RAAT [was Roon Speakers] - What , When, How and for Whom?

Is hi-res possible with Roon Speakers on an iOS or AppleTV endpoint?

Would love to know minimum requirements for a DIY endpoint using Roon for hi res.

Is hi-res possible with Roon Speakers on an iOS or AppleTV endpoint?

AppleTV is a closed platform that only supports AirPlay, which is limited to 44.1k on the input side. The Apple TV then resamples that 44.1k AirPlay stream 48k. It’s pretty much a non-starter if quality is a concern, and there’s no indication that future revisions will be better.

As for iOS, we’ll support whatever Apple enables us to support. If the device + frameworks can support high-res output, then we will too. This article suggests that Apple hasn’t quite done everything necessary in the current iPhone 6.

Would love to know minimum requirements for a DIY endpoint using Roon for hi res.

The most important thing we require is a real, mature kernel and networking stack. Linux, BSD (incl OSX), or Windows. In the past we’ve been burned by embedded kernels, RTOS’s, network stacks, etc and will not go down that road again. In general, they lack the robustness required to provide reliable operation on messy consumer-grade networks, especially when you mix in WiFi and high bitrate streams.

It will need good enough networking hardware to keep up with the bitrates involved. DSD256 is 2.822mbytes/s + overhead. No trouble over most ethernet configurations, but $10 WiFi nubs may not provide adequate performance.

It will require enough RAM to enable substantial audio buffering at the endpoint. Tens of megabytes for high-rate content. This is a requirement for stable high-res playback over WiFi, which is an important objective for the project.

The Raspberry Pi 2 is an important early target. It has a very comfortable hardware spec–more than the minimum, but it ticks the right boxes and is very inexpensive.

Thanks. That is helpful. If The Raspberry Pi 2 could serve as an endpoint for Roon, and especially in addition to being a DLNA renderer as the folks at ComputerAudiophile.com have done with it, that would give folks a good choice since the core for room is so demanding (not a criticism, just an acknowledgement of what’s needed.

A question regarding the iOS and Android versions of RoonSpeakers:

Will the device be some sort of “smart” endpoint? I’d like to have basic playback buttons available (play, pause, previous song, next song) so that I don’t have to get a remote for that.

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The RoonSpeakers protocol supports this kind of basic control. I don’t see any reason why the iOS/Android implementations would not do the same.

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@brian- that is good to read. The gotcha here is that we take our phones with us and need our music too.

I hope this involves a mobile sync* or a tighter integration for those who subscribe with Tidal.

*Mobile Sync- Synchronizes local server files to the phones internal storage and playable through the Roon Mobile App.

Mobile Sync and RoonSpeakers are orthogonal concepts.

They are both things that we plan to build, but running the metadata database and audio decoding subsystem and so forth on a mobile platform is a significant and distinct challenge when compared to remote control/audio streaming. It’s possible, but it’s a different piece of work that will happen after RoonSpeakers.

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Word of the day!

@brian, awesome. I am poking the bear here and I appreciate your response. I look forward to the next iteration of “RoonSpeakers.”

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Is there a way, currently, to configure a PC running a “client” version of Roon to function as a Roon Speaker.

Specifically, I have roon server running on a PC server in a closet. I have a client PC at my desk that I play roon through a Meridian Explorer DAC to a headphone setup (BHSE+Stax009), and that works well. What I want to do, is repurpose a silent PC as another Roon Client, with its USB out to the DAC, but, I want to be able to control it from my desk PC Client.

I guess the other way to ask it, can you configure an audio appliance (USB DAC) on one client to not be “private”, and allow it to be controlled by one of the other Roon computers on the network?

I get the feeling that is one of the parts of the “Roon Speaker” is supposed to be, but asking if that particular thing can be done now.

The short answer is “not yet”, but work to enable this is in the pipeline. Check out these two posts for more information:


I’ve been experimenting with a Raspberry Pi 2 Model B as a source for my Devialet. I’ve added a HiFiBerry Digi+ (transformer-isolated electrical output version) for S/PDIF out, and an Edimax AC600 Directional USB Wifi adapter for 433Mbps connectivity. It works beautifully and lets me stream DSD64 files without dropouts. This combination might make for a nice reference platform for Roon Speakers on Raspberry Pi.

I’m using it with Volumio streaming files from my Time Capsule. It’s clunky, but functional. Of course, I’ll swap it out in a flash if there were a Roon for Pi solution…

muski

P.S. Bruce, happy to beta test anything…

Will Roon Speakers on Raspberry Pi 2 just use the Vanilla hardware thus only USB output or will add on boards like HiFi Berry Digi and Dac be supported?

Are these Roon Speakers all audio only or will they be visual as well? I’m thinking of something like Chromecast to stream music to and display artist info / album art etc.

Audio only I hope.

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i agree - Audio only please.

However (How come there is always a However?) I would love an Apple TV app which displays the screensaver for a specified zone (No audio - just the screensaver). I’m game for writing this (Even have access to an Apple TV) if / when Roon open up their API (Under NDA / whatever).

Rik

Just curious, what do you mean by “screensaver”?

Type Ctrl-S or Cmd-S and you’ll see.

Will Roon Speakers on Raspberry Pi 2 just use the Vanilla hardware thus only USB output or will add on boards like HiFi Berry Digi and Dac be supported?

Any device that supports ALSA should work.

Are these Roon Speakers all audio only or will they be visual as well? I’m thinking of something like Chromecast to stream music to and display artist info / album art etc.

This will be implementation dependent–most of our integrations will not have a screen.

For those that do, a simple screensaver-style display will be possible. Same goes for devices with transport controls (like the Apple TV).

Not sure whether all of that will make it into the first release or not, but it’s in our plans.

Obviously, audio is the priority, but it would be very cool if there was an optional screensaver type video to go with it. I could see having it on the TV (via AppleTV) when hosting a party, for example. Even better would be if there were screensavers that updated based on the music – like iTunes has.