Needing advice about Roon Core devices

Roon recommend the Core be hard wired Ethernet for sure although some have had success with wifi.
Your iPad as a remote is perfectly fine on WiFi.
Using your iPad as endpoint/ output device ( connected to your dac) maybe ok on WiFi if great network and reception and no heavy Upsampling or DSP usage.

In your present situation I think I would wire direct to the DAC from the Mac if possible to be sure your first Roon experience is not an exercise in frustration.

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Yeah that’s sound advice thanks Hammer, I’ll just do that and listen to some music and stop thinking for now. Based on the UI alone in Roon, I’m sold. Makes the music seem less like the cheap commodity it seems like in the streaming format. Looks like the new preamp just got bumped down the list, but $350 for a used Mac mini isn’t bad at all and by the time I get it I’ll have more than 24 hours of experience.
I’m guessing most people don’t have their router so close to their endpoint that they can hardwire it, and my wifi is solid and not heavily burdened so that ought to be fine, has always been so far streaming Hi rez music and movies.

This is why I described it the way I did. It’s the thing that takes the bits from core and feeds them to the thing that outputs analog. Some examples:

  • A network attached speaker (Z3, Sonos, etc)
  • A streamer / renderer (Raspberry Pi, Zen Stream, Lumin, Linn)
  • Any network or Roon Ready DAC (Cambridge Audio CNX, Lumin, Linn, DCS)
  • A computer running Roon or Roon bridge plugged into a DAC
  • A phone or tablet running Roon

All these could be endpoints if enabled in Settings → Audio and selected as the Zone or Endpoint in Roon.


True, but I’ve got ethernet drop in almost every room of my house so I can use it for my endpoints. Core is most critical to hardwire as all streaming goes to Core and back out which can double or more the network load on the Core compared to the endpoint which is only receiving the stream from Core.

Stream --Internet → Router --LAN-> Core --LAN-> Endpoint

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Got it, that was really clear, thank you ip. I just read a review of the Pi4 as an endpoint by Michael Lavorgne of Twittering Machines, and it wasn’t favorable when he compared it to some other devices like a bluesound Node. This is going to take some time…

Yes, a bare bones Pi will have mixed reviews. I assume you have Unison USB on your Schiit? That may make any Pi review not using Unison on the other end irrelevant to your environment. I use an Allo USBridge Sig into a Yggy Unison USB and think it sounds pretty darn good. There are ways to make Pis sound better with a HAT. As with all things in the hobby sky is the limit as you’re only limited by your budget.


Yes the Bifrost uses Unison, and I think it sounds fantastic. I’ll have to look further into the Pi, his review used a pretty barebones $66 kit, so compared to something like a Node, it wouldn’t be a huge deal to drop a couple hundred bucks on a Pi if that would output better sound. I didn’t realize the Pi could be messed with in that way. This is all starting to make sense, I appreciate your help as well as everyone else on this thread.
The Yggy is a beautiful DAC, I’d love to own one. I can’t imagine the guts it must have, the Bifrost is pretty “meat on the bones” for six hundred bucks.

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My feeling is that you’ve really got to ignore these hi-fi reviewers. Half of them don’t know what they’re talking about, and the other half make their money by getting device manufacturers to put advertising on their sites. Since the Pi setup (say, a Pi4 running RoPieee) isn’t one of those manufacturers, it doesn’t get much love compared to a paying customer. For no good reason, IMO.

A stock Pi, just using the standard power supply, no “hat”, is what a lot of us are using, with USB output to the DAC, and it works pretty darn well.


One thing to watch out for: as much as it seems logical that streaming hi res music from the internet and playing the same through Roon should be similar, they’re not. Roon places a much higher burden on your local network, hence the advice to hardwire as many of your devices as possible. This is especially true for the core - it’s very common for people to have problems if their core is attached through wifi - and also good advice for endpoints. That said, running a single endpoint on a ‘not heavily burdened’ LAN should be fine, so see how you get on.

I’d also like to echo @Bill_Janssen’s point about the stock Pi. I’ve used one running RopieeeXL to feed a Dragonfly Cobalt for a few years now and have experienced no problems whatsoever. You can spend a fortune on snazzier devices but the Pi does the job, and does it well. Just stick it in a FLIRC case, install Ropieee (or Ropieee XL) and you’ll be good to go.

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Watch some of the Darko videos on using a Pi as a streamer. They are Very good and walk you through the process end to end


To be fair to him Michael Lavorgne knows his stuff, but he doesn’t really review much low to mid range gear.

He and Darko do an excellent Podcast together

I too use a stock RPi4 running Ropieee into an Yggdrasil (LIM) via Unison USB (along with a Freya+ and dual Aegirs, so we have similar taste; I moved from KEF LS50 metas to KLH Model 5’s however in part because by listening room is enormous and in part because I just preferred the midrange). I had a Pi2AES (which is a slightly fancy and very slightly DIY project to add additional non-USB outputs onto a RPi) on that system for a while but decided I preferred Unison vs AES anyways.

Now I use my Pi2AES on my office rig (Gungnir MB, Mjolnir 2) and have four total Ropieee and eight Sonos zones.

This stuff is technical sounding. And actually somewhat technical. I find the learning curve worthwhile and useful. But pay attention to yourself. If you find that you’re annoyed by troubleshooting your network vs listening to your music, this may not be the product for you. If you find that you can get to a stable system you enjoy, or you find that you enjoy tinkering, this may be the best investment you make. I’ve certainly learned more about artists and albums I’ve only sort of known about tangentially through Roon, and my vinyl collection has grown leaps and bounds and gets listened to far more as well. So I’m happy.

Good luck!


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Really it’s the stable network system @Johnny_Ooooops mentions that’s the key to trouble-free Roon use. And getting that right for Roon will lead to plenty of ancillary pay-offs for all the other ways you use your network.

Allo Digione is a good ethernet to Coax endpoint. (basically a PI with the Coax hat running DietPi). Very plug and play actually. (yes, I understand you want to feed USB, just letting you know other options do exist and a pi with a good hat can sound great).


Always take what others say about SQ with a grain of sand. Even if it sounds good to them, it might not to you. Owning a bluesound, I am not a big fan of them.

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And yet I am. I’ve owned BiFrosts, Modis, Cambridge DACs and others. The NAD C 658 and M33 both use Bluesound and they are terrific. Your own ears are the best judge as always opinions and tastes differ.

Multiple components contribute to SQ. I have a digital amp, class A/B amp and a single ended tube amp, B&W speakers and Harbeth – all produce different SQ.

And yet, I have owned NAD C658, M33 and other NAD products over the years, as well, and have no issue with them. I am talking about the Blusound Node/Node 2i as was originally referenced, not Blusound as a streamer implemented in NAD products.

Unless you are saying that you think a Node 2i sounds as good as the C658 or M33?

Different DAC in these VS the Node 2i, the ‘new’ Node is also a different beast.

To Michael Harris - I really enjoy the Darko/Lavorgne podcasts, find both of these guys pretty entertaining and Lavorgne’s reviews on Twittering Machines, while mostly stuff out of my reach, are transparent and enjoyable. I’m disregarding his take on the Pi, on the advice of a few of you here, and the fact that he had a pretty cheapo iteration and admittedly knows little about them.

Agreed, I’m pretty blown away by the database in Roon, and the infogeek in me is stoked. I used to read album liners over and over, and miss it. Love the ease of crosslinked information on associated artists, this is brilliant.

I’ve seen that Allo also makes a USB version- Usbridge, Audiophile USB Audio Output, forget the name but it looks like it will serve my purposes perfectly. I don’t want to abandon the Unison USB on the Bifrost, it’s really good.


I agree on both the podcast and the out of my price range comment sadly is also true.

I’m not saying he is wrong, just it’s a good entryway and a rediculous low cost and once you have built it you can always reuse it as a Roon extension server or some other Pi project. You will learn a lot on the journey so embrace it and enjoy the ride.

I’m most likely going to grab an old Mac mini (thanks for the link Bill Janssen), and stream it to a Pi as so many have recommended. I know basically what a Pi is, but would appreciate input about how to configure it, since it would need to receive wifi from the Mac, and have USB out, preferably USB-C, though I have A-C converters if needed. Guess the Freya is going to have to wait…