Affordable Roon Endpoint

marantzfan

Administrator
Staff member
Alright, order placed.

Planning to build 2 for now, and possibly a 3rd soon after.

RPi

Raspberry SC15184 Pi 4 Model B 2019 Quad Core 64 Bit WiFi Bluetooth (2GB)

Power Supply

CanaKit 3.5A Raspberry Pi 4 Power Supply (USB-C) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07TYQRXTK/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_Mm87Eb03YRA2S

Memory Card

Samsung (MB-ME32GA/AM) 32GB 95MB/s (U1) microSDHC EVO Select Memory Card with Full-Size Adapter https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XWN9Q99/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_rn87EbMNK0ZTD

Case

Raspberry Pi 4 Aluminum Case RPI 4B Shell Metal Box Grey Enclosure for RPI 4 Model B Only (Grey) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B081H8L9YH/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_Yn87EbWZC8XEB
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
Alright, order placed.

Planning to build 2 for now, and possibly a 3rd soon after.

RPi

Raspberry SC15184 Pi 4 Model B 2019 Quad Core 64 Bit WiFi Bluetooth (2GB)

Power Supply

CanaKit 3.5A Raspberry Pi 4 Power Supply (USB-C) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07TYQRXTK/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_Mm87Eb03YRA2S

Memory Card

Samsung (MB-ME32GA/AM) 32GB 95MB/s (U1) microSDHC EVO Select Memory Card with Full-Size Adapter https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XWN9Q99/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_rn87EbMNK0ZTD

Case

Raspberry Pi 4 Aluminum Case RPI 4B Shell Metal Box Grey Enclosure for RPI 4 Model B Only (Grey) Robot Check

Great shopping list, I have that very same case BTW, it's excellent for the low asking price, nicely machined.

Do you have a USB memory card reader/writer? If not, you can always use the microSD to SD adapter that comes with the card, but then you'd need an SD card slot in your computer to write the disk image.

I prefer a USB memory card reader/writer, this Transcend is my go-to unit, cheap and fast.

For sure you want to use Etcher for that task, outstanding freeware, you can even burn a zipped image to the card and Etcher will automatically unzip it for you.
 

marantzfan

Administrator
Staff member
@MikeyFresh You have really taken all of the guesswork out of this. I was a little intimidated at first, I’ll be honest.

The laptop I plan on using has a built in SD card slot, so I think I’m good there. Will download the etcher program. Thanks again!
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
Or you can just get a Bluesound Node 2.
Not if you intend to use the USB input on an external DAC, or if you plan to stream DSD, or if you have any PCM files greater than 192kHz sample rate, or if you wish to upsample PCM to greater than 192kHz.

Additionally, with the Node 2 you are then pretty well stuck with the onboard SMPS (major modification necessary to use a LPS), and you come in north of $500 cost wise (each Roon endpoint @marantzfan is building will cost around $90 all-in sans DAC).
 
Not if you intend to use the USB input on an external DAC, or if you plan to stream DSD, or if you have any PCM files greater than 192kHz sample rate, or if you wish to upsample PCM to greater than 192kHz.

Additionally, with the Node 2 you are then pretty well stuck with the onboard SMPS (major modification necessary to use a LPS), and you come in north of $500 cost wise (each Roon endpoint @marantzfan is building will cost around $90 all-in sans DAC).
Understood. I was just being a smarty.

That's a great price for that type of connectivity for sure.

What would be some upgrades for that? I think I watched a youtube or two a while back on some additional add-ons to the Pi to help with noise etc.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
Understood. I was just being a smarty.

That's a great price for that type of connectivity for sure.

What would be some upgrades for that? I think I watched a youtube or two a while back on some additional add-ons to the Pi to help with noise etc.

First would likely be a LPS as mentioned by @billfort , complete with a bypass of the Pi's USB power inlet, direct connection to the power pins on the GPIO is likely better.

Next might be a USB cleaner/reclocker such as the W4S Recovery, though results there would vary depending on the exact DAC in use, or even the USB cable (or lack thereof with something like an UpTone USPCB). I still have my eye out for the Allo version of that USB adapter which will be made from a flexible PCB, but I love the USPCB because if the DAC requires no USB bus power, you can flip a tiny switch in the adapter and cut the VBUS entirely. That makes no small difference for the better.

But according to my buddy for whom I've built two of these cheap Roon endpoints, they are perfectly serviceable or even surprisingly excellent even in standard guise, with a simple SMPS wall wart. He ended up getting the Channel Islands Audio VDC-5 Mk. II LPS for one of his units, but he didn't bother with the one that uses an iFi iDSD nano DAC because the battery powered aspect provides full galvanic isolation from the Pi's noisy GND.

Or, a quieter than typical SMPS such as the iFi iPower coupled with a John Swenson Ground Shunt is also a great option, better yet the forthcoming Allo Nirvana SMPS ($59) which is already grounded.
 

marantzfan

Administrator
Staff member
Ok.

Everything came in today and I'm in the thick of it now. :)

Downloaded the Ropieee image and am using Etcher right now to Flash both Samsung microSD cards now.

Once that is done, what is the next step?
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
Ok.

Everything came in today and I'm in the thick of it now. :)

Downloaded the Ropieee image and am using Etcher right now to Flash both Samsung microSD cards now.

Once that is done, what is the next step?

Setup one unit at a time, insert the flash card with the bootable disk image into the RPi 4B, it goes in pins facing up label side down. Be careful to line it up properly with the card slot, if you miss, the card will end up inside the case and you'll have to open it again to retrieve.

Connect an Ethernet cable to the Pi, then power it up!

The initial boot sequence can take 5 minutes, you do nothing during that time frame, except watch. The Green CPU activity LED will flash, and the unit will actually reboot itself more than once. After the final reboot (about 5 minutes later depending on your internet speed) you'll do the configuration as an endpoint from within Roon itself.

Connect a USB DAC, and away you go!

From the RoPieee web page:

As RoPieee is meant to be used unattended (without screen and/or keyboard attached) it uses the green LED as a visual indication of what’s going on. During installation/configuration the green LED will flash at high frequency (10 Hz). When the RoPieee is ready to rock this changes to a flash at a steady 1/2 Hz.

You can also visit the web page of the RoPieee to configure some items if necessary. For that you need to either know what the IP address is of your RoPieee or you can visit http://ropieeexl.local.


The above assumes you installed the XL version, if you chose the regular version just nix the xl part of the address above. Alternatively, use the excellent Fing app for iOS or Android to sniff out the IP address that was assigned by your router, or just use the router's address table if that is preferable, entry of the actual IP address into a browser gets you to the same local web page as the above .local address does.
 

marantzfan

Administrator
Staff member
So, I’m assuming the Ethernet cable is connected from a pc to the RPi? Does that mean that I access the RPi through a web browser on the connected PC?

Also, is that where I will be able to connect the RPi to my WiFi and enter the WiFi password? Maybe I missed it but I didn’t see this step in either your instructions or the RoPieee site.

I’m guessing a lot of this will be pretty straightforward but figured it doesn’t hurt to ask before proceeding. ;)
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
So, I’m assuming the Ethernet cable is connected from a pc to the RPi? Does that mean that I access the RPi through a web browser on the connected PC?

Also, is that where I will be able to connect the RPi to my WiFi and enter the WiFi password? Maybe I missed it but I didn’t see this step in either your instructions or the RoPieee site.

I’m guessing a lot of this will be pretty straightforward but figured it doesn’t hurt to ask before proceeding. ;)
The Ethernet cable connects to your router, the router provisions the RPi with an IP address.

In one of your earlier posts you said you had Ethernet access for this unit in your office, while WiFi should also work, the RPi case you chose is not optimal for WiFi as it does not have a lot of openings for the radio signal to get inside where the WiFi antenna is located on the board.

WiFi might still work OK, but it will be a function of how far away you are from the router.

But first you need to get it setup using Ethernet, then you can switch it to WiFi if need be, for that you just need it to get an IP, then you can access it's local web page via a web browser, either by entering the IP itself, or the above mentioned .local address.

I don't think there is much of any setup that needs to occur using the unit's local web page (other than the WiFi config), the actual configuration as an endpoint occurs in your Roon interface itself. A DAC must be connected via USB for that.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
...and it works!

Listening to Tidal in the living room right now over WiFi.

Will set the second one up later tonight. Exciting stuff!

Congratulations, you are a graduate of distributed (networked) audio by way of Roon. Pretty painless, right?

Roon is super robust in that regard, you can add a bunch of endpoints, so long as your router has the available throughput for the various different streams/zones.

I use DLNA/UPnP, which is less robust than Roon/RAAT, but I can still run 3 simultaneous streams to 3 separate zones with no audio glitches, even hi-rez tracks are not a problem. I have an aging yet still competent 802.11n router (dual band simultaneous). Hardly state-of-the-art, it dates to 2010, but it still gets the job done.

I guess the other potential limitation would be the Roon Core (server) itself, at some point you can overtax the CPU, especially with upsampling.
 

marantzfan

Administrator
Staff member
Number 2 is now setup and ready for action.

Pretty painless indeed and so far it doesn’t look like the WiFi signal strength is going to be an issue. I recently upgraded to 500mhz speeds and with that my isp provided a new router/modem that appears to be pretty advanced. The true test will be upconverting DSD on the fly.

So far, so good. I gotta get some more of these little guys! :)
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
Excellent!

Can this be done just using the Tidal controller on my phone or tablet and not through roon?

Yes but that discussion probably better fits in one of the existing Tidal or Raspberry Pi threads, rather than a Roon endpoint thread.

In any event, you can't use the official Tidal app for that, but there are several 3rd party apps that fit the bill, most notably Mconnect, and BubbleUPnP, among others.
 
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