Beginner looking for feedback on setup

I finally reached a point in my life where I have some income to dedicate to upgrading my audio setup.

I know some of these items/apps are sacrilege to some of you, but right now, I have:

  • 2015 Macbook pro (SSD 1TB)
  • About 2000 CD’s (in process of being ripped as flacs)
  • About 2 TB worth of digital music (320 MP3 and flac mostly stored on various external HD’s)
  • Spotify account (apologies)
  • Mid 90’s Harmon Kardon receiver
  • Only using Bluetooth to stream atm (gross, I know)
  • B&W Speakers

So the only positive there is the B&W’s! But, besides needing to upgrade everything and consolidate the collection w/ NAS, I want to immediately be able to stream music over WiFi (from Roon and whatever application is playing on my mac), and ditch this bluetooth nonsense. To be clear, that’s only the local files stored on the Macbook and the Spotify web app. I want to do this w/o relying on some Wifi streamer that will introduce yet another app into my ecosystem. The consensus seems to be that Airplay/Airplay Express model is the most seamless but as you know, they are no longer in production, and I would be forced to buy refurb’s and overall this just feels odd… it seems there has to be something newer that meets the need.

Can anyone make any recommendations? I found this box which appears to be Roon ready and I believe supports Airplay 2. Any thoughts on this or another solution are greatly appreciated.

Apologies for the rudimentary questions and my lame system… but I am ready to upgrade!

Thank you.

I don’t follow what you are trying to do. Are you using Roon or want to use Roon? If so, Roon works with your local music files, Tidal, and Qobuz.

I currently have Roon and I want to stream music via WiFi from Roon running on my Macbook to my receiver. Right now, I can only do that via Bluetooth. So I need a Wifi bridge that will link Roon on my Macbook with my old receiver (which obviously has no built-in WiFi capability).

Thank you.

Can you hard wire from your computer station to your listening station. You will save yourself trouble in the long run.

In that case, it could be as simple as a Raspberry Pi 4 with USB out or add a HAT that gives you whatever you need to connect to your receiver. If possible, use ethernet instead of WIFI. However, the RPi4 works with WIFI also.

Is your MacBook Pro connected by ethernet to your router or do you use WIFI? The Roon core device should be connected by ethernet.

Thank you both. Hardwiring the laptop to the listening station would be challenging.

However, I will look into the RPi4.

I should be able to get an ethernet connection from router to RPi, but having the laptop hardwired would be challenging (but I understand that whatever device is ‘core’ should optimally be using ethernet). I am going to research and experiment - thanks.

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What "mid-90’s HK receiver do you have?

You’ve got a couple super-cheap and immediate solutions. If this is the Mid 2015 MBP then it has the combo analog / digital 3.5 mm jack on it. With the right cable, and if your H/K Receiver has a digital in, you could run optical from the MPB to the Receiver. Load Roon Bridge (RAAT from Core to Bridge) onto your MPB and your digital all the way to the receiver for the cost of a mini-TOSLINK cable.

You can also load Spotify on the MBP and use Spotify Connect to remote control the MBP.

You say you’re using BT to stream but you don’t give specifics. Is your H/K a BT receiver? What’s your source?

I think you need to take account of your digital capabilities before buying any more gear. Chances are that H/K will be the most limiting to your enjoyment of your audio. If you only need to stream 2-channel / 2-channel amp then there are very good 2-channel set-ups for not big money.

One way of hardwiring is using powerline adaptors. I use Netgear PLP models between my Roon Core server and the rest of my system.
It’s much more stable than WiFi and faster, too.

Do you have a NAS ?

If you can find a used QNAP, that’s a very good start. Install Roon on NAS.

Put your NAS away from the audio.

Now, the trick is to find a decent endpoint. If you stick with your Harman, you probably need an USB to SPDIF converter, as most endpoints have Ethernet in and usb out.

What’s your budget ?

If you don’t have any WiFi network, you need a WiFi router or access point as first start for sure. That’s enabling you to still use your MacBook. However getting from network to Harman is where a endpoint is needed.

The absolutely cheapest endpoint I can think about right now for you to start testing is if you can get hold of a Squeezebox Touch well below $50 hopefully.

If you’re considering upgrade everything, you should consider active speakers like KEF wireless or B&W Formation Or even Kii 3 (expensive).

You will in the end probably spend more money on new DAC, amps, endpoint cables, power supplies etc., and you’re into an endless loop of upgrades :grinning:

What about something like the Bluesound Node connected to your receiver as a Roon endpoint? Look for a used version 1 since some report problems with the 2i?

Use the BlueOS app when you want to play Spotify.

You could even upgrade to a Vault which includes 2tb of storage and kill two birds with one stone.

Personally, I would not use a NAS. I would get whatever size SSD I need and mount internally or USB depending on my core device.