Roon 5.1ch -> Kef LS50W?

Let’s assume I love KEF LS50w so much so, I don’t mind buying 3 pairs.

And using 2 pairs of master-slave, one piece of master (and sub woofer), I want to play 5.1 Flac music out of Roon into those 5 LS50W speakers.

FYI, LS50w is powered speaker set with DAC and DSP. it has RCA, USB and Ethernet and optical-in on master speaker and master feeds signals to slave.

As far as I read, LS50W is not real Roon end-point, therefore, cannot be grouped together.

I also read somewhere here (I cannot find the link now::disappointed_relieved:) someone else was trying to do this. And as far as I researched, there are two ways to do cheaper.

A) Put 3 Hifiberry+DAC in front of each pair. Assign channels in Roon DSP; Front-LR -> Pair 1, Rear-LR -> Pair 2, Center -> LS50w master speaker.
B) Connect all to network with Ethernet cable, using party mode in Roon, and assign channels same as above.

My questions
0) Is this worth try?

  1. For sound quality, which would be better, A or B?
  2. Would sync/timing of channels be an issue? If so, how can I fix?
  3. Any other way to use LS50W for 5.1 surround sound?
    Or am I totally misunderstanding how Roon works?

Thank you for your help!


I found the link

You can group two pairs of ls-50w together you can’t group them with other endpoints. You could then configure with DSP the left right / rear r / rear left and centre assignment to each one. Its not an elegant or bit perfect solution or how well this would work and your likely better using a 5.1 amp and send over hdmi from a pi or NuC.

Using the HDMI channel on a NUC to a 5.1 amp will certainly work (many of us do this); but AFAIK, it’s not yet possible to use the HDMI channel on a Raspberry Pi to deliver multichannel audio to a 5.1 amp. I don’t think the software support is there in the Linux OSes to do this. Has anyone got this to work?

I’ve had it using Plex for video so thought it would for music. Obviously that was the wrong assumption.

Thank you for such a quick reply.

"You can group two pairs of ls-50w together "

This is good news. One step closer to what I might end up wanting. Thank you so much!

I found the link: Custom multichannel mappings

Problem is, as far as I researched, only NAD produces surround preamps that are also Roon endpoint.
Current model, NAD T187 is totally over-kill.
I am not sure if I can install Roon on 2nd hand units on Ebay either.

So I have to attach some hardware as endpoint to other preamps like Denon. So, if I can skip PC-endpoint and amp, it would be better. After all, Roon can play into LS50W directly.

I wish I can do surround with Pi but I have not found one. :unamused:

Reading the KB on this it mentions that DSP may well be limited on non RAAT grouped zones KEF is included here so a 5.1 pre amp may be your only choice here.

OMG, thank you, thank you for the definitive answer!

This ends my software solution route. Now I must look for Roon ready 5.1& up preamp… You helped me alot. Very appreciated!

Merging + Player, or Exasound E38 MARK II fronted by an Exasound Sigma Streamer.

So kind of you! Want Merging but that’s not gonna happen price wise :frowning: . Researching E38 MARK II and NAD preamp and pre-processors. Thanks again