Seriously though once you narrow down your needs, budget, etc, the options become a bit more manageable. And of course you dont necessarily need something to be RoonReady.
Maybe if you give a bit more info about what you’re trying to achieve and on what budget, we could offer some more advice.
I’m not sure about that. I think it’s designed to be attached to a Mac/PC. I’d ask Meridian that question unless anyone else can chime in. Although if you’re starting from a blank canvass, buying a streamer and an Explorer wouldn’t seem like the most sensible solution necessarily.
Thanks Steve. I am sorry if I was not very clear on the OP.
This is the set up for my headphone listening only. I am all set on main stereo listening system (Bluesound Node 2, ELAC Uni-fi UB5 speakers, SVS SB12 subwoofer, and Rotel integrated).
As I already have some good headphones (I think) with Marshall Major on ears, the budget for everything else is no more than $500. Not sure if enough to get high resolution playback (either from ripped CDs in NAS or Tidal HiFi & MQA). Preferably with Roon integration, for future proof (still on trial with Roon).
Lots of info on here for raspberry pi’s with DAC HATs if you don’t mind a tiny bit of DIY. Not tried headphones in mine but would make a tidy Roon setup at the lower end of the budget. Or a pi (or other pi type device) and a USB DAC. Kind of rules out Tidal apps etc, but would make a great, flexible, Roon headphone system.
You’ll easily get a decent sound and high-res on that budget. Lots of headphone users here, I’m sure some will be along to give their tips.
Maybe the Explorer would work with a PI? I dont have one here so can’t test.
I used an IQAudIO DigiAMP+ with fully balanced headphones (you MUST HAVE FULLY BALANCED as a common negative [-] type headphone is not supported). I use Opposite PM-2 with the balanced 4 way XLR cable.
Its built on Raspberry Pi 3B and DietPi build, and I have a switch to allow for speakers as an option. Had a post with some pics somewhere but can’t find it now…not portable tho
This will do everything I think,
MQA, roon, Tidal - it is an android device so anything you can do in android. Also has room for 2 x 200gb sd cards so you can put a lot on it natively too if you need portability.
I use it with Sennheiser 650s and it is fine. However, if you are going to drive the top end Audeze you might have a bit of an unbalanced system. If you are after more output to drive the Audeze or similar “difficult” headphone loads you might be bettr off with the Onkyo DP-X1 which is the same as the Pioneer except with dual DACs and amps.
Or a cheap android device plugged into a desktop DAC/Headphone amp?
. I just purchased an Explorer 2. I think it’s “Roon certified.” It is identified in my Roon remote signal chain. I’m running it out of a Bryston BDP-1 endpoint. Both the BDP-1 and Explorer2 are identified in the chain.
The Pioneer and the Onkyo are made by the same company and are very similar with the Onkyo being the higher specced variant. What I don’t know is if the player will use MQA when acting as a roon end point. The high res capabilities of the DAP are only fully utilised when using it’s own in built music player.
It works well as an end point but remember that there are limitations to small android devices when it comes to being a control point such as no A-Z browser on albums etc.
All in all it makes a very good device but it does have limitations and with v1.3 of roon coming out soon it might be best to wait a few weeks for more resolution as to exactly how MQA will work on DAPs with inbuilt decoding.
Let me know if you want any more info as I obviously own the Pioneer
I use it as a DAP, Sonos control point, roon end and control point, audio book player, etc
I agree with ged. I have a DP-X1 and I use it with the balanced output to drive a set of JHA Roxanne IEM’s. The balanced definitely sounds better than the unbalanced out. I don’t think the Pioneer has a balanced out. I also have an Audeze LCD-X but I use that with my home system. The DP-X1 is only used for travel.
ged - question for you. How are you using the Pioneer as a Roon endpoint? I have the sister Onkyo DP-X1 and I have Roon Remote app installed, so I can use it for controlling Roon streams but haven’t figured out a way to use it as an endpoint.
As far as I can tell, the only way to get the DP-X1 to play MQA is to download an MQA file and play it with the Onkyo player. It will do all the unfolding and DAC conversion on board and send analog via either of the headphone jacks. Tidal for Android is not enabled (yet) to stream MQA, that is only possible with the desktop apps, perhaps due to processor requirements?? I know Roon is talking about an MQA software solution but it isn’t clear to me where this will be done in the Core/Server or in the endpoint software.