Surround possibilities

I was pleased recently to purchase and download a high rez music file in surround. My past efforts in this regard proved unsatisfactory for several reasons: limited choices, laborious processes and occasionally audible digital artifacts. This new reality, however, plus the fact that Apple has bulldozed iTunes which I used not to purchase music but to organize by playlists into corrected genres, has led me to the doorstep of Roon (my lovely categorizations in destruction behind me). Thus my question: Is Roon capable of supporting multichannel playback outside of the purchase of the HQPlayer listed in the introductory guidelines? If so, as Chauncey Gardiner said in Being There, “All will be well.”

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Yes, Roon supports multichannel playback. See the KB article.

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Hello Michael and welcome. Yes, you can play multi-channel files but I think it is only possible with a NUC/Rock or Nucleus setup using the HDMI out to player or receiver. I have the NUC/Rock with HDMI to my OPPO 205 and Denon receiver and it does play native multi-channel.


Incredibly pleased that Roon supports multi-channel music as I have quite a lot of it. I wasn’t aware of this previously. However, it seems to make the hardware requirements all the more complicated and/or expensive as now HDMI is a requirement (versus SPDIF) and most solutions seem to leverage SPDIF. I know I probably sound like a broken record but this is precisely why the NVIDIA SHIELD is a perfect endpoint as it supports hi-res multi-channel audio over HDMI. :slight_smile:

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Hi Michael,
Welcome. To add to what Mike Lacey said, you can also use a windows 10 based pc or nuc to output multi-channel via hdmi with Roon. There are also a few multi-channel dacs like the MiniDSP U-dac8,, that will convert a usb input to analog outputs. Personally, I use an i3 NUC running Windows 10 with the hdmi output going into a Denon receiver, the Roon core is on a Roon ROCK in a different room. Works great for multichannel music.


There are several multichannel DACs using USB or RAVENNA:
exaSound e38 (and its predecessors e28 and e18)
Merging Anubis
Merging NADAC+

There are also devices like the mini0DSP U-DIO8 which will support almost any trio/quartet of stereo DACs via S/PDIF or AES3.

All work with Roon.

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Mike, what do you have running from the Oppo to the Denon? Another HDMI? Or 5/7 RCA cables? Thx.

Have the OPPO connected in 3 zones (USB Audio IN, HDMI IN, and Ethernet). Each zone has pluses and minuses.

With the USB Audio In - it will get native DSD and PCM signals from the NUC, and have MQA capability, but 2 channel output only, no surround and no subs. It will only use the analog (RCA) outputs and Internal DAC. Will not use the HDMI (digital) output at all, I tried it. No video with Album/Track information.

With HDMI in - it will NOT get a native DSD signal from the NUC (PCM only), or have MQA capabilities, but will have multi-channel 7.1 output. It will use the internal DAC with the 7.1 analog (RCA) outputs. It will also pass the signal, as is, to the receiver over HDMI (digital) for decoding. No video with Album/Track information.

With Ethernet - it will NOT get a native DSD signal from the NUC (PCM only), or have MQA capabilities. It will use the internal DAC with the analog outputs but 2 channel only. It will also pass the signal, as is, to the receiver over HDMI (digital) for decoding. From the receiver I have the choice of the standard stereo signal or can use the Dolby surround sound processor for multi-channel. And it does have video with Album/Track information.

My Denon 8500H has good internal dacs (AKM AK4490EQ 32-bit), and does sound good when it does the decoding, but the extra processing adds a very slight delay and does not sync exactly with the PC/DAC zone in the bedroom and the Elac Z3 zone in the kitchen when grouped. I can hear a slight reverb when passing from room to room.

Using the OPPO USB Audio the grouped timing is spot on, no reverb.

All of the above is using the 7.1 (RCA) connections and/or the HDMI connection


It’s pretty simple really. The Oppo 205 requires USB in to do MQA and HDMI in to do multichannel. Once you pass through the Oppo DAC, you need to use RCA out to maintain the analog signal. If you use a digital method (USB, HDMI, or optical), you are going to bypass the Oppo DAC. It’s the same with the Oppo 203 except it doesn’t do MQA.

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Thanks for the several courteous and prompt responses to my query about Roon and multichannel. Geoff’s reference to the KB article (above) was good. With my setup, running thunderbolt to HDMI from a core Mac desktop to an Oppo 105 used as DAC, I found that, after going to Roon Settings->Audio->Device Setup, I needed to further choose Advanced Settings and Channel Mapping to enable 5.1 (no 7.1 offered).
I was really impressed to hear from Kal Rubinson. I’ve admired and read his articles for years. His recommendations for multichannel and Roon ready DACs will be something I’ll check out.

Yes, any endpoint needs to be setup properly in Roon.

Kal, Happy to see that information on multi-channel DACs. I’ll have to stick with what I have on-hand for a while but from what I read the exaSound E38 MKII with the Roon Ready Streamer is what I’ve been looking for.

Hi Mario, I’m looking to do the same. How is the i3 NUC? What gen is it?

I have been pleasantly surprised at the sound quality playing 5.1 surround mixes from Roon via airplay
to an Apple TV then HDMI into our Anthem MRX 720 receiver. I realize the Apple TV is outputting 16/48, but it actually sounds pretty good. Not quite as good as playing off a Blu-ray disc, but more than acceptable.

That oppo205 looks great. I have one of their older SACD/BDP units. Looks like the 205 is discontinued. Wonder if there’s anything else like it with a similar feature set.

Hi Brandon,
I’m using a 5th gen NUC core i3. I’m using it as an htpc with a Windows 10 OS. I have other software on it in addition to Roon 'cause I also stream movies and concerts through it from a NAS as well as from online. I have my Roon core on a 7th gen NUC core i5 in a different room which I leave on 24/7. The i3 works very well for my purposes but I don’t leave it on all the time. If I had it to do over I’d probably opt for an i5 but to be honest the i3 is fine. If you wanted to use HQPlayer with Roon I’d definitely say to go for an i5 or even better an i7.

In my setup I’m using ethernet connections rather than WiFi for the i3, Roon Rock & NAS. The Denon receiver I’ve got is limited to 24/96 through hdmi and won’t do DSD through hdmi at all. From what I’ve read this is not uncommon even if the receiver manufacturer claims otherwise. I adjusted the setting in Roon to downsample when needed for the Denon. For multi-channel music my setup sounds very good, I will mention however that I usually listen to music through a separate stereo system.


I am using a MacBook Pro as my Core and streaming to an Oppo 203. The following option to play multichannel is not available.

Configuring your Device for Multichannel Playback

Before Roon will send more than two channels of audio to your device, some configuration is necessary. This is accomplished on the “Device Setup” screen, accessible from Settings->Audio

Channel Layout

If you have a multi-channel device, this is the most important setting.
(then you choose 2.0; 5.1; 7.1 etc.)

How can I do multichannel with my configuration?

You must use HDMI to your Oppo 203 and RCA out to your amp.

I am connected via RCA from my Oppo to my Marantz AVR as well as hdmi. My laptop and everything else for that matter is wired via Ethernet. Connecting HDMi from my laptop to my Oppo unfortunately is not physically possible, but if I could, where do I go in to the Oppo?

The Oppo 203 has HDMI in. That’s what I use from my Nucleus.