I’m looking to replace my current whole house audio system that uses in wall/in ceiling speakers driven by a central zone amp that is controlled by a Savant system that selects the source, the zone/room, and controls volume. I definitely want to use Roon as the control software but I don’t want to have a separate Roon end-point for every zone (4 zones). NAD makes a 4 zone unit that would be perfect, but it is BlueSound, not Roon. I’ve read that Roon and BlueSound don’t sync well and I have 4 rooms that already have Roon endpoints with dedicated amps and speakers. Budget is not an issue, ease of use and reliability are the most important factors. Any suggestions?
I assume you are talking about a better SQ than Sonos, yes?
Probably but more important is the functionality. Since I already have a homerun speaker wire configuration, I don’t relish the idea of filing a cabinet with 4 single zone Sonos boxes, which is why I’m looking for something more like the NAD 4 zone unit. I don’t know much about Sonos but I suspect it may not handle the portion of my library that is DXD and DSD. I’d also want to know if Sonos has the same issues with syncing with Roon endpoints like I hear about BlueSound.
I know I can use 4 endpoints like a microRendu + 4 DACs and use them to feed each of the zones on my existing multi zone amp. Each zone can have its own source and the amp is signal sensitive so it will turn on the zone amp channels as soon as it senses and audio signal on its inputs. However, that is a multi-thousand dollar solution once you include LPS’s and cables.
I was hoping that perhaps Roon Labs was working with a hardware partner to create a Roon Ready multi-zone amp that can be controlled from Roon Remote. It seems like a good opportunity for them to compete with BlueSound and Sonos.
I’m considering getting several Hifiberry Pi Amp2 streamer/DAC/amp for about £160 a pop. I doubt the quality comes close to the NAD but in theory the RAAT and sync should be solid.
If you wanted to simply plug something into your existing multi-zone amp, I wonder if you could get 4 Hifiberry Digi+ Units and that might solve it. They make ready to use prebuilt units, so could be up and running out of the box.
My amp doesn’t accept digital inputs, so I don’t think the Digi+ would help me. 4 Pi + a DAC units would appear to do the trick but it appears they are limited to 24/196 and I have a lot of DXD and DSD music on my server.
I guess one option is to get a RAAT DAC with volume control, ideally one that also does MQA because I stream from Tidal. I can use that as an input to a 4 zone amp, which I already have. I just need some way to control the zone off/on for the amp.
I did find a Sonance multi-zone amp that I can control source, zone, and volume via Harmony, so that may be my best option unless someone else comes up with a single box solution.
Bluesound, worth a look
Several from users have reported success with this unit. Do a search to find relevant posts.
Karl, if I may ask, what has led you to seek out other solution. Something’s bugging you about your existing system.
Y’know, this reminds me of the computer debate over mainframes versus distributed processing.
I’m getting rid of my Savant control system. “Bugging me” is way too polite way to put it. I’ve already replaced the controllers for my theater, FR, and bedroom system. The last step is to replace the controller for my whole house audio.
Are you wired for ethernet?
I’m very interested in the NAD CI-580, in fact, it would be a perfect solution. However, the threads I’ve seen indicate all sorts of issues with the BluOS implementation of RAAT and the fact that they are behind on the Roon SDK version they support. This has led to various issues including dropouts, unrecognized Roon nodes, sample rates stuck at 48K, and the worst for me, BlueSound nodes getting out of sync with regular RAAT nodes. Our floorplan is pretty open, so having the rooms driven by BlueSound nodes be out of sync with the rooms with Sonare, SoTM, ExaSound, or other nodes is a deal breaker for me. Supposedly, the BlueSound team is working on it but I’ve heard that before and never believe it until I see it.
John, I’m not sure what you mean. Is what wired for ethernet? My speakers are not wired for ethernet, for sure.
If you sync zones on Bluesound they work fine with Roon. They don’t lose sync. Not ideal but a temporary workaround.
No Dropouts with Bluesound here, all wired.
We await the RAAT upgrade.
Following on from another suggestion here, it looks like you could pair a NAD Ci580 4 zone streamer with a ci980 8 channel amp and that gives you everything you need to cover 4 zones for £2,600.
Then wait for RAST software issues to sorted
Would one be limited to one sound for all rooms before and after upgrade?
Thanks, Tobin. I already have a 6 zone amp with audio signal sensing inputs, so I think the CI 580 is probably all I need. The amp will turn the appropriate channels on as I group or ungroup them in Roon (or BluOS for now).
John, this is currently the case with my Savant, as I have only one Roon streamer and one DAC as an input. However, the beauty of the NAD is that under Roon control I can treat each of the zones independently. So I can have Internet radio playing in the bedroom, Tidal streaming downstairs, and Roon streaming from my NAS to FR and kitchen, which are open to each other. As I understand it, until there is a BluOS update to support the latest Roon SDK, grouping multiple NAD zones has to be done first through their app and then the grouped NAD zones can be grouped with other Roon zones in the Roon app. If you don’t go through the first step, the NAD zones will get out of sync with the Roon zones.
I can’t find any holes. I encourage you to “over-spec” your Roon Server setup. Or at least the top end of Roon’s recommendations. Let us know what you wind up with.
Thanks, John. I already have a 7th gen i7 NUC running ROOK.