DSD 5.0/5.1 over HDMI

when will ROON support DSD 5.0/5.1 over HDMI?

Yes but it depends on your hardware.

What does that mean? Let’s assume I have the hardware to do it.

That means you should tell us what hardware you have or intend to use. There are issues with various sources (PCs vs. Mac) and renderers (DACs, AVRs, prepros). They can range from easy-peasy to not-possible.

If you already have the hardware to do it, then choose the renderer in Roon, configure it for 5.1 and enable native DSD.

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I currently use another program for this function. My question wasn’t meant for the community to help me diagnose. That’s why I tagged Danny. I’m really just looking for when ROON will have the functionality.

Thanks though.


There isn’t any PC/MAC/Linuxsystem, which will support native DSD through HDMI and so also Roon can change anything in this.
But you can use USB and a multichannel DAC (like the Okto Research DAC Pro)…

Ok. I really don’t want to get into pissing match with the forum. I have a setup that passes all of the music from a NUC with a linnux core directly to a audiophile stereo with an external dac. My setup IS NOT at issue here. What I want to know is when will ROON have the capability.

True but you can use an Oppo UDP as an intermediary. :wink:

Roon can’t do there anything…

This is an interesting topic, so I took a closer look at the specification for HDMI. Starting with v1.3a, it appears that HDMI is supposed to support 1-bit, 8 channel DSD audio natively. This said, it seems none of us MCH regulars are familiar with any hardware that can do this, which is likely why, I speculate, Roon has not bothered to support this feature.

The OP here intimates that he has hardware that could support native MCH DSD over HDMI without an Oppo or other intermediary device. I would be interested to learn what hardware this might be. JCR

Yes the hardware is unknown…

By the way: Roon is not responsible for that, what the certified (Roon Ready) product do with the stream.
The manufacturer of the hardware must build a driver, which can handle native DSD through HDMI (with a properity driver and firmware → Roon cannot produce firmwares…).
Oppo is only certifed for stereo, also older Lumin devices (A1 with HDMI out) can handle only stereo, but not the wished multichannel.
And Roon is able to transfer multichannel DSD native for example (as I’ve noted before) with some DACs through USB, but there isn’t known an open driver for HDMI…

To the OP: with all due respect, please describe exactly what hardware, operating system, and software you have that will do this. To the best of my knowledge, such a setup is not available to the general public at any price, and I’ve followed this pretty closely. Why are you convinced that a PCM conversion isn’t happening somewhere in the playback path? Roon is perfectly happy to function in this manner, but you’ll want a fairly powerful Roon core for this to work well.

@Burkhardt_Petermann has described the problem well: they are no audio drivers (outside of embedded systems such as universal disc players) available for any operating system that support DSD over HDMI. This is not a Roon problem; it is an operating system device driver problem.

I looked into this circa 2017 (yes, I have the skills required to go kernel hacking), and the few mentions that Google unearthed pointed at various unspecified legal (patents?), technical (no details), and political problems getting such support accepted into the Linux kernel.

Bryston supports stereo DSD over HDMI in the BDP-3. When I spoke with them directly (also circa 2017), multichannel support was not on their roadmap. I believe the BDP-3 is an x86- or x86_64-powered device running Linux, which demonstrates that native 2ch DSD over HDMI is possible at least on that particular platform.

The most plausible path to getting DSD over HDMI is probably to find a hackable (as was done for ripping SACDs) MediaTek-based universal player (or set top box that supports DSD over HDMI, if such a device exists), and reverse engineer the SACD playback path. If it uses the standard Linux audio system, then the challenge would be porting RoonBridge - alas, the RoonBridge ARM Linux binary supplied by Roon Labs is for the ARMv7 architecture, and the Pioneer player (and I believe, but am not 100% sure, Oppo-105D) have ARMv6 CPUs.

Sigh. Yes, this situation is very disappointing. By far the simplest solution is to punt and acquire an Okto or exaSound multichannel, DSD-capable USB DAC, or at a higher price, an Ethernet-attached DAC from Merging (or the new exaSound s88). Note that exaSound USB DACs require the DAC to be attached to either a Windows PC or Mac, or an exaSound streamer, as they use a proprietary audio driver, available for Windows, macOS, and exaSound streamers. Roon “just works” with these DACs.

Good luck!

Thanks for the replay and sorry for the delayed response I didn’t get an alert for the posting…

Oppo has a bare bones media player - Sony receiver decodes native DSD. Sony STR DN1080 - as a pre-amp (speaker levels padded down to line level). USB to Project for stereo.

This is why I canceled my subscription. I have an OPPO 205 that can play DSD over my network (From a NAS to my computer) to my ARCAM AVM 805. The OPPO is connected to my network with NSF and works perfect. Not a hickup when playing 5.1 music. When connected to ROON it is not working. ROON converts the 5.1 to 2.0 for no reason at all.

It’s an Oppo issue, not a Roon issue: for whatever reason, Oppo DSD playback via USB or RAAT is stereo only. I didn’t buy a 205 for exactly this reason, after owning 95/105/105D (I still have the 105D). There was some discussion that this might be fixable via firmware, but then Oppo pulled out of the market, sigh. So, regrettable as it is, Roon is doing the right thing to get you sound. I’ve forgotten what the Oppo does with multichannel PCM via USB or RAAT, so you might try that, although I have vague memories that Roon is strictly 2 channel on the Oppos.

Good luck!
(Edits: changed Ethernet to RAAT)

I would have thought this is normal, Roon is for music not surround sound TV etc.

Hi Chris;

I have about 200 albums with multichannal mixed DSD. I am playing music with Roon. Not movie or TV. If you have not heard Depeche Mode in 5.1 mixed DSD you are in for a treat.

Ddean, I play DSD files over my network just fine, no problem at all. Roon can handle 5.1 so that is not the issue. The issue is that it will not do it with Oppo.

I also often play 5.1 music with Roon and it plays flawlessly. I run stereo through a Pro-ject s2 digital DAC which only plays 2.1 channels so when i play 5.1 files I switch the outpout to my arcam Pre-pro which plays 5.1.

There’s plenty of native (very little post-processed) 5.0 / 5.1 music recordings in the market. 2L studio is one of my favorite. You can download the test tracks from their official website. Playback from the-above-average 5.0 / 5.1 system (multichannel DXD or multichannel DSD256), I believe you’ll change your perspective.


I might remember wrong, but don’t think the Roon Ready endpoint in Oppo supports more than 2 channels - this is an issue in Oppo, not Roon.