Streamer vs. Bridge?

Hi all!

I’m looking to move from Sonos to a more robust option for streaming to my system. But I’m still a little confused about the difference between how Roon interacts with streamers vs bridges.

I think I understand that say, with something like a Bluesound Node 2i, that Roon treats that as the endpoint as that’s the last thing it can see. The Node would feed the signal via coax to a DAC.

But I’m more confused with USB-out options, such as the difference between something like a Raspberry Pi Bridge/Pro-ject StreamBox Ultra/Auralic Aries/Lumin U1.

  • Is there a difference between how Roon sees a bridge, vs a streamer with USB?

  • What’s the expected behavior if I hook those up to my DAC (Chord Qutest)? Will Roon see the DAC as the endpoint or does it still just see the streamer/bridge as the endpoint?

I would appreciate any and all help!!

I can tell you that with a Stack Audi Link II roon sees that as an endpoint but also sees what’s connected to it. So when I plugged in the Chord mscaler into the Link II usb, that showed up and automatically setup all the defaults. And when I look at the signal path I can see both the Link II and mscaler in the path.

I would think the path would stop at the streamer if that final path is not usb. Link is only usb.

With the Lumin U1 (MINI) connected to a Chord Qutest, you see and control the Lumin U1 MINI as the endpoint, and is compatible up to DSD256 via USB, or PCM 192kHz / DSD64 via the other ports. Depending on the Roon Tested status of the USB DAC, it may also show up for informative purpose only.

Thanks! I hadn’t considered the Audi Link… do you like it? Would you recommend it?

I also just bought a Link II. I’d highly recomend it. But as with all these types of devices, it’s important to figure out which one has the SW and HW features which best fits your needs.
The Link II works well for my needs.

If all you’re looking for is a turnkey roon endpoint with high quality usb output, it’s perfect. About a minute after you turn it on roon finds it as endpoint and just enable from there. Couldn’t be easier. It’s also very nice looking compared to other smaller devices.

I’m not sure what you mean by “streamer” and what you mean by “bridge”. Assuming they are both running RAAT, via RoonBridge, for instance, what that does is give Roon access to the devices connected to that bridge. If you are using USB out from the bridge, the DAC will identify itself to the bridge, and thus to Roon, via RAAT, and Roon will be able to do what it knows how to do for that DAC.

So, yes, Roon does see the DAC as the endpoint, even with a simple RPi/Ropieee setup, but that’s only meaningful if it knows about that DAC. For instance, I have a Topping D70 plugged into a Raspberry Pi. Roon sees the device identification, D70, but it doesn’t know anything about it, and calls it an “unidentified device”. So you have to configure it manually in “Settings”.