ROON – By Charlie Santmire


I’m Charlie Santmire. I started The Sound Environment 48 years ago. My idea was to provide high performance audio systems for music lovers. Today my associates and I are doing the same thing. Our research has become far more refined and our ability to provide really good systems over a broad range of prices has improved greatly. Some of my associates have suggested that I tell my story and provide my current thoughts about systems as developments occur.

I will try to write on various subjects as often as I can. I welcome your input, thoughts on what you would like to see covered, and questions as we move along. Just click HERE to email me directly.


We hear a lot today about a music management program called Roon. What is it?

We hear about network players that are Roon ready. What does Roon ready mean?

Here is a Roon site that provides a lot of information:

We believe that the excitement comes from the music not the metadata but Roon does make access to information about the music and the artists more easily accessible and may lead you to find related music and artists that you might find interesting and entertaining more easily than otherwise.

Be careful researching Roon. They have a lot of information on their website.

Roon is not free. You can get costs on their website. I believe the last prices I saw were $119/year or $499/lifetime for the software. I think there is a short-term free trial as well.

You must have a computer with the required capabilities or one of the audio hardware pieces that include the Roon Core specific computer.

Many streamer suppliers say that their product is Roon Ready. This has led to a great deal of confusion.  If you are a music lover but not a person familiar with various programs and equipment, it would not be immediately obvious that you cannot buy a Roon ready streamer and somehow put the Roon application on it and you are good to go. You are not. For more information go to select More at the top and then select “How Roon Works.”

No one seems to make it very clear that you must have a computer or one of the audio devices with a built in Roon computer core to run Roon. Roon is a computer program.

Here is the URL to access the list. You must go to select “Partners” at the top.

As is usual with all devices some claim to be better/faster/less expensive and have various capabilities.

One maker that claims fast/capable has such devices/dedicated-computers range from about $1,600 to about $2,800. This particular device does not include a DAC (digital to analog converter). You use your own free standing DAC or Preamplifier/Integrated Amplifier with DAC built in. Others do include a DAC.

You can of course buy a small tablet or laptop computer that can run roon and dedicate it to that purpose. I advise not running it on a laptop you might take to work since if you are living with others they will not be able to use Roon while you are elsewhere with your computer.

Roon Partners

  • Roon Ready Streamers – These are streamers that with a computer running the Roon application, the streamer will work well with the application
  • Roon Tested DACs – Tested by Roon top work well with their application
  • Roon Core Servers – These are servers that incorporate the Roon Core and do not require a separate computer to operate. As far as I know all such devices need a phone or tablet as a control device and to see the data from the application.

One of these is by Elac. Elac DS-S101-G – $1,098 and includes Roon Core. It runs Roon Essentials, not full Roon. It requires phone or tablet or similar device for control. Requires 64bit capability. This particular device does provide both digital and analog outputs.

All of these devices and computers running Roon should have high speed wired Ethernet.

I hope this information is useful and educational. Our consultants always stand ready to help you with this relatively new field of streamers. We provide streamers by several companies. We are particularly familiar with Aurender and Naim products.

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