Need AVR that supports RAAT or an affordable DAC or?

Yep, that’s right. Really depends on how many outputs you plan to put in your place, and whether you really need them all to operate as a single group. And how upscale you need each of them to be. I’ve got a mix of RAAT and Chromecast endpoints in my place.

That will unfortunately not do away with the need to have a Roon Core Server (based on a NUC or some other PC hidden away somewhere). Also Chromecast (Video) is limited to 48kHz.
I’d definitely go for a multichannel 24bit/192kHz (through HDMI) capable endpoint. A NUC will fill that need AND give you the Roon Core Server. 8th Gen NUCs are not passive, but fairly quiet.
If you end up not liking Roon, you can put i.e. Volumio on the NUC.

Making a NUC passive and improving its looks (subjective) isn’t hard either.

The Nucleus is in the ballpark of your budget. You get a beautiful core device that can also be an endpoint hooked up to your AVR via HDMI thus giving you multi-channel capability. This is how my system is setup.

Currently looking for a new AVR. Since I will be getting a Roon Ready endpoint, there will be no constraints on what I get.

Hi, and sorry for digging up this old thread.
What I noticed by reading it entirely, it seems everybody misses 1 crucial wish you have… grouping your entire house together.
You mentioned you used Sonos, and those speakers only support ‘native’ Sonos in Roon OR AirPlay 1/2 (depending on their age).
Roon doesn’t allow to group endpoints using different protocols, so you want definitely either Sonos or Airplay to be able to group them ‘all’. Also currently even AirPlay 2 isn’t supported.
A NUC on the AVR is in my opinion a very flexible solution, giving you RAAT and AirPlay.
I have i.e. an AirPlay group for the entire house, use Sonos-protocol to stream to individual Sonos speakers, and RAAT to other endpoints.
Also ROCK doesn’t give you ‘Control’ with keyboard and mouse, as you’ll see a nice black shell :wink:.