Hegel 120 DAC workaround with Raspberry Pi 4B?

I am one of the unfortunate owners of a Hegel 120 integrated amp with the anticipation of the unit becoming Roon Ready. Well, the unit has not become Roon Ready, and I wanted to know a workaround to bypass the Hegel and create a DAC (using a board from HifiBerry or Allo). I plan to use a Raspberry Pi 4B and one of the boards.

I am seeking feedback on which board to buy?

And I am seeking advice on how I would connect to the integrated amp and use the DAC with Roon (is this a Roon bridge?). And how would I use the DAC for other streaming from a network server, Spotify, Tidal or Qobuz?

Currently my setup is Hegel 120 and Innuos ZenMini MK3 Music Server. The ZenMini is directly connected via USB to the Hegel 120. Under this configuration, it appears that the only way I stream to this zone is via Airplay whether I am using Spotify or my ZenMini server.

Having Roon and being only able to stream via Airplay to the Hegel is really frustrating. Any advice and/or feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Joseph you can start simple with s bare Pi and use the the USB out to the Hegel DAC and see how that sounds.

There are also plenty of HAT boards that will work. I have two Hifiberry hats for Pi4. One that gives digital out and one that does Analogue out and both worked perfectly for me. They even make nice case’s for them.
You can then run the dedicated Hifiberry OS or Rooopie and play Roon through that.
Other OS will work but I haven’t tried them much.

It’s an hour or two to get up and running once you have a Pi, a micro SD card (don’t forget to but a USB adapter or similar) and download Balenetcher to write the OS file out. Besides that you will need to provide usb C power and a cable from your Pi to the Hegel amplifier (A->B from memory).

There is a very nice Rooopie getting started guide on the forum’s somewhere

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It looks like the H120 offers more flexibility in terms of max sample rates over the TosLink and S/PDIF outpurs than USB, so I’d be tempted to go with a hat that offers S/PDIF Coax - for example the Allo DigiOne is often well regarded. The HiFiBerry Digi2 Pro is another option.

I presume the Hegel is a UPnP renderer? If it is then you can use a bridging device (or software) to allow it to be used in a Roon system. A bridge will appear as a Squeezebox device to Roon but can be configured to then send what it receives to a UPnP renderer.

I have the original Digi pro and it worked really well.
I can’t remember if it went to 24/96 or 192 but I remember that the sound into a few amps and DACs I tried was very good using both SPDIF and Toslink
You just need to see if Rooopie support’s the pro 2
There is always Hifiberry OS if not.

I have an integrated, not a Hegal, and I don’t like its streamer as its not Roon ready so I use a Allo Digi Sig via coax into the back of the integrated. I run Ropieee on the Digione Sig. Another excellently reviewed, although I’ve not heard it, is the Pi2AES. The Hifiberry stuff makes similar SPDIF HATs. It all depends on budget, reviews, and what interface you want from Pi to H120. But… the basic set-up is as follows…

The Pi will run Roon Bridge. Using Ropieee is darn near plug + play as you’ll burn the image to the sd card, boot, and (after Ropieee does its thing which could take 30 min first boot) you select the HAT model via web interface and it will appear in Audio → Settings. DietPi has a menu option to enable Roon Bridge (via ssh) so that’s also easy. Some people like other distributions / software on their Pi but for Roon they all install and run Roon Bridge. At that point set the endpoint / zone to the Pi, select input on Hegal, listen to music.

The Pi, with additional software can also be an Airplay, Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect, etc target. It’s all software at that point. Volumio is probably the most user friendly but has a monthly fee. DietPi has the best support but requires you be comfortable with ssh and standard Linux’y menus to enable the services you want. All is documented well though.

Thank you for you replies!

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Awesome thank you for your feedback!

@Henry_McLeod @dhusky Thank you for your replies!