Roon now supports Chromecast

Sadly you can’t group Chromecast devices into zones with RAAT transports, but it’s still cool to be able to stream to them at all. Roon is the first Chromecasting solution I’ve seen that supports DSP on stuff played to Chromecast.

Now, if we can just get Roon to support Spotify and/or Google Play Music …


Audio Science Review measurements show that the Chromecast Audio has a very good digital output and an okay analog output:


In my experience a receiver with DLNA support would be better but this is a good solution for those with older equipment.

Roon offers some noted advantages over direct DLNA playback, though: zone-specific DSP, volume leveling, bitrate control, Tidal streaming, phone app remote, and more. In fact, I’m planning to ditch the DSP on my receiver in favor of a REW-derived EQ on Roon, just running the receiver in pure direct mode instead.


And the cool thing is that of it works with the Chromecast!

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Can’t Roon send info over DLNA. I was saying in the chain of Roon -> ChromeCast -> Receiver -> Speaker, if you replace chromecast with DLNA it might yield better results.

It can’t

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Roon uses a proprietary core protocol, called RAAT (Roon Advanced Audio Transport). It’s a lot more sophisticated than DLNA. For example DLNA, unless operating with the (Linn) OpenHome extensions, does not properly support gapless playback, let alone multi-target synchronization or clock management.

DLNA’s architecture is a disconnected command-and-request design. Not very far removed from simply ending the device a file list and then it requesting them from the server. And closer to the way a web-browser and web-server interact, than the much more intentional and directive system employed by Roon/RAAT.

DLNA is really just a way to get commands to a device and for the device to get the data to execute them from a server. That’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the capabilities that Roon offers. Once you start using Roon, and any of it’s features beyond “play song x on device y”, DLNA largely ceases to be an option.

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Today’s update to Roon let’s you use a Chromecast as a way to put your “Now Playing” screen (including the new “Live Lyrics” stuff) up on a TV or monitor but NOT have to use it as an audio output.

So, you can use the Chromecast for display and still send the actual audio to a dedicated DAC.

As someone who hasn’t used Roon before and has a decent sized library of digital music but still uses spotify quite a bit - what does Roon offer that makes it so special? I’m definitely curious since I’ve seen a lot of people talking about it but I don’t quite understand it’s use case over just using DNLA or Samba sharing. Is it mostly for the library and artist information integration and GUI?

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It’s a combination of factors - the more of which apply to you the more it becomes compelling.

There’s a thread on Roon as a whole here.

DLNA is rather antiquated and limited, and unless it’s running Linn’s “OpenHome” extensions it can’t even manage gapless playback properly. And DLNA is really just the protocol-level stuff anyway … which is conceptually closer to (but less technically capable) Roon’s RAAT.

It won’t integrate with Spotify, but it’ll make a local and a TIDAL library appear as one (if you wish). And Qobuz support is also now confirmed as coming.

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Yeah, all the specific features aside, the user experience of using Roon is just a real pleasure, with big graphics, a great information hierarchy, sensible navigation and lots of other nice touches. Perversely, the UI can be so engrossing that I sometimes find my attention pulled away from listening and instead focus on browsing my library and learning about the albums and artists within it.

I only paid for one year and I’m still in that year. Honestly, I’m not sure yet whether or not I’ll continue with the service once it expires. As much as I love Roon, for my purposes the price/performance leaves a little to be desired (though I understand why they price it as they do).

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What is the HQPlayer option in Roon? It links to “Signalyst”. Apparently some software.
This looks like the right place for this question, it doesn’t appear to be MQA/Tidal related.

HQPlayer is an application that allows you to apply upsampling, format conversion and most-uniquely, a wide array of filtering and noise-shaping to your music files.

Roon has built-in options for upsampling and format conversion (e.g. PCM to DSD or DSD to PCM), and for some filtering options, but it is not as flexible nor as powerful as HQPlayer’s options.

It’s worth noting that the higher levels of upsampling, and especially the high-order filtering and noise shaping options HQ Player offers, require significant computing power (either a multi-core setup or solid GPU-compute capacity) and ideally a machine dedicated to the task.

HQPlayer is most interesting if you’re using a DAC that is either of NOS configuration (non-oversampling) or that can be driven in a manner that bypasses any internal oversampling/filtering. Some people report major improvements in the sound they get, especially with native DSD DACs, though my experiences have been more along the lines of “sounds different” than necessarily “better”.

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