Whole house music using Roon

If you’re having CAT 6 pulled everywhere your problem is solved. Your options are almost unlimited. Currently I have a main system (Martin Logan ESL’s, Benchmark DAC, etc.) fed SPDIF by a Raspberry Pi, other Pis feeding Audio Engine powered speakers in other rooms. The main system is wired, for now I’m using wireless for the others. People say wireless is not robust enough for high bit rate material, but I rarely experience problems. Highest bit rate I use, though, is PCM 196/24. The interface for delegating various sources to various endpoints is reasonably intuitive, and constantly improving. If you need help or have feature requests it’s always here. There are lots of “Roon Ready” endpoint appliances that will accomplish what you want in a more turnkey fashion than the Raspberry Pi kits I am using.

If you have CAT6, all you need is a networked TV tuner like Silicon Dust HDHomerun and you can watch TV, recordings or files stored on a server anywhere you have the network. So, no, I wouldn’t bother with pulling coax. Fibre, maybe, but it’s unclear what sort of standards might emerge for domestic fibre networks.

Thanks Seamus and Leporello!!

Leporello: I too have am an ESL lover. I have 5 Martin Logans in the surround room and Soundlab M1PX’s in the 2-channel room. Plus, Audio Engine speakers are on my short list.

This thread provided the information that I was hoping – that I’m indeed headed in the correct direction and can do what I was envisioning…Thanks All!

I’ll add a couple of concepts to the already good info posted. I have a Roon whole house setup and it works very well and it was quite affordable. But it’s a bit different than having every destination be a networked destination. Not sure about your headless server, but I’m using a MacBook Air and have 4 and sometimes 5 “destinations” (not necessarily full Roon endpoints) all connected via one USB connection from my Mac Roon server which goes into a USB Hub and then via long “active” USB cables or short regular USB cables to the various destinations. I also add to this additional Wifi connected remote destinations via an Apple Airport Express to a Sonic Orbiter which then connects to a USB DAC. Each destination just has to have USB DAC capability. Some speaker systems don’t have that, but many affordable units do have USB DACs but not any sort of networking capability. The Sonic Orbiter is a somewhat affordable way to make this happen. If your remote units have ethernet or WiFi directly then you can skip the Sonic Orbiter.

These active USB cables can be quite long (30 ft or more). I’ve found this approach to work quite nicely and all destinations work at very high bitrates simultaneously (DSD or HD PCM 352K or higher). Everything is controllable via the Roon User Interface on the Mac, and also of course via an iPhone or iPad (or Android device). There are Raspberry Pi solutions, but the Sonic Orbiter is truly turnkey and just works once setup (very easy to do) and on reboot it comes right back to operating mode.

Here’s an example of such a USB active cable https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008VOPEQW/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&th=1 Note that the USB DAC at the destination must provide its own power, i.e. it cannot demand power from USB bus.

Note also that USB - even USB has plenty of data capacity for quite a few simultaneous data streams - and the only USB cable that really needs to handle multiple streams with this approach is the one USB cable going from the Roon server to the USB 3 hub.

Actually, I’d go with extra CAT6 runs and pull strings. Also, if you think one run is enough for a given location, pull in 2 or 3. If you’re building from scratch you’ll only get the opportunity once. Cable isn’t free, but a good investment at this stage.