Roon endpoint / DAC advice with AVR

Moving from AirPlay to Roon endpoints (finally). Assume I have all the parts listed. Assume I enjoy quality audio but do not have a terribly critical ear. Whats the recommended setup of these options for a primary system:

  1. Roon Core (ethernet) > Allo Boss Player -> Analog to Pioneer SC-1223 AVR
  2. Roon Core (ethernet) > Allo DigiOne -> Digital Coax to Pioneer AVR
  3. Roon Core (ethernet) > Allo DigiOne -> Digital Coax to Cal Audio Labs DAC -> Analog to Pioneer

All other endpoints will be using Allo Boss to AMP/Speakers

More info - the Cal Audio DAC is the SIgma II which is a tube based DAC

I like and use the Allo DigiOne. I have never heard the Cal Audio Labs DAC nor the Pioneer so I can’t comment. However, I would say if you go Number 2, then you can always add a DAC later.

I have not heard the Cal Audio Labs DAC but my general recommendation would be not go with an older DAC (?) if it’s not already something you own and can try vs. the built in DAC in your Pioneer.

Start with the Allo DigiOne or similar endpoint and work your way from there. Chances are that you in the future are better of upgrading your Pioneer if you want a better DAC than adding yet another thing to the chain. Convenience, but also the way the electronics work together and how well they integrate is important.

I always try to recommend smaller steps if possible. Since you have an amp you like just adding a streamer/endpoint is probably the best way to go. And if you upgrade in the future you can take the endpoint with you.

Edit: Also wanted to add that I used Pioneer SC-83 and added a Chord HUGO (first version) with a very good result back in 2015. I still own the HUGO but gone all 2 channel now and mostly use that DAC with my laptop. When it comes to adding a DAC I think it’s best to be able to borrow it first, or go with something you really think will improve your setup and take a chance. The Pioneer AVR you have should have a well built DAC to begin with.

I started with #1. Roon Core (ethernet) > Allo Boss Player -> Analog to Pioneer SC-1223 AVR, used the Pure Direct setting on the Pioneer.

Sounds great - way better than AirPlay config - not sure Ineed to test the others…

I use a Mac Pro (trashcan) for the roon core. Love the ability to use the DSP extensively (not hindered by processing capability) and with iCloud I have super easy way to have a roon backup.

For enpoints love the rpi- allo boss and rpi-hifiberry digi feeding a Vanatoo active speakers. Amazing sound.

Just started listening to an asus tinkerboard via usb. Early days to make a judgement on this setup.

If you have all the parts, try configuration #2.

It can be challenging to get a pure analog path through many AVRs (I have no knowledge of your particular model), so you end up listening to the AVR’s DAC anyways. In that case, you might as well feed it a digital input to start with…

Sorry…Im a tad new to the Roon world and am trying to configure a set up that meets my needs


Can’t I just go from my Roon Core directly to my Anthem 720 DAC (via HDMI) ?
The Anthem DAC sounds pretty good to my ears…

Or am I missing something?

I don’t see why you couldn’t. Doesn’t hurt to plug it up and see what you get.

What made you think you could not?

Just only saw folk using external DAC’s? I know, it’s kinda a dumb question.

No question is dumb. People use other DACs because they feel those DACs sound better than the DAC in the AVR. Just like some people use a 2.1 system that sits in Theater Pass Through Mode in conjunction with an AVR and the other surrounds.

I’m just not sure if the Anthem DAC supports Roon. I think the DAC needs to, yes?

This may be a more compelling reason as to why I’m not seeing Roon into an AVR much?