Has anyone discovered anything better, as reliable, and more economical than an endpoint-configured-NUC ROCK that can handle both stereo (via RAAT, then to USB out) and multi-channel (via RAAT then to HDMI out; converting any DSD to PCM by the core) ROON compatible endpoint? I was hoping a very inexpensive Rpi4 might be configured to do this, but have not heard any definitive accounts of such. I have my NUC6CAYH doing this for my living room audio setup, and it works great. But now I need one for my bedroom and, of course, the multichannel requirement is the roadblock. Are NUCs still the least expensive and most reliable way to go forward with this? Maybe an RPi4 with some kind of Windows 10/Linux distro and RoonBridge? What’s the latest and greatest?
The way you do it is probably still the best. Depending on where you are, second hand would keep prices down.
Haven’t tried it myself, but RoonBridge does appear to support this.
Jacques, yes, RoonBridge supports this, but the issue is whether the underlying hardware and OS will. AFAIK, no RPi running a Linux distribution will deliver multichannel audio via RoonBridge over the HDMI connection. We’ve been trying for years now, and still I haven’t seen any reports of success.
The combination that works, other than ROCK is Windows with HDMI. That would mean that windows running Roon Bridge on a micro computer ( Windows on a stick) ought to work. This is on a flash sale for the next 24 hours.
Rasp4 with Volumio and Roon plugin will deliver Mch via HDMI. The channels might need remapping via the process EQ, but it works. Sound quality for me was lower than using HDMI out of my PC directly, but as said, it does work. It might get better once the benefit of the R4’s second HDMI port are exploited by developers…
I’ve never heard of this - so it will actually work as an endpoint for 5.1 (or 7.1) multichannel audio HDMI out? - looks like mini-HDMI out? (Trying to avoid investing in expensive multichannel USB DACs). This is very interesting - are you using something similar in your setup with success?
I don’t have a multi channel rig so I can’t say. But I have used that chipset to run Roon Bridge and the full Roon as a control device and it worked fine for that. I think the stick is deceptively big, the HDMI should be full size. You would need good WiFi!
Sorry, I was looking at the side port and totally ignoring the HDMI connection on the end
I’ve had success with both Windows and Mac doing this. However, both were a bit finicky. If I remember right, on the Mac I had to lie to Roon and tell it that my 5.1 system was a 7.1 system to get the surround channels working. On Windows, I had to install new audio and/or video drivers, even though the machine is a Microsoft Surface —and you want something more powerful to transcode multichannel DSD to PCM. It’s been a couple years since I’ve played with this, as I eventually gave up and purchased a multichannel exaSound USB DAC.
I really like the exaSound e38 Mark I or II - very capable components, so I can see why you ended-up with it. I’m hoping that eventually exaSound comes out with a full-sized multichannel DAC (or, better yet, DAC-streamer) with both single-ended and balanced connections – but, as you know, they aren’t cheap. And you’re right, I think multichannel HDMI can be done fairly easily with a capable Windows (or Mac?) PC, but what many of us are looking for is a very affordable stand-alone appliance-type of multichannel Roon-endpoint component. But, it doesn’t seem there’s anything more stable and reliable than a endpoint-configured ROCK NUC at present – which is OK; I like building them, but been there, done that. And was kinda more interested in attempting something new (like an RPi4) – but it doesn’t seem it’s quite there as of yet. Anywhose, hope you’re enjoying your exaSound; it’s a very nice component!