Multichannel with Roon

Roon Core Machine

The core is a relatively new custom built AMD processor PC with heaps of memory and running Windows 10. The FLAC files are on two internal HDDs.

Networking Gear & Setup Details

Connected Audio Devices

LAN cabling to an Auralic G1 bridge.
Output goes to a powered AES/EBU balanced splitter & then to various DACs, headphones and L/R stereo speakers.

Number of Tracks in Library

Description of Issue

One of the processors is an Anthem V50 used for a 7.1 home theatre system so I’m trying to nut out if it can be used for surround sound.

Currently music is enjoyed via Roon and associated toys with quality stereo headphones. So far, so good, but often I have the choice of Hi-rez MC or stereo and to date have been selecting stereo.

My question is double barrelled m-

  1. What would be the affect on the audio on stereo headphones if I downloaded MC?
  2. What would be required to achieve MC via the Anthem in the home theatre system?

Apologies if I’ve missed finding the answers on this site but I could not find it by Googling elsewhere.


I take it that you have read the article on multichannel in the Help Portal? It does contain the answer to your first question, with the statement that:

stereo/mono content is sent using the “2.0” layout, and only multi-channel content uses the selected layout.

So, set up Roon to use all 7.1 channels via the HDMI connection to your Anthem. When your source material is stereo, Roon will just use the two stereo channels. When you send MC material, Roon will use more channels automatically. You don’t need to keep changing the Audio settings in Roon.

Thanks Geoff, I did read that but the full implication did not sink in.

I’m still not clear about how the audio will sound in stereo if Roon is set to MC. Nearly all listening is stereo.

Um - stereo will use just the L and R speakers of your 7.1 setup… I don’t know what options your Anthem has, but on my Denon AVR there’s a “7CH Stereo” option. I have this turned on, so when the Denon receives stereo material, then this is spread over the 7.1 channels to provide a sort of “stereo in depth” sound. I just prefer this to the simple L + R stereo on the Denon. YMMV.

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I wrote this up some time ago A quick how to HDMI multi-ch w/Linux (yes, Pi too)

Basically… you need an endpoint which has an interface that supports MC into the Anthem. RAAT supports MC without issue across the network but then it can get complicated.

  1. Where are you downsampling the MC to 2-channel? What’s the source? I have some MC stuff I let Roon downmix to 2 channel and it sounds ok.
  2. You need to feed it multichannel in a format it can understand and a Raspberry PI or Windows machine with Roon bridge can do this via HDMI but its not as straight forward as 2 channel.

Good point - I had rather assumed that John would be using an HDMI connection between his Core (a Windows 10 system) and the Anthem. If he’s not, then things get a bit more complicated…

Will the Auralic or the splitter handle more than one AES/EBU connection? Each AES/EBU is limited to only 2 channels per link.

Otherwise, use HDMI from PC to Anthem (as suggested above).

Thanks for the replies everyone. It is now making sense for me. I’ll have to decide if I want to run a long HDMI lead from the office here to the Anthem as that is going to be needed for MC Hi-rez on the main big speaker system. Maybe not worth it, but …

Something like this might work.

Mini Computer Stick with Intel Atom Z8350 & Windows 10 Pro PC Stick 128GB ROM 4GB RAM Support Auto-on After Power Failure, 4K HD,Dual Band WiFi 2.4G/5G, Bluetooth 4.2 AIOEXPC

Or a model with an Ethernet port. Just install Roon Bridge and you should be good to go.

Hello John, this is pretty much the same information that has been provided by others here. I prefer MC over Stereo and tend to head in that direction if at all possible.

I have a similar setup, Roon core to receiver with HDMI. I have a NUC/ROCK (DIY Nucleus) and use the DVD HDMI input on the receiver with the Roon zone setup for 7.1 MC. This allows Roon to send the PCM signals as recorded in the music file up to 7.1. DSD does not work over HDMI for me. It may for others.

The receiver determines what the signal is and sets its internal processors accordingly. If the incoming signal is MC the receiver displays Multi_channel input. If the signal is Stereo then that is what the receiver displays. The selection is automatic on the receiving side, no switching necessary. You can select one of the receivers internal processors, Multi-channel Stereo or Dolby surround for instance, to play Stereo in simulated Multi-channel surround.

The quality of the sound is determined by the quality of the component receiving the signal and how well Roon interfaces with the component.

You raised an interesting question, what happens with Stereo headphones with MC input. I’m deaf on one side, can’t enjoy the benefits of headphones, and have not tried it. I’m guessing the receiver would use an internal processor to combine the channels for the Stereo headphone output.

After a few years of using the HDMI option for Multi-Channel playback I decided to add a MC streaming Dac that uses Ethernet input to the DAC with the 7.1 analog inputs on the receiver. The quality of the sound is much better and I use that for MC playback but I still use the HDMI zone for simulated MC playback of Stereo files or to force the sub channel in the Stereo playback.

Good luck and enjoy.

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