Whole-house Roon hardware

I am coming towards the end of a home renovation and since the walls were all open, I ran speaker wire from each room to the storage closet that will hold all the server/network/etc. There are 7 rooms wired. The current plan is to have 6xSonos Connect and 1xSonos Connect:Amp in the closet, and a variety of amps for the 6xSonos Connect varying by number of speakers and desired sound quality in those rooms. (The Connect:Amp is there because it was the easiest way of getting the amp channels needed for the final room.)

I recently switched to using Roon in my current place, and am now rethinking the Sonos components since I won’t be using their UI. I have two questions for the community:

  1. Is there any reason not to continue with my plan to have a single server (probably just a fairly new NUC running Roon Core), connected to 7 endpoints via wired ethernet? It is very unlikely I will run all 7 rooms at once but even if I did I figure the server will probably cope as long as it isn’t doing anything else.
  2. I have looked at the partner device matrix and it seems smart to get one of the in-house Roon Ready devices, but without reading reviews of everything in the list, does anyone have a recommendation for something that I will be happy with in a similar ballpark to the price of the Sonos kit?

Thanks,
Michael.

Probably a few Raspberry Pi’s with IQAudio DAC or DigiAmp would work well as a replacement. Should be well within your budget.

Hi Michael,

I can’t see any reason not to use wired Ethernet. It is a better SQ solution than long runs of speaker cable.

If you have one main listening room with better speakers and DAC then I’d suggest a Sonore microRendu for that room and either Pi/Digi+, Pi/HiFiBerry or Sonore Sonic Orbiter solutions for other rooms depending on output, DAC and amplifier requirements.

Never hurts to have as many wires in the walls as possible - even if you don’t use them yet!

That said I would agree with above it would be a great idea to have speakers wires to a point for a raspberry pi or similar in each room, and network back to your central cupboard. Shorter speaker cable runs, more flexibility.

As a cheap starter you could have 7 pi2s and cheap amps (like amp+ mentioned) and you’ve got all rooms covered for minimal outlay. The pi install is straightforward now too.

If in the future your software needs changed, I’m sure this would still be a good topology.

That said since the wires are in you could just have the pis in your cupboard and see how it sounds.

If you’ve already got speaker cable back to the storage closet, then something along the same lines as to what @Duncan did for a similar situation might be an approach.

Personally, I’d be more inclined to replace the speaker cable with ethernet wiring, to distribute the endpoints throughout the house.

Thanks very much for the suggestions everyone! In my main listening room I am going to have a reasonably high-end amp with a decent DAC so the microRendu looks perfect. I am still thinking about the others. @Duncan’s solution looks ideal except that I do too much hackery already at work, and have a child under 1yr, and am willing to pay a bit more right now for less effort :confused: In a few years that will be a great parent+kid project. Sonic Orbiter+DAC TBD may make most sense for now.

I went back and forth about longer/shorter speaker wires. In the end I went for the central solution because several of the rooms don’t have a convenient closet to put power+endpoint in, so wiring straight through the walls/ceiling makes a cleaner solution. The house is on a single floor and the storage room is central, so the runs aren’t huge. Of course there is wired network in every room so I can always change my mind later!

I will update when I have a complete plan.

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Some good multichannel amp solutions exist one is monoprice. I just got a preloved lexicon dd8, some good options if your speakers all run to a central location

I’m in a similar boat, though a smaller one. 4 ‘rooms’ (Living, Kitchen, Office, Patio). 4 RaspberryPi2’s/3’s running headless into a variety of Explorer2/Dragonflys that feed at NAD 980CI amp. I use the roon software for volume. Works like a champ. Also hooked up a RCA Stereo auto-A/B switch so that if the TV is turned on it trumps the RaspberryPi3, making the TV audio then come out of the living room speakers. All the TV’s get fed from a HDMI Matrix, if you’re really looking to go for the central entertainment rack. Happy to provide more details/help if I can.

OK with some more research I’m thinking of 4x(sonicorbiter+modi 2) into a sonance 12-50 for 4 rooms (2x2channel, 2x4channel), 1xsonicorbiter+TEAC AI301-DA for the 5th room. Anyone have experience of those? E.g., I am wondering if the modi 2 will work powered over usb from the sonicorbiter. I might just get that combination now to play with for my current place, to see how I like it.