Playing multichannel music from NAS with Roon

Hello Roon community,

I am new to Roon and very happy about the powerful Roon features to tailor my library and playlists. The only missing option is to play multichannel music from my Synology NAS. I went through all existing multichannel related threads in this community and still wonder how I can play MCH music with my current setup:

  • Roon core an NAS
  • Roon client on Macbook Pro 2017
  • Pioneer AV Receiver
  • Apple TV 4K
  • OLED Philips TV
  • DUNE HD Player SoloLite

I created several endpoints in my Roon client but Roon always strips down from 5.1 to Stereo (as shown in many other threads), I assume since the music is transferred via Airplay or Chromecast. Without Roon I used to stream the MCH music from my NAS to DUNE feeding my Pioneer receiver via HDMI which worked perfectly. But including DUNE via Airplay does not work. Do you see a chance to get MCH running with my setup above or do I need to purchase an additional ROON ready device?

Thanks for your hints, Matt

I doubt that AirPlay supports multichannel (but I don’t use it so I cannot be certain).

Hallo Matthias,

The good news: it is possible to play multichannel (mch) music with Roon on a AV receiver.

The mixed news: According to the Roon knowledge base multichannel files in flac, aac and some other filetypes are supported and devices supporting ALAC are able to get this out. Unfortunately I already have an open ticked regarding mch AAC files not recognised by Roon.
Also not all devices support multichannel output.

The bad news: an Apple TV which is perfectly able to output mch is not supported as Roon device. Also the Raspberry PI using the ALSA drivers does not support 24bit and higher sample rates via HDMI without a custom compiled kernel.

After quite some testing I ended up with a NUC (or in my case a Lenovo m90n). These devices can run a Roon client or server via ROCK or WIN10 using hdmi to connect to a AV receiver.
This works perfecrtly with mch flac files and hopefully also with aac files after roon solves my support ticket (see above)

Using a Synology as data store for mch files is not a problem at all. However if you use a NUC as roon server you will probably use an attached storage there for your files.

one last remark. If you play mch files you need to ensure that no DSP is in the audio chain. Roon always converts to 2ch for DSP filtering.

hope this helps

Thanks for the detailed advice, yes, it helps :slight_smile: I already considered to invest in a NUC and feed my receiver via HDMI. It’s just a pity that apparently I cannot trigger AppleTV or my DUNE player wirelessly to play MCH songs from my NAS via LAN.

According to several sources Airplay 2 should be able to transmit MCH files, yet I found no way to verify it.

Best regards, Matt

Even if Airplay would support mch it would not help in this case. Unfortunately Airplay 2 is not officially documented or reverse engineered. There is no chance for the Roon dev team to support Airplay 2 AFAIK

That is not true. I do it all the time. If that is so in your experience, it may be due to your particular setup or equipment.
For example, I can send multichannel FLAC over HDMI to my prepro and I can send multichannel FLAC via LAN to my Oppo (used as a DAC), both with DSP in Roon.

And, of course, I can send multichannel hi-rez FLAC from Roon (with DSP) to my DACs via USB.

My experience is different. The instant I activate upsampling my AV receiver reports no longer 6channels but only two and the audio chain shows a conversion step to 2ch.

Ah. Your AVR has limits on what it will handle and you may be upsampling beyond what it will accept. Roon is simply adapting to the AVR’s limitations, not its own.

How are you connecting Roon to your AVR? That might be a limitation, too.

How is that done? Maybe I have something defined incorrectly but with LAN to my OPPO 205 from the NUC/Rock it is Stereo only. When I play MC files it gets converted to 2 channel. Won’t care about that much longer with the S88 on the way but I’m curious what I’ve missed.

I’ve described this here before but I cannot do it now because that setup is in my other home.

No my AV Receiver is perfectly able to receive 6ch multichannel 24/96 and will play native flac files with this resolution. But if I have e.g. a 24/48 file and activate upsampling to 24/96 in roon I see 5.1 to 2ch conversion in the audio chain in roon.

With your hardware I can see one possible way to do multi-ch:

Use your MacBook Pro as an endpoint. But additionally you need a USB type-C to HDMI adapter or cable that goes to the AVR. Once you have them attached, go into macOS Audio MIDI setup, and define the HDMI audio output as multi-channel (this step is a bit complex, use google for help when you are doing so). When all is set correctly, launch Roon, enable this HDMI audio interface and you have to go into its advance device setup to define and match the PCM channel mapping and perhaps the maximum frequency etc.

I myself have a MBP 13" 2018 that does manage to output this way. But for permanent mulit-ch playback I got a Mac mini 2012 which has a built-in HDMI port so no need for an adaptor, but everything else is set the same way. My Roon Core runs on another mini in another room where the audio files are loaded from a Synology NAS next to it. I don’t think your case of running the Core on the NAS itself would make a difference, as even a 5.1 DSD (SACD rip) doesn’t take that much CPU power which the NAS probably doesn’t have.

As I asked before: How are you connecting Roon to your AVR?
Also, note Percy Chan’s suggestions.

As I asked before: How are you connecting Roon to your AVR?
Also, note Percy Chan’s suggestions.

Roon Rock only has one hdmi port capable of up to 8ch. This port is directly connected with the hdmi input of my receiver.
I was able to test 24/96 5.1 flac files working flawless as already stated.

I stand by my statement that roon DSP usage causes downmixing to 2ch

Great comments, thanks a lot!!

To summarise I see the following options (please correct if I am wrong):

  1. Try to stream from Macbook via USB-C/HDMI adapter into my AV Receiver, adapt the MIDI setup accordingly and create a new HDMI endpoint in Roon (recommendation of Percy_Chan)
  2. Buy a Roon NUC and connect it to the Receiver via HDMI (<-- Chris_KA)
  3. Go for Kal’s solution (“I can send multichannel FLAC via LAN to my Oppo (used as a DAC), both with DSP in Roon”) ← how does that work esp. the DSP settings?
  4. Buying a “Roon Ready” network streamer like Bluesound Node 2i (wonder if this really works plug and play like?)

Did I forget an option?

Best regards and thanks a lot for sharing your experience to a “newcomer” like me :wink: Matt

I’m connecting Nucleus (=NUC+ROCK) to AVR via HDMI and playing 6ch multichannel 24/192 flac perfectly.
Also when playing 6ch multichannel DSD file, Roon converts it to 6ch multichannel 32/192 through HDMI.

So, I am at my other house now where I have the Roon server connected by HDMI to my Marantz prepro (Marantz Wasapi). By chance, I was playing a 24/96 5.0 recording, so I upsampled it to 24/192 and here’s the screen grab.

As you can see, it is playing and the Marantz says it is getting 24/192 5.1!

Hello Kal, thanks for the evidence :slight_smile:

Still wonder what the best solution is for my environment

  1. Buy a NUC and connect to AVR via HDMI
  2. Buy a Roon ready network streamer and connect to AVR (most use Oppo…any recommendations? )
  3. Roon Ready DSP seems questionable (see Chris_KA statement)
  4. Notebook via USB/HDMI to AVR is not convenient due to cables

Thanks and regards, Matt

I don’t think you would be sorry if you went with the dedicated music server route, NUC/Rock, Nucleus, etc. 24/7 availability is nice to have.

I have the NUC setup and it works very well. Have HDMI to my Denon receiver for hi-res multi-channel and LAN to my OPPO 205.

Recently added a Streaming MC DAC but I happly used the previously mentioned setup for almost 2 years before deciding on the addition.