Roon brings music to more masses with Chromecast support

As someone who more than casually brushes against technology in life, who uses an iPhone, an iPad, Apple laptops and desktop computers in all manner of high-fidelity and art-related cross-connectivity and who is an unabashed Roon fan boy (more on this in a minute), I don’t think I’m alone among many wired (and unwired) audiophiles who would say “I don’t Chromecast.”

I also don’t use an Apple TV.

It’s just one of those weird things for me I guess, as I’ve got a Playstation 3 that acts as my digital-content portal for TV viewing (yes, it’s old tech, I also don’t have a sound bar – I’m working on it). I also have separate rooms for my high-fidelity bent (living room) and Japanese-film or TV-series obsessions (family room) so the two never really meet in some networked-hub love-in or audio-visual technology orgy. But down the road that could change.

Let me explain why.

For those not in the know, Chromecast is a Google-developed digital media player. It looks like a small-round puck with an HDMI dongle and allows mobile phones, computers, tablets, etc. to stream audio and visual HD content to HDMI-compatible televisions or other devices via its Micro-USB output, like to say, any compatible DAC with a likewise savoury digital-in as a Roon endpoint

What am I talking about you may ask?

Roon is a streaming/stored-music content player – which I freely admit to using religiously in my hi-fi systems – and a Roon endpoint is simply a hardware device that can communicate/playback your stored (or cloud-based) files from the software-based Roon music-file library you have curated.

So when I received an email that announced that Roon have created a custom solution and built-in the ability to stream directly from their software to Chromecast Audio, Google Home, Google Home Mini, and Google Home Max, I was intrigued.

For those without dedicated high-fidelity systems (or networked A/V systems), but who harbour a love for great audio software that can play nice across a wide bandwidth of affordable music devices – including TVs – this is cool news. If you already have a dedicated hi-fi in place, having a $35 Roon hardware endpoint is even cooler.

From Roon: “Audio with cover art and artist photos can be streamed to Chromecast Gen 1, Gen 2, and Ultra. With Roon you can now stream high-resolution gapless music (up to 96kHz/24-bit) and apply Roon’s powerful DSP, including EQ, room correction, headphone cross feed, and more.

“Roon supports grouped playback on Chromecast devices via the Google Home app. Using the Google Home app, you can set up groups of Chromecast devices, which then appear as “zones” in Roon alongside other supported hardware products.”

CEO of Roon Labs, Enno Vandermeer, said it well when he described the update as an expansion of “the ecosystem of audio devices that work with Roon… Streaming hi-resolution music to devices throughout your home has never been easier or more cost-effective.”

For my family and myself, this could mean the start of browsing Tidal via Roon from my family/guest room on the TV for casual listening or for visitors who want to access high-res content while staying over. YMMV, as it will probably mean different things to you.

More information from Roon here: Roon Labs

Roon Labs LLC
96 Round Hill Drive, Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510

Sue's picture

Computer and TV have never seen the inside of my listening room. My 20-something nephews were over today laughing at my "museum system" as they call it - Atma-Sphere OTL amps and a Kenwood turntable from the dark ages.

tulysses's picture

I have several Chromecast devices throughout the house and was glad to see this added function. For example, I have Chromecast audio devices attached to modest systems for my garage and back porch. Tidal already had streaming capability to Chromecast devices, but Roon adds my music file library to the Tidal library. Very nice while woodworking on the bandsaw or grilling in the back yard. Chromecast audio devices are currently only $25 each and do have a digital out for a dac (optical digital out cable not included). Certainly not sonically competitive with expensive, high end streamers as a Roon endpoint, (surprise), but they punch well above their weight and work.

Richard D. George's picture

Darko has some useful recent articles on how to use Chromecast for SoundCloud and how to improve the sound quality from a Chromecast device.

sonicnews's picture

When you factor that Roon can unfold the first part of MQA to 96/24, the fact that Chromecast audio can do up to 96/24, and you can use it with a toslink cable to leverage the DAC of another unit, this is a bargain. I use mine with a Woo Audio Fireflies. Love it!