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

Companies like Auralic and Aurender (anyone in that space who’s working with us) will have access to source code of our reference implementation, and API for integrating their audio hardware, volume controls, etc.

So a closed, proprietary, API.

I’d encourage you, at least in time, to open it up.

I know details aren’t finalised yet, but for a device like an Aurender, say one with its own storage and computing power, is it envisaged that roonspeakers will utilise all the relevant Aurender tech, or would it simply become an endpoint for a music library and database which would all reside on a Mac type server?

I’m really keen on trying an Aurender, and as I understand they do plan to incorporate roonspeakers, but how this would work I’m not really sure. I don’t want to be left with a largely redundant box if I use it with Roon down the line.

Any news on if/when your code will be finalised, or when the first vendors might offer it?

RoonSpeakers is just an audio transport mechanism, so Aurender + RoonSpeakers would still require an external Roon server running on another box. If the Aurender ran RoonServer, then it could be a standalone solution.

Whether or not that will happen for a particular manufacturer/model is not something I have the answer to right now. It will depend on some future decisions as yet to be made, and also on the hardware spec of the device in question (i.e. is it powerful enough to run RoonServer).

Thanks Brian,

I was kind of assuming there would still need to be a Roon server somewhere in the chain (although if it could run on the box itself that would be amazing). What I was thinking in particular, is where audio files are stored on the Aurender (for arguments sake), will Roon trigger them being played directly from there - or will it essentially just become a NAS, with the files pulled to the Roon server and then sent back again for playback. I guess I just don’t fully understand how it works! Perhaps in this case its just too early to know…… Looking forward to the next announcements/updates for this hardware and the Pi2. Exciting times.

Roon decodes the files itself and then sends a decoded stream to the endpoint, so the Aurender would be essentially a NAS if RoonServer were running externally.

An important design goal of ours is that all content that Roon supports can be played on all devices, and that that support works retroactively, even with older devices that haven’t been updated–as soon as we start trusting devices to handle the raw source material (files or protected streams from providers like TIDAL), it becomes impossible to support that level of interoperability.

Something happens very couple of years–a new streaming service comes out. We’ve done some kind of integration and relationship with at least 10 (probably more, but I made a list in my head, and I count 10) such services the eight years that I’ve been in this space.

TIDAL is pretty new–about a year old. Hardware older than about a year old can’t handle TIDAL streams directly. But Roon can play TIDAL to older hardware because we handle the stream and then convert it into a form that the device can understand.

The same is true of DSD and high-rate PCM when playing to AirPlay or Meridian devices. In almost any category, there are devices that can’t play all of the content.

There is also a quality argument for minimizing the work done on endpoint hardware, and offloading as much heavy lifting as possible to a server running in a different box, on a different power supply from any analog audio circuitry.

The point is: Roon processes the audio internally, and then sends streams to endpoints in a fashion that requires as little additional processing in the endpoint as possible. This is a core idea in our architecture, and is unlikely to change too much.


Great, thanks Brian thats really helpful.

As far as I can see then, buying an Aurender with built-in storage specifically to use with Roon wouldn’t make too much sense, since a lot of the hardware that is being paid for is going to be made largely redundant in this setup. The ‘local’ storage would no longer be local with Roon, and result in a lot more data being sent around the network.

Which is good for me - talks me out of spending the money for a little bit longer…… :grinning:

sounds liek classic slim device architecture. :wink:

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Just want to give this concept a thumbs up. :+1:


Does this mean Roon will send a stream over LAN?

It can do that today into Apple and Meridian end points.

@brian Just want to say I’m continuously impressed by the roon team, clarity, and incredible design. Obviously this didn’t happen overnight. The deep expertise and thoughtful architecture truly shine.

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I concur. Amen.The timing could not be more provident given where the hobby is and where roon is taking it. Quo Vadis? Lead on.


@brian I’ve been thinking a lot more about this since I have an Aurender inbound for evaluation this week……

I just wonder whether you’d consider making a tweak down the line - in cases where the hardware is current enough to be able to perform a function natively - Roon could just act as a remote control.

Some examples assuming I had an Aurender or similar:

i) I want to play local file from the Aurender, no up sampling and its a format the Aurender can deal with - Roon just acts as a remote and lets the Aurender do its thing.
ii) I want to upsample, or play a format that Aurender doesn’t support, Roonspeakers works as you suggest and just uses the Aurender to send data to.
iii) i want to play from a streaming service it doesn’t support (i.e. when you add Qobuz before them :wink: ), same as ii

I guess this is just selfish as I want to use Roon with any new streamer I buy, but not at the expense of throwing away a lot of (hopefully) well designed and optimised hardware, and making its local storage pointless…

Or perhaps let hardware vendors have their own customisable Roon offering - that would put the onus on them to sort this out?

That’d be a hell of a lot more than a tweak for a corner case.

To the best of my knowledge there are probably dozens of various proprietary streaming protocols across the various devices and the resources to seamlessly integrate with all of them, if even technically possible would be a nightmare versus the approach of providing a protocol and api and letting each manufacturer include it.

In one of your points you are using Roon to do the heavy lifting and on the first two you are asking for a mixture of both, ie how would you handle a playlist that includes some supported formats on you Aurender and some that aren’t?

I fully agree with the approach Brian outlined and think you may be envisioning it from the wrong perspective. I see my Roon server as the central hub that feeds outward rather than being directed inward and the various endpoints at locations as the items that should be considered around that. To me this approach goes a long way to providing a universal standard for this type of product, an i eagerly await to seeing which companies hop on board to support it.

My decision for future streamer/endpoint purchases would be based around does this product support the Roon Speakers (i hope this name is changed btw, as the initial assumption when seeing it is it is a hardware product versus what it actually is) protocol or not. to me it makes streamers with local storage redundant as they are not necessary when i can have a dedicated server to all of the processing for anything in the house versus doing to processing at each and every point. This allows for the end devices to be much more interchangeable.

It is. Devices will be termed “RoonReady”.

The technical name for the protocol is RAAT (Roon Advanced Audio Transport).

“RoonSpeakers” is a software app that we will release for people who want to DIY a solution on commodity hardware (mac, pc, linux, ios, android).

The terminology evolved after we started talking about RoonSpeakers, so there’s been some mild confusion on this site.


For all those of us who do not use a computer for streaming Roon is just a very nice feature for exploring music, but not for enjoying music because we only can play through AirPlay while having excellent hardware like Aurender for example which SQ we cannot use due to the lack of “RoonReady” devices.

You guys @Not_Roon do a great job but please don’t forget us with separate streaming devices. I do have the feeling that all this computer stuff like HQ player gets more attention than all those other serious players.


I know at least @danny has an Auralic Aries and the team generally are very familiar with Meridian streaming, so there is no fear of bridges or streamers being left behind. If anything I see Roon bending over backwards to pick up every device they possibly can (eg: Raspberry Pi and Squeezebox).

My understanding is that bridges and streamers that don’t have an exposed operating system (nearly all) will need firmware or driver updates to be RoonReady. At the moment the manufacturers are waiting on the software development kit (SDK) from Roon. After that is sent out then we will see the implementation software being published by the relevant manufacturers. In the case of Auralic, Mr Wang told me he thought it would take them two months from release of the SDK. I haven’t heard an estimate regarding Aurender.

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Thanks for your reply but that’s not new to me. As you said, Auralic and Aurender are waiting on Roon, but HQ integration among others you’ve mentioned as well have more priority than SDK, obviously.

This thread has by far the most views so it is very clear to me that a lot of users are waiting for this, but others are maybe louder and therefore get more hearing.

Again, this is critical in terms of SQ for external players. Because I do not see priority in SDK I do not go for lifetime membership. It just doesn’t make sense to have Roon with its excellent capabilities but for critical listening switching to other apps. That’s what I do since the start of Roon and for sure I’m not alone!