My fiance likes music, and laments that we do not have a Sonos system.
I recently found out about Roon in my research, and knowing how much she likes music, I think she’d really like the unique approach Roon takes with their UI.
With all of this being so complicated with so many moving parts, I’m hoping the user community here can help clarify what’s best for us (Roon vs…).
Here’s what I think we need:
- The ability to play at least CD quality music over WiFi
- The ability to use my legacy analog amp/speakers in the livingroom (and a second set that I haven’t bought yet, but will, for the office (may power with another NAD, may power with something like a powered endpoint amp)
- The flexibility to not be tied to a particular manufacturer (i.e. Bluesound, which is really appealing, but I don’t like the restriction, and don’t want to buy a Node 2i for anywhere I don’t want to run one of their Pulse speakers).
- A multiroom system that allows us to use our iPhones as remotes for music. It would also be nice to use an iPad or Mac.
- Flexibility to choose what source is playing to which endpoint (I anticipate I may want to play something on one endpoint or set of endpoints, and she may want to play on another). Volume control remotely is important, I think?
We use the following sources currently:
- Purchased music on iPhones
- Amazon Prime Music
- Google Play
- Amazon Prime Video
- Additionally, I have quite the CD collection, and am thinking about ripping it. I would want it ripped in a user-friendly way with all the metadata - I don’t want to have to name all the songs and tracks myself. I want it to be easily navigable.
Originally I was thinking Bluesound (legacy system is NAD, and I like PSB), but I just don’t like the Bluesound-only thing. I do like how universal everything is (any source, any device, lots of cross-compatibility, etc.), and I like that they technically make all the things I need (Node, Powernode, Vault, speakers).
Then I found out about Play-Fi DTS.
The open-source nature of Play-Fi DTS is really attractive. I heard there were early issues with the app, but they may no longer be an issue? Not sure. I like that I can get Paradigm speakers with the ARC feature at a killer deal currently (and I like Paradigm’s sound), and get a Link so I can stream to each legacy system for not a ton of money, too.
I also like that Play-Fi allows headphone syncing.
I fear that Play-Fi may be my only option for video (not sure on the details, but we can use either phone, iPad, Mac, PC, or DVD player to stream Netflix or Prime Video)
I am not too sure if “Critical Listening Mode” is the only way to get CD quality. Also not sure if Play-Fi CLM works via WiFi, or if the endpoints need to be wired. And if I’m WiFi, to what rate is stuff downsampled?
And finally, not too sure on the best way to do NAS on the Play-Fi system (when I eventually choose to rip all the CDs).
Now Roon - I gather it’s an app interface that makes interacting with the music better.
And I gather it’s high-res (at least as good as CDs?), and that doesn’t require wired ethernet to send HiFi signal to endpoints.
My concern with Roon is the Core. Just how hard is it to DIY? I like the $500 price tag for a NAS core (ROCK), but know nothing about Linux, and don’t want to waste a weekend learning. But that Nucleus pricetag is not small!
I’m also worried about the apparent inability to use other sources, like Pandora, Prime Music, Google Music, or video like Netflix or Prime Video. Am I misunderstanding Roon?
Could I perhaps use a Play-Fi system like the Paradigm PW Series for video through Play-Fi, and use Roon instead if I want to do music?
I saw that JBL makes some Roon-compatible speakers, but I’ve never had a high opinion of the sound quality of JBL.
So what’s the better option? Or can I Roon on Play-Fi? I’ve heard mixed results with that.
I don’t care if it takes some savvy to set it up, but I want it to be easy enough to use that she will enjoy the experience.
In case it factors into things, my budget is fluid, but not endless. I don’t want to spend $3000+ to get what I need from Bluesound (Vault, Powernode, Pulse, Pulse Mini).