The Roon music server system is rightly regarded in audiophile streaming circles as a kind of gold standard for high-quality and at the same time comfortable music listening. One of the advantages over closed streaming system families like Sonos is that any number of devices from different manufacturers can be seamlessly combined into one system and controlled via the same app. Roon compatible streaming boxes with the necessary network technology on board make it even easier than with streaming amps and other separate electronics components.
The hi-fi and high-end manufacturers that focus on electronic components already offer an amazing variety of compatible devices. The range extends from simple network streamers to complex AV receivers and high-priced high-end receivers. Roon itself states over 75 partner manufacturers who equip their devices accordingly and have them certified by Roon. Setting up a Roon-compatible hi-fi chain as the main system is hardly a problem today, even for unusual special requests.
When it comes to high-end digital active loudspeakers, the range of Roon-compatible systems continues to grow. Well-known manufacturers such as Dynaudio, KEF, Piega, Devialet and Electrocompaniet will be there.
Active speakers and zone speakers for Roon
The selection of integrated speaker systems that identify themselves as end devices in the Roon software is even more limited. So if you want to have a simple playback option for music from the Roon server in adjoining rooms such as the kitchen, bedroom or study, you’ll have to search a bit. Or consider one of the other ways to make the Roon streams heard. This is because almost every smart device that runs the Roon Remote software can also serve as an output device, especially smartphones and tablets. Often, however, the quality of the stream is limited or the Roon server receives the internal instruction to downscale the resolution.
USB and HDMI – compatibility in a roundabout way
Anyone running a computer (PC or Mac) as either Roon Core or Remote can use it as an output device in a simple and high-quality way. Namely via the USB port and the selection of the corresponding sound output in the operating system. By the way, this also applies to many servers, such as the Nucleus and Nucleus + made by Roon itself. This opens up the possibility of using a variety of digital powered speakers together with the computer or server as a Roon endpoint, but requires that the two can each be connected via USB cable.
Likewise, many PCs or servers have an HDMI output, which can also be used as an output port, provided the appropriate drivers and Roon are installed. This way, the Roon signal can also be fed into active speakers and complete systems with HDMI-ARC input via the detour TV.
Roon via Airplay
However, it is more convenient to do it wirelessly. Smartphones or tablets, which are typically used as remote for the Roon system, can also pass on the music streams to a correspondingly compatible device via Bluetooth or Airplay 2. Thus, a very wide selection of possible active speakers is available, such as the popular speakers from Sonos or IKEA. However, you should keep in mind that the smart device must then remain in the network and continuously send the stream to the end device.
In principle, this is also possible with Android devices, but then you have to install a corresponding third-party app, and the battery consumption can be significant.
Since the digital resolution of the music stream is limited with Airplay, the Roon server automatically downscales the sampling rate and word width – even if the music is in higher resolution and the end device can theoretically handle more resolution.
Roon via Chromecast
Forwarding the stream via Chromecast to compatible devices avoids this disadvantage. Chromecast from Google can easily address as another Roon zone, provided that the corresponding software is installed on the smartphone or tablet.
Chromecast makes it very easy to integrate the Harman Citations System speakers or the Canton Smart family into a Roon environment, for example (although these have not been explicitly tested by Roon). This also works without any problems if the controller with the Roon Remote software is not permanently logged into the network, the stream will then continue to run or can be controlled by other Roon controllers. And it does not drain the battery of the mobile device.
However, one should not have too high expectations on the response speed of a roon-via-chromecast setup, often it takes some time to set up the stream. And of course, the classic control from the Chromecast device doesn’t work either.
Market overview Roon compatible streaming speakers
However, the aforementioned connection options are only detours; a direct connection in the network to a fully compatible device is preferable. Features like volume control via the Roon Remote app and gapless music playback are only really guaranteed. This is guaranteed for all devices bearing the “Roon Ready” or “Roon Tested” seals.
The following list refers to streaming and powered speakers only. There are also many complete systems and electronic components with Roon compatibility, but due to the large number we will not list them individually.
Multiroom system families also roon-enabled
Some Multiroom system families are additionally Roon-capable in addition to use via proprietary streaming app. The speakers are thus displayed in the Roon Remote app as potential output points, even if you usually control them with the manufacturer app. Here, the portfolios of Bluesound, Denon and Devialet stand out with end-to-end compatibility. With the first two mentioned, even small, not so expensive zone speakers can enjoy the Roon.
With other manufacturers the matter is a bit more complicated, here only some boxes are Roon-capable. This is the case, for example, with Bowers&Wilkins, where the speakers of the Formation series are even “Roon Ready”, but the popular Zeppelin or older models like the A series are not. Here you have to rely on detours like Airplay.
Roon Ready compatible (official list from Roon)
The following system speakers comply with the Roon Ready standard and thus guarantee the highest possible quality in the transmission from the Roon server to the end device:
- Bluesound Pulse Flex 2i
- Bluesound Pulse Mini 2i
- Bluesound Pulse 2i
- Bluesound M Pulse
- Bluesound Pulse Soundbar +
- Bowers & Wilkins Formation Flex
- Bowers & Wilkins Formation Duo
- Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar
- Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge
- Devialet Phantom
- Devialet Phantom II
- Devialet Phantom Premier Classic
- Devialet Phantom Premier Gold
- Devialet Phantom Premier Silver
- Devialet Phantom Reactor 600 / 900
- Dutch&Dutch 8C
- Dynaudio Focus 50
- Dynaudio Focus 10
- Dynaudio Focus 30
- Elac Navis ARB-51 + Discovery Connect
- Elac Navis ARF-51 + Discovery Connect
- Electrocompaniet Tana SL
- KEF LS 50 Wireless II
- KEF LSX II
- KEF LS60 Wireless
- McIntosh RS150
- Piega Ace 30
- Piega Ace 50 Wireless
- PSB Alpha iQ
- Q Acoustics QActive 200
- Q Acoustics QActive 400
- Sonus Faber Omnia
Roon Tested (official list of Roon)
The following multiroom and system speakers (selection) comply with the Roon Tested standard, so they are compatible with control by the Roon Server in any case.
- Cabasse The Pearl
- Cabasse The Pearl Akoya
- Cabasse The Pearl Keshi
- Cabasse The Pearl Pelegrina
- Denon Home 150
- Denon Home 250
- Denon Home 350
- Denon Home Soundbar 550
- KEF EGG
- KEF LS 50 Wireless Gen 1
- KEF LSX
- Kii Audio The Three + Control
- Mission LX Connect
- Naim Muso Qb Gen 2
- Naim Muso QB Gen 1
- Naim Muso Gen 2
- Naim Muso Gen 1
Roon x Sonos
Although Sonos products do not appear in the Roon compatibility lists, the popular multi-room components can be controlled with Roon without any problems. This also applies to the IKEA Symfonisk variants. Roon automatically downsamples each stream to the Sonos-compatible sampling rate. The only limitation we know of is that grouping with non-Sonos components in Roon is not possible. More can be found in the English guide to the operation of Sonos via Roon.
- Ikea Symfonisk Gen 2 Bookshelf Speaker
- Ikea Symfonisk table lamp Gen 2
- IKEA Sonos picture frame in test
- Sonos One
- Sonos One SL
- Sonos Five
- Sonos Roam
- Sonos Move
- Sonos Beam 2
- Sonos Bar