Getting my head around Roon


Active member
Mar 1, 2023
I signed up for a free trial of Roon despite not having any locally stored files - I stream everything using mostly Qobuz and a little with Apple Music, or else use vinyl or CD. But Roon has some real advantages in the rich metadata sphere, its discovery options seem a little ahead of Qobuz too. Plus, with a mixed ecosystem of Cambridge Audio’s Stream Magic, and Blu Node and various bits of Sonos, it seems like the best way to control everything from one interface. It also allows for more than one user profile, which will help others in the household.

It has some downsides - no support for a second home for example, and the monthly cost seems not great value given that I’m basically using it for a lot less than it was designed for but that would be my choice.

The one thing I really don’t get it is…. What am I actually listening to? There’s no physical connection either made or suggested between my Core (an iMac Pro running elsewhere in the house) and any of the physical pieces of audio equipment so I assume that there are two possibilities

1) Roon Core is contacting Qobuz and getting the stream from it, then casting it over WiFi to my audio gear
2) Roon Core is telling each piece of equipment what it should play and in turn each piece of equipment is getting its stream directly from Qobuz.

I suspect It must be 1) because of the fact that Roon can control EQ in a way that some of the individual bits of kit cannot and also, more importantly, because I think that with my Cambridge EVO 150/ATC SMC19 combo, in my main listening room, the sound seems to me to be noticeably not as good as when I use StreamMagic to stream directly from Qobuz. According to the display on the EVO, the stream quality is the same whether I go by Roon or not - if it’s 48khz 24bit on Qobuz then that’s how it shows via Roon too . But to my ears it sounds less good. It’s not noticeable unless one is listening to Hi Res tracks and I don’’t hear it on the Node or the Sonos.

So is this a known ‘thing’? What do others think? Because it seems that this disadvantage alone, let alone the cost, might mean that for me Roon is a pointless exercise.


Well-known member
May 12, 2011
Roon has its own version of "Airplay" called RAAT. See here. Content decoding is taking place on the server, so your No. 1 is closest to it but neither is entirely correct.
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Roon will present all of your ripped, stored music alongside any streaming services you use (except the likes of Spotify, who refuse to allow that), so that your catalogue is everything you have access to, rather than jumping between apps.

Many people will use the EQ for whatever reason, either to produce a sound that’s preferable to them, or to make up for their poor loudspeaker choice :)p).

They’ve recently released Roon ARC, part of the subscription/purchase, which allows you to use Roon on the move, which may well be the answer to your second home dilemma.

Whether Roon sounds as good as not using Roon, I don’t think will be an issue to those who chose Roon for a specific reason - many will sacrifice a little quality for certain desired features. I can’t imagine why there would be a difference,p - maybe the product doesn’t have the required memory to properly deal with Roon, or their implementation isn’t up to standard. Obviously any comparisons need to be made without any EQ added.


Active member
Mar 1, 2023
Thank you. I don’t have any ripped music, I gave up on all that years ago and aside from keeping a few logical copies on my Qobuz iPhone app for when I might be out and about without decent reception, I stream everything. I ditched my massive ripped library of CDs years ago when iTunes Match came out - because I live in more than open place and travel a lot it makes more sense.

There are a lot of downsides to Roon that I am slowly discovering. ARC, for example, doesn’t auto configure in my home. It identifies a number of issues that require me to start digging at the level of my router configuration and possibly go as deep as my ISP and the answer to that is a huge No. Not ever. It has taken me ages to get a stable system running given the complexity of my main home, the number of systems that depend on it, the mesh, the sheer volume of IP and MAC addresses etc etc and I have learned to my sometimes great cost of time and sanity that when your network configuration is working, don’t mess with it. It’s an enticing rabbit hole that can lead to days of grief.

The ‘second home’ and ‘when travelling’ issues would be greatly ameliorated were Roon to allow back-sync of Qobuz favourites and playlists but it doesn’t. Which means I can’t use ROON in any useful way for favourites and playlists because as soon as I am elsewhere, or just going for a walk with my iPhone and AirPods Max, I have lost my library’s personalisation features.

Finally, as I dive deeper into all this, I find I can chromecast from my phone or iPad to my Cambridge Audio EVO - and that this can be done at very high SQ indeed since effectively what happens is the phone/iPad merely tell the EVO what to tootle off and get from Qobuz - so it’s not like my phone is streaming from Qobuz and then mangling the digits before re-streaming them to Qobuz.

The direct effect of this is that a Hi Res track sounds exactly the same whether I stream it natively into the EVO from Qobuz, or whether I Chromecast it. THe other great advantage is that for when Airplay is enough (and it’s SQ is pretty good) I can do what Roon does which is to group together the EVO, a Blue Node I have in another room and all my Sonos stuff so that it can get to anything in my home in sync and at about CD quality if that’s what I need at that moment.

This is such a good way of doing it that I am about to abandon the Cambridge Audio StreamMagic app, the Sonos App, the BluOS app and Roon in favour of the Qobuz app via Chromecast and Airplay for most of my use cases. When I want top IQ I can use Chromecast to the EVO and for casual listening Airplay lets me do all the grouping I could ever need. In any home, and when out and about. It’s actually brilliant.

So as the mid-part of my Roon trial approaches I am persuaded that at the end of it I will not subscribe. It’s discovery features are good admittedly but they are hobbled by not really noting what I like listening to because half my listening has to be done outside the Roon ecosystem. With the Qobuz app it sees everything I do and reacts accordingly.

Which means that Roon really is for sleeve notes, rich metadata, and streaming that I can do as well or better in most cases using Chromecast and Airplay.

If Roon were able to fix the ARC networking issue via a different implementation (more cloud, less Core for example) and also to fix the back-sync to Qobuz (it can be done: StreamMagic does it) then I’d be persuaded.
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Well-known member
Mar 11, 2005
I'm a Roon subscriber solely fir the DSP suite. My room is acoustically rubbish, so I use it for basic room correction, and to stream qobuz into my NAD streamer, at least until qobuz sorts out their connect function in their app.


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