I have my Roon Core running on a MacBook Air that is connected to my home network via wireless. My MacBook Air connects to my DAC via USB on my main system. I have three other stereo systems through out the house that I would like to be able to connect to the Roon Core. Can you suggest reasonably priced simple endpoints that I can connect to my home network that would output a digital stream to my DACs via toslink cable. I don’t want network players with internal DACs. Thanks for any insight the community can provide!!
Google ChromeCast Audio, Apple Airport Express or Raspberry Pi with a simple SPDIF HAT would be the cheap and effective solutions. The last one noticeably better sounding, but takes a bit of DIY skillz…
Otherwise, a used Bluesound Node is extremely well behaved and works well with other sources too even if it has got a nice analog output. (Of course Sonos and and Squeezebox unit will do the same)
Thanks for the info. Is there anyone who knows where I could get a Rasberry Pi with the SPDIF HAT that is all put together. I’m handy with a soldering iron and a volt meter but when you start talking about eproms and software configurations on these DIY computers you will quickly loose me. I have a great music library I would trade for something like this.
Would one of these little computers work as a Roon Endpoint?
No need for soldering, both IQAudio and HiFiBerry do HATs and can supply all the necessary bits to assemble. Otherwise if you can go Coax/BNC rather than optical then there’s the Allo Digione player which is plug and play.
Thanks for the info.
I ran across this guide that seems to have enough info to maybe get me going. If I have to load an operating system into this thing I will get lost and it will wind up on ebay. I don’t know where to get the operating system, how to load it on the sd card, how to get it off the sd card into the computer ect. I might be able to load the roon software and maybe get it on my network but I just want to plug it in and work.
Thanks again, I just know my limitations.
Well, you need to go with what you feel will work best for you. However, the Digione Player is straightforward and perhaps more commonly used than that approach - https://www.allo.com/sparky/digione-player.html . Comes ready loaded with an O/S and lots of people on the forum to help with any queries.
That said, will let others chime in as I don’t have one (I’m using IQAudio HATs with Volumio).
My suggestion is not to aim too low costwise, as you will be making too many compromises and be unhappy in the long run.
Three possibilities for USB capable endpoints at reasonable cost:
I am a big fan of the Odroid C2 with dietpi and Roon Bridge software. The Odroid C2 has a separate USB and Ethernet controller, not a shared one like the RP3.
Alternatively the Asus Tinkerboard S also has separate controllers and a nice passively cooled case is available from asus too.
Else a NUC7CJYH (Celeron based) with 4GB RAM and a KINGSTON SSD A400, 120GB should stay well below 200 USD as well.
All three run dietpi / Roon Bridge
Thanks dhusky! That’s exactly what I was looking for!!!
The Chromecast Audio will work fine for this. 24/192 endpoint for (on sale right now) $15. Another $15 for the toslink cable. And a final $15 for an Ethernet dongle if you don’t want to use WiFi to connect it.
Chromecast Audio is probably the least expensive ready to go solution with excellent results, and Roon recognizes it with no fuss. Chromecast Audio supports up to 24/96KHz PCM. Output is via a 3.5mm combo jack. Plug in a mini-Toslink to Toslink cable or adapter. Chromecast Audio typically sells for $35 US MSRP but BestBuy still has them on sale for $15 and free shipping. I don’t know of a better bang for the buck turnkey solution. I have a couple around the house that I stream to,
I also have two Raspberry Pi running DietPi along with the Allo DigiOne coaxial output SPDIF HAT (not optical Toslink as you requested). DietPi OS includes the Roon Bridge software for easy installation. You can assemble your own Pi and image your own DietPi OS onto microSD, or you can buy the whole thing ready to go from Allo.com.
I’d buy a Pi over that. That cube is less specs for more money. Seems like it has more GPU power, but that won’t do anything for Roon.
Anything you can install Linux on will be a great, cost-effective endpoint.
If you go the Pi route, another option is to use RoPieee https://ropieee.org, which is easy to install and maintain (it only runs Roon).
Can you elaborate how one connects an ethernet dongle to a Chromecast (very useful!)? Also please advise ref 192khz (i thought it could only go to 96khz) and where to buy for 15usd? Maybe I’m misunderstanding and you’re referring to another device?
edit - i c Abe has advised in next post - BEST BUY
Allo’s stuff has a good reputation. You can buy it as a complete kit or in pieces: https://www.allo.com/sparky/digione-signature-player.html
Chromecast is 96khz only it does not playback higher it will downsample. The ethernet adpator plugs into the microusb slot that powers the unit and then the power cable plugs into that.
You just plug them together. See https://store.google.com/product/ethernet_adapter_for_chromecast.
I could be wrong about that. I thought I’d seen somewhere that a software update updated it to 192, but the storefront says 96. As for where to buy, it’s $15 at store.google.com.
thanks Bill. I can’t seem to get this adapter in my country - can’t see it on amazon or ebay. Early days i guess.
Its not urgent but good to know it’s available - would solve some stability issues Ive had with CCA
I’m really amazed at how inexpensive it is to build a really quality endpoint. Shouldn’t be, I suppose – everything is being chip-ified. But you know, use a Chromecast Audio ($15 + $15 for toslink cable) which comes highly recommended for use with Roon by Amir, or cheap Raspberry Pi box (~$100), to feed a Topping DX3Pro ($220). Add a power amp you can build yourself from 3 main components, $259. It’s the speakers that will get you.