HW options for Roon DAC's? Amps? etc

Core Machine (Operating system/System info/Roon build number)
WIN 10, 64b R1.7

Network Details (Including networking gear model/manufacturer and if on WiFi/Ethernet)
RJ45 environment. 5GHz Linksys Router, VM 70Mb ISP, Netgear 48 port switch.

Audio Devices (Specify what device you’re using and its connection type - USB/HDMI/et
Sonos boxes to B&W ceiling speakers.

ABC suggestions to Roon Hardware please…

Evening all. A wall to wall Sonos user considering his options due to recent announcements

Current environment working well. Have maybe 12 boxes feeding decent B&W in ceiling speakers.

The recent shock waves from Sonos caused me to look at alternatives and have paid for a year with Roon and Tidal. And that’s been pretty good so far bar some navigation issues.

But I’m not getting the hardware side.

I need a device (maybe two) in each room I think. One to pick up the source and one to amplify to speakers? But I could really use an overview of options and ideas from someone who has a few minutes to educate the uninitiated the world of DAC’s amps and the like. :slight_smile:

So maybe an option a, b and c of a ‘way to go’ for a new Roon starter coming from Sonos. Happy to spend a bit if I can understand more about what I’m buying and indeed what I’m buying above Sonos.

I’m seeing it now less as a way to get out of Sonos (in fairness is working well with Roon & Tidal and no immediate prospect of a problem) . But I like the Roon environment and the option to go up a level audio quality wise. Trouble is whilst I’m getting a bit of it, I cannot see a clear ‘what to buy/test’ route.

Just to mention the speakers are fairly good B&W CCM 683’s 4’s 663’s etc. They are wired to the current Sonos boxes (in room) in decent copper and then RJ45 wired back to a good switch and ISP. 95% of our environment is copper, only small items wireless.

We have a large but old (slow) NAS which is currently being upgraded.

The area I’m still jittery on is ‘what box to replace’ the Sonos boxes with if I choose to do so.

Should say had great support from folks here during my testing of Roon. Enough to have invested. Help now to understand better the end-point hardware would be greatly appreciated.

Hope that makes sense. Cheers

I’m not real sure what to recommend since I’m not clear on what Sonos boxes you have. However, since Sonos only allows 48K as max resolution, moving away from Sonos may allow you to move up to higher rez music. A lot of folks here use Bluesound equipment or possibly a Raspberry Pi based system. From what I read, you still need some kind of amp in each room to power the speakers. I’m assuming that’s what the Sonos are doing now.

1 Like

Something like the IQaudio DigiAmp+ is an excellent replacement. You need a Pi, the board, and a case, and you’re set to go, to drive a pair of speakers. With RoPieee as its OS, it speaks Roon’s native protocol, RAAT.

HiFiBerry has something very similar, the AMP+. Poke around those two web sites a bit to see what else catches your eye.

Also, the Allo BOSS Player.

2 Likes

Hi David and thanks for the quick reply.

I have a collection of Sonos from ZP120, Connect Amp and now the new Sonos Amp. And you right none high res.

Bluesound I have read about and maybe is a first solid step. Have read about Hiberry and similar put together options and very willing to have a crack at those.

Yes do need amplification and fairly powerful stuff to drive those B&W’s… Sonos is doing all that as well. Ideally a one box solution would be best for me as a first step I think. But as mentioned above, very open to more creative options as well. Those of us from plant Sonos are single box folk! :slight_smile:

Many thanks

Cheers Bill, that’s helpful stuff.

I read the long approved list on the Roon site but it’s all new to me so these suggestions are entirely valid. And I’d like to test them over a few months before landing at a wholesale replacement strategy … who knows maybe it’s a combination of options while the Sonos stuff fades into background.

Thanks for the suggestions, will be reading those this evening for sure.

Just reading those links Bill. very interesting.

I cannot see any amplification in there. Maybe I’m missing it. Would I need add an amplifier of some sort to these?

And is there a ‘single box’ solution that has both?

Thanks again

Hi again David. So in the simplest form, I could buy and try a Bluesound Powernode 2i as a pretty much straight replacement for a Sonos Connect or the more recent Sonos Amp?

But it would be in high res? Sounds interesting. If I read correctly the Powernode 2i has 60w of amplification. Not actually sure off the top of my head what the Sonos Amp has but guessing in the same ball park.

Think I need get a product comparison of some sort as a starting point … Powernode 2i Vs Sonos Amp. Maybe someone has one on the forum or indeed there must a product review out there somewhere. Will take a look.

I’m not expert on Bluesound so maybe a Bluesound user could chime in here. Like you, I’ve got Sonos for my casual use (tv, patio). One of the reasons I went with Roon was it’s Sonos support. I mostly listen through a DAC and a vintage hi-fi amp, but I wanted to be able to play to the Sonos Beam and various speakers that I can put anywhere in the house or on the patio.

1 Like

All of the three I pointed to include amplifiers, I believe. It’s amazing how small these class D power amps are. Whether they have enough to drive your speakers is another question. Do you know what the speaker sensitivity is?

[Update] Found this on the IQaudio site: “If you have concerns the volume may be a little low, don’t This drives my older B&W686 very well, and simply belts music out from the more sensitive Klipsch RP-260Fs. Great fun:)”

1 Like

Thanks for the direction David … I’m slowly getting the Roon architecture and like you, the Sonos support is useful. The more I read, the more interesting it’s becoming

I use the Elac Discovery Z3 for a one box solution in my Kitchen. It’s a Roon Ready hi-res player with multiple internal amps and speakers. Has Ethernet port but I use it with wireless. Sounds good but the main reason I like it is the volume UP Down buttons on the front panel and accessible when its on a high shelve.

I tried the Sonos 5 but had to keep the remote close by for volume control.

1 Like

Many thanks Bill, that’s reassuring stuff, appreciate you looking that up for me. Really helpful to know about the 686 fit.

Have read a ton of stuff the last couple of days and also today found a lot of very informative Youtube videos explaining the HW and setup.

More I read about Roon and the devices, the more I like it.

Thanks again

Hi Mike, spooky … was just reading about the Elac. Is that the one that has the lifetime Roon licence with it?

I’m beginning to understand that the complexity I’m facing is in reality that there are so many options with the Roon HW space that for those of us coming from single solid white Sonos world that it’s a little overwhelming. :slight_smile:

I think I’m looking towards a Roon Nucleus, keeping the Sonos boxes I have (a lot of them) and then swapping into the new High Res world as those die off. So many choices.

I fear it’s going to be an expensive but fun 2020 :slight_smile:

Hey Andrew, I haven’t heard about any device that comes with a Roon license. Being a Roon Ready player means the Elac already has Roon network code included and it does interface well with Roon.

That sounds like a plan. I think the Nucleus is a good choice. I started with the PC I had on hand and haven’t added much.

It can be overwhelming starting out. I had what I needed except for the software. I already had a strong wireless network, a surround sound system in the living room with an OPPO Roon Ready player and my PC in the bedroom.

I decided to add the NUC/Rock, an Audioquest USB DAC for my PC and the Elac Z3 in the Kitchen. I’m thinking about a more functional DAC for the living room and better main tower speakers but that about it for awhile. Unless I win the lottery.

He’s thinking about the Elac Discovery Server - that comes with a stripped-down, and earlier, version of Roon called Roon Essentials. That software is similar in functionality to what Roon was back with version 1.3 (Roon is now on version 1.7). Roon Essentials has not been updated by Elac since June 2017.