New Roon setup - connecting to external devices and ripping CD

Hi all, soon newbie here, so please forgive me if this is a bit basic.

I have Roon core running on an iMac (soon to be transferred to a headless Mac mini)
Music library stored on a Synology DS918+ NAS. For this, I basically pointed Roon at the iTunes music folder on the NAS. Am I correct in thinking this is better than just running Roon on the NAS

Speakers are all Sonos, mix of 1’s, 3’s and 5’s except Marantz amp/cd with Mordaunt Short speakers connected via a Sonos bridge. I’m not wedded to Sonos but this has been the best solution so far.

Playing mostly my music library, but looking at a Tidal or Qobuz subscription.

My main motivation for switching was to ditch Apple Music, which is almost unworkable now, just keeps adding duplicates and is generally not very good.

  1. I would like to connect a Ruark R3. It has optical, and RCA line in. Can I do that? What would I need? I have an offline hifi I’d like to resurrect, which also has line in/optical on the amp. Same question. I have read about the bridge, but confess I don’t fully understand it. I’m looking for a device (like the Sonos bridge) to do that.

  2. I’ve heard lots about DACS. I know what a DAC is, but I’m not sure what it’s used for. Can anyone explain that for me, in fairly simple terms please?

  3. I’m still buying CD’s and building up my own library. Can anyone give me a short “how to” of what you use to rip a CD and add it to the Roon library please?

thanks for your help everyone

Just a correction - I mean Sonos Connect, not Sonos Bridge

DAC is digital to analog converter, it is the chip which takes the digital file and turns it into audio. So, a very important price of the equation.

I rip with dbPoweramp ona separate.PC. when done and meta data corrected, I move the folder with the files to an area watched by Roon.

That could be DBPowerAmp iirc…

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None the wiser. I know it converts a signal, but where is it it required?

It is required in anything that makes a sound from a digital source. Your tv, phone, computer, etc.

Everything digital has to use a DAC to convert the file to analog so you can hear it. The advantage of using a good DAC is that you will get better sound.

Ok, so at the moment I’m listening to music from my phone, from my computer and from my NAS via Sonos, and I haven’t bought a DAC.
Where is the DAC in this set up?

I’d like to add, as above, my Cambridge Audio amp and speakers and my Ruark R3 to to my Roon set up? Do I just add a DAC? Where does it sit, physically? Plugged into the other devices via phono line in?

In your phone…in your Sonos

anywhere you have a speaker and unless you are playing a cassette or vinyl you will need a DAC

I know that @Rugby is probably asleep, I thought I’d help a little (or not)…

Your phone has a DAC (although the rise of phones without a headphone socket may be changing this with the DAC effectively in the BT headphones/dongle connector), as does your computer, to output out of the audio mini-jack.

The Ruark R3 has one built-in, you feed it through the optical input, and it sounds as though your Cambridge amp has an optical input as well. If so this also feeds a digital signal to its inbuilt DAC.

Effectively anything that takes a digital signal (e.g. optical, USB) and outputs sound has a DAC somewhere.

That’s right, the DAC generally produces a line-level output. But you don’t need an external DAC for you devices with an optical input. You might decide to add an external DAC that you prefer the sound of, but it’s not necessary. For these, you’ll need some kind of bridge/streamer device which outputs an optical signal, that Roon can stream to. Something like:

            via ethernet                via optical cable
RoonCore -----------------> RoonBridge-------------------> Ruark R3

Aha. Now it’s making sense. I need a DAC, but the devices have one, but I could possibly get better sound if I added a better one in line. Thank you for that explanation.

So the Roon Bridge. Are they available for sale, or is the only way to get one to build one? Is it possible to get a WiFi enabled Roon bridge, so I don’t need to connect via ethernet?

Thanks again

You can buy dedicated streamers but they tend to be pricier. Cheaper endpoints are available. I’m a fan of building them using Raspberry Pis with an additional card to handle the audio out. These come from various manufacturers, here’s a decent optical one:

The is a big but here though, since the silicon shortage started to bite Raspberry Pis and the boards are becoming harder to get hold of and more expensive.