Looking to use Roon in a bedside headphone listening station

Hello everyone! I am currently searching for a way to play lossless audio (including 24/88.2, 24/96, 24/192 files) at my bedside headphone listening station. The setup consists of the following:

  • iPad Pro w/ Lightning-to-USB adapter
  • Schiit Bifrost USB DAC
  • Woo Audio WA6-SE headphone amp
  • Audeze LCD-3 headphones

Previously, I used the media app Plex to stream audio files stored on a headless Mac mini in my basement. Plex would stream lossless audio (including HD audio) to the Plex iPad app, which in turn fed into the Schiit DAC. It was an acceptable solution, though not without its issues (so-so categorization, no gapless playback). Unfortunately, Plex updated their iOS app and the new player transcodes all audio to 256kbps mp3. Not acceptable.

Which brings me to Roon. The software looks absolutely gorgeous and I would love to be able to make this my go-to music management/playback service. However, it doesn’t appear that the Roon iOS app can actually play music on the iPad, or output music to a DAC from the iPad. Am I missing something, or is this truly the case? I’m really hoping that I can utilize Roon—it looks like an amazing service. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Sadly this is the case at the moment but will change soon. See this thread for more details.

If you don’t want to wait, Android devices can do what you want.

Or do what I am doing and stream to an Apple TV ver. 3 and use optical out to a dac that has optical input. Yes I know, the ATV conversation to 48khz so your Hi Rez files (and mine) are down sampled to 48khz, but for now until Roon Speakers is implemented, the convenience at bedside trumps the qualitative needs…for me at least!

Thanks to everyone for the responses. It’s too back that Android has the ability to handle local playback while iOS doesn’t—oh, the Walled Garden of Apple! I may take @Peter_Meyers1’s suggestion and repurpose an old Airport Express I have laying around for Roon duties in the bedroom. At least all my redbook material will still be lossless.

Also, RoonSpeakers was mentioned. Is this going to be hardware or software?

RoonSpeakers will be software, and will allow you to create audio end points from a variety of devices. For those of us playing in the Apple sandbox, this will provide a means to play music from a Roon Core directly from our iPads. Early 2016 is the tentative release date according to a few updates from the developers.

That sounds promising. I’ll be hooking up an Airport Express in the meantime. Thanks again to everyone for their responses—I’m looking forward to the Roon experience on my iPad!

I am in a similar situation.
What about using a Logitech Squeezebox Touch. It will accept an ethernet connection and the co-ax digital out will feed hi-res to your DAC and you can control it with your ipad and I think (and I have not tried this yet) that the touch screen will show what is playing.
Just a thought.

I wasn’t really interested in purchasing legacy hardware like the Squeezebox Touch, so I opted to use an old Airport Express that wasn’t being used. I’ll wait to see what RoonSpeakers brings to the table in terms of native HD audio playback on iOS devices. In the meantime, the Airport Express has proven to be an acceptable stopgap. The vast majority of my music collection is 16/44.1, so I can wait a little while longer for bit perfect playback of 24/96 and higher music.

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I hear ya. However, there is a reason that Squeezes still command the prices they do, even if they are discontinued.

Yeah, I was a bit surprised when I saw how much they still command on the used market.

But if you have a large library of hi-res files, the Touch with EDO enabled is a great solution. And the ability to show “Now Playing” is a nice feature when you are running through a large playlist.