Using Roon with a Marantz NA7004 Streamer

Core Machine (Operating system/System info/Roon build number)

Windows 10

Network Details (Including networking gear model/manufacturer and if on WiFi/Ethernet)

WiFi (using a WiFi bridge to the Ethernet connection of the Marantz)

Audio Devices (Specify what device you’re using and its connection type - USB/HDMI/etc.)

Marantz NA7004

Description Of Issue

This older streamer may not support ROON - but I understand there maybe technical ways around this. Reason being is that the Marantz sounds excellent but has a terrible UI - I’m therefore hoping that ROON will be its replacement UI as a workaround. Thank you.

Marantz would need to add Roon support to use the network port. You can add a device like a Digione that takes a network connection and outputs to Coax to feed the Marantz.

Or, you could use Airplay.

The only way to use it as a streamer is to use a bridging device between Roon and the streamer. This will present itself to Roon as a Squeezebox device and forward anything Roon sends in the expected format. The alternative is to use a SBC based streamer as a front end to your streamer and put Roon into its USB input assuming it is compatible. The bridging device isn’t cheap. You may be able to get one of the UPNP bridge devices which go for lower prices or you can try to find a 1.3 hw microRendu which can be configured to be a bridge or a streamer into your USB. The NA7004 is elderly. Even if Marantz were to adopt Roon, it is unlikely they would extend it to a machine of that age.

To better clarify, my suggested bridging device, the Digione base model is fairly inexpensive. Plug the ethernet into it and then plug it into the Marantz’ Coax Input. Done. Since it runs Roon’s own RoonBridge code, it will just show up in Roon in the network section. Choose it as the endpoint and begin enjoying music.

Thanks. Does that mean the Marantz will only be used as a DAC? I guess of course it will.

That means I could utilise my Auralic Mini in the same way as a Digione would it not?

The perfect solution would be to have something that would allow me to use an external DAC to the NA7004 with ROON serving up the digits. I ultimately wanted to utilise the main strength of the NA7004 which is as a ‘transport’ rather than a DAC.

Don’t get me wrong - the NA7004 is excellent as a DAC - but as a stand alone transport the NA7004 is, well, probably as good as you are ever likely to get!

My ideal world would be - user friendly UI for NA7004 as a transport dishing out Tidal and the like.

For that to work, Marantz would need to patch in the Roon Software. And that is unlikely to happen.

The UPNP bridge would allow what you want.
Roon to bridge.
Bridge to NA7004 via Ethernet.
The NA7004 will be a dumb streaming endpoint but it should work. But the truth is I suspect you would really need to love the 7004 because you would potentially be spending more than it was worth to make it work.

Great! I see now - a Sonore UPnP Bridge! Perfect answer! This gives me a fantastic UI for the NA7004. Nice and I did not know something like this existed.

You are right - I would really need to love the NA7004 - which I must do because I bought another since owning one then selling it a few years back (because of its awful software). And I also have a Bluesound Node 2i an Auralic Aries Mini and sMS-200 Ultra - so for me to reinvest in the NA7004 which is essentially a retarded streamer compared to today’s examples means I am doing it for its greatest strength - which I believe as a transport - far exceeds anything I have now IIRC.

Note the IIRC - we will see if memory serves me well when it gets delivered.

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If I installed ROON on cheaper hardware (but supported) than a dedicated hi-end ROON audiophile appliance (usually very expensive), will that affect the sound quality of the stream? Considering the fact I would use wireless to stream RAAT to the endpoint (Sonore UPnP bridge).

After all, I’m buying the old NA7004 for it’s prowess as a transport - so I don’t want to compromise that strength by implementing a weakness further upstream.

Tidal will be my main source.

Alarm bells ring the moment you talk about wireless. Hard wire the devices if at all possible. If you use wireless to link different zones in the house then hopefully it will be stable, robust and not sharing too much bandwidth with other devices. I am more concerned about that than I am about your choice of core device.

Thank Henry - I have my own high quality Wireless Router which ensure a stable Wi-Fi connection throughout the house without any audible dropouts.

I haven’t created zones as such - I will only be streaming to one endpoint and therefore only have one reference system I like to squeeze the best SQ from.

All thing being equal however - would ROON benefit further from being installed on an expensive dedicated audiophile device, or would alternative cheaper ‘supported’ hardware be just as good (for example a NUC)?

I chose not to go the Nucleus route. I chose to build my own silent audio servers. Firstly NUC/ROCK based and then a MOCK build that allowed a little more flexibility. I am personally happy that I am not missing out on anything by not using a Nucleus other than the fact that it looks fabulous and carries its fair share of kudos! But a supported NUC is an obvious choice for you. If your primary source will be Tidal then you don’t need the flexibility I have built into my server.

Thanks again Henry! I’ve even read somewhere that you can create a bootable USB stick with a Linux Roon install - it’s all very interesting. I have a very decent W10 laptop from which I could boot that stick up with at at least for eval reasons.

Although for some reason I didn’t realise that Tidal was built into BubbleUPnP - so I can simply use that I guess while I test the NA7004 as a renderer / transport.

All this fuss over an old Marantz - I have a Bluesound Node 2i here and of course that software is so good it’s unbelievable. But hey - I’m chasing the very best sound and once I get that off my chest I can bring myself back down to earth again.

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I’ve just hooked the old Arcam BB1 DAC (my reference DAC for checking transport quality) to the Bluesound Node 2i and the sound is very good!

The old Arcam flips out and makes a terrible hash sound when MQA files are played from Tidal - I accept this is an old DAC but I thought MQA seamlessly dumbs down to 16 bit DACs - perhaps not ones this old!

I doubt that would provide a viable Roon experience and a whole lot of other technical reasons to not use a USB memory as anything other than temporary storage for transfers.

It is probably OK as a proof of concept and for trouble shooting. That is how the Euphony trial works, with the option to do a full install if you are sufficiently impressed.

Roon found my NA7004 which is connected my network as soon as I plugged the lan line in. Artist and track names show on the NA7004 display when using Roon.

The NA7004 dac section is not to be sniffed at imho especially for what you can pick them up for used now it makes for a very pleasent listen. Pretty much all the software bugs that plagued the reviews of the NA7004 when first released have long since been fixed via firmware updates. Its a nice bit of kit, I often listen to its internet radio function.

I have been planning to try the NA7004 digital optical out into my Oppo 205 just out of interest but my current optical lead is not quiet long enough.

I have been using the Oppo 205 to feed my headphone amplifier and the Marantz for speakers.

Yes, it should be seen as an Airplay option. I think I mentioned that in the second post of the thread.

I don’t think anyone was turning their noses up at the unit’s DAC. In fact, the options presented all utilize the NA7004’s DAC.

Airplay does have resolution limits, and all the suggestions were ways of not using Airplay to achieve those higher resolutions, which the DAC is capable, but, Airplay is not.

AH OK, so if you have Airplay - you have a ROON endpoint - interesting! The Marantz NA7004 does not support it as hardware per se, but its built in Airplay does - wonderful. From what I’ve read Airplay is limited to 16 Bit / 44.1kHz, i.e. CD quality, no problem for me tbh.

So if Airplay is an endpoint - does ROON still somehow use RAAT all the way to the renderer?

Jamie - don’t sell that NA7004 yet! Wait until I confirm just how formidable it is compared with the rest of my well reviewed up-to-date modern streamers :slight_smile: . People were more likely selling this unit because modern counterparts have better software, forgetting the fact that, despite that failing, it’s likely to be a considerably good sounding device! Better sounding perhaps, than the gear people replaced it with …

I use Internet Radio a lot too - so at the very least you could consider this Marantz as a high end radio if nothing else.

I’ve had the NA7004 for 7 or 8 years it was purchased for use as a front end to a headphone system really mostly due to reports that the dac section was essentially the same as used in the £2500 Marantz KI Pearl.

The Marantz I find while not being quiet as resolving say as a modern sabre dac I’ve always thought it had a well balanced presentation which is probable why I still own it while other dacs have come and gone. Very much enjoying the Oppo 205 dacs performance at the moment as well.

I’m curios about the performance of Marantz premium NS11-S1 network player certainly wouldn’t mind giving one a try.

Very much looking forward to any impressions you care to share on how the NA7004 fairs sonically compared with modern counterparts.