Roon and Classe CP-800

Hi, all. I’m in the process of upgrading my stereo and I’m intrigued by Roon. The preamp I’m looking at is a Classe CP-800, which has a built-in DAC with a variety of digital inputs and ethernet. My music library and Roon would be on a Mac mini or small Windows PC. Is it possible to use ethernet to stream music from Roon to the Classe preamp? Thanks!

Damn, that unit has an impressive number of inputs. Its like an old analog pre-amp in that respect.

Looking at the specs of the pre-amp im guessing you may be able to use it with Roon and a Mac Mini via airplay connection if you don’t want to use USB. For windows it looks like the Classe uses DLNA for the network input which i do not believe would work with Roon. Obviously it would work perfectly fine with a USB connection from the PC. Honestly that is a really nice looking unit, would be an excellent candidate for Classe to make compatible via Roon Speakers*

Hi Geoff,

You will be able to stream over ethernet from Roon to the Classe CP-800 using AirPlay. AirPlay is limited to 16/44.1 (video 48).

Ideally you would want to stream from Roon using RAAT (Roon Advanced Audio Transport) which supports up to 32/384 and DSD256 (don’t think the CP-800 does DSD). In order to use RAAT, Classe would have to implement a firmware upgrade to make the device RoonReady. You might check with them as to what their plans are regarding Roon.

As Kevin said, Roon doesn’t support DLNA and you can also connect directly using USB from the computer.

Thanks, Kevin and Andy. I guess AirPlay isn’t an option since I have some hi-res files and I intend to acquire more. Most of my music is in FLAC format and I’d like to keep DSD and MQA as future options. I looked at the CP-800 manual and the unit doesn’t currently support DSD and MQA and I’m reluctant to make a purchase based on hopes for the future. Perhaps I need to do more research on a separate preamp and DAC. Is there a list of DACs that work with Roon?

Also, I’m a bit confused about USB support. Andy, you said that “you can also connect directly using USB from the computer” but Kevin says it should work. Am I missing something?

Thanks for your patience. I’m really over my head here, but I’m having fun learning.

I think @AgDev01 (Hi Kevin) and I are saying the same thing, which is that a USB connection from your PC to the Classe CP-800 should work.

Personally, if I was buying new gear at the moment, I would be interested in whether the manufacturers were intending to make it RoonReady as well as all the other criteria you might usually apply. There are some manufacturers who leap at the idea and others who don’t.

RAAT came to my rescue tonight at a dinner party when my HQA NAA connection failed for some reason, so I’m feeling very fond about it !

Classe CP-800 is very nice amplifier. It has all kind of digital and analogue connections. It has a digital PEQ built into it. It has support for Airplay which I found very useful for radio and Spotify. It has support for USB Audio 2.0 which support 24/192 kHz PCM audio. It also has support for DLNA but Classes implementation of DLNA isn’t special good. For example it doesn’t have support for “OpenHome”.

I think CP-800 would be a very nice toy if it had support for “Roon speaker” (I think it is called RAAT today). CP-800 is already “networked” so I don’t think it would be big deal to implement it.

@andybob is right we are saying the same thing. Poor phrasing on my part.

Perhaps I need to do more research on a separate preamp and DAC. Is there a list of DACs that work with Roon?.

All DACs should work with Roon but what i believe you aware intending from your questions is, is there a list of DAC that have Roon integration. From what i can tell there are two versions of this, Roon Ready and Roon Certified. Roon Ready is what you would be looking for as that is for network connections and uses the RAAT protocol, IE the Auralic Aries. RAAT doesn’t have the limitations of Airplay and would allow you to stream any format. I am not currently aware of a DAC/Preamp that is Roon Ready, (does the Aries Mini count?), but i do expect to see them.

Roon Certified is via a USB connection for DACs. See @Danny’s explaination Here

There isn’t a list that i am aware of at this point. All the information i have seen has been for snippets of show reports thus far. I would expect that to change soon as more products hit the shelves. Here are a couple of places to start your search from an article i posted a bit back:

Other manufacturers signing on for the RoonReady programme include Audio Alchemy, Bel Canto, Bryston, Cary Audio, Constellation Audio, dCS, Exasound, LH Labs, Lumin, PS Audio, SoTM, and TotalDAC

The above list also does not include ELAC which is using a modified version of Roon that is made for their products only.

Thanks, everyone. I’ve contacted Classe to see if they have any plans to support Roon (and MQA). It sounds like I may need to wait a bit and see how things develop. While I’m waiting, I’ll pose another question. If you were going to buy new components now that support Roon and MQA, what would you choose? Thanks!

Personally I decided to wait till summer/fall 2016 before considering new hardware.

MQA is just announced and almost no software is available. Tidal is comming, but no timeline is announced. MQA hardware is almost non existent.

For roon I recall that the aim is to have a larger list/announcement of hardware partners around the summer.

So for now I will see how things settle and what companies will come towards roon and MQA.

That sounds like a good strategy, Rob. I may decide to follow your example and see how things shake out. I’m definitely in the mood for some new gear, however.

I know that feeling :grin:

Since you are considering Classe you are in the market for high-end gear. These companies tend to be a bit slower (more cautious) in adopting the “next best thing” hitting the market. Especially since they are catering a niche and focus more on quality as opposed to sales numbers.

Not directly related to the CP800, but below is an interesting read on how Classe is looking at some UHD developments.

Classe HDMI 2.0 / 4K

Thanks, Rob. That’s a fascinating article and I learned a lot from it.

As much as I like the Classe CP800 preamp, I’m wondering if the best strategy at this point is to go with a separate preamp and DAC. That way, I can replace the DAC if necessary down the road to accommodate new standards.Have you considered this strategy? Opinions?

Now in hindsight I wish I would have chosen separates. In the end, after months and months of listening to stuff, I chose an integrated amp, partly because I could get an amazing deal.

I have the McIntosh MA7900 integrated and now I am considering a new DAC, because the build in DAC does not support DSD and MQA. At that time DSD was not important to me and MQA was unknown. Upgrading is sadly not in the business model of McIntosh, so you use what you have or buy new.

Next to the DAC I am looking into some kind of bridge solution, like the Auralic Aries. This will have the benefit of getting the PC out of the sound chain.

And while I am at it why not push the whole integrated out of the door and switch to separates (what I probably should have done in the first place), since I won’t be using the DAC part of my MA7900 anyway.

So separates would be my choice now, unless you have space restrictions (more gear), separates tend to be a bit more complex (more settings, but you will get used to this). Oh, yeah and wiring can add substantial cost to connect everything.

Do I hear a crying and sobbing wallet?!? :cry:

Well the good thing is Mac gear holds its value way better than a ton of other brands and while the hardware can’t be upgraded in my experience the dealer support with trade-ins is top notch. Owning a few Mac pieces over the years, i’ve always been happier with the returns from selling those items than with anything else.

It seems to me like the reasons for picking an integrated versus separates have almost flopped over the last few decades. Previously it seemed like the separates route was always going to be best in SQ and with analog especially the inputs haven’t changed in 50+ years. Now, i fully believe that there are minimal SQ difference between comparable separates and integrated solutions but the introduction of new formats can make them obsolete.

Im not looking to upgrade now, though when i am MQA isn’t going to be a make or break item for me on any new purchases but being Roon ready probably will.

This came in from Classe today:

Good Morning Mr. Gilpin,

Thank you for considering the CP-800. Currently, the CP-800 does not currently support MQA, it is under investigation but no decisions have been made yet.

We have not tested Roon, buit we see it is Apple Compatible, like the CP-800, so if it adheres to Airplay, DLNA, it should be compatible.

Best Regards

Robert Adam
International Customer Service Coordinator

Rob, I looked up the Auralic Aries and I’m afraid that I don’t understand what it has to offer. What’s the advantage of adding the Aries to the system instead of just plugging a computer into the DAC? Is the point to remove the computer from the vicinity of the audio rack and access the music library over wifi?

Also, I see on the Auralic Facebook page that the Aries doesn’t fully support MQA unless it’s driving an MQA-certified DAC. I guess this confirms your suggestion to go with a separate DAC and preamp.

Geoff, what I gathered here about the Auralic, or similar, is that it would be better to not directly connect your PC to your DAC because of all kinds of noise and interference in your PC potentially also getting through to your DAC.

In this thread there is more detailed explanation, especially by andy.

Auralic as endpoint vs…

To Kevin, yes McIntosh holds its value a little better but not as well as it does in the US (I am in Europe). Especially now with the currency situation all US gear is getting ridiculously expensive. Think of the US price doubled. Due to this the dealers are slower in trading in.

@allineedis, didn’t realize you were in Europe. I can see how the used market for Mac gear would be vastly different over there. Too bad the dollar strengthening hasn’t had the opposite effect on prices in the US for European gear, it is still just as high as ever.

@Geoff_Gilpin - Rob sums up the point of the Aries pretty well. It is essentially a bridge between your files and your DAC.

Not that the Aries isn’t a fine product, because it is, but personally i think the value proposition of the item goes down somewhat when Roon is factored in, or at least potential Roon ready products. One of the main features of the Aries is the lightening DS which is pretty much a server interface that allows you to control what is being sent to the device and then to your DAC. With Roon obviously that is being done by your server and an Aries in the chain is serving as the endpoint. So while the hardware still provides a service the software is kind of moot, unless you still need lightening DS for some purpose.

While i think its great that Auralic added this functionality for current users if i were in the market to buy one and used Roon i think that is something to be considered. Conversely Roon compatibility seems to makes the Aries Mini a better deal if one were planning on using the DAC in it and going straight to the amp.

Say you find a suitable DAC that is Roon Ready you would just need to plug it into your network and you are set. If you choose a DAC that isn’t then the Aries should make fine solution for getting music to your DAC through Roon. Something like the Sonore microRendu might also be of interest.

fwiw, I connect my Mac Mini running Roon directly to my CP-800 and I have no issues with sound quality.

I have tried the Aries and Linn streamers to compare with my Mac Mini and I haven’t heard an audible difference between the two. YMMV

As it happens i have the CP800 (with the ethernet upgrade) and wondered if there was any news on if it worked with Roon via ethernet or USB and whether Classe are any more likely to become Roon partners in the foreseeable future?