Best budget WIFI endpoint for Roon?

recently started my trial for Roon - and love it so far.

I also made the jump into Qobuz.

Currently I have an IMac, running iTunes, running into a Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus into EMotiva powered Speakers.

I also have several; Apple Airport Express routers spread around the house using toslink to cvarious DACs and amps-speakers or powered speakers.

I have about two terabytes of ripped AIFF files on a local drive to my iMac.

A few questions:

AFAIK, AirPlay tops out at 16/44 - true?

So - if I want to stream high res files - from Qobuz, or if I buy 24/96 tracks - my current setup will down convert to 16/44 because of Airplay/? Is there a way to stream to a WIFI-SUB/or Toslink endpoint that allows for hi-res WIFI Streaming?

I see a lot of love here for various Raspberry Pi endpoint solutions. Since I already have amp/powered speakers and Dacs - is that a good option for me - perhaps with a hat that isn’t a dac or an amp, like some of the Allo solutions? Budget is an issue at present- so I’d rather not get one of the Blusound units, e.g.

Can I do that with my current setup using the iMac as the Roon Core? With local files +Qobuz hi-res streaming, controlled from my iPhone?

If I were to upgrade my equipment, and get a dedicated Roon Core - since my 2016 iMac is my main work machine - is a NUC running Roon Rock the best solution for the $$.


I have two Raspberry Pi’s with HiFiBerry DigiPlus Pro HATs. Output is either optical or coax and I can stream 24/192. I use the HiFiBerry OS though most on this board use Ropieee. The sound quality is great — especially considering the investment.

Does your DAC have a USB input? If so, just buy an RPi4 kit and put RoPieee on it and you’re done. RPi4 fixed the Ethernet and USB sharing the same bus. RPi4 also supports 5GHz 802.11ac, which will be much more reliable than the Wi-Fi in older models.

If your DAC does not have a USB input, then you’ll need an appropriate HAT that provides AES/Coax/Optical as appropriate to your DAC. There are offerings ranging from “reasonably priced” to “audiofool snakeoil”, so do some research before buying.

But yes, an RPi4-based endpoint is the most economical (and yet still high quality) solution there is.

Might also look for some Chromecast Audios on eBay. They work, they’re cheap, and they are plug and play (in the ease of setup sense, not the UPnP sense).

They work fine, but are no longer made or supported, so the RPi is probably a better long term solution.

Hi Terry,

I was new here a couple of months ago, and did exactly as you suggest; Core on my iMac, and built a Raspberry Pi with USB out running RoPieeeXL to a DAC, then into my amplifier. Works fantastic! So much so that I built another with a HAT with 3.5mm audio out to connect an ancient Bose Wave Radio in the garage.

Here was my adventure:

@Jim_F has frequently posted a list of components from Amazon that will get you going for around $75:

Good luck!

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What @Steve_Morris recommends. Just a Raspberry Pi, connect the USB from that to your DacMagic, and you’re good. Run RoPieee on the Raspberry Pi. I do this with hi-res Qobuz streaming to my DAC, over WiFi. Works fine as long as your WiFi signal is good.

I also built a Raspberry Pi and I use RoPieee. I hardwired mine with CAT6 network cable but it can also use WiFi.

It feeds an AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt, so my entire endpoint cost is around $400 but you can use a DragonFly red or black or even a cheap DAC (Schiit Modi is great for $99) or a DAC HAT as suggested above.

The bottom line is a Raspberry Pi with RoPieee + HAT or other DAC into the USB is a great solution.

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