Documentation of differences between Roon and Essentials

Can anyone here point me to a documentation of the differences between the full version of Roon and Essentials? Overall, I have been quite pleased with my purchase of the Essentials product, and it’s overall performance. However…

When I originally bought the Essentials product I was under the impression that the only thing missing was a documentation of the signal chain and how your audio is modified between software and hardware. No biggie. Now, however I am discovering that there are other differences as well. For instance, Google Chromecast is not supported. Playing audio to a local audio device on my Mac is not supported. Apparently, Roon Bridge is also not supported, meaning that a R0PIEEE streamer will not work, and is not recognized. The Apple TV app is not supported.

Is there a master list somewhere of the differences between the two products so that I can understand what I am missing by running Essentials? ELAC support has been responsive, but ultimately unhelpful. Thank you.

The only thing I know is that Essentials is supported by Elac.

Can’t speak to the differences directly, but from being on this forum for awhile I’ve noticed that Elac can (seemingly) be remiss in addressing problems with Essentials software

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I believe there is a track limit and also understand that Essentials does not necessarily get functionality as it is added to Roon.

Roon doesn’t maintain Essentials at all. It is an Elac product so I don’t think such a document exists, even within Roon. You can probably work it out to some extent by looking at the Roon Software Updates since release and comparing the added functionality to the existing functionality of Essentials.

Yes, they were remiss for several years in maintaining the software properly. They were forced to spend the effort to upgrade essentials to 1.7 after Tidal changed their login procedure.

FYI, there is apparently no longer a track limit for the essentials product. I currently have about 55,000 tracks, which I believe is more than they supported previously. I think it used to be more like 15,000…’

if ELAC Maintained online documentation, or a community forum, I would certainly love to participate. Nothing I can find. Perhaps one of their people reads this forum…

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Is the forum non existent or down, I can’t tell
“Forums Down for Maintenance - Elac”

Hey thanks for that link. It says the forums are down for maintenance until mid December. I sent a text message to tech-support, but they are behind schedule and the forums are not expected to be live until mid January. Thank you for finding that.

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Here is a list I got from Elac support. Unfortunately, I had to find out most of these things on my own since there appears to be no comprehensive list of the differences between the full product and essentials.

The list of features missing from essentials seems to be correct except for number three. Roon essentials will display lyrics. Theoretically, the roon essentials expert is going to reply to me from Elac with a complete list.

  1. No MQA audio decoding. It will pass on MQA encoded content to an external DAC that is a MQA decoder/renderer for MQA decoding.
  2. No DSP audio engine processing.
  3. No Music Lyrics display
  4. No DSD audio support. Only PCM audio
  5. No support for Roon Bridge devices.
  6. No display of audio processing path
  7. Roon Radio feature is limited to what is in the library
  8. No support for Chrome Cast audio devices.

ELAC Customer service

So, Essentials is meant in a pejorative sense? :smirk:

I’ve read about this software’s shortcomings on this forum before.

Can one replace Essentials with complete Roon Core? Just curious.

There is no upgrade path from Essentials to Roon. I believe you would install Roon in the usual way and it would redo analysis and create a new database.

The fact that Essentials hasn’t been extended by Roon in any way indicates to me that it that it was a one off cul-de-sac that probably wouldn’t be repeated if Roon had its time over again.

Yeah, if that weren’t the case than any Roon wannabe who bought Elac was duped.

I am also using Elac Discovery Server with Roon Essentials for two months now. Reason - decided to try the basic Roon features without fiddling with PCs/Macs, network set up and for a quick and simple integration into my network. Also did quite some research for many years while in parallel installing a proprietary multiroom (highres) solution where I was never satisfied with the functionality and the sound with my main Hifi Rack. So far very pleased with Roon Essentials features and the Elac Discovery Server in my setup.

To elaborate on your initial question / findings and the list from Elac Support:

-no limitation to nr. of tracks with Rel 1.7 anymore like you said
-Apple Airplay devices are being recognized and can be used and grouped for output (according to Elac documentation)
-as such in my network my television is being recognized and is playing sound (albeit via an App simulating an Airplay receiver). At the same time Apple TV is showing up in my network which I don’t own, so I assume that the App is emulating Apple TV as well.
-not sure about differences between Roon Bridge and Roon Endpoints. Roon Endpoints are being recognized and such also all RAAT enabled devices according to documentation. According to a German Hifi Internet publication an HiFiBerry Digi+ Pro based on an Raspberry Pi 3 B+ will be recognized by the Elac Discovery and outputted to. Not sure on the difference to the R0PIEEE streamer but on the German webpage they are calling the HifiBerry an ‘Roon Bridge’.
-Elac is offering a Roon Endpoint / Bridge themselves called Discovery Connect (also WiFi enabled).
-finally the Elac Discovery Server can be used as an Roon Endpoint itself. So should I decide to go for Roon at a later stage I can still use the Discovery Server with its Digital and analogue outputs being recognized by Roon. So works very much like the Discovery Connect.
-Roon Radio will only work on your library. So if you have Tidal or Qobuz it will also use the their content linked into your library.

For me the Elac Discovery is a very good entry point into Roon world with a low investment/risk (especially second hand) to figure out if I basically need the main Roon features of discovering music and distribute highres musik across my network for multiroom consumption.

I like it so much that ordered the Elac Z3 Roon Enabled loudspeaker which to my research seems to be the only ‘real’ RAAT enabled speaker apart from Bluesound atm. I was musing whether to go for Apple Airplay enabled speakers (which the Z3 also ‘understands’) but RAAT and the ability to group the speaker with my main HIFI rack pushed me to go for the Z3. If it performs nicely I will eventually replace my other proprietary multiroom speakers with Z3s or Roon Ready Speakers.

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Do you notice any lag with the Discover server as you add larger amounts of files?Will it handle 100k tracks? Thinking about buying one second hand but I have a lot of files.

Thanks for the feedback on this device. Are you still happy with it as your library grows? Just concerned if I buy one it will slow down if I add too many files.

Performance is still excellent. I have read that this device can also be used as aroon endpoint if you buy the full version of the software. This may be in my future. I have still been unable to find a list of differences between the full version and essentials. ELAC has been virtually useless for tech-support. All they can do is give me the name of the guy who is supposedly responsible for this product… And he never responds. But the product itself works great, might need to be rebooted every 10 days or so, but other than that, no problems.

And by the way, if you are considering buying one of these devices make sure you check the “other sellers” on Amazon to see what their prices might be. In my case I was able to get one for about 400 bucks, much lower than the Amazon price from a third-party seller on the Amazon website.

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Just wanted to chime in. Thanks a lot for the intel, I was looking for some answers, which I got eventually.
As I had some experience with the Elac Discovery, the built-in DAC has quite a good sound, much better than the Bluesound Node range IMHO. And if you have an external DAC, you can feed it thru coaxial from the Elac.

I am currently trying to figure out the limit but it is much, much less than 100k songs. I have tried two different units using both a copied config and building a fresh config. The Essentials discovery server locks-up unless I only use the smaller of my two NAS servers. The smaller one is a BluSound Vault with only ~5k songs on it. When I add my Synology NAS with ~55k songs it locks-up after every use. So I have to power cycle the Elac at every use.

Totally agree with the poster who said to buy third party through Amazon. You can often find them for under $500.

I have a proximately 50,000 songs stores locally, 5000 albums. Plus, whatever I have in my TIDAL collection, probably another 100 or 200 albums. Zero performance problems. Apple environment, 2 TB drive. Possibly try adjusting the size of memory usage used by ELAC in their web app…

coming back with a question to the ‘Roon Essentials / Elac’ users:

I am currently trying to use an Argon Solo as RAAT output and DAC for my active speakers and the analog amplifier for my headphones.

The Argon does show up as not certified even though it is Roon Ready and on the latest firmware release.

Argon Support asked me to restart the Roon (not knowing anything about Roon Essentials) but there is no such SW functionality in Roon Essentials and restarting the Elac Discovery Server or the Argon did not change anything.

Do you have any (positive) experience to connect Elac Discovery via RAAT to other Roon Ready devices?
(I am using an Elac Z3 speaker and have found a test that connects a Discovery Server with an Roon Bridge on HifiBerry. And the Elac is also offering the Discovery Connect as RAAT device)