How do you keep your system easy-to-use?

Understandably, people talk a lot about sound quality on this board (and about many other things including hardware devices, metadata and tagging, etc. etc.) What about ease-of-use? As good as Roon is in that department, I still find that several times a week or so, I am trouble-shooting some system problem (such as, no sound coming out, or the Roon browser display not working, or out-of-sync playback in 2 rooms). It’s bad enough that I don’t think I ever could go away and expect my spouse to deal with it. What have you done (or avoided) that best contributed to making your Roon system more reliable and family-friendly? For me, a Blusound Node has helped (by providing an interface to a physical remote control). An integrated amp with only one or two inputs (Coax,USB) helps keep things simple. Having a dedicated Mac Mini server helps in some respects, although, if I were willing to spend the money, something else might be even better.


Good topic!

I thought a lot about this and settled on Chromecast for DACs. These are so affordable even though they lack high end DAC chips. They really make ROON and the rest of my smart home easier for the spouse and visitors. I also like the video display ROON formats while casting.

I have 3 major viewing areas that all have screens, decent receivers, and good speakers. One is a theater with 12’ screen, another is a 65" OLED, and the master bedroom has a vintage Plasma screen (can you still buy those?). All have a Chromecast configured on the same HDMI port so my wife can go into a room and switch on the receiver without written notes. We use a mix of YouTubeTV, Netflix, Hulu, and HBOGo for video via Chromecast. For music, we cast ROON from our phones or laptops. For video, we use the respective apps from the same phones and laptops.

Every phone and ChromeOS laptop shows casting notifications so it is easy to see what is playing in any room and pause or stop them as needed. Switching the casting device is also easy on the ROON control point or the respective video apps like YouTubeTV.

The most fun part is the recent integration with Google Home Assistant. We use Insteon for home lighting control and have 60+ lights registered. With home assistant, I can control all the lights, fans, thermostats, etc fromt he same devices we use to control music and video. And the best part is the voice control. I can control any of this (EXCEPT ROON!) with simple voice commands. You can use a phone or a Google home/mini/display and we have 4 of these. So you do a conversation like this: Hey Googly (yes, it answers to silly nicknames), family 25 (sets all family room lights to 25%), play ESPN from YouTubeTV on Family Room TV (does the chromecast thing). Unfortunately, none of my receivers (Anthem, Yamaha) do voice control yet. For the video sources, I can use voice for the volume. ROON works best at 100% volume for sound clarity so you really need to handle the receiver volume separately. There is an app for this and I expect voice command is coming.

I also have 2 Chromecast audio devices that I use for less frequent listening in the workshop, craft room, and garage.

For a better personal hifi experience, I still use a Mojo on the ROON server machine and can do all the best streaming formats to my headphones.


It’s good to see some Chromecast love on this Community Board. I think that because of the Chromecast’s low price and not being Raspberry PI based (the low cost Roon endpoint that gets lots of love) it tends to get overlooked around these parts.

Several thoughts

Keep things wired, most of my grief is wi fi, interference, drop outs etc

Keep the library small And navigable, mine isn’t

Use tablets not phones , screen area makes a big difference

My big answer is most serious listening is on headphones.

My system has now reduced to a soundbar , plus my headphone set up which is mine


I’m running Roon core on my Imac and using ios devices as remotes for the Kef LS50 wireless speakers. I’ve had zero problems so far and so easy to use. Kefs are wired to the network.

When I started with Roon I wanted an easy and simple system and I sold all my separates. I’ve been really pleased. Well outside of Roon I still have a Rega turntable and a Rega phono preamp, but that is also connected to the same Kefs. Future upgrades will be dedicated intel nuc for rock and a portable player for moving around the house.

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I am lobbying Google to sell a Chromecast more advanced than the Ultra (got mine for $45). The only difference would be a better DAC chip that handles 24 bit/192 kHz. This would at least triple the price but still give you something that competes with $1,000 dedicated DAC devices and does video as well.

Or maybe Google just buys one of the DAC companies with some of their pocket change?


I have several roon end points in the house but the rest of the family uses Google Play Music connected to Chromecasts.

triple click any of the light switches in the house and the main system switches over to CCA input. then they can stream to whatever CC group they want from their phones:

living room
cooking group (lr/dr/kitchen)
workout room
whole house

Ever since I left foobar for roon I’ve been looking for ways to simplify the setup to make roon guest and family friendly (CC displays on the tvs, docked tablet on the table, harmony remote to control playback etc)

But, it still is a bit of a hurdle for the uninitiated.

the “holy grail” would be a roku app to control playback on endpoints since we have a roku in every room and everyone is comfortable using them

I moved from complicated streamer/DAC/AMPS to a Naim Atom which just works. That’s the only system anyone else uses.
Elsewhere I have, windows, Sonos, Pi, pi with hat, Chromecast, android phone, android DAP and an iPad.
Mostly stuff I had lying around. Not simple but I can see what others are having problems with sometimes…

It has occurred to me that AppleTV could be my Holy Grail. If only it had a Roon app so I wouldn’t be locked into my little iTunes library (or a few internet radio apps).
My relatives/guests typically would be familiar with AppleTV.

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I did something similar when I started streaming. I have a Naim Nova which was streaming (locally only, no subscription service) from a QNAP TS-251+ before I got Roon. The NAS is connected by Ethernet to the Nova. Since I got Roon I upgraded the NAS RAM from 2GB to 8GB which copes perfectly well with my modest (c.300 album) library of classical music. With that setup Roon has proved perfectly solid with a speedy interface. I should say that I’ve placed the Roon database on an SSD attached to the NAS by USB.


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And for my technology challenged better half there’s a big wheel to turn for volume and a button to press for off.

I have a couple of Insignia Portable Google Home speakers. Work and sound great for the price, and if you are playing music to them, once the Roon stream has started you can use voice to skip tracks.

I got two when there were on sale at Christmas for 30.00 USD each.

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I am on this seemingly endless quest to achieve this ‘easy-to-use’ system. Have not managed it so far.
The happiest people I have seen are those that do not care for multi-room sync. I envy those people :slight_smile:

For now I find the only way to achieve an ‘easy to use’ system is to use Allo digi one for serious listening and Sonos for anything else that involves family users. Bluesound proved unreliable (in my case) over wifi when scaled over 2-3 zones. I switch the system to the Allo Digi one for serious listening (single zone) and back to sonos when I need hassle free multiform playback.

I drooled over the Naim Atom / Nova but unfortunately they have processing / buffering delay so the sonos connect goes out of sync with the other sonos zones.

Network, network, network. Keep it simple and make sure as much of your network is hard wired as possible. I run ROCK. It works well for my small library and plugs directly into my providers router, as does my NAS. Finally, and this may not be somewhere people want to go but stick with RAAT where you can. My system is 100% RAAT and it is rock (see what I did there?) solid.


you made me laugh with the pun :wink:

Core on Linux laptop i5 processor connected to router via cable downstairs
Naim Nova Streamer using WiFi upstairs
Works perfectly. Rock solid but small library (375 albums).
Simple no multi-room. But the Roon app works far more effectively than the Naim one - only lacks in the radio area but the Naim app has been very unreliable for me to date.

For me the single and most thing that I do to keep my system easy to use is properly tag my audio files. I read post after complaining about Roon can’t or doesn’t find their music. I have a rather large digital music library (PM me if you would like to know the exact size) and when I switched from Logitech Media Server to Roon several months ago, Roon was able to find all my music. Roon almost managed to identify about 80% of my library and over the past few months I’ve gotten that percentage up to 85%.

So I would say that one thing one can do to keep things simple is put a little effort into following the guidelines given in the Roon User Guide and Knowledge Base on how to properly set up and maintain a music library that works well with Roon.

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I use Windows 10 for core and endpoints/remote and for the file server. Android for remote. Also, wired ethernet throughout (except the Android remotes). Never had an issue. No drama setting up or maintaining it. It just works. RAAT is an A+ feature of roon, and pretty amazing.

I use the Small Green Computer i5 CDR for Roon Core and the 2TB of storage which is part of it, for a backup of my Library (about as easy to set up as it gets since Roon Core is already loaded) . My wife can barely turn on our theater but to play music in the family room on a Sonos Sound Bar is as straight forward as possible. That said, she almost NEVER uses it.

Before Roon we used Sonos. This was fairly reliable and straightforward to use. One being a standalone speaker and the other 2 connected to Denon mini system inputs. Sonos was fussy about metadata though and it wasn’t always easy to find what you wanted to listen to. Roon initially worked with the existing Sonos devices so switching over was just a case of deleting the Sonos app from the wife’s iThings and showing her how to use Roon.
Over a period of about 3 months all the Sonos devices were replaced with Raspberry Pi endpoints, with appropriate HATs depending upon what they were connected to. The system has been expanded further to another two endpoints, all driven from ROCK server. Crucially, I built a Roonspeaker for the living room, so she has no need to touch the hifi at all. The system has run flawlessly during 2018, since Sonos was switched off. The system is fully wired, no WiFi.
Edit: one feature I forgot to mention, all the Pi endpoints run Diet-Pi and Shareport for Airplay compatibility. The wife can easily send anything else from her iThings to the same endpoints, particularly BBC iPlayer radio programmes. Happy wife, happy life! :slight_smile: