Roon’s feature set and pricing place it at the deluxe end of the music manager/player software market. Its interface, which begs for touchscreen use, is without peer. This post makes the introductions.
I run the OS X desktop version of Roon on a MacMini in my office. For local library content, it indexes/syncs with an attached USB hard drive. For streaming, it has my Tidal login details. For playback, Roon’s digital audio output is sent over USB to an AudioQuest DragonFly Red pushing into Fostex T50RP MKIII.
In other words, Roon comprises three components: library manager, player and control interface. You can dig deeper on how they interrelate here.
Thing is – the MacMini isn’t close enough to my main hifi system to go USB direct with the PS Audio Direct Stream Jnr. I’d need one, long specification-busting USB cable to make it happen. No deal.
Solutions? I could have the Mac Mini send its RAAT-fuelled audio data across the network to the Roon Ready AURALiC Aries which in turn is connected to the PS Audio DAC.
If I didn’t have a Roon Ready network DAC or streamer, I could install Roon on my other computer, a MacBook Air, and have the Mac Mini send audio data to it; but why have Roon’s library manager and control components running on the Air when I don’t really need ’em? A waste of system resources that may or may not prove detrimental to sound quality.
Enter Roon Bridge – an application that runs in the background on any Windows PC, Mac, Raspberry Pi or Linux computer, effectively turning it into a Roon Ready device.
“Once installed, [Roon Bridge] locates all of the audio outputs on the device and connects them to the Roon Core so they are available as Network Zones in Roon,” runs the press release.
In either of the AURALiC Aries and Roon Bridge scenarios I could use an iPad or one of several Android tables (with a screens large enough) to run Roon’s remote control app. iPhone? Samsung Galaxy Sx? HTC One? Nope, nope and nope. At least, not until today…
Also announced by Roon this very day are remote control apps for iPhone and Android smartphones. “About time!” you opine. Be patient whilst they clear App Store and Google Play Store quarantine. (iPhone screenshots above and below).
An update to the all new Roon v1.2 is required before hitting up download links for either smartphone app or Roon Bridge.
So far, so consumer grade PC.
For the audiophile looking for a bespoke server solution that runs Roon Core (library handler) and its player component, more good news: having teased a few names at CES, Roon have formally announced an extended list of Core partners who will soon spill with the necessary server hardware:
432 Evo, Amare Musica, Antipodes, Blue Smoke, Computer Audio Design, dCS, Elac, ExaSound, Melos Audio, Music Vault, Pink Faun, Rockna, Salk Sound, Sforzato, Small Green Computer, SOtM, and Sound Galleries.
Not mentioned by the press release is v1.2’s ‘beta support’ for Internet radio. Enter a station stream’s URL (AAC or MP3) from any Roon desktop client and it will be clickable from any Roon remote control app.
Further information: Roon Labs