I’m a lawyer too and until 2015 my main source of music was vinyl and tape. Since then I’ve added a computer digital source, including Tidal, so I hope I can help you understand the steps involved and some of the pitfalls to be avoided. You may already know much of what I say, but if I start from the beginning you’ll be able to identify where more information or explanation is needed.
Your request for a local Roon consultant is quite understandable and it may be that there are Roon users near you who can help, but in these virtually connected days this Forum can also act as a collective consultant.
Before making any decisions about particular gear, it is useful to think about the architecture of your systems generally, including the architecture of Roon. This post will just talk about architecture, we can look at gear options later.
As an experienced audiophile you’ll be familiar with the basic structural components of source, amplifier(s) and speaker. Sometimes these functions are combined in the one piece of equipment. A source may have an inbuilt amplifier or active speakers incorporate amplifiers.
Digital music initially presented as a conventional source, a CD Player being the classic example with an inbuilt DAC and an analog output.
Nowadays there is a cornucopia of “digital ready” equipment which can see the DAC located anywhere; inbuilt into the source, stand alone or integrated with an amplifier or even incorporated into an active speaker.
Stand alone DACs have a variety of digital inputs, making them a useful switching centre for digital sources. Some have gone further and developed volume controls, analog inputs and even phono sections in a bid to become true preamplifiers.
The variety of inputs into the stand alone DACs can be bewildering, each supporting one or more transmission protocols that can impose their own constraints.
Streaming music, either over the Internet or from a local server, makes use of transmission protocols (TCP/IP or UDP) over cabling (Ethernet or optical fibre) or WiFi. The unusual thing about streaming is that it is time independent. A digital signal is broken into conveniently sized packets, which are then routed to the receiving IP address. In theory the packets could go by different routes, even including carrier pigeons or smoke signals. At the receiving end the packets are sorted into correct order, error checked, and sent to a digital output with reclocked timing. This is the job of the digital transport or streamer.
Roon has it’s own architecture which separates out the concepts of Core, Control and Output. An Output acts as a digital source, sending a digital signal ready for a DAC to use.
A minimal approach to adding Roon into your existing system would see the deployment of small digital transports to each zone (living room, family room, etc) that can be fed into an appropriate DAC or digital ready amp. The output from such a DAC would be sent to your existing amps, with the Creston controller continuing to select sources in the family room. Roon/Tidal would just become another source.
I’ll pause here for any questions or further explanations you might ask.
The next thing to do is look at what existing cabling or WiFi you have so that we can choose the best location for the computer to run the Roon Core. That will probably be next to your NAS. Do you have existing Ethernet cabling from your NAS to each room where you want Roon capability ? If not, is it possible to run such cabling ?