Given current issues with availability of the Pi4 and consequently high secondhand prices, I wondered if anyone can recommend any similarly good value Roon endpoints to the Raspberry Pi?
I’m looking for something to use as a simple bedside streamer into my Mojo 2, freeing up my iPhone to be used solely as a Roon remote without having an endless line of cables and converters dangling from it.
It’s actually not that difficult to score a raspberry pi from an authorized distributer, if you are diligent. They are getting regular stock replenishments but are usually sold very quickly (minutes). I recently picked up a couple more to use as additional endpoints.
Check this website and filter by location and Pi type. Follow their twitter feed, or better yet, just setup a web page monitor extension such as Distill.
I’d also recommend creating accounts at each of the distributers and prefilling all address info in your account to make checkout faster.
I use a used Lenovo laptop that was just collecting dust. The Microsoft soundcard may introduce jitter and other artifacts but it also allows my DAC to maximize it’s abilities,(decoding up to 32/192). There are literally hundreds of used/renewed PCs using Windows 10, many with free return periods, priced under $200. There are so many options now in this area that it’s really inexpensive to get the highest quality audio some folks would want.
If you want to use your Mojo DAC trough SPDIF, you can buy also a much cheaper RPi3 and a Digi One HAT.
Also a cheap solution is a small fanless Zotac Mini with Rock (I’ll prefer it against a Windows setup) on i and using then only the Roon Bridge.
Now that it’s Roon Ready, I’d recommend the ZEN Stream from iFi Audio. It’s a little spendy at $399, but think of it as the Nucleus of Roon endpoint solutions.
Unlike Nucleus, it works quite well over Wi-Fi. It should look great connected to your Mojo 2. The 2nd USB port can be used to power/charge your DAC as well. Both ports use iFi’s Active Noise Cancellation technology, which some folks say make things sound better.
From the DietPi site, I’ve had good luck with the NanoPi NEO2, but it took a long time to get here and only works with a wired Ethernet connection. I guess the NEO3 is the new version. I’ve not tested it, but it uses the same CPU architecture, so I imagine it will work fine.
I’ve read that it runs quite hot, so the heatsink is not optional. Some assembly required, for sure. Roon Bridge does not require much CPU usage, so I would not worry too much about the reviews about it overheating…that said, I’ve not personally tried one yet.
I actually found a few mini-PC’s on Amazon for under $100, like this one:
Trouble is that for Roon Bridge to work, you have to login to Windows, which might be a pain if you are running this headless (no display or keyboard). However, if you’re a bit technical, you may be able to install Linux and Roon Bridge. It may even be possible to get Wi-Fi working in Linux, but no guarantees.