Santa needs some 2nd System advice!

I think I’m getting back into the Roon thing. I had thought about setting up a dedicated ROCK, but think I’m just going to use a mini-PC as a core (not dedicated, it will also be used for basic light office work at times).

My “Main” system path will be what I’ve had in the past…

PC => Sonore microRendu => Oppo Sonica DAC => B&K Amp => Speakers

It’s my “2nd System”that I need help on…this is for my casual listening…if I really want top quality I’ll head to my “main” room. As I’m hoping to stay married, I’d prefer not to spend much new $$ on this system. I do like high quality sound and want the best I can get from this system…

I have a Denon AVR 3400H receiver which is used for mostly for general HT use. It has HEOS, which I’ve never used. I hadn’t planned on putting the core nearby the AVR, but I could (and send Roon to the AVR via HDMI??). I also have a very gently used SONOS Connect (first version) that I should have sold years ago. I have an pretty recent iPad and iPhone 8+, so I think I could use Apple AirPlay2…

So, how would you rank my alternatives? Have others?

Option A = Put Core near Denon 3400H and send hdmi out to receiver
Option B = Use Airplay and HEOS… (I’ve never used either)
Option C = use Sonos Connect
Option D = other affordable end point?
Option D = ???
Option E = forget about it, fins another hobby, spend less $ and sleep better at night!

Thanks for your advice and expertise. Happy holidays!

Dave P.

PS - I’m not in love with the stereo sound in the Denon, so any advice on making sure I’m getting the most out of it also helpful!

PPS - All gear will (hopefully) be Ethernet cabled.

Why does anyone need more than one home system for music? Sell you excess stuff and buy something for your wife. :slightly_smiling_face:


Option 1
because few $ for a HDMI cable

Option 2
a Pi with a nice hat

Compromise options
Airport has some compression (I think), HEOS never used

Say Hello to Santa

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Why does a golfer need more than one club? Does your home have more than one bathroom? My Mrs has more than one home, heck I even bought her a broom and a vacuum cleaner for Christmas :joy::wink::rofl:

Merry Christmas Jim :slightly_smiling_face:


I added a iFi zen stream to my Denon 4500 AVR, feeding coaxial into the dvd digital input. My core is upstairs and the Denon downstairs, Ethernet via TP-Link deco mesh router. Working quite well.


A Wiim mini (coax or optical out) might be a good and cheap option, or an Apple TV (HDMI out).


Roon does not support HEOS. That is the Denon/Marantz proprietary network audio ecosystem.

Roon does support (a reverse engineered version of) AirPlay. It will be the simplest option and absolutely fine for this AVR based second system.


Thanks everyone! I guess I have more options than I thought. I have also have a rarely used Apple TV, and my nephew has offered to donate a Raspberry Pi 2b to the cause…

I spend most of the day listening to music from Tidal (not Roon yet) sent to my Sony XBR Tv and then sent via HDMI Arc to the Denon and via Airplay and HEOS. The sound was comparable, I’d say it was good, not great - could be the limitations on the Denin AVR 3400.

Probably not a big deal for Roonies, but the interface on the HEOS was horrible! Airplay2’s was fine, as expected.

At any rate, moving on… a couple more questions…

How will the audio quality be coming right out of the core (I thought this was a big no, no!).

How is the audio quality out of the Apple TV?

Can I assume that it would be best from a Pi2b and the right “hat”? Pic attached of the donor Pi ( I assume I’d also need a new case to go with the hat?).

Thanks again everyone, the more I think about it audio quality is very important, life is too short!

Dave P.

I have the core going usb to a dac, and next to it going ethernet via a bridge to another dac… the difference is not that big but it is noticeable for me. with the core usb is like having a bit smaller speakers and using the bridge the room it is a bit larger.

To be honest, the limitation on SQ is the AV Receiver. You’re never going to get top quality sound from from such a device. If it has preamp outs, you can add a stereo amp with home theatre bypass and, for even a fairly modest outlay, will get a big increase in quality, but that’s a topic for another thread.

Audio quality from an Apple TV is perfectly acceptable (it resamples everything to 48 kHz but you’ll never know) if you have one that’s what I’d go with - I have one and have occasionally listened to Tidal through it and it sounds just fine. I would shy away from using your core since ideally you would use USB out and most AVRs don’t have USB input.

Good luck, and let us know how you go!


That would not gain anything. Apple TV would be an endpoint via AirPlay, which already is built in to the Denon AVR (or just about any other AVR from the last decade). As long as enabling AirPlay from Roon to the AVR works, no additional endpoint hardware needed.


If I had a spare Apple TV kicking around I would certainly hook it up and compare it SQ wise to streaming directly to the AVR.

@Jim_F Jim, I have 4 homes systems … gulp! (I know I know.) Lounge, main bedroom, dining room, home office! All differing brands and flavours. I think I am over compensating for my poor sense of taste and zero TV or streaming subscriptions (just my own library) !!! Roon ready helps to make this possible. 1# ipad to rule them all! Upgrade-itus now cured! (did I really say that!) We are all different and hear differently. Marry Xmas.