The first RAW: Roon Audio Workshop at The Audio Salon in Santa Monica, CA
took place over the weekend. Host Maier Shadi along with John Quick from dCS, Richard Liddell from Audio Alchemy and Constellation Audio, and Rob Darling from Roon were on hand to talk about all things Roon. Prior to the event Rob and I discussed our presentations and length of time each of us would speak. Once we got rolling with great audience questions, all bets were off. The attendees of the event all came prepared with questions, concerns, comments, and even one portable Roon system for hands-on education. Some people were using basic Roon systems with a Mac connected via USB
to a DAC
, while others had multiple RoonReady / RoonBridge endpoints and even multiple Roon systems, including one in an automobile. I'm pretty sure I was more impressed by the people who attended the event than they were impressed with anything I had to say.
Throughout the 12:00 - 6:00 PM event, the most talked about hardware was easily the Intel NUC series of computers. It seemed like everyone had a NUC or two or three. This fit right in with Rob Darling's explanation of the new RoonOS / NUC product. The team at Roon has created a disk image for USB
thumb drives, that installs Linux and RoonServer on an Intel NUC without any user intervention. The idea is that people can download the disk image, write it to a USB
drive, stick that in a NUC, hit the power button and the OS and RoonServer will automatically install on the system. All configuration, such as pointing Roon to the location of one's music, is done via a Roon remote. Roon Labs plans to offer a link to an Amazon shopping cart (or similar) where people can click to purchase all the required elements of the system. This isn't a Roon product, rather an easy system designed by Roon. Much more to come on this really cool new "product."
John Quick brought along the new RoonReady dCS Network Bridge (~$4,250) for static display. The hardware for this bombproof component is complete, but some final touches are still being put on the firmware before its official release. Can't wait to get one in my system.
There were two audio systems used at the event, and one Naim Mu-so with audio playing in the lobby of The Audio Salon.
The main system was comprised of Wilson Audio Alexx loudspeakers, Dan D'Agostino Momentum mono amplifiers and Momentum preamplifier, a full dCS Vivaldi stack (DAC
, RoonReady Upsampler, Master Clock, and CD Transport), and Transparent Audio cabling.
The second system, located on the side of the room, consisted of Wilson Audio Yvette loudspeakers, a full Audio Alchemy system (DDP-1 DAC
, PS-5 power supply, DMP
-1 RoonReady endpoint, and a DPA-1 stereo amplifier). All cabling was from Transparent Audio.
Of course I brought along some familiar RoonReady / RoonBridge goodies including a Sonore microRendu, Sonicorbiter, SOtM
sMS-200, and the incredibly inexpensive $7.99 NanoPi Neo.
The Roon core server for the entire event was run wirelessly from my MacBook Pro laptop. Roon remotes in use were on a laptop, iPhone, iPad, Android phone, and Microsoft Surface.
After the event officially ended, some of us stuck around for a fun listening session. I had an absolute blast cranking all types of music on the main audio system at The Audio Salon. It isn't often one has the opportunity to spend hours with such a system, playing whatever music comes to mind. We played several Rage Against The Machine tracks at high volume, followed by some Led Zeppelin, and some Jeff Buckley. Perhaps the best part about this listening session and Roon, is that each of us had Roon remote running on our mobile devices. The queue was constantly growing and being updated. Once in a while someone would have a sinister look on their face because they rearranged the queue to play their songs next, rather than placing something at the end of the queue and waiting. In fact, I'm still waiting to hear my selection of Nirvana's lesser known track Sappy. Based on this fun interaction, I have no doubt this was a small microcosm of what is taking place in homes around the world. I can imagine that Roon is a blast to use at parties.
I'd like to thank Maier Shadi at The Audio Salon for putting the event together and John, Richard, and Rob or participating. Plus, a huge thanks to those who attended. I was a pleasure meeting everyone and very enjoyable to hear how they are using Roon and many of the products talked about here on CA
P.S. Before the event we had discussed streaming it live or possibly recording it for later publication. Upon further review we decided not to do either for both technical reasons and to make sure the atmosphere at the event was conducive to all questions and answers.
From left to right: Maier Shadi, Chris Connaker, Rob & Ruby Darling, John Quick
dCS Network Bridge
Sonore microRendu, Sonicorbiter, SOtM
The very unofficial Roon mascot, Rob Darling's wonderful dog Ruby.
Rob and Ruby resting after a long day.