Is a quality network streamer still needed?

I’m now using Roon as my main media source. Before Roon, I used a Lumin U1 Mini. I am wondering what purpose the Lumin now has, beyond being a Roon endpoint, is the Lumin actually doing anything except receiving and passing the media to my DAC? Could this be accomplished with out any audio degradation with a Raspberry Pi?
Others have been here, so I’m looking for some information and advice.

Functionally, the Lümin gives you a fallback option for when your ISP is causing internet failure, allowing you playback of local files.
It also provides a useable interface of it’s own and provides good quality volume control and other features.

Soundwise, i’d say the difference is pretty easily discernible. The Raspberrys are very good for their money, but they dont compete with the well designed Lümin. There are steroids you can add that makes the Pi play inte same leauge, like IAN Canada power supplys, FIFO buffers and similar, where the Pi’s can make some impressive sounds.
All of this requires a desire for tinkering though.

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From a sound quality point of view, a Pi is as good a streamer as any. No steroids needed, just a good USB DAC.


That question is asked a lot. A lot of people will say no, a lot will say yes. I’m in the yes camp. A Pi4 does an excellent job getting Roon to a DAC but it would be a backward step compared to a U1 Mini. But you pay a lot for the Lumin device simply to make it a dumb Roon endpoint. So some thought needs to go into what to do. If I were buying an endpoint it probably wouldn’t be the Lumin. But if I already owned it, given Lumin’s reputation I’d probably keep it.

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Functionally this can be accomplished by a Pi, as long as you are committed to using Roon forever, your Roon is working and you don’t need Lumin app, Lumin Leedh Processing Volume, Tidal Connect, Spotify Connect, AirPlay and a few other FLAC Radio stations that can be played in Lumin but not in Roon, etc. If you are using a non-USB output (since some DAC sound best via AES), you’ll need to find a Pi variant that supports the output type you use.

Whether this has any impact to SQ, this is DAC and setup dependent. You’ll need to compare it to the Pi with your DAC in your environment for your SQ preferences.

A few years ago a user who owned a USD1500 audiophile branded Pi streamer performed a SQ comparison with a U1 Mini and decided to keep the U1 Mini.

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OP here. Thanks for all the replies. I am using a DAC that performs best using USB, so a stock Raspberry Pi would be compatible with my current setup. (I’m already using USB between Lumin and DAC. Maybe I’ll just experiment with it and see which I think sounds better. I personally don’t think I’ll hear any difference.

Is there any consensus, as if there is ever on in this hobby, on which app to use on the Pi for a Roon endpoint?

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Ropieee is, according to me, the best solution.
Good luck with it, Frank.


RoPieeeXL will in addition to Roon Bridge give you Airplay, Spotify, and a few other things. If you feel you don’t need them, regular RoPieee should be fine.

Ropieee works fine, XL for those that require Spotify Connect etc.
Personally prefer DietPi for it’s light “weight”, but have successfully used also VitOS and several other distros.


Streamers sound different. Even the RPi4 sounds better with a good power supply (e.g. iFi iPower).

I reviewed the WiiM Mini and Pro recently. They sounded the same as each other (the differences are on connectivity). But they both sounded better than an RPi4 (to quite a degree actually). Oh and the WiiM’s like a nice power supply too!

Both WiiM’s couldn’t match my Pro-ject Stream Box S2 Ultra though. Which ironically is based around the RPi CM3 module. Go figure!


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Consider the simplicity of what’s going on here. The streamer is pulling audio data in packets off the Ethernet or WiFi, buffering them, then sending them (the same bits) out in a different protocol over the USB port. This is trivial. A simple Raspberry Pi is more than sufficient for the task. And the bits are going to be the same, no matter how expensive your streamer is.

I’ve written before about the pointlessness of using fancy external power supplies with small computers like Raspberry Pi, as well. The only situation where this could possibly make a change to the siound is if you have a very badly engineered DAC downstream of the USB port. Buy a better DAC, would be my advice – not a useless less-efficient heat-generating fancy power supply, from iFi or anyone else.


The iFi Elite is a switched mode supply. It doesn’t generate excess heat, and it is probably a hell of a lot cheaper than a new DAC.

So, Henry, what is wrong with the standard Pi power supply. Or, alternatively, what is better about the iFi Elite?

Actually, it doesn’t matter. The supposedly ultra-clean power from the $300 iFi iPower Elite is still going right into the Pi’s onboard switch-mode power regulators, and that’s what the circuitry will see. These aftermarket power supplies all seem unwarranted, as far as I’ve been able to find out.


Elite seems to cost about as much as a competently made DAC (power supply and all) does though. At least it’s reasonably pleasing to the eye, if not necessarily any quieter that something costing 1/10th.

Evening Bill, hope you’re well.

It’s simple, I’ve heard the difference that better streamers and better power supplies make. Repeatedly, not just once.

Interestingly, one of the key areas the designer focused on with my Pro-ject streamer was the numerous power supplies needed by the CM3/RPi3 that he based the streamer on. I haven’t tried that with a better external supply as it supposedly doesn’t benefit.

And it’s not just me that can hear a difference. My son was using an RPi3 as a streamer and wanted to upgrade his Hi-Fi. One of the things we tried was the iFi iPower (£50). He heard the difference straight away and bought the power supply.

Which of course will fall on deaf ears as we are objectivist and subjectivist debating a topic we will never be reconciled on. No worries :slight_smile:

As Bill said, it depends on the DAC. I’ve heard differences too with some DACs, but not with others. It’s annoying, but not really surprising given the foibles of the audio business, that some DAC vendors make a big show of fancy D2A circuitry (and charge accordingly) while using bad quality USB receivers that leak electrical noise into the rest of the DAC.

OP here. I have finally migrated to a ROON NUC Rock. I put the Rock in my system rack and connect it directly to my DAC via a quality USB cable. Sounds awesome. The network streamer is gone. I now have a shortened signal path with less connections and cables. Problem solved.


Not much of a problem to start with though? :smile:

Anyways, if you’re happy then all is well. There can never be consensus regarding these questions anyway.

Pleasant listening!