Please help me. Tweak or start fresh?

I subscribed to Roon thinking that it would be compatible with my existing system, but it isn’t.

My system is modest, but it fits my apartment living situation quite well. It includes a Marantz NR1606 that powers my Definitive Technology 5.1 channel speaker system and provides pre amp control for an Adcom GFA 5400 that powers my Merlin TSM “black magic” Speakers. All of which is located in the living room. In addition, I have wireless Heos HS2 (hi res) speakers in my bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom.

I currently have the Roon core on my iMac computer and connected to it is an external hard drive with about 20,000 high res music files. And of course I have a subscription to Tidal.

I do my critical music listening in the living room on the Merlin speakers. But I’m often multitasking and like having music playing via the Heos speakers as I walk around my apartment. Note: I live alone, so no need or have any interest in listening to different sources at the same time.

The bad news is that Roon will only play via AirPlay on the Marantz. This means that I’m not able to hear my music at the highest posible resolutioon my Merlin speakers. This is problem #1.

Less concerning is the fact that Roon is not at all compatible with my Heos speakers. So I cannot listen via Roon in the rooms where I have Heos speakers. This is problem #2.

I’m wondering if there is a single Roon-ready component that I could add to my existing system to solve both my problems. If not, what’s the easiest way to solve problem #1?

I figure I can gradually replace the Heos wireless speakers with BlueSound wireless speakers to solve problem #2. But if anyone knows how to make the Heos speakers work with Roon, I’m all ears.

From what I can tell, adding the Elac Discovery music server to my existing setup or replacing my Marantz receiver with an NAD T 758 (version 3) are two possible ways forward. Each of these solutions can be implemented for less than $1500, which is definitely my goal.

Lastly, I live in Northern NJ and have struggled to find a local home audio video installer that is familiar with Roon. Any referrals will be greatly appreciated.

Perhaps a Raspberry Pi with a dac hat (quite a few options) will allow the Marantz to at least get to 24/192 via rca or perhaps digital toslink/spdif

Yes, a Raspberry Pi with an output HAT (doesn’t even need to be a DAC) will be by far the most cost-effective way to solve #1.

Output HAT options: (has AES/EBU)

Hey Wiz, thanks for the advice. I’ll research the Rasberry Pi.

Ropieee is a PI OS here and so is DiepPi both under the Audio Products area…lots of discussion there on HATs and whatnot.

Thanks to you too Jeff. I’m looking into the raspberry pi.

After much consideration, I’ve decided to start fresh. Instead of relying on one system to handle both 5.1 channel surround sound and 2-channel stereo responsibilities, I’m going with a separate system for each.

My slim line Marantz will continue to handle the surround sound. But a Roon-ready, 2-channel integrated amp will handle stereo (NAD C 368 w/ BluOS). So that takes care of problem # 1.

There is no immediate solution for problem # 2, but I figure I can run the existing Heos system independently. The Heos system will play my hi res music, but just not with Roon. Eventually though Im thinking I will replace the Heos speakers with Bluesound speakers. And when the Marantz AVR becomes obsolete, I will replace it with a Bluesound sound bar and wireless surround speakers.

Thanks for the help and for listening.

How do you currently get music to the Heos speakers?

Hi Evan,

I have Heos speakers in the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. I also have a Heos Link connected to the Marantz AVR, which effectively turns the main speakers in the living room into a Heos zone. Using the Heos app on my iPad or iPhone, I stream music to the Heos zones from various sources. The source I use the most is Tidal. There is also a 4TB external hard drive with hi res music files connected to my iMac that I should be able to select as a Heos source, but I haven’t completed the sharing set up just yet. I’ve gone through the set up steps as outlined on the Heos website, but I haven’t been able to get the iMac to share the external hard drive as of yet. If it doesn’t work after a second attempt, I will call Heos customer service. As far as Roon, it just isn’t at all compatible with Heos that doesn’t have BluOS or Airplay connectivity. That is why I will slowly migrate from Heos to Bluesound. I hope this answers your question.

Have you seen this post?

Denon should climb on board the Roon train.

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Yeah David, I hear you. I’m in no rush to replace my Heos speakers. After all, they do play hi res music and sound great IMO. Time will tell. Thanks for reaching out.

The post I linked to talks about using the Heos’s 3.5mm analog input as a means of using a Heos speaker with Roon, but this means sidestepping all the useful stuff built into the Heos (and the purchase of additional gear), so not especially great even as an interim solution, unless you have some SBCs and DACs sitting around with nothing to do.

Comparing the BlueSound gear with the Heos gear is pretty illuminating.

I have three 2nd generation Heos 3 speakers. They are far better than the Sonos equivalent. Honestly I don’t think the Bluesound Pulse Mini will be an improvement over the Heos 3s in terms of sound quality, but I I’ll soon find out.

I’m not in a position to make a judgment on speaker vs speaker. My only point is that BlueSound and Heos are conceptually similar systems, but BlueSound seems more open to embracing third-party technologies like Roon and MQA, whereas with Heos it’s all Heos all the time.

Very true. Thx

At least Bluesound has jumped on board. Not so sure Denon ever will, but we’ll see. I picked up the HEOS 5 a couple years back on a half price deal back when I had Pandora One. It’s a nice bass module to accompany my PSB powered speakers at the imac desk.

Ironic that I am having to come to the Room forums to find the same problem I’m wrestling with my HEOS speakers. Curious if you ever found a solution to connecting your iMac/external drive?

For my HEOS setup (two HS2 7 speakers in a stereo configuration in my main room with one connected via ethernet, and an HS2 3 in another room), I’ve to date been using a MacMini with an external hard drive and relying on Plex. However, this is suboptimal for a number of reasons, such as the slow library refresh every time I access the Plex server, and because I have DSD files and Plex doesn’t handle those well (if at all).

I’ve been messaging back and forth with Denon customer support and their advice so far is a) USB hard drives directly connected to the speaker don’t work well for large music collections (>40k songs) and b) a DLNA certified NAS is the recommended option for very large music collections. They won’t, however, provide a NAS recommendation, although they did suggest I look at Twonky because of its support for DSD.

Given the slowing number of product updates since the merger and focus on Amazon Alexa integration, I’m concerned that HEOS is not going to be focussing as much on people who own their own large music collections and will instead focus on streaming services.

I went with HEOS over BlueSound because of the support for DSD, much lower price, aesthetics, and being part of what I perceived to be a more successful and therefore more likely to be more supported platform. However, I am now wondering if I should have chosen BlueSound instead even though that would mean I couldn’t get the full DSD experience (I presume BlueSound transcodes DSD down to FLAC or something?).

It sounds like in a perfect world HEOS would just come out and support Roon and then I would be set, yeah?