Is AirPlay 2 on the Roon roadmap?

Thanks so much for this solution!

It’s not good solution. The sound is bad and it works with very limited capabilities.


Au contraire. It enables users to do what they could not do before: ship out audio from Roon to a stereo pair of HomePods.

Compared to what? In my experience, there’s little (if any) difference between using them this way and using them from Apple Music directly. Sure: using Roon, the OS mixer (System Output) is in the path – but do you know what happens between AM en the HP?

True – but that’s what HomePods are: little speakers with limited capabilities. What we’re discussing here is the likelyhood of full support in Roon and the best ways to employ a pair of HP with Roon as is. Unsupported blanket statements rarely help the discourse.

[Note: moderators are not Roon staff, but volunteer users helping to weed this garden a bit. I do not (nor can) speak for Roon. Roon and HomePod user from the get-go.]


Roon supports Devialet Air, do you need or use it? Thanks for paying that I (and many others) can :wink:


You’re welcome, I don’t have any Devialet, nor, Kef, Linn, etc but I have a choice to use them without changing my Roon core. Devialet Air is still cross platform and will work for any users with a core on Linux, Mac or Windows. That’s the big difference. I don’t use many of Roons features but that’s a personal choice not something forced on me because of my chosen Os.

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I’ve got several HomePod Minis, including a stereo pair in one room. I’ve been disappointed by the experience using Roon with these. From Roon I can play to one HomePod Mini just fine, but not two at a time.

I tried the DSP filtering trick, but I couldn’t play to both HomePod Minis simultaneously.

I tried the system output trick, and that DID work. I can play from Roon to a MacOS or iOS device, then use AirPlay to cast system audio to my HomePod Mini Pair.

This is not a very satisfactory solution. It requires an extra device as a bridge when the HomePods are already on the network. This introduces a new point of failure and undermines the benefit of having a local music server. With this experience I may as well just use the TIDAL iOS app + Emby for my personal audio.

This is all pretty surprising to me given the homepage says:

Don’t worry if your gear doesn’t support a format. Roon makes sure that all your music plays everywhere.

Get the most out of every piece of audio gear in your home, from high-performance audiophile products to tabletop speakers.

Welp, I’m worried. Apple sold 4 million of these things in Q3 2021 and they’re expanding into more countries so it’s not exactly niche.

Shairport seems to be making some progress on AirPlay2 support, and OwnTone seems to have it as well. I recognize that Apple doesn’t make this easy; does Roon contribute to or support any of these open source efforts?


For the time being I use Plex now, no problem at all to play to an HomePod stereo pair.

I hope Roon can provide quickly a solution in an update…

i, too, have given up on the “system output trick” because it only works for 1 stereo pair (while i have more HomePods) and also, importantly, because in practice it is impossible to enforce that default sound output on the Mac that runs Roon Core always goes to the HomePod pair. And Roon of course will happily play to “system output” even if that’s the Mac’s local speakers. So you have to wander over to your Mac, log in, change its default sound output to the HomePods, and hope it will stay that way for a bit. Very annoying - and very annoying that Roon forces me into workarounds like this.

That’s because it uses the system airplay and does not have specific code to handle it in software like Roon. Try Plex On Android, Windows or Linux you won’t get Airplay options at all. Roon supports Airplay across platforms as it doesn’t use system airplay or limit it to Apple hardware only it’s not they way they do stuff.

i sincerely hope Roon Labs take notice that their competition does what Roon Labs are too stubborn to do: use Apple’s official AirPlay 2 libraries when their software is running on a Mac. Alas, Roon Labs give no indication of listening to these forums, so who knows if they will ever adopt this pragmatic solution to address Roon’s obvious uncompetitiveness in AirPlay 2 support…

Why would Roon integrate a product, the Home Pod, that the manufacturer had discontinued, especially as they would have to pay for an API?

That seems to be the main use case of using Airplay 2. I cannot see why you would bother with the mini.

I understand that you may have spent a lot of money on a stereo pair of these products, but Roon never advertised that it was on the road map to my knowledge.

There are only 90 comments here on this thread, that doesn’t seem to indicate a lot of need amongst their core customer base. Now if Shairport were to offer Airplay 2, then I can see it being added as there wouldn’t be a lot of work involved.

If iTunes or Plex works, I would go with that. If you want to do Roon, I would suggest going with a product that supports RAAT.

HomePod mini’s are brilliant, and Apple sold about 10 million of them last year. You need Airplay 2 for a “stereo pair”, I have a stereo pair, and we flip a coin to choose left or right in Roon. Great!
If I could give the rest of your rant (@bevan_court) a thumbs down, I would.


Mike, I’m not ranting and my apologies if it came across like that. I’m just trying to get the picture over from another perspective.

Home pod mini users are not the the target customer base. How many people are going to spend $200 on the pair and then pay over $100 a year for software? Most will only ever buy one.

I can see you are using them in a second room, but there are other products that will work better in this situation if you want to use Roon.

Apple are a walled garden. Buying their projects and expecting them to work with other software will often lead to disappointment.

If you like the mini, and I’m sure it sounds ok for what it is, you need to use Apple products. That is the way that they are designed.

I’d like to use an Apple watch with my Android phone. I can yell at both Apple and Google all I like, it’s never going to happen unless I do some very hacky work around. Apple want you to also buy an iPhone or iPad as well to work with it.

Roon have never advertised Airplay 2 compatibility and won’t want to support a hacky workaround that will lead to lots of support issues.

Allowing it use the system Airplay APIon MacOS would not be a wacky workaround, its the way all MacOS apps all do it. But it would just stop likley half or more of the userbase being able to do the same so would not be in Roons interests as I have stated before countless times. They are mulitplatform with as much parity as possibe across them all and not to have features based on OS alone which in my book is a good thing but much to the annoyance of Apple users. I am sure if and when opensource manages to make it all work reliably and it can be easily ported to work as a sender and not a receiver which shareplay currently is for Airplay2 we might see it added like the added original Airplay.

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yep, that’s the crux: is adhering to the abstract ideal of multiplatform parity really in Roon Labs’ best interest. Or should they rather fulfill their promise

Roon plays your audio everywhere, at the highest possible sound quality.

which includes AirPlay support (that most customers are guaranteed to interpret as “current version of AirPlay”).

Anyway, i think all has been said about this sorry state of affairs. They decide - and won’t tell us here.


Update: my Roon trial has expired and I’m not planning to continue to pay for the service at this time.

After trying Roon and digging through the forums, I agree with you. Too bad, because I think this is an obvious opportunity for Roon.

First, people who are willing to pay the Apple Tax are probably also willing to pay the Audiophile Tax. I’m perfectly willing to pay for Roon if it works well. Since it doesn’t, I’ll use open source stuff instead.

Second, HomePod Minis are an amazing value. $100 for a smart speaker that sounds pretty good & has a voice assistant that isn’t creepy. (Siri’s architecture is WAY better for privacy & security than Alex or Google Assistant). They’re not good enough for a dedicated 2.1 or home theater system, but you can throw one in every room of the house for a surprisingly good & affordable multi-room audio system without running wires all over the house.

I think the cheapest Roon-ready wireless speaker is the Bluesound Pulse Flex 2i ($300), that’s 3x the cost of a HomePod Mini. Maybe I’ll eventually upgrade to those or something better. Maybe I’ll set up a hard-wired multi-room audio system. Maybe Roon would be a great solution then. But… I’m not there yet.

Third, tons of “Roon Tested” devices actually work over Airplay, including my Denon AVR-X4300H. You’d think they’d emphasize a good implementation if they use it so often. The only real benefit I’m getting from using a Roon Core to drive AirPlay instead of my phone/computer is the server architecture. Which is nice! but… not enough for me, especially when it doesn’t actually work well with a lot of my existing hardware.

Apple are a walled garden. Buying their projects and expecting them to work with other software will often lead to disappointment.

If you like the mini, and I’m sure it sounds ok for what it is, you need to use Apple products. That is the way that they are designed.

This is true. I wish Apple would open things up a bit more. I would be OK if Roon required you to run the Roon Core on MacOS to get better AirPlay support. I can buy a MacMini for that.

Anyway, I’m out for now. I’ll check back in a year and see if things have improved. I’ll also look for “Roon Ready” when I shopping for streamers.

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You might also consider the Nest Mini, at $25 right now in the Google Store. That’s pretty cheap. Not exactly Roon Ready, it’s “Chromecast built-in” instead, but darned if I can see what the difference is. You plug one in, Roon sees it, and can instantly stream music to it.

A Sonos Roam is definitely Roon ready and I think is around $200 in the USA and €200 in Europe. And is battery powered if you want. Mine works great. Bedside radio on its charger, portable music at home with Roon, casting BBC Sounds podcasts to it from my iPad or iPhone, Bluetooth if I want to use it outside. So it’s twice the money of the Apple thing, but a lot more versatile.

Jez the Sonos Roam is not Roon Ready, but you are right that it does work great with Roon through both the Sonos protocol and Airplay.

Roon Ready means it uses the RAAT protocol


Huh? They already support LOTS of stuff I don’t have. There are hundreds of thousands of Airplay devices, so THAT argument is ridiculous.