Eth/USB/Coax - which sounds better

Good afternoon!
I have dCS Bartok and use it as Roon endpoint via Ethernet cable
In my previous DAC experience (Chord TT2) it sounded better with Aurender (N200 if it matters) via USB
Aurender connected via Coax also sounded better than Roon
So the question is - does anyone have experience in such comparison?
Unfortunately I can’t do it in my location


  1. UPNP/Ethernet
  2. AES/EBU
  3. USB
    Roon sounds shitty- but that’s a can of worm if you say this here :wink:
    Coax is (from my experience with some digital sources) 4. in that row
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Very close to my expectation too :slight_smile:
But - if Eth is the best and Roon is not, what “network” app should I try?
I could use Tidal Connect, but I prefer Qobuz
dCS Mosaic seems to me a bit inconvenient…

This topic does not really have a definitive answer applicable to all in the context of real life systems.

In theory it can be held that a balanced interface ( for example) is better then a single ended one due to the comparative improvement of the rejection of induced noise. However this advantage can be trumped by the reality of the implementation of the interface. This relates to both the output and input stages and the cable between them. There are simply a number of variables making it impossible to predict what the audible or preferential outcome may be without detailed knowledge of all the factors.

One can at least say that the output circuit of Apex ( Vivaldi, Rossini or Bartok) is one of, if not the, best designed and built that there is ( and the pre-Apex stage was excellent too, from both measured and subjective viewpoints). However the properties of the cable and other unit’s input are open to question until validated. The same holds for other interfaces.

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I use Mosaic that integrates with Qobuz. Not “top notch” GUI but SQ wise miles ahead…


add on:
if you’re using an Innuos, you can use the Innuos app to stream via Ethernet direct to dCS - incl. Qobuz integration! That could be an alternative GUI/control app to Mosaic.:

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From AppStore screenshots it looks quite as basic as Mosaic
Just curious is Roon sounds not very good when streaming or with local files too?
I found out that files downloaded from Qobuz sound better compared to streaming the same in Roon (Aurender does sound better with both local and streamed files)

The Innuos app is very good imho, you can play music, sort, edit and rip albums, control backup etc.
Roon is in my setup not as good as native streaming, may it be local stored file or Qobuz. There is always that slight “veil” in the music, almost a smearing effect vs native streaming. You may search for this Roon effect in hifi reviews, there are many out there that describe this effect better than I do. From what I read, it seems that Grimm MU1/MU2 as Roon Core should be able to minimize that effect, but I never heard one of these.

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I heard the Grimm MU1 at HighEnd 2022 in Munich and was highly impressed. The only Roon setup I have heard so far which did not sound lacking to me.
At home I use a Rossini APEX with Mosaic.

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As an IT engineer I can believe that streaming can be implemented differently (Aurender with it’s caching is a good example) in Roon/Mosaic/whatever

USB quality can depend on power and circuitry (just google what’s inside Aurender vs what’s inside Nucleus)

But if it acts as a file storage (SMB/NFS/whatever) it should sound the same because it’s DCS does streaming
In this case we use Roon just as a UI (theoretically!)

So the question is - did you have a chance to compare Roon as just a file server and UI?

It’s not possible to use Roon Core as a file server and just use the UI. And dCS needs an upnp/dlna service to access music. NFS/SMB doesn’t work.

Not quite. It is impossible to go around RAAT which is Roon’s transport protocol. There is always a Roon core (Server) somewhere which is linked to a Roon endpoint (Client) via RAAT. Theoretically this chain should be transparent, but in my experience it does not sound like it is. To me reproduction via dCS Mosaic carries more detail, which is either added by some dCS magic, or the path via Roon is not bit transparent and loses detail.
I know that’s not how things are supposed to work from an engineering perspective (engineer speaking here) but that’s how I subjectively experience the difference. YMMV.

The only thing that sits inside a dCS DAC is the endpoint. It receives data via RAAT from the core. So the difference I am hearing may originate outside the dCS kit in one of the preceding stages.

The Grimm MU1 which I have heard combines the core and the endpoint in one physical unit.

Taiko announced a new system (server???) today called Olympia- could be an alternative thing to Grimm if I only understand what exactly it is :slight_smile:

In my system, Aurender N20 connected to the Bartok via AES/EBU sounds best by a margin.

I also have a Nucleus+ connected via ethernet. In general it does not sound as good (I’ve compared them in other contexts too) and my hypothesis is that it’s the Nucleus+ that is holding back Roon performance.

I had Roon core on sonicorbiter and later on mac mini before switching to Nucleus…I think it’S not the performance of Nucleus- it’s the performance of Roon :wink: that impacts SQ…

That could be true, but I also get the impression that on better devices it can be great, like the Grimm :point_up_2:

Taiko name sounds expensive :slight_smile:
I’m curious if Aurender Server ASC10 can work as a server for Mosaic

Where did you see that @T38.45? Nothing on Taiko’s website and a google search just throws up a bunch of hits about Taiko drums at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. :thinking:

doubt not…ACS has no upnp/dlna services so a dCS can’t access the media library of the Aurender

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