Just wrapping up my Roon trial and about to go all in on the ecosystem with a lifetime membership. However, I did not fully get to utilize all the great features of Roon given my hardware setup.
1. In the Utility Closet (30 feet away from listening area): Synology DS218+ NAS running Roon Core (with 100s of FLAC albums + Tidal integration) > Netgear switch > CAT 6 wire in the wall to the Listening Room>>>
The Problem: The max audio quality I can receive is “High Quality” and I would like to utilize the RAAT protocol to achieve “Lossless”. What would be the best way to achieve this? I have researched a few options, but would love the advice of the Roon community to achieve the best sound quality.
A Few Upgrade Options (but not limited to this list):
Get a Streamer that supports RAAT (~$235): Connect Allo Digione to the Marantz SR7012 utilizing S/PDIF signal out
Last curve ball is that I know I may need to add an i5 or i7 NUC with Rock to do some upsampling and power the tunes. As of now, have had no issues using the Synology NAS, but I didn’t get into the more complicated settings. So let’s say a NUC will cost ~$500-700 (could go cheaper by buying used on eBay for ~$300-400)
So a lot of options out there with a wide set of price ranges. If the SQ of the cheaper options is close to the more expensive options I could use the difference in cost to invest in a better stereo amp (e.g., Hegel H190) and use the HT bypass on my Marantz.
Thank you Roon Community for enabling my upgrade bug and going down a deep dark rabbit hole.
Go with option 1. The Marantz is a pretty capable unit and with a sub you really need it’s room correction to get things set up properly. That will be much easier than trying to do it using DSP in Roon and will also mean you don’t need a better core machine. Save the money on that too.
I’d recommend taking it step by step – and there are an infinite number of steps you can take with this hobby (or obsession).
If it were me I’d do #1 (so you can take advantage of the higher quality audio chain), and get a NUC and get Roon off the Synology so you have a more optimal setup for Roon and can take advantage of Roon’s DSP tech to tackle room correction (which depending on the room can make a solid to sometimes amazing difference in sound quality). And of course you can also experiment with upscaling and other DSP capabilities.
For room correction, you can do this with Roon’s convolution filter capability by either creating a filter yourself using REW – here’s a tutorial on how to do it:
Or have a 3’rd party company (Home Audio Fidelity) create one for you – here’s a chain on this topic:
I’ve done the later and had fabulous results…
This approach would get you to an optimal setup to run Roon, get you a high quality signal chain, and fix room issues and that would allow you to properly evaluate your current equipment setup. You can then decide where to go next (or not).
Of course, this is only my opinion and YMMV… Good luck on your Roon adventure!
All massively more complex and time consuming than using the audyssey multeq xt32 that is already in his Marantz AV receiver. Just plug in the supplied mic and use the onscreen menus to measure at several different locations.
Is one any better than the other? Hard to say but clear which is easiest.
Your statement is true for using REW to create a filter yourself but not for HAF. For HAF filters you can use their tool and take the same kind of measurements in almost as simple a way as audyssey and let HAF create the filter. And I have had AV receivers that use audyssey and room perfect (lyngdorf) (the latter is in my current McIntosh MX160 receiver – and room perfect is superior to audyssey) - so I know how these work. These systems are optimized to create filters for 5.1 to 11.2 surround sound setups. I love room perfect for TV/movies but I far prefer HAF for music (which is typically using just a 2.0 setup (just the left/right stereo speakers) or 2.1 setup (add the subwoofer). You would need to configure the A/V receiver to pass through unchanged audio (not using room perfect or audyssey) when you listen to music to utilize a HAF or REW created filter in this fashion and almost all A/V receivers enable this.
But like I said in my original post this is only my opinion and YMMV.
Get something like a Lenovo M720 tiny i3 with Windows. Use a Topping D10 to convert usb from pc to toslink in on your Marantz. Install roon on the pc. Enjoy! My setup is similar to this and it works like a champ for about $500.
I will look at the NUC w/ Rock + Allo Digione option and do room correction with a mic and save the money for a better stereo amp. Now the debate on the Digione vs. Digione Signature with battery / LPS setup.
@philr, I could use multieq xt32, but generally leave the Marantz in Pure Direct Mode which turns off multieq xt32.
@SKBubba, This type of setup I also debated at length. My only pause was having a computer in the same closet as the Marantz, but maybe I am being paranoid. I was exploring the Topping DACs, but I would need to question if it would sound better than the DAC built inside the Marantz. I guess only one way to find out
If you’re still thinking of the Hegel H190 (which is a great amp), you probably already know that this should be Roon Ready soon, and has a decent DAC too (don’t know how it compares to your Marantz), so may not be worth spending much on a streamer at this point.
Suggest you take a look at ‘stereo’ mode with mulieq ‘flat’ setting with ‘dynamic eq’ on. Bonus, bass management. People pay thousands upon thousands for this type of preamp or outboard dsp, and you already have it!
Or at least set multieq to “l/r bypass” so you still have bass management, assuming you have a sub. If not, never mind.
Don’t think this is correct. If the convolution filter generated has included phase and timing correction, then Roon handles it. I believe that Acourate probably does a better job on phase/time correction than REW but is harder to use. Here’s a chain on generating a room correction convolution filter with Acourate:
HAF filters also correct for phase/timing and also can offer acoustic crosstalk reduction which IMHO is an advantage over audyssey (and room perfect, REW and Acourate).
But Audyssey is awfully simple and uncomplicated, and a lot of people already have it. Don’t know if it is as good, because it’s all I have ever used. Studied REW and concluded that what I had was good enough.
I’m in the simple, $3-$5k setup camp, convinced that it would take spending 10x for any incremental improvement.
I also note that the OP is using Airplay, so probably not in the $50k camp. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Airplay, DLNA (properly set up), HEOS, Sonos, etc. satisfy lots of folks.
The OP is indeed using Airplay today but this whole chain is about how he wants to improve the SQ in his setup and Airplay will be replaced by a hardwired setup with the choices he is making. And he has said he isn’t using Audyssey.
I do think there is a misconception about the cost / complexity of getting room correction convolution filters to work in Roon and thereby benefit from the results (which can be impressive). For about $200 you can buy HAF filters (that come with and without crosstalk reduction) and use the tool they provide for free to do the measurements or use REW which is also free; both need a $100 UMIK-1 mic. It will take an hour or two at most to do the measurements (which is not hard) and ship the files off to HAF and then load the resultant filters when they are sent back to you. That is just as easy as Audessey IMHO. And I think you get better results for music than Audyssey.
It is true if you want to become proficient or an expert about using REW (or Acourate) to go beyond just measurements to optimize and generate filters yourself and hopefully get them to be as good or better as HAF (and many can’t after trying) then it is more complex and takes more time but it is not expensive.
And the beauty of all this is that it’s easy to A/B/C test – listen without any, listen with Audessey (or Room Perfect) if your AV receiver has it, and listen to a Roon convolution filter generated by you or HAF. Many people don’t go down this route because they think it is too complex or costly and I think they are missing out. Ok, stepping off soap box now…
@Craig_Palmer Thank you for the advice, also sounds like a fun weekend project to take on. Will check out some mics and will give it a whirl.
@SKBubba It doesn’t hurt at all to try the xt32 and can always turn it on or switch it off when I go Pure Direct mode to quickly A/B test. I will have to check how it can work since I am using a neutrik speakON cable in the L/R channel of the amp to the Rel T/9i subwoofer instead of LFE input. Probably a way to tune it properly
@dhusky did not know that Hegel will be Roon Ready, but that makes sense naturally for their product team given the price range and target market
So a fancy streamer / DAC combo won’t get me to a better state than the Allo products? Is it worth adding a Khada Tone Board DAC to the mix with the Allo Digione (or Signature) streamer?
Just make sure they’re calibrated (like the UMIK-1). I’d definitely echo the discussion about room correction and HAF filters (once your streaming solution is in place) - they offer real improvement for a relatively modest time and financial outlay. Of course, you may also be able to get close to this with your existing inbuilt correction.
I think it would be a brave person who definitively agreed with this statement However, if you just want to get rid of Airplay, play with either Room correction and reassess, then the Digione is a good place to start. You can of course spend as much as you want for streamer/DAC solutions and may or may not feel that these offer good value incremental improvement in your system.
Particularly if you are considering the H190, I’m not sure I’d rush in with a new DAC as you’d probably want to compare to the inbuilt DAC on that amp to come to a conclusion. And the standard Digione would probably be fine until it becomes Roon Ready as I think the H190 re-clocks the signal (so, if I understand correctly, jitter should be less of an issue).
Google Chromecast with HDMI out to the Mazantz. 24bit/96kHz audio with a great display. Problem solved for $35 however this great sounding and looking solution has absolutely zero audiophile credibility.
@AndersVinberg – why did you decide to do Acourate vs REW and how long did it take for you to become proficient to generate filters you’re satisfied with? I’ve used HAF – they are very good. I’ve tried replicating with REW on my own and don’t think they are as good. I’ve purchased Acourate but haven’t tackled the learning curve yet so just wondering what your overall experience was like.