I’m on my (extended, thank you!) trial of Roon and deciding if I should stay or go.
I like all the metadata and the look of the player.
I’m not sure Roon does what I want though.
My setup today doesn’t involve a (USB) DAC and/or streamer yet.
1 PC with Roon Core.
1 NUC connected to Yamaha RX-A2030 receiver for Plex/Roon. When I turn the TV off Roon stops sending audio to my receiver.
1 Macbook which is my main PC.
1 Synology that holds my music collection, shared via SMB to my Roon Core. It also has a DLNA server running.
I am not an audiophile type of guy. I like my music multi-channel if at all possible, I do this through my NUC today via HDMI.
Here’s what I would like:
A. A headless device that plays MP3/FLAC/DSD through my receiver that I can remote control through all the Roon players in the house (I’m thinking mostly of using my iPad for control).
This could be a headless PC with a USB DAC, but I would prefer it to be a stereo appliance.
B. I could live with a Network Streamer that has some sort of not-completely-rubbish interface and get rid of Roon but I’d prefer option A.
I’m thinking somewhere in the $1000 range (PC excluded if that’s in the mix, I have PCs).
Any ideas for this mystery device that will just work with Roon?
Whether or not you should stay with Roon, is your own decision ;-). All I can say : I certainly don’t regret staying with them, for ‘life’. That’s mildly put…it may even have been my 2nd best A/V purchase yet .
Your situation is pretty similar to mine. You don’t need to spend $1000 to achieve this (if you are willing to drop the ‘stereo appliance’-look a bit).
I took a good Intel NUC, but not the very best. In my case : a NUC6i5. Put that in a nice fanless case like an Akasa Newton. Install (free) Roon ROCK OS (=headless) on it. It is completely silent, and in my opinion good looking, too.
If you don’t like the looks : put it somewhere you can’t see it (behind the TV?). Power requirements are very low, so you don’t really need to worry about reaching the power button.
It is rock solid as well : mine hasn’t rebooted in months…
Has more than enough power, to run even complicated DSP work.
Can be operated with your iPad. Can be used very well for multichannel with the NUC onboard HDMI. Works stable with Synology. The downside : if you make changes in your Synology music folder, they are not processed very well by Roon on Linux. You must often manually force a library rescan.
A NUC may be a bit overkill from the processing power perspective, yes. But is that a problem ?
A NUC5i3 for instance, is not thát much more expensive, than the Amazon stuff.
The big upside : its a reliable and stable PC, and it is running ROCK. Almost completely maintenance-free soft- and hardware. For me, that’s a HUGE advantage compared to a cheap Windows PC.
But yes, that’s just my opinion. Everybody decides for themselves :). Topicstarter specifically asked for something appliance-ish…
The OP already has a RoonServer installed. I don’t think he is asking to replace that server, but, instead, asking for a streaming endpoint unit to sit and take Ethernet in and then plug into his receiver. The endpoint would be running the RoonBridge software, not, ROCK. And would appear in his Server as a Network Endpoint. Or, be an appliance doing the same function.
In this case, adding a 2nd ROCK to the network (just to function as an endpoint) not only is overkill but also could potentially cause problems with 2 cores on the same network. Now if I misunderstood and the OP wants to replace his current RoonServer; then a NUC is viable option, and you would definitely want something stronger than my suggestion.
I don’t think you misunderstood; your understanding is the same as mine. Same points, but different answers.
I do agree : a NUC/ROCK is heavy for this purpose. Much like driving a Lexus for your daily commute. Quite a bit more than you need. But very comfy and trouble-free, nonetheless . What is the right choice, when a Lexus is double the price of a VW Polo ? (Considering that you were willing to spend a quadruple, in the first place!)
As far as I know, ROCK can be used as endpoint-only, and can co-exist with another available Core. I do not see a problem, but please do correct me if I’m wrong.
Differences in our answers as I see them :
You are advising from a price and performance requirements perspective.
I am advising from a comfort (no-maintenance) and appliance perspective. Especially with multichannel HDMI, or having any HDMI audio without having a screen attached, I know this can be troublesome with generic PC’s…
Given there is only one output zone described in the OP’s post, and they talk about feeding an AV receiver, you could go super cheap and get a Chromecast Audio and call it done. If willing to spend a little more money, then one of the RPI/etc solutions with a digital audio hat to feed the receiver would also work and run a native RoonBridge.
(now wearing snowshoes on my asymmetrical isolation feet)
How about a Bluesound Node 2i? $500, Amazon Prime, Roon-ready, etc. 5 stars at What Hi-Fi. I’m tempted myself.
I read up on RoPieee and since I already have Raspberry Pi’s lying around I think it would make sense to go that route. My NUC stays connected to my Receiver/TV (mainly for Plex but also for multi-channel Roon audio) and I get to tinker with a new project. A cheap(-ish) USB DAC that’s supported (and decodes DSDs) will get me a long way and presumably, if I get the RPi 7" screen and a stand, I can live with the looks (or just hide it if screen-less).
This will save me money, too.
In that case, I was indeed a bit wrong . Sorry. My assumption was, that multichannel HDMI was a necessity for this new machine, too. If you don’t need it, then a Pi can be a nice option. I believe (unsure) this is not possible with a Pi.
You might struggle with the pi and higher bit rates if using usb on the pi itself. It’s really not very good. Mine could not play anything more than 192/24 before it started to get artefacts. DSD was a clicky mess. If you use the Lan port it’s even worse due its shared bus with the usb. NUC likely more reliable in their case.
You could add This to the pi for DSD or get an Allo USBridge. I have one I can sell you.
My experience with different Pi’s differ greatly. There have been basically no issues at all up to 32bit/384Khz and DSD128 (as DoP) when using a USB DAC. If you transcode using the pi to SPDIF there will of course be issues over 24/192.
I just thought it would be a fun project to add a Pi to my setup, i’ll see if I go with a HAT or USB.
I have a Dell 3040 I could easily run an USB DAC on should I chose to do so.
I realise I tend to over-complicate things.
it turns out my receiver has AirPlay built-in so basic playback is without issues even with TV turned off. I just turn on 9-channel stereo and kick back.
It’s increasingly likely that i’ll keep Roon around. It’s just a really nice music manager/player.
I have an issue with it not discovering .dts files, I have one album in that strange format. VLC Player and Plex plays them fine (in DTS no less) but no luck with Roon. I’ll search around for a solution or ask Roon to look into it. It’s certainly not a show stopper.
(now wearing snowshoes on my asymmetrical isolation feet)
There are some archimago (did I spell that correctly?) articles suggesting the Pi Ethernet drivers are to blame, and that setting the speed of the Ethernet port to 100Mb will fix it.
No, Roon will not recognize DTS files.And neither will it decode anything, that is DTS encoded.
(it is not an ‘official feature’. But since its output can be bit-perfect, Roon can pass-through such DTS encoded files. You of course will need a DTS capable receiver for that. And the other thing : not a single modification to your audio may be done. Meaning : no volume corrections, no DPS-ing, and only use exclusive mode. If all these conditions are met, you can passthrough DTS encoded files. Like DTSWAV, for instance. But *.dts will simply not be recognized).
In your case :your files should be converted to something different. I myself find a multichannel FLAC to be the most practical. I myself, use Jriver for this.
Yes, filesize willl increase a bit, But so does compatibility; worth a lot in my opinion. Sorry for using the ugly ‘Jriver’ word on this forum, I just find it the nicest tool for this application. I’m sure that other tools are capable of this, too (perhaps dbpoweramp or foobar, I haven’t checked)