Wondering if Roon will work for me

The streamer is just a streamer so nothing worth retaining of not using it to stream. Plus while it is just as good as it’s replacement, it probably isn’t worth much for resale because it doesnt support Roon or MQA. I’ll look into a Nucleus but for me it would be to take the computer out of the equation. I’d like nothing more than just to open my tablet and start playing music through my stereo without stopping at the computer to open JRiver. While my computer is a Mac, it is darn slow and the other bad news for me is my tablet is an Amazon Fire so for most things not JRiver Is have to get an Ipad. My tablet does everything else that I need from it for around $100. My wife got an Ipad at the same time as I got my first Amazon tablet. My tablet did everything the IPad did and outlasted it too. But that’s another topic in itself

So you are sure that would work?

The purpose of a Nucleus is to take your computer out of the equation. It works perfectly and runs 24/7 with absolutely no needed attention. You pick up your iPad, iPhone, or whatever and start playing music. You can play your own music or subscribe to Tidal and/or Qobuz. Qobuz is becoming the choice of many people because it is now cheaper ($12.50 per month if you pay for a year) and you can stream 24/192 without a MQA capable DAC. That said, a Nucleus is not cheap, so many opt to build a NUC for 1/2 the price.

Most people would do none of this without running a free trial of Roon. If I was you, I would figure out how to do that first, or forget about Roon and move on.

I’m sure of very little these days. I do know you can run Roon core on a computer of sufficient capability. The minimum requirements are spelled out in the Roon information I linked to earlier. I do know that a Raspberry Pi 4 can be assembled for $74 using parts from Amazon. I built two and am using one now to feed Roon to my headphone DAC/amp. I do know that the Raspberry Pi can connect to your network using ethenet and is a Roon ready device if running the free Ropieee or RopieeeXL software. It takes about 10 minutes to assemble and load the software. The part I don’t know is anything about your Bel Canto device. I think it connects using ethernet so you would need to figure out how to connect it to the Raspberry Pi. There is probably a HAT also available on Amazon to give you ethernet out from the Raspberry Pi, but that’s not something I have looked into.

EDIT: Easier yet, I assume you could use a USB to ethernet adapter out of the Raspberry Pi. If you assemble one and it doesn’t work for some reason, you could sell it on eBay. I just sold one for $114.

You can see if your Fire will load Roon Remote. It’s available through the Amazon store. (Obviously, it won’t do anything if you’re not running Roon somewhere). I use a Fire HD10 as one of my remotes and it’s great.
IMO, the ‘ideal’ setup is a Roon ROCK running on a NUC, which streams to an ethernet-enabled endpoint. The NUC is relatively cheap (about a grand less than a Nucleus), easy to put together and about as complicated as a toaster. It’s always on, as you desire. Unfortunately, your Bel Canto’s won’t suffice as Roon endpoints via ethernet without an intermediary Roon Bridge device. That can be the Raspberry Pi, something like an Allo Digione, or even an old slow Mac or PC.
It would be frustrating to be just outside the edge of usability for several of the devices you have now. If you fall for Roon like many of us have, you will not mind a year from now.

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Ok guys. This is all great information. If only I understood any of it. I am not a computer person at all. So, yes, the refstream has only 1 input and it is Ethernet. Don’t have any knowledge of raspberry pi’s or NUC’s. I can fix anything on your house but computers , not so much. If these are simple to build and there are directions then I can build them. Hooking them to the network, not so sure . Can you tell me exactly what to get? My stereo shop will probably give me a deal on a Nucleus so might be better or easier to just buy one unless.the build is very simple. Do they run hot? Looks like the nucleus doesn’t which is something I need in a tight cabinet that I built without these extra pieces in mind. As for the pi and an Ethernet connection, for it, what parts are needed? Or can that be bought assembled for a little more?

Replied to you and Jim together on my post. Sounds like the nucleus of a a NUC which I never heard of before is what I need. Looked up Roo n Rock and it showed what to order on Amazon but 1 part was not available. Quickly looked at Allo Digione. My refstream only has an Ethernet input. So does that mean it wouldn’t work?

Also, I have a brand new Fire hd10 so sounds like that will work

I think it’s way too soon to think about a Nucleus or NUC. You can decide that after you do your trial of Roon and make sure it’s going to be of benefit to you. I think it will be. As soon as I finish watching a movie that’s on, I will post the 4 things you need to order from amazon to assemble a Raspberry Pi 4 Roon bridge device. I suggest you start there. When you do that, you can install Roon core on your computer and the Roon control app on your tablet and start your 14 day trial.

Tom, I created a new thread to ask if you can simply plug a USB to ethernet adapter into the Raspberry Pi 4 Roon bridge device. Let’s wait until someone answers that question before you dive in on a Raspberry Pi. I think that will work, but I would rather someone who knows for sure let us know.

Tom, what are you using for an amp and speakers? It sounds like maybe you could ditch the Bel Canto for your Roon trial and just use a Raspberry Pi connected to your network (router) with USB and then RCA right and left to your amp. Is that how your Bel Canto connects to your amp. With Roon, your computer running Roon core acts as your streaming device, controlled with you tablet.

If this is how you choose to do the trial, you would need to assemble a Raspberry Pi with a HAT that has RCA outs. There are some threads here that talk more about that.

Thanks Jim. I’m thinking that Roon or not, a Nucleus or NUC can take the computer out of what I am doing which is what I want to do. JRiver recommends an ID. Same thing I guess. Have to look into it closer. I got a quick look at Roon at my stereo shop and I’m pretty sure I’m gonna like it. Hopefully the raspberry pi thing can work. We’ll see from the other thread. I have spent a lot on this system to get it to sound the way I want. Now I just need to get it working how I want and it’s close.

I think I’m also going to borrow a Bluesound Node 2i from my stereo shop tomorrow. I don’t think it’s the same quality as my refstream but it might serve another purpose at a pretty cheap price. It works with Amazon music HD and with Alexa and can play to Wi-Fi speakers around the house. I think it will be good for when I just want background music, maybe add some speakers here and there that don’t need to sound great. It’s Roon ready also. I still want to get the refstream to work with roon for serious listening. That is priority one. Alexa controlled Amazon HD would be a bonus. Thanks for the help. Worst case , I save up and buy the new Roon ready Stream I guess.

The Node 2i is a good idea. It is Roon ready, as you say, so you can install Roon core on your computer and the Roon control app on your tablet and connect the Node 2i to your sound system. Just so you know, a Nucleus is totally useless without Roon. It only runs Roon, nothing else.

Oh. Ok .just edited my post while you were posting. Bel Canto recommended an Id. Also a Linux based piece that takes away the computer. Not necessarily for Roon but when I told them I was having trouble with drop outs. So one way or another, something like that is in my futureI

I just spent more on a power cord and AES interconnect for my restream then the cost of the Bluesound and neither would work with the bluesound so I need to make the refstream work

You say it has only an Ethernet input , in which case you are sunk

Is this the back of your streamer, if it is no intermediary will help it simply isn’t Roon compatible


I assume you have a separate DAC, if so the RPi route will completely REPLACE the streamer

Ie Nucleus ( or NUC Rock) > Network > RPi > DAC v

The RPi replaces your streamer.At least my CXN was usable as a DAC

Can we please drop this idea? It won’t work at all. The Bel Canto REF stream uses DLNA, whilst Roon uses RAAT as its audio protocol over ethernet. Completely different protocols: chalk and cheese.

Take a look at the picture link I posted , you’re dead right. The Bel Canto is never going to work with Roon there’s no way of feeding it

Everyone seems to be assuming its a Streamer DAC with all the normal diigital inputs , its just ethernet

Let’s go back to square one, and see if there’s a simple way to try out Roon on your system. And by “trying out Roon”, it’s probably helpful if we break this down a bit. There can be at least two aspects here:

My suggestion would be to see whether you like the user experience of Roon first, and do this with the minimum investment in hardware.

We’ve established that you’ve got a BelCanto REFstream connected to a Bel Canto dac/preamp (also an e.One? which model?) using balanced AES.

We’ve also established that the REFstream is a DLNA device, and thus can’t be used as a Roon output device. So in your trial of Roon, we have to bypass the REFstream, and find some way of getting the Roon digital signal into your Bel Canto DAC.

I see from the Bel Canto DAC 1.7 specs for example, that as well as the AES input, there is also digital input via USB, TOSLINK and SPDIF:

The simplest, and cheapest, way to try out Roon would be to use the USB input, and connect this to your Mac. Install Roon on your Mac, install the Bel Canto USB driver for MacOS, and you’re good to go.

However, I suspect that your Mac is in one room, and your Bel Canto audio setup is in another (because you have the REFstream on your network).

In these situations, folks will often use a Raspberry Pi running Ropieee to do the same job in the Roon world as your REFstream is doing in the DLNA world.

The cheapest configuration (i.e. minimum investment for the trial) would be to connect the RPi to ethernet for the Roon input, and to connect the USB on the RPi to the USB input on your Bel Canto DAC.

However, there’s a fly in the ointment with this approach. I note that the Bel Canto e.One DAC 1.7 only has USB drivers for Windows and MacOS - it’s not clear whether it would work directly with Linux (what Ropieee is based on). If your Bel Canto DAC does not work with Linux, then you would need to invest in an add-on board for the RPi that would provide TOSLINK or SPDIF connections to your DAC.

Suitable boards are available from HiFiBerry or IQaudIO.


Great post from Geoff (as usual). The ground up approach distills to this:

Nuc/ROCK (or any computer running Roon) —> Router —> Digione (or any other Roon Bridge) —> Bel Canto DAC ----> Analog

If you have any sort of Roon running in a network with a Roon Bridge, the old Bel Canto streamer is obsolete. No need to work it in.

It looks like the Node would substitute (temporarily) for the Roon Bridge part of this. It has ethernet in and SPDIF out to the Bel Canto DAC. It wouldn’t be my first choice because you are paying for a DAC you won’t be using, but it can get you going until you decide on Roon and more permanent hardware. The “Mac” can get you going there to run Roon.

There are innumerable choices these days for the ‘computer part’ and the ‘Roon Bridge’ part. It’s all a swirl initially, but in two weeks (or less) you’ll digest all of this and know exactly what you’d like to do for a permanent solution. It’s really nice your Stereo guy is able to help you through this.

If/when you go down this path, the parts that go into a NUC are all just computer parts. By that I mean any reasonable package of RAM will work, and any reasonable package of M2.SSD will work. Roon Community can advise on what are good alternatives to the recommended parts.

The NUC from Intel is the core of this and I wouldn’t wander away from Intel’s version of this. It needs RAM, an M.2 SSD on which the Roon OS and Roon Database runs exclusively, and optionally another large SSD to hold music. If you are happy with music on your NAS you don’t need the large SSD to start, but I’d still get the ‘Tall’ version of a NUC. The price is the same as the short version and it gives you options for internal storage if you change your mind.

If you eventually decide to go with Roon and go down this path, you will be amazed how small the NUC computer is. I’ve built a few of these for myself and friends and I’m still taken back by how much can fit in a pretty tiny box these days. I have mine stuffed down in my basement and physically lay hands on it maybe once every two months. The NUC8i3 draws something like 6 watts at idle, about one percent of what my amps draw all the time!