Originally Posted by darrob104
maybe $200, but as little as possible… I’ve spent a lot of money over the last 2 years building the home theater system, and have other priorities to spend money on (ie daughter going to college, remodeling the house, summer vacations, etc)… I believe I need to buy a DAC to connect my Mac Mini to my Marantz SR7009, but am not 100% certain…
I've identified the following options:
1) Network Streaming Solutions
a. Roon (made to do what I want to do… but expensive, and possibly overkill)
b. Audirvana (seems like it would work, but the biggest issue is that I don’t have an iPhone or iPad to use as a remote device… currently, Audirvana doesn’t have a remote app for Android)…
I’d have to control Audirvana via a wireless keyboard & mouse connection to the Mac Mini, which doesn’t seem very convenient, but not impossible.
c. Plex (might work, but haven’t researched it, yet… but they are sending me LOTS of ads since their recent Tidal implementation)… Does anyone have experience w/ Plex as discussed above?
d. Something Else… maybe jriver, volumio, foobar???
Great questions. I'll share my thoughts/experiences, FWIW:
For budget hardware: Google Chromecast Audio's were great... $35-per-client, with a built-in DAC making it a pretty useful little hockey puck when you needed an all-in-one, with an ability to bypass that tiny little dac for a better one via a mini-TOSLINK output when you didn't. It's a darn shame Google has discontinued these... I'm not sure what you can find out there 2nd hand (E-bay, etc), but they sure were great for the money...
For hardware you already own: I'm guessing you're already aware of this? But your OPPO UDP-203 is already "Roon Ready;" they make great Roon endpoints, and sound awesome.
I used Plex for this application for a long time (at least two years). I used the chromecast support to cast to my whole-home-chromecase-audio setup. "It works." For me, the price was right; I already had a PlexPass for movie/tv show/video usage, and besides I think the free Plex Media Server plays CD rips (and HiRez purchases) just fine; without a PlexPass, I think the Android Plex app might cost you $5; peanuts.
I switched to Roon about 4 months. I run Plex Media Server and Roon (and Steam and NVidia Gamestream) all on the same Desktop PC. By comparison, I prefer Roon for all of the following reasons:
- Roon makes it easy to see the full signal path and what's being done to it (intentionally or unintentionallyl). It'll show you if there's any Parametric EQ being applied. It'll show you if a device is or isn't downsampling (intentionally or unintentionally).
- Roon has the ability to apply Parametric EQ; Plex doesn't (which always bugged me). Perhaps not very *purist-y*, but for certain types of purely-fun (mostly "synthetic") music, I occassionally enjoy a +3 db boost down in the basement. And some gear/headphones I own need some EQ to bring the most out of them (my HiFiMan HE-4XX's need the upper end, from maybe 8k-20k, knocked down about -2 db, for example).
- Roon integration between Qobuz and my local FLAC files is pretty great (I think the Tidal integration might be equally great). Plex doesn't have any Qobuz integration (that I know of), and the Tidal "integration" is pretty half-baked; when I had the "tidal" library selected I couldn't cast to my CCA(s), and I don't think I could build playlists that mixed-and-matched my local files and Tidal tracks.
- Roon Radio is pretty impressive; moreso than most other "smart radios" I've tried.
- I seamlessly more from device to device (Android phone, android tablet, win10 laptop, win10 desktop) and take control of the playback without error or pause; Casting via Plex sometimes showed hope for this but it never worked nearly this well or seamlessly.
- Roon makes sorting/organizing/fixing errors in its initial scraping quicker and easier than any other software (including Plex) that I've tried.
- Roon shows the waveform of my local flac files across the bottom the way FooBar2000 does (but not Plex).
- Roon can show the Lyrics for the songs you're playing a pretty large percentage of the time.
- Perhaps most importantly of all (for me, at least), a chromecast audio firmware update almost a year ago nerfed/broke a lot of people's support for casting 24/96 audio. Roon allows me to configure all playback so that all 24/96 files being cast to a CCA are downsampled to 24/48, and all 24/88.2 files are downsampled to 24/44.1. Roon does it flawlessly for me in a way that Plex can't. AND it only does it when I'm using a CCA; if I'm instead playing straight out of my laptop into my Headphone DAC, or if I'm using my OPPO UDP-203 as a Roon Endpoint, it does not apply the (unnecessary) downsampling.
I went headfirst into in and bought the Lifetime pass and so far do not regret it at all...