Sonic improvement using Stream Player gen 3 Roon ready?

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Ern Dog

Can any Salk Stream Player generation III users make any comments about how it sounds compared to gen 1 or 2 units?  It would makes sense to me that there would be a sonic improvement using Roon, but that is just a guess.   

zybar

Re: Sonic improvement using Stream Player gen 3 Roon ready?
« Reply #1 on: 17 Jun 2016, 03:40 am »
Can any Salk Stream Player generation III users make any comments about how it sounds compared to gen 1 or 2 units?  It would makes sense to me that there would be a sonic improvement using Roon, but that is just a guess.

Not a Salk Stream owner, but I switched from JRiver to Roon recently.  Using the same hardware, I didn't hear any sonic difference.

The big improvement with Roon over JRiver was usability and functionality.

George

audiocrazy

Re: Sonic improvement using Stream Player gen 3 Roon ready?
« Reply #2 on: 17 Jun 2016, 08:21 pm »
Not a Salk Stream owner, but I switched from JRiver to Roon recently.  Using the same hardware, I didn't hear any sonic difference.

The big improvement with Roon over JRiver was usability and functionality.

George
I second that. I switched to Roon and the usability is so much better.
However I'm using HQPlayer with Roon and there is definitely a sonic improvement over JRiver especially DSD's has the best sonic improvements.

I'm using Intel NUC i5 PC to stream and thinking about a dedicated streamer that supports both Roon + HQPlayer.

Ern Dog

Re: Sonic improvement using Stream Player gen 3 Roon ready?
« Reply #3 on: 18 Jun 2016, 02:04 am »
Thanks for the comments George and Audiocrazy.

Jim- Are you hearing any sonic improvements between gen 1, 2 and 3?

jsalk

Re: Sonic improvement using Stream Player gen 3 Roon ready?
« Reply #4 on: 23 Jun 2016, 02:43 pm »
Thanks for the comments George and Audiocrazy.

Jim- Are you hearing any sonic improvements between gen 1, 2 and 3?

Let's analyze what's going on here...

The job of a streaming device is to deliver a bit-perfect digital stream to a DAC of some sort.  The job of the DAC is to convert that digital stream into the analog audio you listen to.  So you are listening to the DAC, not the streaming device.

If the streaming device did not deliver the digital stream in a timely fashion, you would hear clicks, pops or drop-outs.  This is normally not the case as streaming devices are optimized to make sure this does not happen.

The differences in these models lies elsewhere.  The Generation I StreamPlayer used an embedded processor to run a 32-bit version of Linux.  It is entirely capable of delivering a reliable bit stream to a DAC.  But as demands for additional functions increased, the Generation II was developed on a more powerful i3Core processor also running a 32-bit version of Linux.  This faster processor allowed the system to more efficiently handle higher resolution files, including DSD, as well as additional functions like a more powerful web interface, a database, Airplay, etc.

The Generation III StreamPlayer was designed around an even more powerful i5Core processor and a 64-bit version of Linux.  These were required in order to accommodate Roon which runs its own database and provides graphics capabilities to Roon remote devices.  Roon is much more processor-intensive than the applications that are used in conjunction with the Generation I & II units.

So the difference is not how well these units deliver a bit stream, but more so in how capable they are in running additional functions at the same time.

Again, the sound quality of a digital playback system is determined primarily by the DAC, not the streaming device.  So although some may report increased audio quality from Generation II or III StreamPlayers, it is highly unlikely that this is actually the case.

- Jim

Ern Dog

Re: Sonic improvement using Stream Player gen 3 Roon ready?
« Reply #5 on: 26 Jun 2016, 09:37 pm »
Thanks for the info Jim.

Jonathon Janusz

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Re: Sonic improvement using Stream Player gen 3 Roon ready?
« Reply #6 on: 26 Jun 2016, 10:39 pm »
Jim, as maybe a similar or side question, is an upgrade from a gen2 to a gen3 unit just a processor, memory, and software update or is the motherboard, power supply, and internal storage changed too?

If one had a gen3 unit, without tidal or roon being used, are there any additional processes running because of this and in this case unnecessarily on the gen3 unit that would not be on the gen2?  Maybe an odd hypothetical, but could a gen3 unit be loaded with a 64-bit software build with the completely stripped down feature set of a gen2?

I'm sure in all but the most bleeding edge resolving systems it may be a moot point, but considering the crowd playing with these devices, not necessarily an irrelevant one.  I would think that the E3s with the right upstream gear between them and the streamer would have the capability to discern a difference if any between the two streamers.

Thanks for humoring this tangent.  :thumb:

Anonamemouse

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Re: Sonic improvement using Stream Player gen 3 Roon ready?
« Reply #7 on: 27 Jun 2016, 02:02 pm »
Jim, as maybe a similar or side question, is an upgrade from a gen2 to a gen3 unit just a processor, memory, and software update or is the motherboard, power supply, and internal storage changed too?

If one had a gen3 unit, without tidal or roon being used, are there any additional processes running because of this and in this case unnecessarily on the gen3 unit that would not be on the gen2?  Maybe an odd hypothetical, but could a gen3 unit be loaded with a 64-bit software build with the completely stripped down feature set of a gen2?

I'm sure in all but the most bleeding edge resolving systems it may be a moot point, but considering the crowd playing with these devices, not necessarily an irrelevant one.  I would think that the E3s with the right upstream gear between them and the streamer would have the capability to discern a difference if any between the two streamers.

Thanks for humoring this tangent.  :thumb:
Excellent question!
I am interested in a Gen 3 as well, but without Roon (waaay too focused on the collection they can possibly sell me and not all that focused on the collection I already own) and without harddisk (my NAS does all my storing, my collection exceeds what can fit on the supplied disk).
I want calculating power with a ridiculous amount of overhead... Some sort of buffering would be great too. Suck in the "0"s and "1"s from the NAS and make sure everyting is there and undamaged before it goes on to the DAC.

jsalk

Re: Sonic improvement using Stream Player gen 3 Roon ready?
« Reply #8 on: 27 Jun 2016, 03:03 pm »
Producing a Generation III StreamPlayer without Roon and Tidal would be easy.  In fact, Roon could be installed but simply not loaded upon start-up (not enabled).  That would allow Roon to be implemented at a later date if desired.

The Generation III StreamPlayer differs from the Generation II in that it has a more powerful processor and a 64-bit OS version.  So, for example, to upgrade a Generation II StreamPlayer to a Generation III StreamPlayer requires upgrading the processor and installing a disk drive with the 64-bit OS. 

The feature set is the same in both versions.  The only additional features added are related to Roon and all of them are set up by Roon itself when implemented.  So if you install Roon but simply don't enable it, there would be no difference in the active feature set of the two units (other than the fact that one is 32-bit and the other is 64-bit).

There are a couple of ways of thinking about this.

First, if your music files are stored on the StreamPlayer itself, it doesn't need all that much processing power to efficiently stream audio.  In our Generation III Mini player, for example, a dual core Celeron processor is more than adequate with plenty of reserves of processing power.  Remember, with the StreamPlayer there is no graphical user interface eating up processor cycles.  There are no LCD displays to deal with or buttons to monitor.  The core OS is so minimal, it simply does not require all that much processing power.  Even with a Celeron processor, you would rarely exceed using more than about 20% of the available processor resources.  Our original Generation I StreamPlayer had an even lower-power embedded processor and had no issues handling the basic streaming functions. 

The bottom line is that having the extra processing power of a Generation III would probably not make any difference from a performance standpoint. 

If you are networking with NAS storage, there is a bit more overhead required.  But even this does not require much in the way of processing resources.  Again, our original Generation I StreamPlayer had no on-board music storage capabilities and the embedded processor had no problems performing all the necessary functions when networked to another storage device.

All that said, there is no reason not to use a Generation III without Roon or Tidal.  It certainly can't hurt and would be highly future-proof.

As for the comment that Roon is "not all that focused on the collection I already own," I feel compelled to point out that Roon provides a fairly robust amount of information about all the music on your system - far more than almost all other music system interfaces.  That is one of its strengths.  A recent Generation III owner commented on just this topic...
[url]http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=143914.msg1538157[\url]

- Jim