How can I make my system better?

I’d like to use some experience here. My current not-so-expensive setup uses a Google Chromecast as Roon endpoint (96KHz / 24 bit) and goes via HDMI into my Denon AVC-X4700H receiver. My speakers are B&W 804D4 (yes, I’ve always learned that they must be the best piece of the chain). I won’t show a photo (it’s not the “Showing (off) your Roon setup” thread) but a diagram tells more:

I also have a Raspberry Pi B + RoPieee endpoint with an iFi ZEN DAC and a Focal Elegia headphone at my working desk, and I’m also quite happy with that.

Now the question: I’m thinking about replacing the Chromecast with a new RoPieee endpoint and an iFI ZEN DAC, then leading into my Denon with RCA cables. Thus, like the diagram underneath:

Will this make my system better? The first diagram has the Roon signal path as “Lossless” but of course it doesn’t see beyond the endpoint… I can’t decide for myself which configuration is the best.

I’d be glad to have your input !

The iFi Zen Dac has a much better dac chip (higher resolution) inside than the chrome cast but it depends on what resolution music you wil feed to the system. Normal cd quality wil make not much difference with the iFi Zen dac but higher quality music, upto 384khz/32bit wil make serious difference.

Ummm, if you’re outputting through HDMI from the Chromecast, aren’t you using the DAC in Denon, which, while limited to 32/192, should be pretty decent (although depending on manufacture date it’d be either AKM or a not quite s good Burr-Brown)?

Of course replacing the Chromecast should have the advantage of getting you off Chromecast protocol (and whatever resolution limnitations it has) to RAAT.

DAC in the Zen might be slightly better than what’s in Denon, but unlikely to be very noiticeable. ANd of course unless you run it in whatever is a “pure direct” mode for Denon, it will digitize anything anyway…

With recent B&Ws having rather strange sound, you’d probably get more benefit from using speaker/room correction thqt from replacing the DAC, really.


A nice drink and a comfy chair?


Source first, replacing Tidal with Qobuz.


Some confusion in the top post between Chromecast with Google TV and Chromecast Ultra, as those are not the same devices. But to the point, both are HDMI output only. They have no DACs, rendering the quote above not relevant.



The Chrome Cast device has no DAC in it!


Before you go off on a quest make sure your Denon receiver is set to Stereo Mode. If you try to play stereo audio in any of the multi-channel modes there are all kinds of DSP applied and will definitely affect the quality of your audio. Stereo Mode plays straight stereo without any DSP. If you’re not using Stereo Mode give it a shot and see if it’s better.


Is the Denon AVC-X4700H, being that it has HEOS, Roon Tested?

That’s indeed what I thought: Chromecast via HDMI in the Denon uses the Denon’s DAC. And I play only with the “pure direct” mode yes, I don’t use any of the DSP options.

The only difference would be to more adhere to Roon’s RAAT and a somewhat better DAC. But I might not hear the difference :wink:

Only Stereo mode, ever. The setup is to use two pair of its ampli’s to feed the B&W’s bi-amped.

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I would lhave a look at RHEOS extension which allows Roon to play via HEOS and get 192/24. Maker of the extension is a user and on this forum.

Audissey might actually provide some improvement, and most likely greater one that a different DAC would. Although creating a convolution filter and applying it in Roon might also be an option (and would not depend on what DAC you are using).

Especially if your Denon is from the pre-fire era and has the AKM chip, I’d just get Roon-ready a streamer with whatever output you can plug into the Denon with highest resolution. DAC would be a very optional upgrade…

This is my HT setup with Roon. Nucleus is on my LAN (Roon recommended ) to Win11 computer, out via hdmi to game controller on Denon x6300 with AKM Dac. Monitor is set for two mirror screen images so the tv shows Roon screen controlled by wireless mouse. HEOS works but doesn’t show on screen. My Atmos system is 7.2.2 so I’ve bi-amped my McIntosh XT100 speakers with two unused amp channels. The two subs make the Roon system 2.2 in stereo only. I’m not a fan of connecting computer to end point via USB. Been there. For the best sound IMHO end point should be connected to the LAN

It’s from 2020, so pre-fire and it has the AKM chipset. I’ll try it out with my RoPieee and the iFi DAC, if the difference is noticeable then I’ll invest in a decent streamer & DAC.

Probably the best path.

In the Tinkering section I see there is an extension that allows integrating HEOS devices with Roon, but I don’t have anything HEOS right now, so no opinion on how that works…

USB vs. LAN should not make an iota of SQ difference for anything well designed (Denons are generally well designed) but this unit doesn’t seem to have USB Audio input that I could see anywhere, so it’s probably a moot point.

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I don’t know, it looks like you’re pretty well set up here. The only way to move forward is to start experimenting and that means spending $. I don’t think anyone give you changes that will definitively make your system sound better. You just have to try it yourself.

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Curious why Qobuz instead of Tidal?

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Could I ask we don’t start on this path of discussion in this thread. The OP may not benefit from it.



The B&W are great speakers, so a better amp?
A streaming Roon Ready integrated amp, or streaming pre-amp with stereo power amp, or streaming pre-amp with monoblocks to really give make the B&Ws sing.