What is the benefit of using Roon when accessing Tidal directly on a Bluesound device

Hi, I am using a Bluesound streamer and this operates via a direct internet connection and through a iPad. I also have music stored on a NAS that is also accessed via the Bluesound streamer.

The music on the NAS is only organised under a basic file arrangement and doesn’t have any capabilities such as those available through Roon. Is there any benefit on using Roon on my iMac to manage the NAS and how will it manage Tidal when I access Tidal through the Bluesound application on my iPad.

I hope this makes some sense…

Any help appreciated since I can see many benefits when using Roon.


Hi Ben,

As a user of about 3 months standing (middle aged in Roon terms !) this is what I would expect.

Currently if you installed Roon on your iMac (core) and made your NAS a watched folder then I would hope you could connect your iMac to the Bluesound streamer (Node 2 ?) by the Toslink mini or USB inputs. That may enable you to send input from Roon using the Bluesound to wherever it might otherwise go. I can’t speak with any certainty about that because I don’t know enough about the Bluesound streamer. You may need to check whether Bluesound provide a driver which Roon may need to send audio to it by Toslink or USB.

If you can currently play music files from a player on your iMac over Toslink or USB to your streamer, then it is very likely that you will be able to do that with Roon also.

In future, RoonSpeakers ought to enable you to also send audio by Ethernet or wi-fi to the Bluesound streamer, but at the moment you would only be able to do that using Airplay.

Roon has an iPad app (check here as to which iPads are supported), which can operate as a remote for your iMac.

None of that should affect your existing streaming programs. You would simply have a further alternative way to access your music (including Tidal). Currently Roon doesn’t have internet radio so I still use a separate program to access that in my setup.

As you point out you will have two (or more) points of access to Tidal. Roon has some Tidal management functionality (you can add albums or tracks to your Roon library, which favourites them in Tidal), but there can be a delay when deleting Tidal albums from Roon until Tidal “unfavourites” them. There is also some delay between new albums appearing in Tidal and then later in Roon. Other than that I have found I can access Tidal using other means without affect on Roon.

As to benefits, the main benefit is being able to access the music on your NAS and in Tidal using the Roon interface. The only reason that might interfere with your existing access methods is if you are using input jacks on the Streamer that might be required to connect to the iMac. If that is an issue, it may be solved when RoonSpeakers is released.

I hope the above is of some assistance, sorry I can’t be more definitive about the capacity to connect your iMac to your streamer. It may be that someone else who has actual experience with that hardware can assist.

Hi Ben,

I also have Bluesound streamer, the first Node.

As for now I see roon and BLS as two seperate eco systems. From roon you cannot connect to your Node (maybe via Airplay/Bluetooth, but have not checked). The Node’s are very sparse on the connection side.

When you want to use a BLS device as and endpoint for roon, you best wait till RoonSpeakers becomes available. Do not know if BLS is amongst the supported hardware manufacturers, but I know there is a request in the BLS community to integrate with roon.

Regarding Tidal, the integration in roon is more advanced. Albums in Tidal (favorites) appear as they were part of your own collection and since roon has access to the database of Tidal, roon can also provide the extra layers of info.

Your BLS app will not be affected by roon, so there will be no difference. In case RoonSpeakers will support BLS devices you will use the roon app to control your BLS device as endpoint.

One thing I can say is that the BLS app in basis is fine, but lacks a lot of features I was looking for. Once I saw roon and played around with it there was no way back, I went lifetime immediately. roon provides an interactive experience instead of just clicking an album.

Hi AndyBob and Rob, Many thanks for the very rapid and comprehensive replies.

Just to add to my situation, my set up consists of a NAD M50 Digital Music Player, playing through a NAD M51 DAC into a Dynavector pre and then power amp. The M50 is connected to the NAS via ethernet. I control the NAD M50 through the NAD (Bluesound) iPad interface. On the iPad I use the NAD iPad application and in this there is direct access to my CD’s and other digital music stored on the NAS and also the Tidal application is accessed directly from within the NAD iPad (Bluesound) application.

From what you are both telling me, it seems that I will need to wait until either BlueSound (NAD) supports Roon directly or for RoonSpeakers to become available.

I certainly see the benefits of sorting, accessing and discovering my music through Roon, and the tremendous benefits that it brings to appreciating and understanding the music, artists etc. So I am keen to use Roon, but ideally I would like to be able to use Roon within the Bluesound environment. Outside this environment it has less value I believe.

I am new to this Community, so I am not aware of when the RoonSpeakers will be available and its capability. I will look around the Community to see what i can find.

Thank you both again for your help and advise.

Hi Ben,

I think you are correct that if you want to connect Roon through the M50 you will need to wait for NAD support or RoonSpeakers, with the possible exception of Airplay if the M50 supports it. There are no announced dates for either. The former depends on NAD implementing support and the latter will probably be in the next major release, but no dates at this stage.

If you get a hankering to use or tryout Roon in the meantime you can probably bypass the M50 and connect your iMac directly to your M51 DAC by coaxial or toslink spdif or USB. The M50 may be using one of those inputs, or the XLR/AES input, but you can hook your iMac up to another.

The situation is very similar to my setup, substituting an Auralic Aries for M50 and Auralic Vega for M51. At the moment I connect my core Roon (your iMac) to the Vega (M51) by USB (I could also connect by spdif Toslink, you have spdif coax as well).The Aries (M50) is connected to the Vega (M51) by XLR/AES.

Eventually I expect RoonSpeakers or Auralic to support sending Roon to the Aries (M50)by wifi, but at the moment I can only connect to the Aries (M50) by Airplay.

In order to check whether you could send Roon output directly to the M51, try connecting up to it from your iMac by one of the unused inputs (AES, USB or spdif). If the operating system on your iMac sees your M51 DAC and you can play to it using a player on your iMac (foobar etc.), then it is very likely that you will also able to do so with Roon.

If your M50 can receive Airplay, then you may also be able to connect the iMac to the M50 by Ethernet or wifi using Airplay. I found wifi Airplay pretty laggy and unable to play hi res so prefer the direct USB connection to the DAC.

Cheers !


Edit: All of that was assuming an iMac can connect via USB or spdif coaxial. Having checked the outputs on the iMac I see you will need a Thunderbolt to USB or Thunderbolt to Coax converter. Hopefully other mac users can point you towards preferred types.

Further Edit: Your iMac may also have a mini-Toslink spdif out on the same jack as the headphones as per this post

Hi. I also have a Bluesound 2 system. Any ideas whether Roon is developing direct support for it so that I could use the Roon software on my Macs and iPhone to play to Bluesound through Ethernet? Thanks.

That will be very interesting for me too. I know, via research rather than ownership, that Bluesound 2 can connect to an airport express and be seen as an airplay speaker. That limits the quality though (I think!). The ideal is a Bluesound speaker as an endpoint directly from Roon, but suspect it might be some time off.

Sometimes I have a look at the BLS support forum and there are requests to offer roon integration (requested it myself as well), but BLS has not responded to any of them. From own experience Lenbrook (company behind BLS and NAD) is not the quickest in this requests (or read sloooowww…). They also like to steer their own course, which I can respect. Since they invested heavily in BLS and their own eco-system, I doubt that we will see roon integration materialize, but still hoping for it.

You are right - I have posted in that Roon integration thread too but it does seem that BLS just ignore most requests unless its something they have already planned to do. It’s one of the reasons I held off buying Bluesound. Similar attitude from the Sonos team. I guess they need to keep focuesed on a small set of things right now.

Actually… just in case you guys missed it, both parties have confirmed they are at least thinking about it. Bluesound/NAD were on the list of manufacturers who requested the SDK from Roon. And TonyW from Bluesound said this:

By TonyW » Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:48 am

Bluesound is in discussions with Roon and evaluating how their UI can integrate with BluOS. We don’t have any firm dates yet, but we are optimistic our Players will support Roon at some point in the future.

Link: https://helpdesk.bluesound.com/discussions/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=1807&hilit=roon&sid=7877b3be2139489bfdbd173eb3ed381c&start=10

Now… earlier this week, BluOS v2.0 came out and in my opinion it IS a big improvement for the NAD/Bluesound environment (people are getting twisted up on “Smart Playlist” but that isn’t a big deal it will be addressed). But it still isn’t Roon.

NAD has also said that their latest version of the NAD-branded version of BluOS (v1.20) will be their last.

If I were a betting man, we will see Roon on the Bluesound ecosystem, but I’d just be that you’ll only be able to get it “RoonReady” from the more expensive NAD branded streaming systems and then will be able to use the more economical Bluesound devices in zones 2, 3, 4… at least that is what I would do to i) satisfy the Roon enthusiasts and ii) maintain control over my cashcow, more mainstream Bluesound device ecosystem. It preserves the marketing cache for both NAD and Roon branding.

I hate that I even typed that, in case that wasn’t the plan… but that’s what I would do, facing the awkward situation of having a third party (Roon) better able to interface/control my devices than my own apps can.