Setting up Roon with Berkeley Audio Reference 3 DAC

I am new to ROON and streaming audio. I have always listened to analog and am not computer savvy.
I have a reference audio system with a Berkeley Audio Reference 3 DAC. My router is a Netgear Nighthawk which is hardwired. I have approximately 400 albums in FLAC files and I would like to set up streaming audio with lossless files. I have not yet invested in any hardware for streaming…
Where do I begin?

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Welcome to the community George.

There are several options available which will add streaming capabilities to your DAC. These will range from very little to not so little money :slight_smile: This is something we can talk about but let’s park it for now.

I presume you have not yet installed Roon?

Tell us a bit more about the gear in your system.

You are correct…I have not yet downloaded ROON.
My stereo gear is extensive.
Analog section:
TW Acustic Raven Black Night turntable
Kuzma linear tracking air suspension tonearm
Koetsu Coralstone cartridge
CH Precision P1 phono preamp
Convergent Audio Technology Legend Signature preamp
Digital section:
mbl 1621A transport
Berkeley Audio Alpha Reference 3
Magico Q7 MK II

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Hi, George! Welcome to the forum!

Well, Roon is a computer program, so you’ll need a computer to run it on. It runs on lots of different ones, so that’s not hard. I started with an old Mac Mini, then moved to a Windows laptop, then to a custom Linux desktop, and now I run it on my old Synology NAS. So if you’ve got an old laptop, that works well as a starting point.

That’s the “Roon Core” program I’m talking about. It’s the thing that indexes your FLAC files and sends digital audio to your “endpoints”. Those endpoints are other computers, but typically tiny ones, that run Roon’s “Bridge” software and send the audio on to your DAC. Your DAC has Toslink and coax S/PDIF inputs and support for AES inputs. So you’ll need an endpoint computer, sometimes called a “streamer”, as well. I use a Chromecast Audio as an endpoint computer, and for another endpoint, a Raspberry Pi. There are again a multitude of things that work as endpoint computers – the key is that it can run the Roon Bridge, and has the right output for your DAC. I’ve heard good things about an endpoint computer called Pi2AES, basically a Raspberry Pi with a “daughterboard” that give you an AES output.

Finally, you need the control panel, the user interface, for Roon. This is yet a third program that can run either on your Core computer, or elsewhere, like an Apple iPad or phone or another laptop. It talks to the Core program and tells it what music to send to what endpoint. Roon has standard apps for iOS or Android in the respective app stores that support the the user interface.

So, the way it all works is: you look at the Roon app on your phone or laptop, and pick an endpoint to play something on. Then you pick one of your albums to play on it. Roon sends the music to the endpoint, the endpoint sends it to your DAC, and it comes out of your speakers.

I’d suggest reading the Roon Knowledge base a bit to get familiar with the terminology.

Buy a cheap Roon Ready streamer. Berkeley Audio Alpha Reference 3 is a great and well designed DAC - no need to pay a fortune for the streamer in my opinion.

This is a great system…at the higher end for sure. A comparable streamer/server for your system would be to get (1) Antipodes K50 or (2) an Innous Statement or (3) GRIMM MU1. All these are at a sound quality level to take advantage of the level of your other equipment. The great thing about these options is that the server to host roon core and the player are all in one box. You connect to your Berkeley via USB, etc. and you are done. You can also install your music on internal hard drives in these boxes as well and play your ripped CD files as well. Of the 3 my preference is the Antipodes. But you can’t miss with any of the 3. You can also explore the Taiko Extreme…but it’s a bit pricey…or more pricey.