Understanding Roon Bridge with MacMini Roon Core

I’m trying to understand the advantage of running Roon Bridge on my MacMini. Please indulge my thick skull. This isn’t my first rodeo, but I seem to have a mental block about this. I’m loathe to install Roon Bridge until I understand what it does.

My 1.8 RoonCore runs on a 2011 MacMini with an SSD drive. The Mini serves up streaming Qobuzz music to wireless clients on my network without fuss. The Mini is also directly connected via Toslink cable to my Anthem MRX540 receiver. Presumably the receiver’s internal DAC does the final translation. All sounds good to my ears. In Roon I select the CoreAudio output.

The Toslink out is limited to 96, and the path indicates some kind of final massaging, though I don’t know if that’s at the Mini or the receiver - I think it may be in the Mac because the signal path indicates “OS Mixer” on the last step of Built-in audio.

Would installing Roon Bridge improve the path by bypassing the OS mixer? Is there another solution that doesn’t require an external DAC? Should I consider a USB to Coax adapter? Am I chasing shadows in this configuration?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Since you are already running Core on your Mini, then yes.

RoonBridge is meant for those devices running as an endpoint on which one doesn’t want to install the Roon app or as in the case of an RPi (e.g.) on which one can’t.

Actually answering the question, the MRX540 should be Roon Ready. It should not require direct connection via Toslink. It should serve Roon to the receiver direct across the network. That should free you from the constraints of the Toslink connection. Look for and enable the Anthem in Roon.

Anthem, regrettably, is not quite Roon ready insofar as a direct network connection goes. It will only accept a network connection via 48 Airplay, which has its own encoding and decoding.

For now, the Toslink 96 connection is better, so I’ll stay with that. If any of you know a reasonably priced USB to Digital Coax Roon-ready, I’m all ears. I’ll probably just wait for Anthem to get their Roon interface fully ready. Though I could go M1 Mini with HDMI…

It’s all just fancy toys, isn’t it?

Douk Audio do a couple of DDC’s which are easily affordable with decent performance.
I have the Douk U2 Mini which can output to optical, coaxial and i2S via HDMI. It works well in Roon, It fits in the palm of your hand and should do a decent job of getting 192/24 (and more) out of your core. And you are right, they are toys. But I do like to play! :joy:
The Douk U2 Mini is on offer right now at AliExpress.

At $50 it’s worth a spin. Thanks!