NDX2 Native App Sound Better than Roon?

After evaluating Roon with the server installed on a standard Windows Desktop PC, I find that streaming both FLAC Files from the desktop or Qobuz, that the native Naim App delivers a more dynamic involving sound than Roon when compared back to back. Same volume level, same system, just changing from Roon to the native app. Roon just sounds flatter. As much as I love the music information that Roon gives, and the recommendation engine, I just can’t justify it!

Do others find this too?

I’m guessing the NDX2 just does a better job at all of the processing, than the PC taking over and doing some of the processing?

Just in terms of simple streaming to a Roon endpoint without any DSP or room correction tweaks I think the general consensus has always been that Roon doesn’t add anything to the audio quality, nor does it really purport to. Some feel the SQ is marginally worse via Roon but that overall Roon benefits outweigh that.

I have a love/hate relationship with Roon I must admit, some days I see no need for it, other days it’s exciting to use.

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I’m not aware of the Naim app adding sound to the music.

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I was going to say the same I think the OP may be referring to the NDX 2 firmware.

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Yes maybe I should have been more clear, I have been using the Naim Native App for years with my NDX2 and then have tried Roon for the past month. I just don’t think that Roon sounds quite as good as the native Naim App. Roon sounds flatter to me. It takes away a bit of the enjoyment. It’s not night and day different, but I do notice it.

I understood that some of the processing was done on the PC that the room server is running on, and perhaps that is reducing the sound quality versus all of the processing being carried out on the Naim firmware and DSP inside the NDX2

Generally when people discuss the Naim App (Focal & Naim now) they are referring to the iOS or Android controller app.

It’s the NDX 2 firmware/hardware that will be doing the processing per se once it gets the stream from Qobuz/local files.

Roon is a very good bit of software it just boils down to whether or not you find it value for money and worth a lifetime purchase or subscription. I’m on the fence currently, largely due to rising costs for so many things and attempting to cut back on things I don’t really need.

I also believe there are so many subjective things with carious apps that what works for one person may not work for another. I used to use Audirvana software, it certainlly altered the sound presentation, possibly for the better, but you have what Naim feels works well in the NDX2 itself.

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I only use Roon to improve the sound, or rather to take some of the rougher edges of the room effects off using its DSP. I see it also does 16-bit to 64-bit float conversion and then goes from 64 back to 32. I am using a three year old Mac, but the computer processor might have some significance, although most should be amply capable of audio if they can do video.
I certainly wouldn’t pay for it cataloguing. And its algorithms seem designed to maximise the number of links, even if these are overwhelming or irrelevant, such as “completely, unlike the Beatles” links to the Beatles.
There are one or two obvious things that Naim should do such as enabling searches by conductor or composer, providing a link to an album’s published booklet, no pretending to create one that has very little in it and offering a simple direct link to Wikipedia, which Roon has only just got around to doing it self

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I have tried roon a few times now, first using a mac laptop and then a roon nuc. Both times i felt that the sound had lost some width and just sounded closed in compared to using qobuz directly into the streamer of my dCS kit

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There is also a difference on my system with Roon and Naim, running Roon Server from the NAS is not as good as running it on a Mac Pro.

When running Roon Server on the nas compared to the naim app, the naim app is better, has more air and better separation and body.

But if I run the Roon server on a Mac Pro is more difficult to discern the differences.

My take on this is that the noisier and less powerful the Roon server is, it influences the final result. A NAS with normal mechanical hard drives and a less powerful processor in my case makes a difference for the worse result. Is not huge but is perfectly perceptible.

But for most people the differences could not be obvious or perceptible, most system configs are different and the type of server, computer and even network could have an effect in the final perceived or not difference in sound.

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I came to the same conclusion as the OP and Dunc when comparing the Innuos Sense App against the Roon App on my Zenith - I think flattening the music is a good characterisation of how Roon affected the sound.

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Some do. Some don’t. But you need to be very careful to be sure the comparison is fair.

Could you post a screenshot of your Roon signal path?

I spent some time trying to justify my purchase of a lifetime Roon license. But comparing both to a Naim Uniti Core (HDD) and later a Melco I couldnt make Roon sound as good.

This may, as you say, be caused by the electric noise generated by the extra processing demand from supporting the UI functions and also using an Intel processor (and DSP if you use it). But Roon Labs also seem a bit sloppy - as late as august they declared that the auto-level function didnt dither and they just truncated back to 24-bits. Now I ran Roon with every DSP function (including auto-level) turned off and I still couldnt make it sound as good as the others.

For me the music quality goes first so I had to accept I made a stupid purchase decision and give up.

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Yes.

No.
Roon permits me to run dsp to mitigate room modes and adjust speaker distance and gain to optimise balance that enhance sound quality.
Excellent (but I only have ND5 XS2😂).

I was about to take out the lifetime subscription for Roon, but after reading this, will run some more comparisons. I like the UI of Roon. But my niggle has always been that it’s counterintuitive to why I went with the Uniti Core, which was to separate the hi-fi from the noisy computer environment (I’m running Roon on an iMac). It also seems to crash more often than it should, which it just did now, which was a good change to do an A/B. Immediate impression was that using the Naim app to control a local stream, did, indeed, have more air and a wider soundstage. Though I could be imaging it.

I too, felt that the sound quality suffered when playing Qobuz through Roon versus the Naim app (Uniti Nova). After getting accustomed to the beautiful UI and features, Roon is now my primary streaming app. A few days ago, I roped in my girlfriend to help me blind test Roon vs. Spotify and 3 out of 3 times, I chose Spotify as sounding better. Perhaps a similar exercise with Roon and the Naim app will finally settle it?

Buying a streamer to get away from computers to run roon on one doesn’t make sense to me.

I think it is important to set up roon on a dedicated server and treat it equally to the rest of the Hi-Fi setup with good LPS, SSD etc.

I did an extensive A/B testing with my nucleus.
Music is stored on a Samsung 870 EVO, recommended also by Naim for the core.
In my 500system with the nucleus powered by an Keces P8 far away from the main system still connected to an etherRegen with a long run of chord cable and fibre from Cisco to eR, roon does not make any changes in sound with Qobuz compared to the Naim app. It sounds better with Tidal as it is capable of playing MQAs.
I would not hesitate to buy a license for one moment.
To me this is the key to streaming not only local stored files. I enjoy streaming from Qobuz and from
Tidal if the album is only available there.
Roon makes this whole digital data my library.
With the Naim app it was always divided.
I searched more than actually listened to music.
With roon it’s like browsing through my CDs or LPs back in the days. It helped me a lot to get away from vinyl. Now the convenience with streaming is even higher.

I didn’t have any crashing issues for years.

Roon arc is also amazing.

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I just installed Roon (again), this time on a new Mac Mini M2 with HQPlayer. Just keep the Roon server-box away from the music system. I am testing a Sonore Signature steamer with optical network connection from the Cisco 2960 and using the HQPlayer NAA-protocol on top of this eliminated the difference between UPnP and Roon.