2022 new equipment pathway

I’m looking at setting up my first Roon configuration for multiroom listening as well as attaining the best possible sound on my pride-n-joy stereo system. Roon looks like my best option to support multiroom and my external Chord DAC.

The key, since I can hear music from the other rooms, is that all endpoints play the same part of the same song at the same time. I can get that capability albeit at a lower quality by connecting a Sonos port to my wonderful uber stereo but Roon looks better. I have no issues with building and configuring my own computer equipment.

Silly first question, but will Roon support this seamless multi-room listening experience. I assume the answer is “yes, this is what it was designed for”. The caveat is that the sound overlaps between different rooms, which could be a problem, say if there were transcoding delays with different devices.

I’m checking to ensure that I can meet my goals and get the right server plus add any endpoints. There are soooo many rough edges and corner cases to consider because all the vendors are actively trying to lock us in or have bizarre corner cases concerning the resolution of our music. Adding complexity, Intel is now selling NUC 11 devices, which are not supported (yet) by ROCK.

Hence my reaching out to the people on this forum to see if I am on-track about the server, multiroom use, and endpoint for my uber-great stereo system.

Expected server configuration and existing endpoints:

  • An I5 or I7 Intel NUC 11. Example is the Newegg listing for an Intel NUC RNUC11PAHi70001 mini Barebone System. I’d add 16 GB ram and a decent M.2 drive.
  • Connect to an external DAC, which in my case a Chord Mscaler/Hugo T2. A couple questions below about connecting via USB, RoPiee, or my current Bluesound node 2.
  • Multiroom Wi-Fi connections to a Sonos amp and some Sonos 5 speakers. I have solid WiFi6 connectivity/bandwidth everywhere on my property.

*** Multiroom and server considerations

I want to stream from a set of music services to all the devices and have the same part of the current song playing in each of the rooms. My common sources and dataflow are shown below.

{Tidal, Radio Paradise, Sonos, Internet Radio like Classic Deep Cuts, NPR, local stations …}

→ ROON server (I assume some transcoding must occur)

→ {Sonos, Roon, and other endpoints}.

  • Given I don’t have a music library, will an I5 processor with 16 GB be sufficient so all rooms will be playing the same part of the same song all the time? I assume when playing on both my wonderful hi-fi and Sonos that the server will have to transcode the streaming content in real-time for the different devices.

  • Should I be concerned that any latency in this transcoding will offset the music between rooms? This would be a big no-go.

  • Intel is now selling the NUC 11 family which is not supported by ROCK (Roon Optimized Core Kit) at this time. I assume installing an ubuntu server will work until ROCK becomes available.

*** Uber stereo considerations

Now for connecting to my wonderful uber sound system.

  • I am thinking of directly connecting the NUC to the Chord via the galvanically isolate USB port (no noise) on the Mscaler. Is this viable or do I need to immediately move to something like a RP4 with RoPiee for endpoint?
  • Can I get the full source bitrate from my bluesound node 2 – even if it is over 24/96khz? I cannot find information about this on the web.

My expectation is the bluesound won’t be a good endpoint given that the node 2 has many corner cases about the bitrate it supports. For example, it only takes MQA from Tidal and partially unfolds it to 24/96 to a non-MQA DAC. I understand that Tidal now offers lossless music but my Bluesound always defaults to MQA. That’s why I’m looking at a RP4 running RoPiee. I’ll let my Chord equipment handle the D to A conversion

Streaming experience configurations

  • Am I correct that I can configure the Roon to pass the highest data rate source data to my wonderful stereo system and transcode to lower resolution for my Sonos devices. The point is great sound from the HiFi and good sound when I go to other rooms.
  • I really like using the Tidal app to via Tidal Connect to talk to my devices. I understand from the support thread that Roon will not - and likely never will support Tidal Connect. Is this still the expectation?
  • Will the Roon interface learn my musical preference purely from my streamed content? I really like the Tidal suggestions to help me find new music.

Thanks! I hope this thread helps others as well.

Well, I would suggest just using a computer you ready have as you get to know Roon before just buying new kit

In order to be grouped into a playback zone all Endpoints have to be the same protocol. Roon uses it’s own RAAT, it can send to Sonos, or airplay, Chromecast as well as some others. However, you can’t group different protocol endpoints together. So, for example, Sonos and RAAT endpoints cannot be grouped. Everything you wanted to group would need to be the same protocol.

I’ve used Chromecast in an overlapped environment and it can stray, so I stopped trying… I’ve not tried Sonos, But when I give it go again I will be using RAAT based endpoints.

Thanks for your clarifying answer an excellent recommendation.

If I understand correctly, the inability to group different endpoints answers my question. This means no consistent music across different types endpoints, so multiroom won’t work as I need.

I’ll look into Roon as a replacement for my bluesound at higher resolution, but given my existing hardware, I’ll have to purchase a Sonos Port to play the same music everywhere on my property.


What I’ve done is to keep Sonos for ambient music around my house, and all of my rigs that I listen to individually (my main rig, my 2 headphones rigs) are fed within Ropieee. I can then use Roon to control all zones, though I can only group my Sonos zones. I would personally never want to use my primary rig for ambient music, but your set up may be different. Good luck. Roon does play nice with Sonos (so long as your networking is very good) but yes, “only one type of endpoint in a group”.

having everything in sync is never going to happen as you will be hearing several differently distanced sources from a single location… so if you move to another area the differences with just never sync up.

moving a stream from one room to another as you move about the house is doable - not automated.

the latter is how I use roon in my multilane setup, even tho sometimes I might use a group (all my endpoints support RAAT) they do still get out of sync over time (several songs or less sometimes)

Strange, since in my experience grouped RAAT endpoints (USB to core with Ropieee and/or DietPi) have never gone out of synch ever, so something seems to be not quite right in your setup and needs scrutiny, I guess.

I’m not talking several seconds out or anything but just enough to be phasing or a beat out over time of play in the maybe tens of mins probably.

Actually I’m not sure why roon cant resync at each track boundary to keep things much better aligned.

Further reading at https://help.roonlabs.com/portal/en/kb/articles/raat


  1. Tight playback synchronization suitable for multi-room listening. There’s a careful line to walk here. If we demand ultra-tight (1-10us) sync, it becomes impossible to implement the system on existing/unspecialized/heterogeneous hardware platforms. We shoot to be within 1ms (and under ideal circumstances often much better), which is more than adequate for multi-room listening.

That said the timed arrival of sounds over distant (from a room nearby or further afield) - even if absolutely in sync will be different for one in only one location - your ears can be in 2 places at one time, which means what you are trying achieve will mean delaying the nearest zone to sync with the distant one…and thats only assuming 2 rooms in play…add more and you are never going to be satisfied.

This is why when you setup an HT system you have a single MLP (master listening position) where all the speaker distances are setup to have the sound arrive for each channel at the same time.

You won’t find anything that can sync all different protocols together at once, it’s just a nightmare to be able to do. Each protocol works in vey different ways, clocks the signal in different ways and all.are processed in different ways. Roon does it the best way there is by allowing same protocols to be linked with each other. If all devices.support Airplay then you could create an airplay group and use that for sync play. You can add a Raspberry pi to your chord DAC using Ropieee XL and get airplay and RAAT then use airplay on the Sonos and BS equipment. This then leaves RAAT for ungrouped and Sonos streaming for ungrouped playback. This would work better as you have both ways available. When you group RAAT endpoints you loose the ability to play to them solo unless you ungroup. Roon allows you to add more than one way to stream per device which makes it flexible.

It should be common sense that syncing zones does not account for relative zone/listener distances, but to an absolute time stamp for all zones - or did I understand you wrongly?

I answered my own questions and ended up purchasing a Roon lifetime subscription!

  1. Sonos and KEF grouping: My Kef ls50 w2 speakers and Sonos gear will group under airplay which is supported by these devices. This is acceptable for whole house plus multiple building streaming on my property while having people over. The idea is to play CD quality music at low volumes everywhere to not interfere with conversations.

  2. RAAT grouping: My Bluesound node 2 and Kef w2 speakers are Roon ready so I can stream at high quality to those endpoints for louder volumes. I get all the benefits of the high resolution music from Tidal. I’m building a raspberry pie zero W 2 to try as a roon endpoint. This will add a Sonos Five (which is in a 1938 Philco Radio cabinet) to include the one room that does not have RAAT grouping. I hope to add an LED light for the Philco antique radio dial when streaming. We will see!

  3. My Roon server is running on an old Core I7 laptop using win7. So far very low CPU and memory utilization. No glitches or dropouts. When that laptop dies, I can get a cheap Costco I5 or I7 laptop (around $400+) to run the Roon server software. Low power and quiet. I might consider an Intel NUC 11 (or later) once the boot and ethernet issues are worked out, which will likely happen long before my old laptop dies.

  4. It’s essential and love the fact that I setup a strong WiFi 6 2.4/5GHz network to cover all my property. That makes all this work seamlessly and without dropouts.

  5. I also love the speed of Roon given my large number of favorite tracks, albums, and artists gathered by me over the past number of years. I’m learning about the extra linking for suggestions, which is great.

So, Roon is a winner. The lifetime subscription is well worth it, They deserve the recent price increase.