Roon vs Lightning DS


I wonder if, when using ROON instead of DS Lightning software for control, the tracks info and cover arts are still visible on the ARIES G2 4" screen ?


Using the new G2 Aries and Vega, but I believe these observations apply to the original pieces, a Tidal MQA file is handled differently between Lightning and Roon. It appears that Roon doesn’t look at or use the Lighting settings for Tidal streaming. If LDS is set for MQA FLAC, a track played by Lightning is pseudo-decoded, yielding the MQA advertised bit-rate. If played by Roon, it results in the base (44 or 48K) bit rate or the doubling of the base rate (88 or 96K). The former when Roon is set for “Decoder and Renderer” , the latter when Roon is set for “No MQA”. What this means is that the playing of an MQA file via Roon, when using the Vega, is poorly handled. Could this be the source of the reported sound quality differences between Lightning and Roon?
This inconsistency, in the handling of MQA files, between Lightning and Roon is why I’ve changed all my Tidal favorites to be the non-MQA versions. If I want to try an MQA file, I’ll use Lightning, search through Tidal and play it directly. The LDS Tidal option needs to be set to “MQA FLAC” for this to work and will not violate the current recommendation for playing non MQA files for best results since all my library favorites are set for non-MQA.
That said, I’m still trying to determine if the whole MQA thing is worthwhile sonically.


Hi - first my main concern about Lightning DS - I cant find a "Home" Button. It seems like when you search for several Artists in "Tidal" for example, you have to click your way all the path back - so say you go through 20 different searches, you then have to click yourself all the way "back" throught previous searches to get back to the main menu - you cant just jump out and get to the Startmenu - am I getting something seriously wrong here or is there no such function as a “home” button in Lightning DS?

Other than that I am too considering/comparing Roon. Main difference (other than the always available Startmenu) is the layout - it just looks nicer. The extra features are okay - but I wonder if I really need them. Most the time when I play an Album I just let the iPad display the full cover and listen to the music. If I want to find out more about the Artist I can either “google” or use the information Tidal already offers (which often equlas Roons information). Soundquality seems up paar between the two… so it comes down to a litte more userfriendly and better looks on the iPad… things that might even be corrected if Lightning DS gets a little “facelift”…

Really trying hard how to justify a full lifetime subscription (I have to say, I have not started ripping CDs and integrating a NAS yet - merging Tidal and locally stored files seems a mayor plus for Roon if I read/understand the comments correctly?).



For Lightning DS, you can press and hold the ‘<’ icon then it will activate the side menu, you dont need to press 20 times to go all the way back.


up to now i had the same problem. But now i know: press AND HOLD is the solution. Works well.
Best regards Rainer


Ah - that`s useful information :wink: Thanx


… so what are the Users thoughts - do you really need Roon when Lightning DS is for free and works perfectly fine?

Are any upgrades to be expected to Lightnig (obviously it‘s for free because it comes with the hardware - so it‘s a treat for the Auralic users… a little Facelift and I think it‘d actually be pretty close to Roon ?)…

So if you are Autalic Customer and use the free Lightnig App - what are the arguments to still invest into Roon (also arguments pro/contra would be different if upgrades/changes were to be expected from Auralic…).

Right now I‘m using both to find out and I must say I do like them both much - Roon is a little „nicer“ but I‘m really not sure if it‘s worth the extra invest…


If you have a large collection with different masters, formats etc, Roon all the way.

A smaller collection Lightning DS could/should suffice.

Personally, there is so much more to Roon, Lightning DS isn’t in the same league.


If your library is primarily from a service like Tidal then just use Lightning DS since they will provide equivalent ease of use. If your library is made up of a service like Tidal and a ripped library on a PC or NAS, then Roon is well worth it since it seamlessly integrates the two library sources.


I use group play 90% of the time and for that, Roon is FAR better. No drop out’s, buffering, lost device, nothing.


I don’t think the dropouts or buffering problems are applicable anymore with the G1 or G2 models, as the memory caching, buffering and wifi have all had such an overhaul from the original Aries models… I’ve never had one of these problems with the G2 over months of use!
As for SQ difference… I might be imagining it, but I think Lightning DS is slightly better than Roon, although I’m sure all the Roon fanboys will disagree after paying their hefty lifetime subscriptions! But yes, it will be dependent on the Roon core machine you are using and the processing grunt it produces…


You have buffering with original Aries too :slight_smile: 512Mb instead of 1Gb but still enough normally ! I never had a drop with the Aries Femto even with DSD128 (ethernet or wifi).

I agree, with my Areis Femto or G2, Ligthning DS is superior to Roon in tern of sound quality.

I think that Xuanquian mention that some code in the next firmware will improve roon SQ.


Agreed, but remember sound quality (only with library music) will sound inferior with Roon, as it is not pre-loaded into cache due to code limitations. It is treated as a live stream.

Tidal and Qobuz take advantage of caching with Roon, just as they do with LDS, as they are not dependent on it.

So if you are a heavy local library user, I would stick with LDS. If you have a light local library, mixed with much Tidal and/or Qobuz…Roon should be just fine.

i am personally using LDS more and more…and while it definitely lacks some of the features that Roon offers, the sound quality, MQA deblurring and less code running makes it a better choice for me. I also plan on adding a Sirius to the mix next year, which will handle upsampling that Roon currently offers (and I expect will do a better job of it, as well).


I’ve been playing with Roon settings for the Aries G2 as they apply to potential pseudo-MQA support. Does the Renderer Only option seem reasonable? This allows Roon to do the initial doubling and to then forward the MQA flagged packets to the Aries. Will the Aries G2/Vega G2 combo then respond in the same way as if the MQA data was supplied by the Lightning app?


Roon has a couple of advantages vs. LDS that are important to me: playlists with more than than 999 tracks, and true randomization when the Shuffle function is used.
I’m definitely ready for Roon support of Qobuz.


Is there a rational explanation why LDS sounds better than roon? I have no doubt about that in my system, but I can’t understand


Apparently Roon sends tracks to the Aries to play in real-time, like a radio station, rather than buffering tracks in memory and playing them from there.


My wife just asked me to sell her older iPad on eBay. So I will use it to experiment between Roon and LDS and hear for myself tonight.


I’ll be very interested. I’m hoping Roon sounds good, as I hope to use it to get around some of the deficiencies of LDS


Please can your test and report here. This is the reason I only use roon to discover new music.
Maybe a new roon protocol or new auralic firmware will correct that. Some folks had good experience using Roon Nucleus to dac.