Why are we excited about Chromecast (or Sonos)?

I absolutely realize (or at least assume) that there are complex technical reasons why the Roon team cannot/does not allow grouping or RAAT devices with other types (like Sonos or the new Chromecast support). That being said, I saw the announcement for Chromecast support and was excited…then not. With all the cool stuff Roon could be working on, their next big thing is adding support for another group of products that dont
really work with their core protocol. I continue to be a Roon fan, but I just don’t get why Chromecast support is worth the work.

I am paraphrasing here, but the Roon team states that they won’t (as of now) add any other streaming services because they can’t fully integrate them into the database the way they can with Tidal, and also because of sound quality not being as high as Tidal. Yet the team apparently breaks some of those very rules by adding Chromecast (and sonos), both of which:

  1. Do not fully integrate with their technology (no grouping with RAAT devices)
  2. Do not really have the full sound quality potential of a RAAT device (up for debate I guess, but since not RAAT I would guess that the Roon team insists that RAAT is superior)

I realize they want their software to work with as much hardware as possible, but they have to make a lot of compromises to make this happen. Similar types of compromises Roon will not make for other music streaming services. :frowning:


Different features are important to different people. Neither this update or the prior MQA update were exciting to me but i know they will be to others. There was demand among the user base for additional streaming protocols, which they are meeting.

I don’t see an issue with inconsistency on adding Chromecast vis-a-vis more streaming services on their end. The decision to support different network streaming protocols outside of RAAT was made a long time ago (before RAAT) when they added AirPlay support, this is just an extension of that.


I hear you. My main point of starting this thread was to illustrate what I see as an inconsistent approach from Roon when it comes to integrating hardware vs. integrating streaming services. My mistake was making that point in the second part of my post as I realize people my miss it.

The Chromecast support is an excellent extra feature thrown in with the Roon package.

I had a Chromecast Audio that I never used. It was gathering dust in a cupboard. I connected it up to a Bose Mini Link and put it in my guest bedroom. Two surplus bits of gear are now in use for when friends and family come to stay. The kids can get to use my Tidal account via Roon. I doubt my ripped library will get much of a playing though. More fool them I say. Saved me the cost of buying another Pi and DAC.

1 Like

Well, I cannot agree with much here, sorry. I feel It’s important that as many platforms for listening as possible are covered, even though there may be issues like not fully RAAT compliant.
This creates a much broader appeal for many people. A lot of those people will only wish to group all Sonos zones or all google zones, they can use the equipment they already have. I have Meridian zones that can be grouped but not with RAAT zones, but I am pleased I have them and I’d seldom group them anyway.

Roon needs to appeal to a wide user base and not compel them to buy new equipment untill they are ready to.
Chromecast and google support is a major deal even if it won’t be that useful to me just now. Great PR and they are cutting objections to buy into ROON one by one it seems.
MQA, optional and including DSP… tick
Advance DSP and room correction abilities… tick
Squeezbox… tick
Tidal… tick
When you tick all the boxes people will understand the value and subscribe.

The order of things may not be to everyone’s liking but there has to be an order. Whatever way Roon approach all of this some people will not be happy. There is no free lunch.
Just my view. Chris


Well, so far everyone is missing the second part of my post…

The problem is, you can’t read the original post as you reply, so issues get missed.
So I don’t see the link regarding the compromises in different areas.
With streaming, I think deep integration is important and Roon should stand up to get it. If they don’t we will just have an album picker like any other service.

1 Like

There is an argument to made that adding additional streaming services, even if not fully integrated (i.e. how Sonos, Chromecast, etc are not fully integrated since no RAAT) could be just as beneficial to Roon:

Google Play Music…NOPE

I get it, but the game isn’t over, it’s a process and I’m sure we all would like to see these services fully integrated. Hopefully this will come in time. Chicken and Egg scenario here…

I hope so Chris. I am hardly mad or frustrated, just pointing out what I see as inconsistency in their approach.

How many people have Chromecast and care to (not fully) integrate with Roon? How many have Spotify and would like to integrate with Roon (even if not fully integrated)?

Same for all the other services.

Probably they figure out that the number of users that they may gain by integrating (not necessary fully) new hardware in the ROON ecosystem is bigger than the number of users attracted by integrating new streaming services. Doesn’t make sense to me since they are religious about no uPnP…

There are clear published reasons about upnp which are worth reading up on if you haven’t already.

1 Like

You will be amazed to learn how popular Chromecast Audio is. I know people with $10,000 DACs that use Chromecast Audio as a streamer. This people, like @Lucas_Lamonds and more, believe all streamers sound the same, and are content with Chromecast.

I think it is smart of Roon to add Chromecast support, targeting these group of people.

1 Like

I think we would all like to see more sources. But “compromising” on the source isn’t the same as “compromising” on the destination.

With the latter I accept that I may get a suboptimal output. And that’s ok. I have some decent kit for listening and have Chromecast in places like the kitchen where other noises will negate a lot of the benefits. I accept that. By supporting airplay, Chromecast etc Roon broadens it’s appeal and also appeals to the listener with modest kit. But that is a choice - you can change your kit.

With the source, compromising there would hurt the UX for everyone. No choice. Use one of these other sources and you will get a horrible experience (streaming services are integrated into the Bluesound app and into the Naim kit. It’s a suboptimal experience). Doing it would hurt thr Roon experience rather than improving it IMHO.


If you have Roon and Tidal you will appreciate the integration over time. Suddenly you will realise there are 57 versions of a track you know and you can play anyone of them and this leads to something else you have forgotten etc. Once you have these extra, almost un noticed features you will feel very short changed without them. So I think Chromcast users will appreciate it.
Also Roon needs a bigger user base to get larger streaming companies to take notice.

1 Like

I have a Tidal sub and definitely appreciate the integration. I also have Google Play Music sub, and so do many of my friends. We share playlists between each other and have a blast sharing music, so don’t want to give GPM up…so I pay for 2 services.

Just like there are compromises to using non-RAAT hardware in Roon, I think people would accept compromises to be able get the music streaming service of their choice into Roon. Roon allows Internet Radio…

Come on Roon! Just offer some sort of LINE IN option and all the whining (about adding other streaming services) will slow down! :wink:

1 Like

The internet radio is now at 24bit output so it doesn’t count as a compromise anymore :wink:

1 Like

The issue is that from the ROON team point of view not all compromises are born the same. I believe that a lot of people that are not in to AirPlay or Chromecast, will very much like to enjoy (or at least to try) ROON, but they can’t because, well, ROON doesn’t compromise for them. And everybody knows that dlna (just an example) sucks anyway.

That’s not a choice. The choice is to use ROON or not . Once decided for, changing the kit is a forced necessity.

I think that consistency should not be overrated.
The situations are very different. (You don’t complain about inconsistency in evaluations for recruiting a goalie and a striker…)

Wrt the devices, there is a consistent principle that the capabilities you get depend on the endpoint you buy. Maximum sample rate, DSD support, MQA etc. – you get what you pay for. In some cases, Roon can partially or fully compensate for a hardware limitation (MQA…), in some cases not. Cross-device sync is one of those. The partial support is not unreasonable: if you want sync, you probably want it in some rooms, for party scenarios, not necessarily in bedrooms and headphones, and then you have to choose appropriate hardware for that. Roon offers a multi-vendor solution based on RAAT, but there are other walled gardens that work ok within themselves. Seems reasonable to me. Especially since some of those walled gardens may be bought for other reasons (“Hey, Google…”) which cannot be met by a PSAudio DSjr + UltraRendu/Mytek Brooklyn combo.

So that is the reason it isn’t bad to allow non-RAAT devices in. But why is it good? Why should we cheer? I think even more important than the current installed base is the low cost. Roon requires certain hardware support, and removing cost from that pre-req removes barriers for Roon to get customers. Those of us here who are hardcore audiophiles and consider DACs in the thousands and speakers in the tens of thousands – we are a tiny minority. I think this is a brilliant strategy: support the high end at the best level, but eliminate barriers to entry. (The same applies to the technical expertise issue: support the tech-savvy tinkerers and DIY guys, but offer turnkey solutions.)

Ok, what about the streaming services? This is a more subtle argument. I think that the conflict is that both sides, Roon and Spotify for example, consider their user interface, and the database and algorithms that underlie it, as the primary value proposition. And related to that is the customer relationship. I have no insider knowledge, but based on general business experience i assume that Spotify absolutely cannot accept being disintermediated from their customer. Their user interface is not just the face of the service, in their minds it is the service. They have said so: the value we offer to our customers is not the music, it is Spotify. (People have snickered at that, but it is their view, and it is not unreasonable.) Consider Tidal: I love Tidal, during the last year I have added 100 Tidal albums per month to my library, but I never use Tidal. I don’t use their app, I don’t use any of the value props, the recommendations, playlists, sharing, whatever, don’t even know what they offer. Tidal is an anonymous pipe of music for me. A great one, but without identity, personality. Without customer relationship. (Like my internet provider: all of those guys are frantically trying to find value-added services, but the truth is, they are a commodity, a dumb pipe.) Any commodity like that is replaceable, the only saving grace is if they have a practical monopoly (Tidal, Comcast…).

And similarly, Roon doesn’t want to lose the central value of the user interface, navigation, metadata, all that stuff. That is the essence of Roon. It is not the only value, they have done a brilliant job on many other functions, but it is the essence.

So that is a central tension. Roon wants music piped into their identity, Spotify wants outlets for their identity.

Roon doesn’t want to become just a dumb pipe for distributing other people’s music, Spotify doesn’t want to become just a dumb pipe feeding into other people’s experience.

So I see the reasons for the different attitudes. Not inconsistent, because of different circumstances.

(That said, I have clamored for Roon providing a virtual audio device functionality in addition to the core functionality, I think it would be good for Roon to do that, it doesn’t undermine the essence. But this is Roon’s business decision, and it is not trivial.)

(A side note: how important is the user interface? There is a brilliant analyst called Ben Thompson, runs a subscription site called stratechery.com, he has made a great observation. We have Clayton Christensen’s famous business/tech theory called the Innovator’s Dilemma, which basically says that leading companies get killed by newcomers undermining them from below, with new technology that is cheaper and initially “good enough”, the incumbent’s product is better but not better enough to justify the price differential. A brilliant insight with very wide applicability. But Thompson has pointed out that Apple’s strength is that they recognized that this doesn’t apply to user interface. There is no such thing as a user interface that is better than it needs to be. So a newcomer can attack an incumbent from the top, with better-user-interface-but-more-expensive, and not just from underneath with good-enough-but-cheaper. And today, Apple has fairly small unit share but massive profit share in the phone/pocket computer market. Why didn’t this apply to PCs? Why couldn’t the Mac beat Windows on that basis? Because in the corporate market, the users are not the buyers. It seems clear to me that Roon is clearly in the user-is-buyer market, where user interface wins. As are AppleTV and Chromecast, with minimalistic user interface and great ease of use.)