Integrating Bluetooth audio into a Raspberry PI Roon Zone

This is not an instructional, I just wanted to share my project and spur some discussion…

One of my frustrations with Roon is the lack of integration with music services other than Tidal. Google Play Music is my service of choice, and I don’t want to switch to something else primarily because play music allows me to store my entire music collection on the service, and being a Play Music subscriber also adds the perk or removing ads from YouTube.

I have been keeping my Sonos gear around so I can still have Google Play Music available via my whole house audio (12 channel amp feeding ceiling speakers in many of the rooms in my house). I would love to switch this all to true roon (raat) devices, but really also need Google play music.

I thought of using a Bluetooth receiver as my connection for Google Play music, and then using a Raspberry Pi zone for Roon, but that would be hassle since the whole house amp only has 1 global input. I would have to manually switch the sources every time. I wondered if I could build out a Raspberry PI based Roon zone and have it do double-duty as a Bluetooth receiver, and feed that to my whole house system. This way, the one gadget would serve as both a bluetooth receiver and Roon endpoint, with no need to swap cables…well, I was actually able to pull it off, with some messy complications along the way. I thought I would share the basics:

Getting Bluetooth working, paired to my phone, and working as an audio receiver on a Raspberry Pi 3 was no easy task. Suffice it to say a lot of Googling and trial-and error was required. Once I was able to get the Pi receiving Bluetooth audio and outputting it, i discovered that Roon did not work anymore. Specifically, the audio hardware was taken over by the Bluetooth audio (pulseaudio is the software I am using for this on the Raspberry Pi). Ultimately, I had to use my automation software (Eventghost and an SSH plugin for it) that runs on a PC to start the Pulseaudio software whenever I wanted to use it for Bluetooth, and then Eventghost reboots the Pi when I want to go back to Roon. Although klugy, this setup works. I have one box providing Roon and Google Play Music to the whole house system. It is messy, but part of the fun is “seeing if I can do it”.

I can share more info if anyone is interested.

I use AirPlay with Volumio on RPi and have roon installed…they don’t interfere with one another other than one has to stop playing a few seconds before the other can take over. I like this as my wife can airplay from her tidal account that is different from the roon tidal account (my account) and it also means she can play from other apps on her iph/ipad to the RPi with IQAudIO DigiAMP+ HAT and a pair of speakers in the bedroom…same setup in the dining room too.

While I thought about messing with BT this all worked out of the box so to speak for AirPlay

Hi Kenneth,

I was interested in going down the BT route with an RPi and Volumio (+RoonBridge) - just wondering whether your setup had changed at all over time and any further lessons learned? Your post makes me think I may be biting off more than I can chew!

I found that the setup I described was not reliable and had too many hiccups and delay. I moved away from it not long after I posted this, and unfortunately dont have much info to provide since the details have long since exited my brain (not much room in there). I just hacked away at it until I got it working by searching for bluetooth, raspberry pi, internet radio, etc What I do remember is that it was not easy, took a lot of trial and error, and was ultimately not satisfactory for me.

Since Roon now has Chromecast compatibility and it was Google Play Music that I wanted to use, I now achieve my “one box” dream using Chromecasts.

Thanks for getting back on this - I think that’s probably all I need to know to stop pursuing the idea :wink: