Entry-level hardware needed and a couple of other things which can be improved

The Raspberry Pi , Roipeee, Usb solution is pretty close to plug and play, it’s even fun …

I did the whole thing in less than 15 mins including the obligatory latte while stuff loaded

And it sounds great on my HD800’s nuff said

I agree about the $5000 bit , check the Rand Dollar exchange rate , but there are ways

The Audioquest Dragonfly Black costs $99 or €99 in the EU. In the audiophile world, that’s probably considered to be chump change.

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I think the OP is talking about the relative gulf between a self brewed end point which can be done for very little and fully functional Roon certified endpoints, many of which are quite expensive. In my opinion the reason is one of the things you buy when spending thousands is ongoing support into the future. And that is why partnerships have evolved the way they have. The budget sector releases a product into the wild, supports it for maybe a year or two then moves on. An evolving product like Roon would likely stop working during the life of these products without regular updates. BluOS is potentially a way around this, as are collaborations between major brands and streaming specialists. Or the use of industry standards like Ravenna.

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I stand corrected when it comes to the updated list of devices.

It was not my intention to make this a have or have not discussion, putting together a RaspberryPi can be scary for some people unfamiliar with circuitry and electronics.

I wanted my post to spark some debate about solutions to make the lower end roon experience easier to get into, yes there is the dragonfly and there WAS the Chromecast audio (which I will be using) but beyond that, there isn’t much plug and play at the lower end of the price range.

It should be easier for anyone who can afford it to be up and running in no time.

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I do understand where you’re coming from on this.
When I was looking for another cheaper, plug-'n-play ‘Roon Ready’/RR endpoint for my bedroom system, I looked at the Roon Partner’s list. I didn’t want to mess around with building my own endpoint, and wanted something I could just plumb-in. I haven’t got the patience to assemble/put together something DIY. The cheapest RR endpoint I could identify from the list was a Bluesound Node 2i, which retails here in the UK for £600 here. That’s more than what I wanted to spend for a bedroom system, so I opted for a Chromecast Audio instead. But it’s not perfect, and I have problems with buffering, I think primarily because it doesn’t utilize RAAT (I think?) and it’s pretty rudimentary compared to a RR endpoint.
But I think that RR endpoints do come at a cost, because of the ongoing development required to keep them working. And possibly because a hardware manufacturer would have to pay Roon a fee for it to use it’s proprietary RAAT technology? (please correct me if this speculation is incorrect?)
In contrast to streaming, when you buy a CD/Vinyl playback system, it ‘stops’ there. With streaming, the technology is in a state of flux/change, and both hardware manufacturers and Roon need to keep changing their products to make them work. This takes time, effort and money. And this is why I think the financial ‘barrier’ exists, to ensure that organisations have the ongoing resources to evolve.
Streaming is still an ‘emerging’ technology, and as early-adopters, I think it’s understandable we have to pay to use it.

Things may have changed, but back in 2015, Roon Labs were not charging royalties on the use of RAAT…

The Design Goals for RAAT makes for quite an interesting read, I think.

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Some confusion here:

Are we discussing Roon Ready endpoints or Roon certified DACs - these are often two different things.

Roon can be used with any Roon endpoint (aka music streamer) and any DAC that can connect to the endpoint.

Also many of the problems that I see in various posts regarding problems with streaming seem to be due to an under powered Roon core and/or router. I use plenty of inexpensive Roon endpoints: Squeezebox devices and Chromecasts with and without external DACs and Roon streams just fine to these devices. My take on all this is that the cost of a powerful Roon core and powerful router along with an inexpensive endpoint is comparable to the cost of an under powered Roon core, an under powered router and an expensive (aka “audiophile”) Roon endpoint - and the powerful Roon core/router setup will be much more reliable.

I am grouping the endpoints and DAC’s for the sake of simplicity because they both receive the signal from the core.

I plan on connecting my CCA through optical to a JDS labs El dac to a headphone amp, it will do the trick (I hope).

Squeezeboxes shouldn’t be a problem anymore since logitech disconuted them sometime ago.

If there are buffering issues, people need to know up front about the bandwidth requirements and a quick lesson on how radio waves can be blocked by different wall types.

I have a beast of a router which can stream 4k without breaking a sweat and a 3 year old desktop I am running as a plex server and my photo editing computer, over built in every way.


I Think I understand your point… But a bit more research on your part could go along way :slight_smile:

Roon does not cater to just the expensive dac and I think you established that but I also want u to know that the roon ecosystem is way more open than most think… I use my squeezebox players/chromecast/sonos/USB DAC’s/ and blueetooth devices all mixed between 20 dollars up to 1K.

You dont per say need a bridge unless you want to use a DAC and even than you could get by with almost anything to run the bridge/core… Unless you are going to demanding of your CPU, your core/bridge can run most low end systems.

Edit: head-fi knows about roon. That they choose not to talk about is another 20 dollars of their own :wink:

No, not required.

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Indeed I have used all sorts of old stuff i had lying around PCs, DAPs, ipad, phones, chromecast, sonos etc. you can buy a £100 laptop of ebay, a dac and voila you have an endpoint and control point.


I know the minimum specs of roon to be an i3 ivybridge with 8 gigs of ram which is totally reasonable for basic setup with one endpoint, hell if I had an old laptop, I wouldn’t have any problems beyond the lack of storage to run a roon server no problem.

For me, I am using a i7 with 32 gigs of ram and 3 4 tb HDD for storage and a ssd for a boot drive. That’s my plex server and editing pc. For my interface I will be using a nexus 6p (nexus 5 is too small of a screen) until Google makes something worth getting.

When you get to a point where you want your dedicatied listening room and then another smaller system in the kitchen and one for the kids, it’s going to tax the hardware a bit.


Thankfully I am living in a condo and have need for only one endpoint/dac for my listening chair.

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You will be surprise. I do something similar with 32GB of Ram and i7-7700K.

I run:

Roon Server
Plex Server
KVM Server (5 vm’s)
Syncthing Server

All this running at the same time and the server does not struggle at all!
I also stream 4K and my DAC’s run at DSD512 and 256.

You should be just fine :slight_smile:

My mistake I ment to say that I will tax the minimum spec hardware a bit.

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@Geoff_Coupe, I don’t want to assume or project anything, but I really read this as “the lack of cheap roon-certified endpoints”, which is actually an issue in the, say, sub-$100 range when it comes to plug and play. Same applies to networked DACs - I can’t think of a plug-and-play, sub $400 alternative to a Pi+HAT, for rather simple models like, let’s say, making the boombox in the kitchen into a RAAT endpoint. I’m personally fine with building a Pi, but I can completely see where at least part of the Roon target market might not be, as I can see where you’d not want to spend $400 to get native support of your kitchen boombox on top of the $2000 you just spent on a server + license (and yes, of course and in practice and for reasonable people, Airplay compatibility).

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I agree when we’re talking about networked endpoints. However, the Dragonfly is a “Roon-certified endpoint” with, I assume, a better DAC than what is in your average laptop or PC. It’s an entry-level step-up to better SQ?

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Waitwait - pardon the dumb question, but you sure the Dragonfly black is an endpoint, and not just a cheap Roon-tested DAC ? I always assumed endpoints meant “I feed the thing network and power, it spits out RAATified music”.

(we of course agree on the rest, eh)

From the Glossary:


A synonym for Output.

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Ah, thanks !

I’d always thought the term referred to “networked standalone devices that output a RAATified signal”.

I think I’m right in saying that ‘Roon Ready’ network players such as my Lumin must use RAAT.
‘Roon Certified’ DACs, such as the Audioquest Dragonfly range, and other ‘Roon Certified’ DACs such as the Linn DS range etc don’t use RAAT, and as has been said already, still function as Roon endpoints.