RoonBridge vs piCorePlayer on Raspberry Pi


Is there any advantage of RoonBridge over piCorePlayer?

Perhaps you should read about RoonBridge, you can be sure it wasn’t written because the development team had nothing better to do.

Gapless playback
Grouping with other devices that support RAAT streams

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The KB has this Article about RAAT that contains some information about the differences between RAAT and other streaming protocols.


One of the key differences is that RoonBridge uses RAAT (Roon Advanced Audio Transport), which has some important advantages and excellent clocking skills. Along with the superior interface and metadata richness, RAAT is one of Roon’s crown jewels.

You can read more about RAAT here:


Unfortunately at the moment it does not support 24 bit or 32 bit over HDMI so not much use for me.


I have read about RoonBridge and understand some of the advantages over AirPlay and UPnP/DLNA. It’s a genuine question about the differences of streaming from Roon to piCorePlayer compared to RoonBridge on a Raspberry Pi.

If you’re such an expert, perhaps you could offer something more constructive than this waste of a response.

Don’t take it personally Murry, as far as I can tell everyone gets the same treatment.
Thankfully the vast majority of people here are friendly and helpful like RBM and Andybob. :wink:


Didn’t realise about the gapless playback. I had thought piCorePlayer was doing that.

I can see the advantage if you have multiple RoonBridge endpoints (especially hardware partnered) and would benefit from grouping and better synchronisation with playback.

Currently the installation of RoonBridge onto a Raspberry Pi is more involved than piCorePlayer having to first install an OS and then install the RoonBridge application. I imagine it won’t be too long until a pre built disk image is available. Also, as CJ mentions, there may be a few playback issues with 24bit and above over HDMI and I have read of others having some DAC compatibility issues. Again, I suspect this will be ironed out soon.

Even if installation were simplified and these reported issues fixed, for a single Raspberry Pi output and piCorePlayer working as a lossless signal path endpoint, is there any advantage with RoonBridge apart from possible gapless play back?

Can RoonBridge on Raspberry Pi output video over HDMI of cover art/what’s playing while also feeding audio to USB or a SPDIF hat? If so, then that would be a significant advantage.

Install aside (and I think you’re right it will become easier as the Roon team evolve it), I guess for most of us (well, me anyway) what I like is that its native to Roon. So I know that they will update it (I hear it updates semi-automatically via the Roon interface like their other updates), and I know it will always be optimal for what they’re trying to achieve with the Roon ‘ecosystem’. Since I dont have any squeeze ecosystem, I’ll just stick with RoonBridge.

Whether its technically any better or sound-wise would be any better I’m not 100% but I’m guessing Roon would say yes. :wink: But unless you notice a difference or have a specific need that one deals with better than the other, it probably doesn’t make that much difference at this stage on a single Pi device. Have you got a specific scenario, or you were just curious in general? Is there any reason you’d not want to use RoonBridge?

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Indeed, it does update automatically - I noticed that it updated itself from the initial 1.0 build to build 18. That was nice to see.

Up until Roon version 1.2, I was using PiCorePlayer on my Raspberry Pi + HiFiBerry Digi+, but with the release of 1.2, I switched over to RoonBridge, and probably for the same reasons as everyone else:

  • gapless playback
  • zone grouping
  • single ecosystem
  • auto-update.
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That’s due to the limited (or should I say half-baked) state of on-board Pi audio – RAAT is not to fault here. I very much doubt whether PiCore is any better – it sure pushes the full signal to the driver, but it probably gets truncated all the same.

Apart from that – HDMI is hardly an ideal interface for audio due to the DAC clock being tied to the video pixel clock (see here for more info).

In case you can connect to your receiver using SPDIF (optical of (preferred) coaxial), you may be well served by adding a HAT to your Pi (Hifiberry Digi+ is great for this). Your audio signal will pass directly through the Pi’s I2S interface to the digital board, with RAAT owning the Digi+'s own clocks. This will give you the benefits of a much cleaner and better clocked audio signal.

I have been using a Pi+Digi+ for a few months now (connected through SPDIF to a pair of Meridian DSP5200’s – with excellent results (the Pi replaced a rather expensive Meridian endpoint). RAAT is an audible improvement over PiCorePlayer in my system – although, of course, YMMV.

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I just upgraded from PiCorePlayer to RoonBridge. There are a few differences, RoonBridge is directly managing the DAC so integration is better and Roon is immediately aware if the DAC is turned off or disconnected. The big difference is that I can now play DSD128 directly which I couldn’t with PiCorePlayer. Otherwise both are very similar in terms of setup and performance. Both do gapless just fine. YMMV.

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Thanks for all the responses. Makes it clearer. That is good about the auto-updating and I like the idea of a unified ecosystem too.

I think my biggest hesitation at the moment is starting a new linux install, customising sound outputs, installing dependencies, checking privileges, path locations and auto-boot options. Basically a black hole of time for someone that doesn’t use linux regularly.

It’s a lot simpler than you think…… If you installed picoreplayer and you’ve got a spare SD card I’d give it a go - you’ll be fine. It’s a 5 min job honestly…. And (assuming a standalone Pi) you don’t need to deal with any of these: installing dependencies, checking privileges, path locations and auto-boot options.

Follow this Setting up a Raspberry Pi2 with RoonBridge Step-by-Step (OSX version) or if you’re on Windows, replace Terminal with the Putty program, ApplePiBaker with whatever you used to write your picore SD card.

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[quote=“Murry_Digga, post:7, topic:9990”]
If you’re such an expert, perhaps you could offer something more constructive than this waste of a response.
[/quote]apologies, but if you’d used the search function on the forum the question wouldn’t have been necessary.

Yet here we all are, having a nice discussion about it, and I’ve learnt a few new things too….That’s what’s nice about a friendly community :wink:


I setup a RPi RoonBridge today and you’re absolutely right…it was very simple. Thanks Steve for the easy to follow instructions in the link.

The rpi2 with RoonBridge definitely has a lot more options available from Roon under playback settings and it is much clearer on what bitrates will be sent bit perfect. It’s also reassuring to know that it is all within the same ecosystem and that there are automatic updates which makes it much less work to benefit from future improvements.

The only small issue I have noticed so far is that I’ve had a couple of short dropouts with DSD64 tracks of a couple of seconds every few minutes which I’d never experienced with piCorePlayer.