Multi-room setup - finalizing decisions?

Hi all,

Back in January I got a lot of help here with ideas for our multi-room setup in this thread:

I wanted to check back to see if there might have been any new developments since then that I should factor in as we make final decisions.

Just to briefly recount, our situation is this:

– In room 1 and room 2, we have traditional amp/speaker combinations, which are currently fed by MacBooks and Dragonfly DACs.

– In room 3 we have one pair of Sonos 5:Gen2 speakers.

– Recently we had our CD collection digitalized as ALAC files, currently totaling about 235 GB.

– I recently bought a NUC8i5BEH with 500 GB SSD and 16 GB RAM to evaluate for a non-music purpose, but it is available to use in the music system.

Our needs/priorities:

– We want to control the music primarily from iPhones, secondarily from MacBooks.

– Besides playing music from local files, it’s important to be able to stream Spotify, and music from websites. As a lesser priority, also Tidal.

– We want to be able to synchronize music played simultaneously in multiple rooms. Playing different music in different rooms might be occasional nice, but not as strong a priority.

– Re our existing music systems, we definitely want to keep using the existing amp/speaker combinations in rooms 1 and 2. We do not want to go further into Sonos. On the other hand, if it really simplified things, we’re open to giving the Sonos set to a family member and putting something else in room 3. Also, we want to avoid Google products.

I gather from the prior thread that nothing is ever easy. For example:

– Roon doesn’t support Spotify, so it will have to be streamed separately outside the Roon system.

– In order to stream simultaneous multi-room from iPhones, we need Airplay 2-compliant endpoints. I’ve been asking on Apple and other forums, and have been having a real hard time finding many of these designed to work with existing amps/speakers (most products seem to be speakers with integrated amps). About the only Airplay 2-compliant endpoint I’ve found that would clearly work with our existing amps/speakers is the Bluesound Node 2i.

So here are some current questions:

– Has anything major changed since that discussion in January that I should factor in?

– Are there other Airplay 2-compatible endpoints we could used with our existing amps/speakers besides the Bluesound Node 2i that we should consider?

– Does my NUC8i5BEH seem like a good candidate to serve as a Roon core? I see Bluesound makes a core server – is there a strong argument for looking at this instead?

– Any more thoughts about how the Sonos can or can’t integrate with whatever we put in the other rooms as endpoints? Given that this seems problematic, is there another wireless speaker roughly similar to the Sonos that would integrate better with the other systems? (Keeping in mind that we don’t want to get further into Sonos.)

Thanks for any more great advice.