My setup -- I'm confused

I play Roon/Qobuz through a wireless speaker via a ~new Mac laptop: B&W Formation. I recently had a problem where I was no longer able to control the speaker volume through the F10,11 & 12 keys. Roon staff said I could only control volume that way via the “system output” option.

However, when I go to Roon “Preferences” then “Audio” I have several options, including the “Roon ready” option that shows the icon of my icon B&W speaker. I don’t know why I have so many options showing here, and am concerned that I’m not getting the most out of my speaker. I’ll attempt to insert a screen shot of my “preferences” --> “audio” page. If anybody has any ideas about how to clean this page up, and/or optimize it for my B&W speaker, I’d be happy to see it. Roon staff haven’t responded to my queries on this.
Thanks! Dan

I think you should enable the B&W speakers. Then you can control them with your laptop and you don’t need to connect them wired to your MacBook.

Roon Ready is the best option. It will be bit perfect utilizing Roon own RAAT protocol.

The others are options because those speakers support multiple protocols that Roon also supports and will show them in that screen.

The volume / up down via the Mac was possible with system output because that selection routes the audio through the OS mixer. You’ll get system sounds as well as Roon and volume will be controlled by the OS but it is not bit perfect. It is perfectly good to enable multiple options. For example, RAAT for critical listening and System / OS Mixer for background and the convenience of hardware volume buttons. Just name them appropriately so you know which is which.

1 Like

The other options are any device, internal or external, that can be played to

One is the PC speakers for example

Just leave this as they are there and Click the Enable button the ones you want. On this screen shot you 2 formation speakers are not Enabled so you won’t see them as a zone to play to

Once set up you’ll never go back to that screen until you buy something new

Try the KB for Zones

Thanks for the comments! So, I enabled the “Roon ready Office” which includes the icon of the B&W speaker. Next, I went to the lower right corner of my screen and chose that option. —

The other area of confusion is that the Zones are “grouped.” What is the significance of “grouped” zones?

Here’s another screenshot; shot while playing. I can see the icon of the B&W in the lower right corner. “Group Zones” is in upper right. And although the “Office” (w B&W icon) is showing in lower right, the little equalizer is showing under “System Output.” Good thing is that I still have control over volume w keyboard.

Any further insights?

Zones are not grouped unless you actively group them in Roon by clicking on the group zones icon. You can group all Roon Ready zones together and play the same music to all at same time if you need to for Multiroom synced playback. In your case they are not grouped you just seeing the zones you have activated in Roon. You speakers and the pc output via it’s speakers that Roon is running on. The blue tick indicates thats the zone that’s currently active in the UI and you controlling. You switch zones to control using the speaker icon.

The remote can control each zone as you wish. If you select “System Output” and play then you select a different zone and play you’ve started playback in both zones. Go back to System Output and stop playback. If you want to “move” or “transfer” what is playing on one zone to another that is done via the arrows. The bouncing equalizer in the Zone pop-up shows you which zones are currently playing.

Everything about grouping Zones:

The Help section is mostly complete…

Thanks for your replies! – I did enable the “roon ready Office” but then the F10, 11 and 12 keys stopped working (like before).

Apparently the only way to use these keys to control the volume is to ONLY use the “System Output.” That’s an inconvenience because when the phone rings, I can’t just hit the F10 key. – It’s weird; not sure if there’s any other way to deal with this issue? Ideas welcomed!

Can you try ⌘-UP or control-UP (Up meaning arrow up) or ⌘-DOWN or control-DOWN and see if these keys work?

Cheers, Greg

1 Like

Thanks for suggestion, but it didn’t work. ---- It just doesn’t seem like a huge ask to able to use the mute button and F11 & F12 to control my speaker on my mac laptop! But Roon staff haven’t offered any help.

I guess the underlying question is whether I need to use the “roon ready” option, vs the “system output” for sound quality purposes. If I use only the “system output” option, I can then control the volume from my keyboard, Otherwise, no.

So, key question: Is the sound quality via those 2 routes equivalent? If yes, I’ll just use System Output (seem my screenshot up above). Otherwise…maybe I’ve just bumped up against a quirky capability constraint within Roon — disappointing.

Aren’t the Function key up/ down controls operating on the internal music player software of the PC . If so that implies you are using the internals of the PC , DAC, etc to play.

The in Roon speak , System Output is the PC internal speakers or a set of speakers / headphones connected by the headphone jack.

Roon is by passing all that internal stuff to provide a bit perfect output hence internal controls are also bypassed ?

Could be wrong ?

It sounds like you don’t understand how application keyboard shortcuts work. The mute button and F11/F12 on your keyboard interact with your computer’s operating system mixer and control sound settings for all applications. On the other hand, application-specific shortcuts require that the controlled application be open and selected.

You must first click on the Roon application with your mouse before trying to use keyboard shortcuts like “Spacebar” for play/pause, ⌘-UP for volume up, and ⌘-DOWN or for volume down. You can see all of the keyboard shortcuts under Roon Settings.

That’s for you to decide. If you hear a difference, choose the option that sounds best to you.

No. You just need to take more time to learn how to use Roon.

If you simply can’t stand using the Roon keyboard shortcuts, you could try installing Karabiner-Elements and importing “Roon media keys” as described by @torarnek here:

But, the Roon window will still have to be active for this to work.

If you want to mute the B&W speakers you need to use the speaker icon on the zone to open up the extra menu you can use the pc or phone/tablet app to this, then click on the tiny speaker icon to mute.

The keyboard shortcuts will only work for the computers local output which is called system audio that has nothing to do with the output of the B&W speakers at all you need to forget using this and disable it unless you want sound out of the mac speaker.

You can’t use those standard keyboard shortcuts to mute other zones as the keyboard is for local media controls it won’t control audio on a remote audio device unless you map Roon to use those controls as suggested above.

I can’t claim to be the most sophisticated computer user in the world, but I’ve been using them for ~30 years, but mostly for MS suite, Stats packages, and cruising the interwebs. I don’t recall having to learn new shortcuts to mute, regardless of the app. ---- When I purchased my B&W wireless speaker, I plugged it in, fired up Roon and Qobuz and it worked great, including the F10, 11, 12 keys. Only recently did that stop working, and I think (but am not sure) that stoppage coincided with my recent upgrade of the Mac OS. Perhaps that’s not causal (despite the correlation).

Roon Support (RS) told me that " In order for the volume buttons (F10, F11 and F12) to control the volume in Roon the zone you are playing to must be system output . If you navigate to Settings -> Audio, you’ll see that your Mac will appear twice (see an example from my setup in the attached screenshot) - please make sure system output is enabled."

Technology is only a means to an end for me; not an end in itself. The above instructions from RS are correct in that I can only use my mute, etc buttons if – and only if – “system output” is chosen. If I choose the “roon ready” option, the mute buttons (and F11, 12) stop working.

So, I’ll check out your keyboard shortcuts, no worries there. Thanks.

The larger question I’m attempting to address is whether to further invest in Roon, e.g., with the Nucleus and a renewed subscription. I’m currently in temporary living quarters and doing ok with my Mac laptop and the B&W. But once I get my belongings out of storage, I have 2 other systems to add, and I’d rather not use the mac laptop as the server. — Anyway, thanks for your thoughts.

Thanks, I’ll check out these options.

When using the Roon Ready zone to connect to the speaker, can you adjust the volume by using the slider in Roon?

Hi @DanK,

Did you get this sorted? I just visited my local audio store and was able to play with their demo Formation Wedge. I also used their Mac computer with Roon to test out the audio controls.

So, the Wedge was setup in Roon via Roon Ready. I played a track and was able to control volume and mute via the Roon keyboard shortcuts. See @David_Snyder post above. They are also listed in Roon under Settings > Keyboard Shortcuts.

On the Apple Keyboard, I was successful controlling volume via ⌘-down arrow or up arrow. However, to get mute to work, I used Control-M. If you click ⌘-M, the Roon app window will minimize.

Let us know how things are working for you.

Cheers, Greg

1 Like

Hi AoD –
Yes, I can always go that route. Obviously this is a “first world” problem. I like to be able to hit the mute button when the phone rings. Otherwise, I have to sign into my laptop, grab roon, and go to the slider.

I’ll spend some time on it this weekend, and try the keystroke-change route.

Hi Greg –
Not yet. I’ll try the keyboard shortcut route this weekend. — Interesting that you got things to work at the Audio store. Must be something idiosyncratic to my setup.

If I try the “Control-M” when I’m in Roon, it collapses the program into the right-hand lower corner of the screen (i.e., minimizes Roon).

Yeah, there seems to be a number of different keyboards available that work with Macs. Can you try it with the 3 different keys to the left of the spacebar and see if any of them work with “M” to get mute working.

Cheers, Greg