Recommended Endpoints

I’ve seen recommended server solutions, and a number of ‘supported’ endpoints, but is there a recommended endpoint for the tightest sync between devices / rooms at this point or should we be waiting for RoonSpeakers to show up on Raspberry Pi or the like?

There are only two solutions for getting synchronization between rooms with Roon today: AirPlay and Meridian (e.g. the MS200).

Both work ok. Meridian is much higher quality, with a price tag to match.

If you’re the type of person who would consider running RoonSpeakers on a Raspberry Pi, that’s probably what you should do. The bang/buck there is going to be incredible, and long term, I think it’s where you’ll want to be.

The Arcam AirDac is a worthy audiophile AirPlay end point.

Thanks I’ll have a look.
I was going to try some airport express units I have and run optical out into some dacs, but it doesn’t seem like Roon likes the old Airports. So I’ll need to pony up for something else.

What does roonspeakers run on now, anything in beta?

There is no RoonSpeakers hardware yet. We use it internally for streaming to remote zones–that’s it.

The quality concern with AirPlay is that the protocol is fixed at 44100hz/16bit. This is a real negative if you have better-than-cd-quality content.

Thanks Brian-
Right now my concern is tight multi-room sync. I can use my main dac for hi-res where I need it =)

Arcam airDAC can control your nas wireless or via Ethernet. It sounds VERY good over AirPlay and VERY VERY good over coaxial digital. Via it’s coaxial output feeding one of the worlds best DACs ever made (so far) AirPlay sounds better than most audiphiles equipment. Unpn sounds a little bit better.

Connect it to your wi-fi for added reach.

However, it lacks USB and other DACs costing a lot more sounds better, not in terms of scale or deapth but in minor subtle details in very complex recordings and a little bit in voices emotion. But you need equipment of cost to notice this. For the price it is highly recommended.

Is this still true now that Squeezebox is supported? Hopefully the squeezebox support means there is now a third solution for getting synchronization between rooms…Or?

Synchronization of music is kind of a deal breaker for me so hopefully someone can put my mind at ease…

Yes, we support synchronized playback for Squeezebox devices.

The next major release is slated to include RoonSpeakers support, and will expand multi-zone capability. Once that’s out, you’ll be able to link:

  • Airplay endpoints with other Airplay endpoints
  • Meridian endpoints with other Meridian endpoints
  • Squeezebox endpoints with other Squeezebox endpoints
  • RAAT endpoints, RoonSpeakers endpoints, and local/USB audio devices amongst themselves.

The “first class” solution going forward is RAAT/RoonSpeakers. Once that’s in place, the zone linking product will feel a lot more complete.

No-one on earth (that we are aware of) currently attempts to synchronize playback across technologies. It would be a huge challenge, but really, really neat. We haven’t scheduled any work for that project, but it remains on the list of things I’d like to see Roon do someday.

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Plethra’s Audio Acacia
does a pretty solid job across technologies.

A really difficult thing to achieve though. Their backend system is one of the best I’ve seen, but the frontend is not nearly as user friendly

Yeah, I’m aware of them, but I’m talking about taking it a step further.

AirPlay was designed from the beginning to sync local soundcards + AirPlay devices. These guys said “great, we’ll do that, but also implement an HTML5 based receiver”, since HTML5 exposes an audio subsystem very similar to local sound cards. This allows them to support web browsers + ChromeCast (which is just a web browser running on a device) in addition to the stuff that AirPlay already provides natively.

This is neat stuff, and they definitely did some work, but it’s fundamentally different (and simpler) than unifying network streaming protocols like Squeezebox + AirPlay + RAAT + Meridian, perhaps Songcast. which all work somewhat differently under the hood.

If the requirement wasn’t for “perfect” syncing, would it be a lot easier? I, for one, would like to link the Boom in my kitchen and MS200 in my living room, but very tight synchronisation isn’t a must.

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No, not really.

The difficulty is all about supporting different flows for managing synchronization. These protocols all do the same thing, but they accomplish it differently.

The problem is usually about who is in charge of the clock, and how that is expressed.

In RAAT, the clock master is flexible and changeable mid-stream. It could be the server (in theory, but not in practice today). It could be one of the endpoints.

In AirPlay, the clock master is the server. No exceptions.

In Squeezebox, the clock master is the device with the slowest clock, as determined by the server dynamically. This might not be the same device all the time if clock speed drifts. The primary (annoying) limitation with squeezebox devices is that you can tell them slow down (pause briefly), but not to speed up (skip a brief portion of content), which is why the slowest guy runs the show.

In Meridian, the clock master is elected by the server, and can’t be changed without breaking the stream. Meridian also doesn’t support drift compensation. The entire flow is very rigid. There’s a good chance that Meridian would be left out of any plans to unify zone linking across technologies as a result of all of this.

That’s a lot of different views of the world to reconcile, and I worry that a system that attempted to do it would take a lot of time/effort to build, and ultimately would never become stable enough to trust in every permutation.

At some point, inexpensive RAAT options will make all of this kind of moot. Almost everything has an aux-in. If/when we could find our way into a little inexpensive streamer at a ChromeCast like price point, using that for network streaming might make a better product than attempting heroics to unify a bunch of technologies that weren’t really built for it.


Hi #Brian do you mean producing your own cheap hardware endpoint? If so and a Kickstarter like system was started I would be on board in an instant.

Thanks @brian. TBH, I am both lucky to have a number of Meridian endpoints in my house and very grateful to have “bonus” Squeezebox support at all. :smiley:

I just picked this up at BestBuy on sale for $119. (Its back at $179 right now) ASUS 116 Laptop Intel Celeron 2GB Memory 32GB eMMC Flash Memory Star Gray. It has built in AC wireless and has been working well as a WiFi Endpoint paired with a Schiit Modi Uber. It took a little bit of time to get it out of Windows 10S and install the Roon Bridge, but not terrible.

I haven’t had time to compare to my Node 2, but that is in my plans. I’ve listened up to the 24/192 limit of the Uber and the PC and network have not dropped out.