Roon SQ vs DLNA

Hi folks,

this drives me nuts... I'm running a NAS + macmini (2012 i5) +roon + rendu on one LAN switch. In this setup, I'm able to run DLNA/UPNP on NAS ('qnap) instead of roon/mac so I can compare directly in the same setup the SQ without changing HW.

The SQ of the DLNA is so much better...more focus, more colour, bigger image compared to roon. Even running hqp for upsampling this  can't touch DLNA playing native music.

So it seems that there are two potential problems:

- sending data/music packages around the network kills music or

- macmini is the limiting factor

Any one here got same results?

thanks!!!!

Ralf

Original Post
T38.45 posted:

Hi folks,

this drives me nuts... I'm running a NAS + macmini (2012 i5) +roon + rendu on one LAN switch. In this setup, I'm able to run DLNA/UPNP on NAS ('qnap) instead of roon/mac so I can compare directly in the same setup the SQ without changing HW.

The SQ of the DLNA is so much better...more focus, more colour, bigger image compared to roon. Even running hqp for upsampling this  can't touch DLNA playing native music.

So it seems that there are two potential problems:

- sending data/music packages around the network kills music or

- macmini is the limiting factor

Any one here got same results?

thanks!!!!

Ralf

Can you please clarify your setup: From your description I take it as follows: please confirm

  1. NAS —ethernet—> Mac Mini to run Roon —?—> microRendu —usb--> DAC.   
  2. QNAP NAS —ethernet—>  microRendu —usb—> DAC

 

Are they two independent NASs, or is it actually the same one feeding both setups?

What connection between Mac Mini and uR in setup 1?

 Where is/are the switche(s in the systems? 

Are the two completely independent, or is it that you have a switch with outputs of MM and QNAP and input of microRendu connected together?

So you’re using software in the microRendu to select either the file served direct from the NAS, or the Roon served from the Mac Mini.

It could be worth dumping a few tracks on the MM’s hard disk and getting Roon to play from that instead - not thinking there will be a difference, but an easy thing to try. Otherwise I’m sorry, I have no suggestions as i don’t have enough familiarity with Roon used in this way, and no familiarity with uR.

Ok, so as the file is streaming across the ethernet in both setups, one would expect them to sound the same, except that one is going through Mac Mini running Roon. the cause could be the Mac Mini itself degrading the digital encoded digital information (which could include injecting RF or other noise), or Rune itself is having abpn adverse effect. I doubt it is the computer not having adequate processing power to run Roon, so looking beyond that, any settings in Roon that might make it cease to be bit perfect, e.g  DSP, whether volume control or room compensation etc?

Otherwise this may be one to take up with the Roon community - though if you do and an answer is forthcoming then please post here!

Had a similar experience with a different SQ with a bit perfect feed from a Roon Endpoint into my NDS/555DR network player.

So same music files on the same remote NAS, with the following playback options:

  • Asset R6 UPnP server running on RPi, running a lean OS, transcoding to WAV to the NDS
  • NUC5i3 running Roon OS as the Roon Core, feeding SonicorbiterSE as Roon Endpoint running the Sonore UPnP Bridge (using Roon's Squeezelite mode & protocol) into the NDS

I have also tried the USB output from the SonicorbiterSE, so it uses the Roon RAAT transport protocol, with an XMOS based USB->S/PDIF convertor into the BNC digital input on the NDS.

All equipment running on the same network switches and networking for both the backend data storage serving equipment over a separate sub-network for the playback rendering equipment.

Neither Roon Endpoints sound as good as the UPnP input in terms of scale, presentation and dynamics.

I have a desire to migrate away from the Naim app as my main controller and library management application, as Roon is hands down, better - however not if the native UPnP feed continues to sound better.
I have a concern that Naim is focusing development of the Naim App for their new models and product range and not advancing the functionality and features for any of their 'Classic' range of streamers, even though they are still available for sale and NDS is the current reference grade streamer product.

Thanks, Simon

But what bothers me, is that it should, it should be 'bit perfect', UPnP should just be the same, and every UPnP server, whether running on a NAS or a separate dedicated server or an expensive badged server should sound the same.

So it depends on how you are currently running a UPnP Server, as I would image that a separate Roon Core, through an Endpoint into a USB DAC device SHOULD be better than a UPnP server running on the NAS and served over the network.

But with every system there is the possibility of noise being introduced into every stage, tolerances in the timing of the packet frames and asynchronous USB inputs.

I am sure that a Roon system can be stunning, such as Meridian's ID40 cards into DSP8000's, dCS Bridge in a dCS DAC with Master Clock or Merging's Roon product, etc.

Just I haven't ironed out the niggles of a Roon Endpoint into the Naim Network Player, wo native Roon support or a USB DAC input.

Again I am perfectly happy with the SQ from the NDS with a dedicated UPnP server, my concern is being left without new features/functionality from the Controlling App, that is not receiving any attention from Naim, as their focus is elsewhere in new markets and with new products.

I want the front-end User experience of Roon, for library and track management/information and playback control with the same SQ as I get from the dedicated UPnP server on that input.

Simon.

PS Don't let my experiences determine the outcome of your journey through this maze.

In the ethernet path between NAS and renderer, is Roon doing anything than being a bit of library software, the machine it is on (Mac Mini in the OP’s case) just being a processor on which it can run? (I know it can be run stand-alone on a computer, doing the rendering itself, passing the output via USB to a DAC, but that is not the setup in this case) If it is not supposed to be doing anything with the signal, does it have to be in the path, as opposed simply controlling the renderer and UPnP server? (I’m straying out of my comfort zone here, not knowing how it works).

Can Roon not be installed on the NAS? (That was the basis of my suggested test to load some files into Mac Mini’s storage and try running from there without Accessing the NAS).

some people seem to run Roon happlity, maybe need to see how they set it up - but of course taking into account how revealing their system may be compared to yours.

 

I run Roon core on my Qnap TS251 and it works very well if you do not want too much signal processing. DSD upsampling etc. is a bit marginal in terms of occasional dropouts but makes very little difference to my ears. Tidal via Roon sounds fine to me - as good as rips via upnp.

I am having this issue with my Atom, the native upnp and Tidal app sound much clearer and defined compare to Roon which sound flat and lifeless in comparison to both local and Tid playback. My old Pi/Roon bridge setup sounded better for Roon than the Atom. I wonder if they are using the latest version of RAAT on the Atom or the signal path for Roon bypasses some internal processing on the Atom. I bought the Atom so I could have Roon, Spotify and Chromecast so its disappointing it sounds less than it should.

It could also be, that how Roon's protocols and method of operation are very new to Naim's Engineers, and how to get the best from them are not known yet. Whereas how to process WAV format streamed over UPnP in DNLA environment, they have been working on since the HDX and NDX.

I'm sure there will be updates and future firmware releases that improve it, if Naim are going to embrace Roon as a credible direction for their customers, or it may be a 'tick box' item added, but they continue to focus on a Naim product centre eco-system for those who require and pay for 'Plug and Play' with the Uniti Core as the offered server for UPnP.

Simon

Pev posted:

I run Roon core on my Qnap TS251 and it works very well if you do not want too much signal processing. DSD upsampling etc. is a bit marginal in terms of occasional dropouts but makes very little difference to my ears. Tidal via Roon sounds fine to me - as good as rips via upnp.

Any signal processing changes it from bit perfect - though that doesn’t necessarily mean sounding bad. Can you switch off all DSP for maximum fidelity?

Yes - I don't use any signal processing now.

I first used a laptop to run the Roon core and tried some of the Roon DSP options. When I transferred the Roon core to my NAS (actually to an SSD attached to the NAS as per Roon instructions) I found occasional dropouts which were cure when I turned of all DSP. The DSP actuallly didn't make that much difference and I don't miss it - I do like running everything from my NAS which is always on anyway rather than involving a computer of any kind.

T38.45 posted:

1) NAS---LAN--macmini roon----LAN----microrendu---usb---dac

2) NAS/minimserv---LAN---microrendu---usb---dac

same NAS, all components connected to the same LAN switch (NAS, mini, rendu)

Have you perhaps setup MinimServer to do some transcoding that Roon doesn't do or the other way round?

If not, you could try temporarily replacing the microRendu with a Raspberry Pi. If 1) and 2) sound comparably once you have replaced the microRendu with a RPi, then the culprit is obviously the implementation of the  Roon endpoint in the microRendu. In this case, replacing the microRendu with another network player would be an obvious approach.

If 1) and 2) still sound very different with a RPi in place of the microRendu, then the next step would be to compare

a) macmini + roon----LAN----microrendu---usb---dac

b) macmini + minimserv---LAN---microrendu---usb---dac

with both Roon and MinimServer fetching local files stored in the macmini or on an external drive.

Some excellent points raised in this thread I’m mid way through my free Roon trial and at this point am about 90% sure I won’t be going to pay to keep it going. 

The whole metadata thing isn’t that important to me. I can see the attraction absolutely but for sound reasons alone it isn’t worth the money. When both Upnp and hard wired Nas/USB drives sound better plus I already have HQ player  

 

T38.45 posted:

Thanks- I switched-off minimserver but it has no sound effect with roon. roon connects to the music shares directly and doesn't rely on a presentation sw like twonky or minimserver. I think I'll have to wait for an improved version of roon....

I would expect that the component that has the most significant impact on the sound quality in your chain is the implementation of the Roon endpoint. Perhaps it is just the microRendo that is very good as a UPnP renderer and not so good as Roon endpoint. Should be very easy to find out, see my previous post.

This is a really interesting thread.  I’ve taken the first step into streaming with the Mac ‘n Dac-V1 system in the office.  Now I’m looking at serious streaming in the living room system and am quite taken by the Roon approach.  

Then BAM! Metadata is great but at the apparent cost in terms of sound quality.

I’m honestly struggling a bit with deciding on the right system architecture: NAS + posh Naim streamer versus Melco + DAVE versus NAS + NUC i7 as Roon CORE + UltraRendu (with LPS) as endpoint + posh Dac, versus Melco + Linn KDS. 

As I don’t want to waste a dealer’s time by requesting demos of all 4 architectures, I’m left wondering how best to proceed...

best regards from a slightly perplexed FT

T38.45 posted:

I will try to test a different endpoint as soon as wife accepts it ;-))

You can slot in a Raspberry Pi for 35 pounds just to make a test. It will not sound as good as the microRendu but at least it will tell you whether it could be worth trying a different endpoint. Perhaps your problem is not the endpoint ...

I try to borrow another endpoint (Auralic) or wait for Naim to come up with roon support and maybe sell my DAC if price is ok. The pi sounds valid but I have no clue and time to setup that thing I‘m afraid.

@FT: choices:-) but I think that most member here will buy a Naim streamer with roon or wait for Linn to follow. If you don’t like roon, you can still uses dlna for controlling...again, choices :-)

 

Foot tapper posted:

This is a really interesting thread.  I’ve taken the first step into streaming with the Mac ‘n Dac-V1 system in the office.  Now I’m looking at serious streaming in the living room system and am quite taken by the Roon approach.  

Then BAM! Metadata is great but at the apparent cost in terms of sound quality.

I’m honestly struggling a bit with deciding on the right system architecture: NAS + posh Naim streamer versus Melco + DAVE versus NAS + NUC i7 as Roon CORE + UltraRendu (with LPS) as endpoint + posh Dac, versus Melco + Linn KDS. 

As I don’t want to waste a dealer’s time by requesting demos of all 4 architectures, I’m left wondering how best to proceed...

best regards from a slightly perplexed FT

The 4 architectures offer partly quite different functionalities and entail aspects (control, system intergation) that need to be considered carefully. The DAC (or renderer+DAC, see below) is obviously the most important component, perhaps you could start from there and then proceed backwards? It might also pay off wating a little bit until it becomes clear where Naim is heading to with their classical range. Oversimplifying a little bit, there are basically three options: A) server+renderer and DAC in two boxes, B) server and renderer+DAC in two boxes and C) server, renderer and DAC in three boxes. I prefer A) and C) to B) for flexibility. I understand that taking the DAC out of the renderer (CD player, in those days) was also the original idea behind the Naim DAC, before they started supporting mainly B) type solutions. 

T38.45 posted:

I try to borrow another endpoint (Auralic) or wait for Naim to come up with roon support and maybe sell my DAC if price is ok. The pi sounds valid but I have no clue and time to setup that thing I‘m afraid.

I understand that RoPieee is a turnkey Roon bridge. Just insert the card into the RPi and go, as with the microRendu. I haven't tried it myself, though.

nbpf posted:

The 4 architectures offer partly quite different functionalities and entail aspects (control, system intergation) that need to be considered carefully. The DAC (or renderer+DAC, see below) is obviously the most important component, perhaps you could start from there and then proceed backwards? It might also pay off wating a little bit until it becomes clear where Naim is heading to with their classical range. Oversimplifying a little bit, there are basically three options: A) server+renderer and DAC in two boxes, B) server and renderer+DAC in two boxes and C) server, renderer and DAC in three boxes. I prefer A) and C) to B) for flexibility. I understand that taking the DAC out of the renderer (CD player, in those days) was also the original idea behind the Naim DAC, before they started supporting mainly B) type solutions. 

There are of course the additional, rarer, conjunctions, such as D) the preamp+DAC  (e.g using a DAC with volume control and output stage designed to be able to feed a power amp direct, such as Dave, but with only digital inputs), and E) renderer+DAC+preamp (e.g. NAC 272, including analog inputs and digital input bupypassing the renderer so functioning as D, and with Naim preamp character). 

And another one of significance,, combining store+renderer (eg Core,and varios non-Naim solutions) With the distinct benefit of avoidance of streaming locally stored music across a network, which seems often to be the cause of grief.

nbpf posted:

The 4 architectures offer partly quite different functionalities and entail aspects (control, system intergation) that need to be considered carefully. The DAC (or renderer+DAC, see below) is obviously the most important component, perhaps you could start from there and then proceed backwards? It might also pay off wating a little bit until it becomes clear where Naim is heading to with their classical range. Oversimplifying a little bit, there are basically three options: A) server+renderer and DAC in two boxes, B) server and renderer+DAC in two boxes and C) server, renderer and DAC in three boxes. I prefer A) and C) to B) for flexibility. I understand that taking the DAC out of the renderer (CD player, in those days) was also the original idea behind the Naim DAC, before they started supporting mainly B) type solutions. 

perfect summary... I am quite curious about NAIM's choice for "B"

nbpf posted:

It might also pay off wating a little bit until it becomes clear where Naim is heading to with their classical range.

I'm not sure there is much "fog" with where Naim is heading ... the ND555 shows where they are heading - to "upgrading" the Classic streamers with the new Uniti streaming system but keeping the old Classic look.  The "unclear" is if once the ND555 is out if the rest are replaced over a 1 year or 3 year period (IMO).

Oversimplifying a little bit, there are basically three options: A) server+renderer and DAC in two boxes, B) server and renderer+DAC in two boxes and C) server, renderer and DAC in three boxes.

I understand that taking the DAC out of the renderer (CD player, in those days) was also the original idea behind the Naim DAC, before they started supporting mainly B) type solutions. 

The nDAC was a bit of out outlier for Naim as they were always very anti separating transport and DAC in the days of CD players - until that point they were maybe the only "high end" audio company who had never produced separate transport and DAC.  I would suggest that the ND line are just returning to their previous point of view - that separating the transport and DAC creates more problems than it solves; though with the ND line they have the flexibility by adding the digital inputs.

T38.45 posted:

just pulled the trigger for a dedicated roon server based on i5 to see if the mac is the problem....keep you inform as soon as I'll have it...

I cant see how this would improve SQ. I just setup my NAS to run Roon alongside my i3 pc that runs Roon. I could tell no difference between them at all. If there is one its so insignificant I cant hear it, where the difference between uPnp and Roon is night and day. I wonder if its the fact that its adding another piece of equipment in the chain for Roon that causes it and its hitting my router at two points as to one point if just using the QNAP, but then I would see a difference between Roon on both I would have thought which I didn't

uPnp

Music files and music software on QNAP >Router> to Atom upnp client > output

Roon

Music files on QNAP > router>Roon PC reads files from NAS >Router> Atoms RAAT client >output

It could be Naims implementation of RAAT is behind or its not using the same processing/filters in the DAC stage of the Atom as the native applications?. I cant account for Sonore as I don't have one. Funny all the the Sonore MicroRendu users on the Roon forums seem to swear by the SQ with Roon. 

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