Synology 920+ NAs as Core routing to DAC given usb is not possible anymore on DSM7

my apologies in advance as it seems to me there must be a clear answer to this available but I can’t find it.
Wanting to use my 920+ Synology as Roon core but if I can’t use usb out with DSM 7 how do I get the signal out?

I am using Marantz SA14se CD as DAC as it sounds great but it doesn’t have ethernet connection.

My current network player is a NAIM NDX which is not Roon ready. I don’t use the DAC in this NDX and was hoping to not need it.

Any enlightenment gratefully appeciated…

George C

A possubility is to buy a Raspberry Pi 4 (not a RPi 2 or 3!) and connect your DAC via USB to it. I am using it myself in combination with a DS920+ as Roon Core. Sounds great and even much bettet than with USB directly from the DS920+ (with DSM 6.2 installed) to the DAC.

You can use VitOS, RoPiee or DIetPi as software on the Raspberry. I use VitOS; this is very, very simple to install and to configure.
With VitOS you have to connect the RPi with a ethernet cable to you LAN; VitOS does not support WiFi on the RPi. If you want WiFI then use DietPi or RoPiee

So that’s a small computer that acts to take the LAN output of the Synology and convert it to USB? Ok i will look at that. Thanks for the suggestion Alfred!

Yes you are completely right. That’s what it is.

I use both Pi device’s and a Zen Stream in my setup.
Both work great with Roon.

The Pi is great if you like to Tinker and the Zen Stream if you want some extras in SQ and components and USB and SPDIF out.

I did read there was an updated Primare N5 just released as well.

Hi Michael and thanks.

My tinkering days are over - enough tinkering getting my computer software to keep working!

I will look at the Zen stream and Primare. Or I might just sell the Synology which is still quite new and get a more customer centred brand. Synology have made their lives easier at the customers expense.

Cheers

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Yes as a Synology customer I agree, though I am sure they have their reasons.

Good luck with your searching and remember that Roon generally recommend against using USB directly connected to the core and recommend Ethernet instead.

Though like you plenty of other people use USB for this.

ok, so thinking about it, this is where I need a detailed Roon for dummies. The point of using my NAS was to not need a streamer but the Primare is that.
Reading some other Primare related forums It looks as though I can pass the signal through the Primare or similar without Roon being installed on the Primare N5 (before any latest update that might make the Primare Roon ready).

In other words I woud just be inputting my NAS Lan and getting that converted to in this case toslink or coax output for my DAC. If that is so I should be able to do that with my NAIM NDX I would have thought even though it also is not Roon ready.

Any thoughts on where I might get further clear info on this would be appreciated and I will try the NAIM forum as a start.

Years ago I was actually a sound engineer and it was so much easier following cables & switches:)

George yes the two streamers I mentioned as well as a Raspberry Pi turn any amplifier into a Roon Ready device though USB/phono/optical/SPDIF output’s and they have different capabilities.

You would still keep Roon running on your Nas and that will send the music to your Streamer and that output’s it to your amp.
I know when I got into this several years ago I wanted a simple guide, but I never really found one then. I ended up watching YouTube videos by John Darko and Hans B which taught me a lot.

This one contains a lot of video’s around Roon set-up and usage.

On your NAS you’re using using Roon’s inbuilt Roon Bridge to send the output to your USB DAC.

But as DSM7 has disabled the USB ports you can can’t do that. So the simplest solution is to off-load that Roon->USB conversion operation to a separate device on your network.

As others have suggested a stock RPi4 2GB kit running Roopiee will solve that issue for you. If you don’t like the standard RPi case you can get a nicer aluminium one.

The only additional component (not included with the RPi kit) you may need to purchase is a Micro SD to USB adaptor to initially ‘flash’ the SD card, as your laptop/desktop probably doesn’t have a Micro SD card slot.

Once setup it should just function like a commercial device ie. you don’t need to manually update anything or fiddle around on a command line. In fact you should never need to connect a monitor or keyboard to it, even during install. Once the SD card is flashed and inserted into the RPi will only function as a Roon endpoint — rather than as a general purpose computer.

Think of this as simply another small computer that decodes the RAAT stream from Roon and sends the decoded PCM data out over the USB port to your DAC. Instead of it happening on your NAS it happens on a separate device that is connected to the same network as your NAS. Roon (RAAT) is a network based audio protocol (ie. there is no analog audio at this point it’s just data) — so it doesn’t really make any difference where that conversion takes place — it can either happen on your NAS (if the USB port worked) or on a separate computer (like a RPi) running ‘Roon Bridge’ elsewhere on your network.

In case it’s not obvious from the photos a RPi will fit in the palm of your hand. So very easy to hide out of sight at the back of your rack (like a dongle) if you don’t want it on display. It also means you can leave your NAS (with it’s noisy fans and hard drives) running, out-of-sight, in a separate room to your HiFi kit.

There are various commercial device that will do the same job, like the Project StreamBox, iFi, or Sonore devices. But other than a nicer case and saving you having to install the software yourself they perform the same functions as the RPi/Ropiee route.

Some of these links may help clarity the various architectures/concepts/protocols:

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Thanks Michael. That clarifies things further and explains why I can’t find simple detailed explanations - they probably don’t exist.

George Jamie has sent you some files which might be useful, and while you have said you do not want to tinker, the whole Pi/Ropieee thing is very easy if you have any level of technical skills.
If you don’t want that there are the devices already mentioned.
The videos I sent you a link to are very good for explaining the whole process, and highly recommended

Jamie, that is an amazing amount of clear and detailed explanation or as close as one can get to it with this topic. It would have been so much simpler if Synology had kept the ability to connect via USB directly to my Marantz DAC usb input as all I really wanted to do initially was to trial Roons dsp functions esp the eq as I was hoping it would fix some issues I have in an otherwise pretty pleasing system.

The only part not clear to me is the flashing of the Micro sd although I assume it is downloading Roopiee for loading onto the Raspberry pi. I also still haven been able to work out exactly what a Roon endpoint is which is what this pi setup is described as in the Roopiee documentation but I suspect I will work that out fairly quickly.

Thanks again, your help is much appreciated

Yes, download the Roopiee image (either version) and Balena Etcher onto your laptop or desktop.

Then insert the Micro SD card into your laptop/desktop — you may need a Micro SD to USB adaptor to do this as you’re unlikely to have a Micro SD card port on your laptop/desktop. Finally drag the downloaded Roopiee image onto Balana Ether and you’re done. You then just need to insert the SD card into the RPi and then pop the case closed.

The final steps are done via the Roopiee web interface and (at least for the initial setup) you want to doing that with the RPi connected to your router via an ethernet cable. Chapter 4 or the Ropieee Beginners Guide should have all the info you need to do that final configuration step.

The RPi kit linked to above includes everything you need (RPi4 2GB / PSU / Micro SD card / case). The only other thing you may need is a cheap Micro SD card to USB adaptor.

ps. a Roon ‘endpoint’ is any networked device that Roon is capable of sending audio data to — this can include Airplay or Sonos devices. In the stricter usage/sense it means any device that supports Roon’s RAAT protocol ie. a device running Roon Bridge or a ‘Roon Ready’ device (which is basically a commercial product running Roon Bridge).

btw. as a stop gap you could also install Roon (but not the Roon Core/Server) on a PC or Mac and connect your USB DAC to that machine directly. Roon’s architecture allows any machine on the network running Roon/Roon Bridge to act as an audio output and assuming the USB ports are enabled will also make them available as audio outputs too — you may also need to enable them under settings->audio in Roon. But medium term the RPi/Ropiee combo is probably the answer to your needs and cheap enough that it’s unlikely to break the bank — worth noting that a lot of the commercial devices are themselves based on single board commuters (SBCs) like the RPi and will be using the same Roon Bridge libraries — so ‘cheap’ in this case doesn’t mean missing out on quality.

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Ok, Jaimie, you have clarified so much others haven’t that I am going to push a virtual friendship to get this explained, I would have thought quite the opposite which is that a PC/Mac could indeed act as a core / server as well as an endpoint as you have so well explained for my NAS Roon installation?? I am thinking of this primarily in regards to music files stored on the MAC/PC but also I guess that my PC can I think see and play the NAS stored musical files so could Roon installed on my PC as a server treat these NAS stored files as available and playable?.

You can do it that way too ie. install the Roon Core/Server on your Mac/PC and then point it to the files on your NAS. The USB ports on that machine can then be enabled as audio outputs. The downside is you probably don’t leave your Mac/PC on 24/7 whereas your NAS probably is. So in that respect I’d leave the Core/Server running on your NAS (so it’s always available) and then just enable the USB audio outputs in the standard desktop copy of Roon.

What’s important is that you don’t have two Roon Core/Servers running on your network. The standard desktop copy of Roon (ie. Roon/Roon Remote, not the Roon Core/Server package) that you use to control payback via your Mac/PC also includes Roon Bridge, so you don’t need to install Roon Bridge separately, you just need to enable the Mac/PC audio outputs in the audio settings.

Think of Roon’s architecture as having one Core/Server, many control apps (Roon Remote or just Roon) and (possibly) many Roon audio outputs/endpoints (Roon Ready devices or devices/computers running Roon, Roon Remote or Roon Bridge) — all of them can live on separate devices (or the same device) as long as they are all on the same local network. Until anything is decoded back to analog audio by a DAC this is all just data being passed around the network and because Roon is designed around a networked architecture this is fine. Where that final stage of decoding the audio data into a PCM stream for your USB DAC to decode happens is up to you, it can happen on the machine running your Core, on a device running Roon/Roon Remote or a device running Roon Bridge (which includes devices labelled as ‘Roon Ready’).

Hope that make sense.

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Jaime, that all makes perfect sense.

I didn’t know that till the file is DAC’ed so to speak that it had to be handled by Roon software all the way. I had though a Roon server could possibly just send a stream through some other protocol.

Now I know. I regard Networking as the dark arts:) There seems to be some many ways of doing things with so many things to be cautious of. Thanks so much again!

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