Difference between Built-in output and system output?[Answered]

Can anyone point me to a clear explanation of this please?
Or provide one :wink:


It is easy:
Built-in output - is the sound card which is built into your machine
System output - is the device which is set as a default output in your system

thanks, i see
most of the time i don’t make a difference, built-in output is used as system output.

Good to be able to differentiate though, when needed.


Self explanatory title. Can anyone enlighten me?


Hi Matthew,

I moved your post. See above.

Cheers, Greg

No prob Greg thx. I’m a mod at the Acoustic Guitar Forum so I know how challenging a job it can be. 100k members! :slight_smile:
Anyway, maybe if I elaborate on this question a little: The Roon Core is on a MacBook Air.

  1. If I was outputting to the macbook air speakers only, would that be built-in output?
  2. If I had a USB cable plugged into a DAC would that be the default output, or can I name any device including a remote Roon endpoint?


To expand on the answer above a little bit:

System Output is going to make Roon’s output function like any other application – audio is sent to the OSX mixer, where it’s mixed with other sources (Youtube, system sounds, etc).

In many cases, the audio will be resampled during this process, so this mode is more about convenience than critical listening. For example, if you switch your default output from the Macbook’s speakers to a bluetooth device, Roon’s output will go with it, because it’s simply playing to the default OSX mixer.

Built-In Output is pointing Roon at an actual audio device regardless of your OSX audio defaults. This means you can set it to run in Exclusive Mode, meaning Roon takes control of the device and should play bit-perfect in whatever formats the device supports. This is how you’d want to play for critical listening.


Having trouble getting an iMac running Roon to be seen by Roon Core. Core is running on a Nucleus and it sees a variety of devices (dCS Network Bridge, Audio Alchemy DMP-1, and a microRendu which is using another iMac via AA DDP-1). I enable Built-In on the new iMac, which returns Bluetooth for some reason. I get no playback via the device as I have no sound output through it. Also, verified that both Sound Preferences and Midi are set for internal speakers (which work fine with browser and Youtube). Since I have only Bluetooth keyboard and mouse I cannot disable Bluetooth on the system. Roon 1.4 is what is running on each of the Mac systems.

One thing that’s not clear to me is how individual Roon instances are shown via Roon app Settings…Audio. Though I have two system running the full blown app on macOS only one is shown, it seems. And it is my older Mac that has as it’s output a USB attached DAC (AA DDP-1) which gets it’s Roon bits via a microRendu.
My new iMac is not visible when using the iPad Roon app at all.

If I plug in powered speakers to the iMac headphone output, and attempt to get Roon to use Built-In it hangs trying to enable. That even if I use esc to get out of configuring. When I choose Settings…Audio…Connected to this Mac and pick System Output and choose that Zone and attempt to play any music things get really weird. I get playback not though the new iMac but over the network to my older Mac! Even if I go to my iPad and use the Roon app to view the audio settings it shows that for the Networked section the new iMac with the correct IP address and the Zone Name of System Output enabled.

If I go to my older Mac and look at the running Roon app it too shows that its Setting…Audio…Connected to this Mac as suddenly having System Output zone active. If I disable this on the older Mac and return to the new Mac and view the settings the System output has been disabled. Is this normal???

If, on the other hand, I choose System Output it hangs when attempting to set that up. I will say that I have a USB DAC connected (LH Labs Geek Out) which is set in the system as the output device in Sound Preferences. When I set Roon to use the Geek Out Zone it attempts to play and immediately stops. So, I’m thinking that although Roon on the iMac is clearly Roon Ready, it’s not happy trying to use this USB device for playback. Is this completely unworkable? Or are there some Roon settings needed to allow Roon to send output through the Geek Out?

All of this is very confusing. What the bleep am I doing wrong???

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