Hello everyone! I’m Steve in Ohio, USA looking to improve my listening enjoyment. Daughter had a Spotify student account in college, and when she graduated, we got a family subscription, It was okay, but nothing special. Sound using the Spotify app on my Apple TV HD (not the current 4K) through my home system was lacking.
I started going through the free trials of Tidal, Idagio, Deezer, Amazon, and now Qobuz. We’re a Mac house, but I’m not interested in using Apple Music. Somewhere in there, I found that the Apple TV wasn’t sending the hi-res streaming through to the receiver, so I went looking for a different method to get sound to my home system. That’s when I stumbled across Roon.
Home system is a 14 year old A/V setup, back when I thought a receiver with 2 HDMI inputs was more than I’d ever use!
Yamaha RX V1600 Receiver
Pioneer Elite PRO 1150 HD Plasma TV
Sony BD-S300 Blue-ray
- Phase Technology 7T
- Phase Technology 1C
- Phase Technology 2T
- Klipsch Synergy S1
- HSU VFT-2 Mk4 sub
- Phase Technology CI60 IV in-wall speakers
I installed Roon and built the Core on my 2017 iMac w/40GB RAM and 18T of storage with attached Drobo. I’m on a 100-120 mb/s cable modem spread through the house with a 3-node Eero mesh system. Speeds between devices in the house are 3-400 mb/s. Modem is wired direct to first Eero and then to the AppleTV. iMac (with Core) is on wifi wired to the second Eero, but I’ll be adding Ethernet to connect it to a switch on the base Eero.
Music from my library and Qobuz sound pretty good on the iMac’s speakers when I’m in the office. I’ve fiddled with getting it to my receiver, and that’s where I’m stumbling.
First, I was using my iPhone with the Roon app, streaming via Airplay to the AppleTV, with less than satisfactory results. I might as well just use the Spotify app. So I started looking at how to bypass the AppleTV.
Low and behold, I discovered that my 2015 MacBook Pro’s headphone jack contains a hidden Optical output!! So, I ordered a 3.5mm to Toslink optical cable, which came yesterday. Now I have the MBP on my rack with the optical output going to the receiver’s optical input. I’m relying on whatever quality the MBP is sending and whatever DAC is built into the Yamaha receiver.
Qobuz shows the music as FLAC 24/96. On both the iMac and MBP, the signal path is showing purple on the Source with 24/44 and purple for the “Roon Advanced Audio Transport”, whatever that is. Both Macs show green on the signal path for Built-In Output (OS Mixer)
Why does the source show 24/44 instead of the original 24/96? I know I’m not getting that at the speakers, but curious why Roon isn’t receiving the full data stream?
When listening on the home system, I’m streaming Qobuz from the Eero via wifi to the second Eero connected to my iMac. Then the MacBook Pro endpoint is feeding the optical output to the receiver which it receives via wifi. But from where? Is it being sent via wifi from the iMac, or streaming directly from Qobuz?
It sounds like if I decide to stick with Roon and Qobuz, which is how I’m leaning at this point, it would be best to move the Core to something directly attached to the receiver (which happens to be next to the base Eero node.)
But until then, Am I losing a significant amount of the quality that Qobuz is sending? It looks like Roon is using a portion of what’s being sent to it, and then I’m sending data this way and that, so I have no idea what resultant quality is coming from the speakers. Whatever it is, it is better than Spotify through the AppleTV!
Wow, that’s a lot of rambling! I tried not to skip any details, and it seems to have turned into a tome.
For some background, I’m 66 years old, and I know I’m not hearing what a high-end modern system can output. Mild tinitus doesn’t help. I tried one of the hearing tests in another thread, and thought the test wasn’t working. Then my wife said she heard the first tone at 13 kHz. That means I couldn’t hear anything above 8 kHz over the home system’s speakers. Yikes! I might as well listen to the AM radio.
Sometimes I miss the simplicity of a simple stereo receiver and turntable. My hipsterish daughter is aghast that I sold around 400 LPs at a pawnshop for $75 twenty-five years ago to fund those newfangled CD disks!
Thanks for making it through this novel-sized first post,