Is there such a thing as a good standalone speaker?

Evening all. I’ve got an old sonos play:1 in the kitchen which is fine and works for me with Roon, but the Mrs likes listening to podcasts when cooking and it doesn’t have AirPlay etc. as it’s too old, so looking to potentially replace it with something along with a RoPieee feeding it.

Wondering if anyone had opinions on compact systems similar to the play 1 that have a line in to make it compatible with the Pi.

Open to any alternative suggestions too.

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Take a look at the Elac Discovery Z3. Its Roon Ready, connects to Roon over the network, Ethernet is best, and it also has Bluetooth and Airplay.

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Why not just a newer sonos that has airplay?

Audioengine A1-MR has wifi.
I use their HD3 on my main computer and have been happy with them.
Or their wireless adaptor (W3) or streamer (B-FI, which also has airplay) could work for your existing speaker

If you have a SONOS system, meaning the Play:1 is the only SONOS speaker you have and/or do not care to expand it, then you have many options. If you have or would build a SONOS system, there is absolutely no reason to not get anything other than a ONE or ONE-SL if you don’t want any voice-commanding.

One thing about the Play:1 or ONE: The sound changes dramatically when you couple it to the room properly: Put it in a corner.


You aren’t going to get better advice than what @miguelito wrote above.

If you do go looking for something other than Sonos, take a look at the Bluesound offerings. They’re Roon Ready and they support AirPlay. Personally, I’d opt for an integrated, powered, single solution like one of the Bluesound speakers or the Elac that @Mike_LC mentioned. If you’re interested in a pair of speakers, I’d add the KEF LSX II to the list of options to consider.


Audio Pro from Sweden do an interesting range of speakers the C10 has Bluetooth, airplay2, Wi-Fi, etc

Don’t want more sonos. I had more in the past and this is the last standing one as it’s just in the kitchen.

Thanks for the suggestions all, but I was more looking for items that are reasonably priced speakers without any networking that I can add my own front end to with RPi and Roopiie. A lot of the networked devices you seem to be paying over the odds for their networking capabilities

Take a look at RPi DAC-Amp hats, e.g., IQaudIO DAC-Amp+, and pair with QAcoustics 3010i or similar.

So what you want is a speaker that has a USB input and an onboard DAC? Or you want one with an amplifier and a pair of RCA inputs? If the former there are a few. Audioengine makes the A2+ and A1. If the latter there are many powered monitors.

If you are looking specifically for a 1-speaker solution similar in form factor to the 1, those I’m less familiar with except in Bluetooth speaker format.

Can you describe the input and form factor you are looking for and perhaps we can be more helpful?

Thought it was quite clear but obviously not! Apologies

A single speaker, similar to a play 1, with either RCA/3.5 or dig input. I will likely run an RPi with a hi-fi ‘hat’ as I already have one attached to my main system and it gives more connectivity than any OTS alternatives i’ve found.

Would rather not sonos as they seem to have fallen into the same type of thing as apple etc in that with each software update, the speaker becomes less dependable and you are more or less forced to update them.

Doesn’t need to be a ‘hi-fi’ solution as such, just something with similar kinda quality to a play 1. It’ll be sitting upon a shelf and just for background music when cooking etc.

Well, Denon make the 150/250/350 that are their attempt to make “kind of like Sonos” out of HEOS and are nice but not what you’re looking for. They are natively wireless and Roon ready single speakers.

I think the hard thing you’re trying to find is “single speaker with inputs”. Single stereo speakers seem to be either “part of a wireless home entertainment ecosystem” or “Bluetooth”. I’m sure there are counter examples. You could easily get a powered satellite, but that would truly be mono, and I don’t think that is what you want.

Good luck - I’m sure I’m wrong, and there is something - I just don’t know what it is.

I’ve not heard the newer HEOS but i wasn’t particularly enamoured with them when i worked in richer sounds years ago.

I did think this would be the case, but figured if anyone was going to know any alternatives this would be the place to ask.

Starting to think an old Sonos Play:5 might be the option, i think it was one of the few that had a line-in.

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I would just go small pair of powered speakers, like audio engines, put ‘em adjacent if you want and tie up speaker wire. Sounds inordinately better, also more flexible. Single speaker units suck. Or go Sonos Move, leave it on a cradle. That might be the best now that I think about it. Yes. That’s actually how my use my move at my second home and it’s awesome. Roon, Bluetooth, Airplay. Never set it up as a Sonos (sorry, I don’t know if you can actually not set it up, but you can ignore that it is a Sonos device). Plus it’s mobile so you can use it outside. And it sounds better than a 1 in my book.

Putting my pedant’s hat on here - the speakers are Roon Tested, they are not Roon Ready…

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Sorry & thank you. I’m lazy. Never even think about the difference between Roon Ready & Roon Tested. It’s terrible of me and I appreciate the correction because I don’t want to spread incorrect information. It’s funny though - I use RPi’s (some with Roon DSP volume on endpoint, some fixed with pre-amp volume) and Sonos. Wouldn’t even know a Roon Ready device if it bit me. I’ll try to remember :slight_smile:

One of the key usability points of a Roon Ready device is how it manages inputs and release of control. If your exclusive use of a playback chain is Roon, the difference doesn’t matter much or at all. But if you have two people using a device - one as an AirPlay endpoint and one as a Roon endpoint driven by an external streamer, it can definitely matter.

In @sasij’s initial post, they said their Mrs. wants to use whatever they get using AirPlay. What you don’t want, in this case, is something that is challenging for that other person to use. They just want to pick up a phone, select the speaker, and play a podcast. When you want to switch back to Roon, you probably just want to use a Roon Remote app on your phone and start playback. So good input switching.

You also want decent volume control. I know some people have fine luck with Roon + Sonos for volume control. I’m not one of them. I got tired of the issues and move to BluOS devices (well, Nodes for distributed audio) and that’s been trouble free.

All of this leads me to recommend a single-speaker unit that is Roon Ready, not Roon Tested and not Roon unaware. I understand the desire to use/re-use a Pi. Personally I’d throw the extra cash at a single integrated unit that can handle AirPlay, multi-channel, input switching, volume, and is likely to delight (and not frustrate) the other users in the house. This approach has worked for me and has been key to maintaining the support of my wife for this expensive, time consuming, and complex hobby of mine :slight_smile:

I’m back to BlueSound where depending on size, features, etc. your options are the Flex 2i, Pulse M, Mini 2i, 2i. BlueSound is a sister brand of NAD and all of their devices run BluOS. They’ll do exactly what you want. By the time you solve for a decent powered speaker that can take a line in and do AirPlay, you’re spending about as much as these go for anyhow.

I don’t have any experience with HEOS. It’s Roon Ready. I’m biased - I wouldn’t bother.

The ELAC Z3 mentioned by @Mike_LC is worth a look, too.

I do love the Audio Engine A2+ that @Johnny_Ooooops mentioned. They’re great little speakers for desktops, for example. But they do have to run as a wired pair and I’m not 100% convinced you’d get volume control and input switching working the way you want even if you decided to pair them up.

Good luck with this. Hope you find something!

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I have a similar situation in my bedroom. No room or desire for bulky stereo crap in there. So I have an apple homepod (the original big daddy), and it works perfectly with roon, or airplay and couples with the appleTV in there to be the audio out if needed. Sounds “good enough” and the form factor is good and the usability is excellent.

Inputs on these sorts of devices seems to be a thing of the past. You will be hard pressed to find everything you want plus satisfying physical inputs.


I use an old iPad mini as an end point Bluetooth to a BeoPlay A1 , sounds fine over the sizzling of sausages :joy:

If all you want is a speaker that can be used with Roon, but can also play podcasts, various services, and respond to voice commands, the Nest Audio works pretty well. No aux input, not Roon Ready, but the Chromecast support works just as well, you’re not going to need hi-res on a single kitchen speaker, and you get voice control. $75 pretty much everywhere.

If you buy two, you can pair them for stereo support.