Roon on a Denon AVR-X1600 (Chromecast or RAAT)

Hello everybody…

About a year ago I supported a friend in choosing and setting up a low budget 5.1 solution. At its core there is said Denon AVR. Unfortunately he prioritized a multichannel solution over a much better 2 way solution for the same money. Water under the bridge.

He really liked Roon and he has a Qobuz Studio subscription. Now the question is: what is the best/easiest/cheapest solution to:

  • get at least 24/96 signal to the Denon and
  • to maintain the possibility of volume control on the Roon app

As far as I know because of the demand for 24/96 everything but chromecast or RAAT protocol is off the table, isn’t it?

I know about all the possibilities with raspberry pies which provide a toslink or digital coax output to the AVR. But if you take that road the comfort of volume control with Roon remote app id no longer there.

I thought about a chromecast client connected via HDMI… Will Roon recognize the chromecast client (or does it only support dedicated chromecast audio clients). Will this solution be able to trigger the AVR’s volume control via HDMI?

Do you have any other suggestions? Raspberry Pi running Ropiee does not support audio output via USB. Is there a solution for a Raspberry Pi which supports HDMI output and thus maybe the possibility of triggering the AVR’s volume control?

The crucial point are:

  • at least 24 / 96 support
  • volume control via Roon App
  • not costing the same amount of money as the AVR itself :slight_smile:

I am perfectly aware that these won’t be High End solutions, but that is also not what we are looking for here.

Our last resort would be using Audirvana which feeds the AVR all the music via DLNA. But then we would loose all of Roon unique library features.

Thank you for your input.

Chromecast will only support 48/24 and no higher on video devices. The Denon doesn’t support USB audio class input so your only option is a computer running Roon via HDMI. You could use a nuc for this and it can be the core as well.

You cannot control volume via Roon to the Denon unless you use Airplay or Chromecast as there is no communication between the two devices.

You may be able to apply DSP volume via Roon on the HDMI output. This means you still have two volumes to play with as you need to set the amp to a level then use Roons DSP to lower it you can’t go pass the max the volume is set on the amp, it will only reduce from 100%.

One option is to use a UPnP bridge. This will bridge UPnP on the Denon to Roon via mimicing a squeezebox. You can buy a dedicated device from Sonore, build your own using the free software LMS2UpnP or use the Roon extension RooUPnP you will find the latter by searching the forum. Try the free ones fire to see if it works as UPnP is filled with fun and not all work the same.

Thanks… that is what I was afraid to hear.

If we will not be able to control the volume on the app, even if the core device is directly connected via HDMI, there is no reason to invest roughly €500 into a NUC.
If my friend is willing to invest around €500, selling the AVR he has spending the extra 500 and the money he got for his old one and then buying an AVR which already has Chromecast built-in will be in watch more elegant solution because of the volume control.
Also a raspberry pi running RoPiee with a hat providing a digital coaxial output is a much cheaper solution providing just about the same quality.

I was actually hoping that there is some communication between devices, when running the core directly connected via HDMI to trigger the AVR volume just like with HDMI ARC. That is what I was hoping for.

But the UPNP extension doesn’t solve the volume control problem either, does it?

I recently set up a Denon AVR-2807 and a pair of DCM Time Windows for 2 channel and was in the same boat.

I went ahead and tried a standard HDMI Chromecast because I had it on hand. I was really surprised and pleased with the results. The sound is excellent and my 2021 iPad Pro works very well as the remote.

I set the Denon to no tone control and use Roon’s DSP for that. Dialing the EQ in was important and really smoothed things out. As mentioned, I set the Denon volume as a max and control down from there with Roon.

I see this as kind of a happy accident and a reminder to trust your ears. I was chasing specs and numbers as I usually do but got lazy and settled for what I thought would be less. So far, I’m extremely pleased with the setup and have no plans to buy more expensive stuff for this spot. I’d say use speakers you like, go for it with a Chromecast, and see how it turns out. You can always move up the food chain later.

Thank you @Bill_Snell

Unfortunately this will not work for very practical reasons. The people who operate the system are not all tech savvy. So cranking up the volume to 100% in order to control the volume over DSP features in the software is prone to cause a lot of accidents when switching to another source like Apple TV or TV or DVD. I bet this would be too dangerous for ears and speakers :grinning:

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It can, but is device dependant on how well it works.

Indeed, its not the best place to be in a multiuser environment.


Please forgive me if this question is naïve possibly: As much as I understand on the first glance the extension runs on the raspberry pi4 and it’s connected to the net work via LAN. How exactly does it connect to the AVR?

Via the network. It bridges Roon to the UPnP protocol.

Denon supports UPnP as a network audio input.

The bridge runs software called LMS2UPnP (RooUPnP is a modified version of this) to make it more Roon friendly as you setup from the extension UI. The raw software can also be installed on a pi but requires some knowledge to set it up via an XML file, so RooUPnP is an easier option.

The software basically is a transport converter. It scans your network for UPnP rendering devices on the network and then advertises them as Squeezebox devices which Roon supports for bitperfect playback up to 192/24. It’s just a bridge between the two protocols. This was written to allow UPnP devices to be used with Squeezebox eco systems and has been out for years. It works for Roon in the same way. You don’t get all the niceties of RAAT as no metadata on the player but you get all the rest.

As UPnP implementations are not the same on all devices some stuff like volume may or may not work but has for me on most things. The developer of RooUPnP is helping add better support for devices though so you could work with him. It’s not flawless but many users use it to get Roon to their non Roon Ready streamers and systems.

True, you do have to manage your sources. Also true, there can be differences in levels between tv signals and stereo signals that can take you by surprise if you’re not careful. Been there, done that. Figured it out.

I didn’t mean I maxed out the Denon. I set it as a maximum, not at the maximum. I suppose it functionally becomes a master volume control at that point. It’s actually at a very comfortable level for all sources. I haven’t touched it again since I set it up.

Thank for the description @CrystalGipsy

For a moment I was thinking in old fashioned audio device logic instead of network logic, like there is only one LAN port on the raspberry pi for connection to the network, where is the second LAN port for the connection to the receiver. As if something like this would be needed when both devices share the same network :roll_eyes:🤦🏻

Sometimes I don’t see the forest for the trees 🤷🏻

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We all have our moments.

Also consider a cheap Windows mini PC for around $100 (refurb) to $250. Celeron or pentium is probably fine for an endpoint. I3 refurbs can be found for < $150. The Windows license alone would cost around that much on a nuc. Install roon on it. (Not bridge, the full control/endpoint). Besides simple point and click setup, another advantage is roon now playing info on the hdtv, controlled by phone/tablet app.

No roon volume control, though. If phone/tablet volume control is needed v just using the avr remote, you could install the denon avr remote phone/tablet app.

I have a Marantz and I use a web interface to control the device. Using OpenHAB I just open a web browser and do as I need.
Still haven’t figure out the now playing display though.

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Hey @CrystalGipsy I wanted to give you my final feedback on the topic. I was really able to solve all of my friends problems with a raspberry Pi4 and rooUPnP.

Tests at my home worked well with 4 of 5 devices which normally don’t talk UPnP with my Roon core. Pausing music and selecting volume sometimes showed time lags. But anyway: this was getting my hopes up that this could be a real solution.

And the best part: at my friend’s house with his Denon AVR it works flawlessly and without any of the time lags which I experienced at home.

So problem solved with an invest of roughly 200€ (Pi4 + software license) instead of buying the cheapest Roon Ready AVR which costs 3-4 times the money of his small Denon. rooUPnPs mastermind @DrCWO recommends a Pi4 because he only tested with that. Later on I also tested with one of my old Pi3s which I have been using as a Roon endpoint before but which I no longer need. Also works. I have yet to find out where those lags come from… At my place there are two differences to my friend’s use case: I only tested WiFi devices at my place. My friend’s Denon has a wired connection. An he uses his iMac as a core whereas I have a dedicated Intel NUC running Roon Rock.

Long story short: thanks for the advice! Really solved our problem.

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Glad to hear it and it’s worked out ok. Volume control lag will be likely wireless lag. It’s got latency built in so as it’s also going a round robin route to get to the Marantz it’s adding to that.

Here is the reason. My recommendation is always wired Ethernet.

@itzlbritzl I thank you for the positive feedback. Always much appreciated :blush: :grinning:

Merry Christmas

A universal remote control solves all volume problems. A Logitech Harmony solves all input selection, startup volume and other device command problems.

Until they stop working, and turn of their servers now they are discontinued. :frowning: