: ProAc Studio 125
Pre & Amplification: Musical Fidelity Preamp 8 and MA65 monoblocks
DAC: Project Pre Box RS2 Digital
Keces P8 Linear Power Supply

SOTM snh-10g switch

Furutech/Chord cables
___________________________________
 

Digital Front End Step Changes:

A. Front End Initial setup

Mac Mini with all UpTone Audio mods and Linear Power Supply, Intona USB Isolator

B. Pachanko Constellation Mini RAAT
Constellation Mini (fed by LPS), Intona USB Isolator

C. Pachanko Constellation Mini RAAT & Diretta Target

Constellation Mini (fed by LPS), Diretta Target (fed by LPS), Intona USB Isolator
_____________________________________
 

I don't understand... Are you connecting the DAC to the mini or Pachanko via USB? If so, this is not the question at all here, the question if what is the difference given a server working over RAAT to your DAC. RAAT means over the network.

NUC10i7 + ROCK > dCS Rossini Apex DAC + dCS Rossini Clock 

SME 20/3 + SME V 9” + Dynavector XV-1s > vdH The Grail

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo

Signal cables: Kondo Silver, Crystal Cable phono

Power cables: Kondo, Shunyata, van den Hul

system pics

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Hello Miguel, I am sorry if I did not explain chain well.

 

Diretta is an ethernet protocol and the connection of the Constellation server is over ethernet.

The difference is that the Pachanko Constellation server has one dedicated RJ45 port for connection to LAN and a second dedicated RJ45 port for connection to the Diretta target. I am attaching a photo of the rear of the Constellation, as well as a photo from Pachanko manual on connection chain. As you may note there is no usb connection in use.

 

In a simplified manner (and limited by my understanding of the system), the server sends out information packages. The target receives, buffers and passes on the information to the DAC - via usb - in steady voltage packages.

 

I understand the sonic quality is dependent on two things:

 

a. the noise level and quality/performance of the server which is connected via ethernet to Diretta target (this is the part that really addresses your question I think).

 

So my Roon server (Pachanko Constellation mini) , costing Euro 1,500 , does not perform or sound nearly as well as BryanS's server, which costs Euro 20k (Pachanko Constellation Masterpiece). I have auditioned my server against a higher end Pachanko server and there is - really - enormous difference. And the only thing that changed in the chain was the server (cables, Diretta target, switch - all same).

 

Otherwise Bryan just spent 18K for no reason...😉😁..

And I am also dreaming of getting a Constellation Masterpiece one day for no reason....🤪

 

Exact differences between lower-end and higher-end server?: where do I start....soundstage...imaging definition....depth layers....

 

In practice the server could be a mile away from the system and feeding the target via ethernet. But  in speaking with both Yu Herada - the designer of Diretta - and Chan of Pachanko, both mentioned that it would be best to keep the connecting LAN cable connecting the server and the target as short and as high quality as possible, and shielded both connector ends (s/ftp) for the best sonic result. So here is another hint that the cable resistance also plays a part (my take on this).

 

I will also note that I saw a further improvement when I installed the SOTM switch between the server and the Diretta target (all connected with short Cat8 cables).

 

b. The quality of the Diretta target

 

I have purchased the Diretta Canarino target, from Japan, at Euro 900.

But SPEC manufacture a Diretta Target which costs Euro 3.5k. And my understanding is that you get a bigger soundstage and higher detail level.  I also know that Pachanko are finalizing their own Diretta target which shall cost Euro 7k. Again I would expect higher details and bigger soundstage than both above models.

 

Photo 1: The two RJ45 ports in Constellation mini

photo 2: The rear connections of the Diretta bridge/target (left RJ45, right USB to DAC)

photo 3: Pachanko manual, Diretta connection

 

Hope this gives you a clearer idea of connection chain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG20221116083754.jpg

IMG20221116091348.jpg

Screenshot 2022-11-16 at 09.36.10.jpg

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Miguel, as I was re-reading your comment I also think there is some confusion.

 

RAAT does not mean ethernet

 

RAAT is Roon Advanced Audio Transport. It is a device that is specifically designed and built to receive and transport digital info through the usage of Roon software.

 

Just like a CD transport can have SPDIF, I2S, Toslink outputs which you can use to transport the information to another device, in the same way a RAAT can have USB, RJ45, SPDIF out. Regardless of your implementation you would still be using a RAAT.

 

Now, If you go RAAT over Ethernet, you already define that you need a Roon endpoint. Or alternatively you are using the RAAT as an endpoint thereby definitely going over USB

 

In my system the RAAT is the Constellation, the Roon endpoint is the Diretta Target.

The usage of Diretta over any other Bridge/Target just gives me a further advantage of also including a special audio ethernet protocol in the system.

 

Also to make things even more complicated a RAAT can be a Roon Core, or Roon endpoint.

So I could be using two Constellations, one as core and one as endpoint. They would both be RAATs....

 

I understand that what you are asking is "RAAT over ethernet".

 

But regardless of the implementation (usb, spdif, ethernet) the quality of your RAAT make a very big difference to the sonic characteristics. Mainly - as I understand this - due to shielding and noise reduction. I have found the Alpha Audio youtube videos very informative in some such respects.

 

All above is to the best of my knowledge. I am certain there are far more knowledgeable members to comment on this exact info and, I may be wrong in some of my understanding....

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Miguel, so that I provide you with correct info on this I just spoke to Pachanko.

When one uses a Diretta target the Diretta Protocol over-rides RAAT.

So in my (and BryanS's) case Diretta is the ethernet protocol used.

Pachanko clarified that when using Pachanko Constellation and Roon or HQP with Diretta target, "RAAT is bypassed and Roon is used simply as interface".

 

Bottom right of screenshot of Roon interface you have Diretta ASIO active target

 

if of interest you can read more on Diretta protocol here....https://www.diretta.link/

 

 

 

 

Screenshot 2022-11-16 at 15.22.23.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

@rblnr This is why I always say only the listener can determine what is good for them. This is exactly why I use audio forums to find out about products but my ears to determine what is good for me. I also do this at dealers. I can't count how many times dealers try and tell me what sounds good and what is good. I always tell them I will decide what is good for me. 

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I do believe that a lot is dependent on ones system as a total.

I also do believe that in digital music, finally, what we all aim for is the lowest possible noise level (causing whatever distortion)...

 

@rblnr, your system (excluding server) has components that individually cost nearly as much as my whole system.

Within your system you have a Crimson power conditioner and a PS Audio power regenerator.

In my system I only have two linear power supplies feeding my front end equipment.

 

It may well be, I have no tested the PS Audio P20, that your system - to start with - is fed with ultra pure wave.

My system is definitely not.

 

And here is where it gets extra exciting.

Each one of us hears differently, as BryanS noted, and thus gains different experiences,

Pls don't take me wrong. Your listening room is awesome, your gear is ultra fantastic (the Hegels....great choice) and you have much , much, more experience in than me.

 

You have decided to spend (just guessing here) 60-70k on your audio gear. And the source, the server, is  1.5k...so only abt 2% of your system value?

 

On the other end my system is 14-15k total, my server (together with the diretta target) is abt 2.5k, abt 15% of my system

 

We obviously have different priorities in building our systems. I do not have a turntable. I do see you have a good turntable, phono, and great cartridge. So you obviously spend time with your analog setup.

 

Sincerely, in my system, I had the opportunity to test 5-6 different servers/streamers.

I heard differences with each component change. And by far the worst was my mac-mini with Uptone Audio mods. (OK, without the mods it was even worse). None of those components was priced above 3k. So all in the "budget" range.

 

You also agree here by applying a bare minimum spec quality in your system.... If you heard no differences, why use a Nucleus+, why not use a cheaper generic i3 pc? It must have made some difference. In the same way I do think that better components shall get you better noise level etc. As with all things in audio the rule of diminishing returns applies. You decided on Nucleus+ being your optimal level and another person shall decide that a Pink Faun ot Taiko costing 30-40 times as much is optimal.Are they getting 30 times better sound? No...

 

In the same way I decided that spending 1.5k on linear power supplies is optimal but you decided to spend 13k of your budget (or there about?) on power conditioning.....

 

I do wish I had many audiophile friends living close to my location. Especially audiophiles with experience and gear that might have changed my perception of what I hear and where I should spend my budget more wisely on. It is a learning curve though and one that I guess all of us are enjoying!

 

Unfortunately I only have 2-3 such friends. And they all heard the differences which I referred to a few posts above.

Wish you lived close-by - maybe I could borrow your P20 for a day or two 🤪😁!!

(would gladly also lend out my Pachanko+Diretta combo for you to hear... which I have experienced as much better than the N+.)

Might convince me to cancel my order for a better server and buy a conditioner instead....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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