I upgraded from BDA&BDP2 to BDA-3.14. It was a pleasant experience regarding sound quality (SQ). I tried Roon a couple of years ago and was not impressed. But with new gear comes new possibilities, so I decided to try Roon once more.
Setup: New macMini as roon core (version 1.7 build 667), BDA-3.14 in Roon ready mode (version S2.44 2020-10-22), BP-26 pre, 28B SST2 amps, Magnepan 3.7i speakers, WireWorld platinum and gold cables. 2L files, PCM spanning from CD to 24/352, DSD from 64 to 256. Files on portable disc connected via USB (Toshiba SSD).
Result: The Roon functionality was amazing, the Roon SQ good – but not great. Playing the same Hi-rez files using MPD gives a more open sound, more details and more “air”. Not a dramatic difference – but definite.
Question 1: Is it at all possible for the two methods to produce the same SQ or will there always be a difference due to jitter – assuming that the file is transferred “bit perfect”? Is there any setting I can adjust – or something that can be done in a future software release?
Tehnical issues: I have experienced that firmware installation is much more unstable than on my BDP-2. I may have to install several times to get it presumably right. I have observed CPU load on almost 100% when running Roon, reduced to 25% after re-installation of the same Firmware. I am currently running the S2.44 2020-10-22 version – and do not dear to install the latest version. I have also learned that moving between Roon and MPD is tricky – but not impossible. You have to start by disabling the BDA in the Roon core – then stop the Roon service – then start the MPD service and USB mount before you select MPD as Playback Method. It is not sufficient just to select a different playback method in the dashboard. I have also experienced that, when in Roon mode, you cannot use some of the other inputs (SPD/diff – HDMI). Or – actually – it works for a second and is the blocked – presumably by Roon. Once Roon is completely removed, everything works almost fine – almost, because the link between the Pi player and the BDA section is not completely stable – you sometimes need to turn it on and off a couple of times.
Question 2: Is it possible to improve the functionality so that I can just select Playback Method without having to go through the described ritual?
Question 3: Is it possible to update the firmware so that I can use all the inputs even when in Roon ready mode?
Question 4: My BDA-3.14 is unable to play DSD 256 reference files from 2L records. Is this a bug or a limitation of the HW? The manual states it should be possible – all though converted to PCM. Playing DSD 64 and 128 versions of the same music works fine.
Question 5: I sometimes observe that the SWAP is off – sometimes that it is used. Is this happening automatically – or is there somewhere I can turn it on?
Any suggestions welcome