Roon-Ready amp recommendations

Hi-

I’m looking for Roon-Ready amp recommendations… I am planning to add two sets of outdoor speakers to my Roon Nucleus Core-based Hi-Fi set-up, ideally powered by one new Roon-Ready amp that has A and B speaker outs. I plan to hardwire (Ethernet Cat6) the new amp to my home network.

I would like each outdoor speaker set to be a separate Roon Zone (these also being separate from my main indoor Zone). I would like all three Zones to be able to be Grouped (Zone 1 + Zone 2, Zone 1 + Zone 3, Zone 2 + Zone 3, Zone 1 + Zone 2 + Zone 3).

Appreciate the guidance!

What protocol do you run on your existing indoor Zone? RAAT? The other two zones would have to be the same protocol.

Do any Roon-Ready amps have A and B speaker outputs? I think you have to delve into the mass-market amps like Denon and Yamaha to get that. Are any of them Roon-Ready? You might think about adding two new amps, one for each outdoor zone.

If you go with separates, which is theoretically the most flexible option, you don’t need a Roon-ready amp. For each zone, you basically need a streamer (e.g. RPi), a DAC (e.g. external DAC or an RPi HAT) and a vanilla (analog) integrated amp (or just power amp if you plan to control volume through Roon). If the amp has multiple inputs, you can use one streamer/DAC pair for each input. This way, you can create as many zones as you need. If you want to combine different components, you could get an amp with digital inputs (i.e. a DAC/amp combo) and use one separate streamer (e.g. RPi) for each amp input.
Having a Roon-ready streamer amp may be an expensive option as far as the price per zone goes.

Hi Bill, and thanks for your reply…

I am running the RAAT protocol indoors, and understand that my outdoor set-up needs to be the same, hence my desire for Roon-Ready.

I’ve seen A&B speaker outputs on NAD Roon-Ready amps… just looking for additional suggestions (that may be less expensive).

Thanks Marian, I’m open to using separates, just concerned about being able to group all of the Zones… this was why I was looking for Roon-Ready.

With separates, only the endpoints (streamer + DAC pairs) need to work with Roon. I don’t know if RPi+RoPieee is Roon-ready, but they support RAAT, so you should be able to group them any way you need.

What amp were you thinking of?

I am assuming you are talking about the amps ability to group zone, and not Roon’s. In Roon, you can setup a group, but to change it you have to remove zones from one group before regrouping them into another.

Agree. The NAD C368 and C388 have A and B and are Roon Ready but they operate as a single zone. Maybe 2 Bluesound PowerNodes? Small footprint and enough power for outdoor speakers.

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That is why I asked what amp he was considering. The NAD CI 580 were, but, had a bit of issues if I remember. I am not sure about the CI 980. None of these options are cheap.

Thanks for the feedback Bill… I see your point, an A&B speaker output amp will appear as one zone in Roon, so not the solution I’m after. Any other Blue Note -like options?

Ropieee + inexpensive AV installer power amp per zone. Episode is what comes to mind, or monoprice. Outdoor speakers & environment are not audiophile quality, don’t go overkill on what you use to drive them. If you didn’t need RAAT, a Sonos AMP would be simplest. Denon / Yamaha would be fine, but again you’d need one amp per zone.

I use a Ropieee plus these eBay Class D guys and they work just fine for the application. And yes, I have far nicer gear in my listening room.

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Those Nobsound amps are pretty decent for the money, I had one for a while, hard to complain at that price and did a decent enough job of driving a pair of small bookshelf speakers

You might check out the IQaudIO DigiAmp+. I have one of those on a Pi 3B+, and it drives a pair of old speakers just fine.

IQAudIO got swallowed up by raspberry pi and is sold under the pi branding now iirc

Issue for now is raspberry pi’s are is short supply so unless you have some on hand probably not an immediate solution

There was something in the roon partners page for centralized zone amplifiers…

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Thanks for the feedback… I’m leaning toward the Arcam Solo Uno (2 ea).

A Devialet Expert Pro may also be worth a look, works well with Roon.

There is a whirlwind but that is not an amp, it is a RoonCore with 4 zone outputs that you would feed to an amp.

Im looking at amps too. Problem with using a separate Roon Ready DAC and dumb amp with speaker outputs is volume control - can’t be controlled from the Roon app.

There are a few amps out there, mentioned above, that can have the volume controlled, but they are quite expensive

I have a pair of rather large Monitor Audio speakers I’d like to drive and the RPi hat based amps just aren’t powerful enough

Not sure what you mean by that, but you can use DSP volume in Roon.

I believe some of the Pi DAC hats allow device volume control. Some of the Chromecast devices, as well.