New install questions, considering Roon, can Roon do what I need?

First time post here. Time to get a system installed in my new home. I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve read about Roon. I figured it would be a good idea to get some feedback from users about how well Roon would work for me, and also if there are any other (potentially less pricey) systems to consider.

I want to easily access and play (to multiple locations) my huge library of hi-res FLAC files (some 192K) and DSD - about 1TB right now - along with some streaming. I mention ‘some’ streaming because my location in the woods doesn’t offer good broadband service. Spotify works but hi res streaming has major limitations.

FYI I’m a 50-something audio lover, recording engineer, looking for a high sound-quality experience. I’m totally in the Apple ecosystem. My stereo is a 2.1 setup - Rotel preamp & amp, ProAc speakers, Definitive Audio sub, and a CD player. I also need a second headphone-only station, located across the living room from my audio cabinet.

I realize I will need a Roon core (maybe Mac Mini), and I will want good DACs for both locations.

So after giving all this some thought, I’m also interested in the idea of additional locations, one being my Pro Tools studio (Mac Pro 2013 with Universal Audio interface) and another my basement (no gear there yet). My wife and I use iPhones/iPads and it would be great for her to be able to use the system (she’s not tech savvy!)

I also love the idea of applying different playback EQ for different locations.

So what I want is a playback app on iOS or Mac OS, that quickly and easily plays back music to a given location.

My sources would be:
• local hi-res FLAC & DSD stored on an external drive (maybe 2TB)
• streaming with Spotify (and maybe Qobuz)
• our individual iPhones/Macs for podcast/music playback

Some questions:

  1. Can Roon cover what I want without any problems? Are there any other systems to consider?

  2. How can I make my headphone station be a Roon endpoint for high quality playback? It’s going to be on the other side of the living room from my audio cabinet. So I assume I need to run a cable from the core to a Roon-Ready DAC/headphone amp? (I don’t think I can go wireless and support stereo 192K or DSD playback, can I?)

  3. Can an iPhone/Mac that is the remote also be a playback source at the same time? So for example I would want to use Apple Music or Podcasts on my iPhone to playback audio, but also use it as a remote to select the location for playback. I assume it would playback over Wifi in order to get to the Roon core?

Thank you in advance!

Short answer, no. Roon only supports streaming from Qobuz and Tidal. You cannot Airplay to Roon so there is no way to feed Roon something other than what it supports which is local files, Tidal, and Qobuz. Now, that statement is true from a “supported” perspective but if you poke around the Tinkering section some have hacked-up ways to push other sources into Roon.

This doesn’t mean you cannot build-out a system that is duo-ecosystem. For example a streamer can support Roon, Spotify Connect, and Airplay but you’re jumping apps for each of those. Not the nice one interface solution which is which is why you want Roon.

Endpoints are network attached so the preferred is network cable at the headphone station. Doesn’t matter where the core lives. Just need everything on the same network segment.

Technically there is plenty of bandwidth to go wireless for these formats. Implementing a stable system at every listening position takes some knowledge and planning. It is possible. Also, you have an advantage by being “in the woods” I assume you don’t have any neighbors close by so the only one who can screw-up your wifi is you :wink:

No. Not a source only a destination. See above on what Roon supports.

Audio moves from Core to Endpoint (or internet to core to endpoint). So, you can control Roon from your iDevices to select tracks and direct those tracks to endpoints. You can also use your iDevices as endpoints making them both a remote and an endpoint. You cannot send something from your iDevice to the Core though. iDevice Roon Remote only controls the core and tells it what to do.

Playback occurs between Core and endpoint so if the endpoint is cabled its cabled. If wireless its wifi. The remote does not see the audio unless the remote is also the selected endpoint.


Thanks @ipeverywhere I appreciate your reply. So audio can’t send into the core…understood.

Very odd that Roon only supports Qobuz & Tidal though :confused: Since Spotify is so popular I wonder why.

So let’s say the Roon core is a Mac Mini, and I’m playing the Apple Music or Podcast apps on it - or maybe playing some web audio. Will this audio be within Roon and be able to be sent to an endpoint?


Local, Qobuz or Tidal (at the moment in Roon).

It’s to do with the access Roon get to metadata to do their thing, which you will only appreciate once you have trialled it. Whether what Roon brings to the party will compensate you for no Spotify (through Roon) or Apple Music is your call.


Though Roon can use Airplay if the device is compatible.

Thanks John.

I see that iTunes is supported through watching the iTunes XML file:
Roon imports your iTunes playlists by reading a file that iTunes can generate, called an XML. This will work as long as your XML is stored in the same folder as your media

That’s very cool. I have a large iTunes library on my MacBook. But how can Roon playback this media since it’s on my laptop? Does the iTunes media then need to be stored on a drive locally attached to the Roon core?

@Jim_F do you mean if you are streaming? That would make sense.
Let’s say for me most everything I play is locally stored and I’m using Roon for metadata. Is slow internet OK? I have Verizon DSL which is slow as a snail but never drops out. My broadband is satellite service which has a monthly limit and does drop out from time to time.

You “point” Roon at your music sources which can have many different locations, e.g. NAS, HDD, USB etc.

This (and its sequel) are good Roon primers


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Thanks John, those psaudio articles are really informative!

Also be aware that Roon gobbles internet data as it keeps Metadata current , may be an issue if you are capped

Thank you!

My personal view is that requiring hardwiring is overly conservative.
In my experience, with Good WiFi ™ Roon works fine, but I previously had problems when using Bad WiFi ™.

Specifically, my Roon Core is connected to the internet (Tidal and Qobuz hires streaming) by WiFi, and six endpoints around the house used WiFi, including my portable Chord Hugo 2 headphone rig. And of course a plethora of iPads and iPhones, most used for control only but some for playback. One device was hardwired, just because it was in the same room.

I used Eero for WiFi. Very easy.

I disagree. I have no interest in building a strong WiFi system, any more than building a computer or a refrigerator. I buy them. Eero’s main advantage to me is that it has no management control panel. There is nothing to manage. Plug it in and go. (I worked for 45 years in the IT industry, but I don’t live the things.)

About Spotify: they won’t allow it. They have said, the value they offer is not the music, it is Spotify. They won’t allow anybody else to own the user experience. So you can use Spotify in that equipment, but not in Roon.

Overall, your requirements fit very well.

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I took a Topping DX3 Pro and connected it via USB to a Pi4 running RoPieee (search the site for RoPieee); that’s a pretty reasonable headphone station that works as a Roon endpoint. No need to run a cable if your WiFi can handle the bandwidth. But you can also run an Ethernet cable to the Pi if it can’t.

Well, not “supported”. Just the library files. It uses that XML file to figure out what’s in your iTunes library, but it still needs read access to the actual track files. So all of that works only locally, and the iTunes app isn’t involved in the process.

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Thanks everyone, I’ve decided (for now) that Roon is not my best solution. I’m gonna explore a Rasperry Pi system using Volumio.

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