I’m a lifetime member and until now have been very happily using Roon to stream to my KEF LS50 wireless using an 11" iPad Pro to run the remote. I love it but now I want to push things a bit further that will require me to venture into the Android world if I proceed.
I recently purchased a pair of Shure SE846 IEMs plus the Shure BT2 Bluetooth cable (https://www.trustedreviews.com/reviews/shure-rmce-bt2). They’re fantastic by the way and my reason for purchasing was for initially somewhat compromised listening when on a plane because Apple currently only supports 256kbps AAC over Bluetooth. The BT2 does however support the AptX HD codec which I hope that Apple will eventually support but in the meantime I’m thinking that I might get a cheap(ish) Android phone that supports AptX HD and put the Roon remote on it so that when at home I can stream from my Roon server to my Shure IEMs as follws …
Roon Core -> WiFi -> Android phone -> Bluetooth 5.0 / AptX HD -> Shure BT2 -> Shure SE846
What I’m wondering is obviously firstly whether there is any reason this wouldn’t work (I certainly can’t think of any) and secondly, after reading a few threads expressing frustration with the quality of Roon’s Android app vs the iOS equivalent, whether I might experience any issues of missing functionality or stability issues.
I realise that Android is a more complex ecosystem that iOS because there are so many different devices out there and differing qualities and revisions of Android implementations so maybe issues of stability are difficult to comment on (and highly contentious I think - I hope I’m not starting any flame wars here) but if it helps the phone at the top of my list at the moment to buy solely for the purpose of running the Roon client is the Huawei P20 Lite which costs about £160 in the UK. I have checked on both the Huawei site and on Qualcomm’s APtX HD supported devices site that it does indeed have the AptX HD codec.
If it all works I think this might be quite an exciting alternative to something like a Chord Mojo + Poly (which I do own for my wired headphones) which will be more pocketable, be smaller an lighter and probably have better battery life and with the added bonus of a control screen on the device. Admittedly this only works with IEMs that can plug into the Shure BT2 cable but with the addition purchase of something like a Dragonfly Cobalt to get around limitations of the on-phone DAC and headphone (3.5mm) amp it could also be a cheaper alternative to a Chord Mojo+Poly combo for wireless streaming to any 3.5mm wired headphones (or 6.25mm via an adaptor of course).
An addendum to my post above. Please ignore my statement on current top-of-shortlist phone to buy! I’m still working my way through Qualcomm’s list of phones supportfing AptX HD, looking at Google shopping to find out cost, and then double checking the AptX HD support with the manufacturers spec. It’s taking a while and things are constantly changing. Right now it would be premature for me to try and guess at what phone will end up at the top of my shortlist.
There’s a new android client on the way according to roon so I would wait a month or two for that to come out. I believe a lot of the responses from roon were aimed at the LG V30 crowd for them to take advantage of the hifi prowess of the phone so bored well for hi Res etc.
Thanks Ged. As an iOS user I haven’t really followed the Android side of the Roon world so the insight and potted history is extremely useful.
As it happens LG V30 is now on my A4 page of scribbles from ongoing research to select a suitable phone (my candidates don’t all have to be current models as long as I can get a refurb from a reputable seller) so it’s very interesting to hear the specific engagement of Roon with the V30.
I’m also wondering whether I should be avoiding a phone with a notch. In the iOS world apps only have to adapt to an Apple notch whereas in the Android world there are lots of manufacturers with lots of different notches. It’s one thing that made me back off the Huawei P20 Lite a bit because of some negative comments about a lot of apps not adapting to the notch. How is the current Roon Android app with various manufacturers’ notches? Is it a bit of a crap shoot as to whether the Roon app will adapt to the notch or not know its there and have it intruding on its display area? (Sorry, I don’t really know about how Android handles this stuff.)
I don’t really know about the notch thing as mine doesn’t have one. Again probably best to wait for the next release and see if that has been looked into.
Or raise a support request specifically asking about notches.
Though at the moment I would imagine all hands are working on the Catalina problem…
Not all Android phones have a notch. None of the ones I’ve ever used have one.
AptX HD is 24/48 as is Android OS. Phones which do higher do so by use of custom software that bypasses Android. Which of course, means that it is available only to applications that are coded to use that. The LG, for example, only apps provided by LG are aware of the higher audio path. Any other audio app that you use will still go through the Android system and be limited to 48k, like Roon.
As always, these things change. Frequently and not across all phones.
I’ve been working through the list of AptX HD supporting phones and the impression I get is that quite a few of the newer ones, including the more recent LG phones, do have notches although for some they are so narrow that maybe something like “teardrop” would be a better word.
Thanks for the info on Android’s native OS limitation. Most of my stuff is 16/44.1 CD rips anyway so not a problem and this setup is for more casual listening on the balcony mostly so for that use I can live with the 24/48 bottleneck on the relatively rare occasions when it will kick in on my 24/96 stuff. It is a factor re my thoughts on a Chord Mojo replacement though because there I would want to be able to get the full 24/96 which is what I buy new music in nowadays, assuming it’s available in that format otherwise 24/48 or 16/44.1 if not.
@pstrisik - thanks for the info on the tablet. I should have mentioned that my use case also involves wandering around the house with the IEMs in so I really want my Android device to fit in my pocket i.e. a phone not a tablet.
I would wait to see what happens with the Android refresh. At the moment Roon on Android is pretty naff. Even on DAPs that themselves work around the os resampling shenanigans it’s still not bit perfect as it won’t recognise the DAC. I can’t wait for the refresh as it would likely seal the deal at getting a DAP.
That looks like a Note 10. Wondered if you’d have any input/suggestions on an issue I’m experiencing with a Note 9?
Normally, I play to my Shure SE846 IEMs via this path:
Roon core on Win10 laptop>wired LAN>Ropiee on Pi3>USB iFi iDSD Micro DAC, controlled with Roon Remote on a Galaxy Note 9.
On rare occasions for mobility around the house I will play via WiFi to the Note 9 with the IEMs attached to the headphone socket. When I do after about 10 secs the audio starts to break up something shocking. Totally unlistenable, thought it was the WiFi streaming breaking up, so I gave up.
However I recently discovered it plays clear as a bell with no issues provided Roon remains in the foreground (screen of is ok as long as it’s foreground). Bit of a bummer when you want to veg out listening to music and reading the news!
I’ve changed Android settings to remove battery optimisation and prevent restriction of background battery usage as suggested elsewhere on the forum, but no luck.
Have you come across this? Any suggestion?
Same with the Samsung S8 - this has been reported before on the forum and, IIRC, it’s a known problem that the Roon team will probably address in the context of the broader Android rewrite that @ged_hickman1 mentioned.
Thanks. I actually just discovered that with a bit of further research before I saw your response. Also a workaround of sorts for the Note 9 by showing the window you want to see as a pop-up over the Roon screen. Clumsy but it works after a fashion! Cheers!