Cheap Roon Endpoint

I have a Roon Nucleus which I love. It contains my music on a SSD. Until yesterday, it was connected to a dCS Bart贸k (Streaming DAC) by Ethernet.
Because of personal reasons, I have had to sell the Bart贸k, which was was quite painful. :cry: Hopefully this will only be short term. 6-12 months.
Before I had the Bart贸k, I simply connected the Nucleus to a Matrix Audio DAC (now gone) by USB, then the DACs RCA to my Naim 282 preamp.
At the moment I am looking at the 鈥楽hiit Modi鈥 on it鈥檚 own, or a 鈥楢llo USBridge鈥 Signature Player, with the Modi? Basically a 拢200-拢300 budget. Terrible isn鈥檛 it, considering my amplification is Naim 282/300DR and Kudos Titan 606 speakers!
I have no idea how to put together a Raspberry Pi, or how to configure it. I鈥檓 not interested in Tidal or Spotify.

I would be very grateful if someone could point me in right direction, simply to get my system up and running again, with a cheapish Roon Endpoint.

Thanks :+1:

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I bought an RPi 4B with DAC2HD HAT from HiFiBerry in an acrylic case. Downloaded the HiFi Berry OS image file to a Micro SD (full details and instructions are on the website), plugged it all together (it鈥檚 like Lego),
Plug in a network lead, power up and you have a networked Roon endpoint with a high quality DAC.

I had no idea about Raspberry Pi (and still don鈥檛! :upside_down_face:)

<拢160 including shipping.

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Thanks for that info Graeme, I鈥檒l check out HiFiBerry.

Regards

David

if you only use your Pi as Roon endpoint鈥 do yourself a favour: install RoPieee and just forget about it :wink:

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There are a lot of tinkerers on this list, and it doesn鈥檛 sound like you are one of them.

So I would think a 鈥楧AC hat鈥 on a Raspberry Pi might be a bit too much. I鈥檇 go with a simple Raspberry Pi with no hat and no fancy power supply, just the regular Cana kit from Amazon. It snaps together in a couple of minutes. Put RoPieee on it.

Then get a good Chi-Fi DAC 鈥 there are many to choose from. I went with a Topping D70, but there are a number of manufacturers doing them. They are basically packaged DAC chips, and the good ones perform quite well. Run a USB cable from the Pi into the DAC, and you鈥檙e good to go.

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These. :point_up_2:

Look for the RoPieee threads, or go to RoPieee.org.

Here鈥檚 a super basic summary:

Buy a pi kit

Buy a 16GB micro sd card

get a usb adapter for the micro sd card if your computer doesn鈥檛 have a port for it

Go to ropieee.org and download latest disk image, and save it to your computer

Download Etcher

open etcher and 鈥渇lash鈥 the SD card with the ropieee disk image (it walks you through it)

put the newly flashed micro sd card into the pi

hook up ethernet cable

hook up USB to a USB DAC

hook up power supply and it should auto boot

let it do its thing for 5-15 minutes, and watch for the green light to flash slowly (like 1/2 hZ?)

open a web browser on your network and go to ropieee.local and you should see the pi

open the 鈥渁udio鈥 tab in roon settings and find that pi endpoint and enable it.

done. (I think.)

(DISCLAIMER: I鈥橫 ON A MAC. THE SD CARD FLASHING PROCESS MIGHT BE SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT OTHERWISE)

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microRendu with linear power supply from Small Green Computer.

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I鈥檇 echo the above suggestions. Even if you鈥檙e not a 鈥榯inkerer鈥 the Raspberry Pi options are now at the level that almost anyone can follow a few simple instructions to get a Roon endpoint up and running. No need for a monitor or keyboard attached to the RPi. You burn Roopiee to an SD card using your laptop, insert the SD card into the RPi and attach the power. If you need to make any configuration changes you do it via a web browser/interface.

One box (using a hat)

Two box (using an external USB DAC)

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Great鈥hanks Bill. Why did you choose the D70?

Thanks Chris, very helpful :+1:

The recent Topping line has good measurements at audiosciencereview.com, to begin with. Almost bought the D50, but I wanted an integrated power supply, not a dongle; I wanted balanced XLR outputs; I wanted a remote so that I could use it as a preamp. Considering you鈥檝e got a Naim 282 in your stack, you probably don鈥檛 need that last bit. But you don鈥檛 have to use the pre-amp mode with the D70, it can just be a pure DAC.

And then we got RoPieee adjusted so it turns off the Topping display when there鈥檚 no music playing over the USB connection, so all is swell!

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@j_a_m_i_e Very comprehensive, thank you.

Is it better to have, say a Digione on top of the Pi, then the DAC2HD on top of the Digione, or can that not be done? I was given to understand that SPDIF was a better connection from the Pi to a DAC?

Thank Bill. I don鈥檛 need the balanced outputs, as the 282 doesn鈥檛 have them. Is the quality of the D50 the same as the D70?

If you ultimately want an analog RCA output (ie. as opposed to a digital optical/coax output) then just plug the DAC2HD directly onto the Raspberry Pi. It simply pushes/plugs in. It will then use the internal I2C bus (which is as good as you can get). No need or benefit of using a Digi (S/PDIF) hat first even if you could (which you can鈥檛 anyway).

If you want to use an external USB DAC no need for a hat of any kind. Just connect the standard RPi to the DAC via USB. Any previous issues with the USB port are now resolved with the RPi4. There鈥檚 little point in using a Digi hat to connect to the DAC via S/PDIF as USB will be fine with a well behaved/supported DAC and in some ways better.

The 2GB RPi will be fine in both cases, as will the standard RPi power supply.

Very helpful, thanks @j_a_m_i_e :+1:

You can also get an add-on DSP board for the DAC2HD that allows you to perform room correction within HiFiBerryOS. Won鈥檛 make up for losing your Bart贸k but might give you something fun to play with until you get it back.

In terms of external DACs if this is just a stop-gap and you鈥檙e trying to keep within budget the Topping E30 might also be worth considering.

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Frankly, I wouldn鈥檛 use any of those hats. The whole Pi extension system strikes me as having high potential for failures of various kinds.

It鈥檚 not. The S/PDIF protocol is older and source-clocked; the USB connection is the more recent and with USB Audio 2, the two-way protocol that鈥檚 used, can be adjusted by both sides to correct clock mismatches.

Take a look at the review I linked to. I think I might go for the newer Topping D30Pro these days, though. There are a raft of these excellent Chinese-made DACs available, you might want to browse through the reviews there.

Given that you are price-constrained, why not go for a pre-built streamer-DAC combo like https://orchardaudio.com/shop/ols/products/pcnp-strmr or one of these RaspDAC | HiFi Sono DIY | Audiophonics - Audiophonics? Some of the DAC discussed on the thread may be somewhat better than the built-in DACs in these, but they may not.

Schiit gear seems hard to get in Europe currently because of COVID-19 production bottlenecks.

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Thank you Bill for clarifying that. :+1:

Before the Bart贸k, I had a Matrix Audio Pro Sabre DAC (拢1,800). It was connected directly to my Roon Nucleus by an AudioQuest USB 3m cable. It has been discussed many times, and still is to this day鈥hat a direct DAC to Nucleus does work, but has it鈥檚 limitations.
So, what are the advantages of having a Pi connected to an external DAC, or a DAC2HD connected directly to the Pi, as opposed to the Nucleus to DAC setup?

The one thing I definitely do not want, is a DAC or other device that can only be updated via a Windows Computer. As great as the Matrix Audio DAC was, it鈥檚 firmware could only be updated by using Windows.

I have no idea how Topping stands up against Schiit DACs, (Modi) or the difference in quality between the DAC2HD, Topping and Schiit?

Thank you to everyone who is helping me on this topic It looks like I will go in the RPi direction. But just a tad undecided which DAC to go for. DAC2 HD or external鈥

A general question鈥ome of the kits come with a fan, even with a RPi 4.
My idea is to buy a RPi 4 and a metal case, then stick Ropieee on it. Do I need a fan?

Also, the RPi 4 is powered by USB C, I have read somewhere that a Phone/iPad charger with USB C is an option for charging the RPi??

Thanks guys :+1: