Roon Community contributor Steven44 graciously contributed the following review. Roon Editorial staff added layout and minor editing to convert the forum posts to a review format.
Zuma Lumisonic is a state-of-the-art Roon Ready lighting and sound system. Each light/sound unit is an all-in-one audio system. It’s very sophisticated and supports multiple audio services onboard, plus Alexa voice control.
This system may be the first to use Roon in a full home automation product. Zuma Lumisonic won the prestigious 2021 CEDIA New Hardware award (Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association).
I was originally looking for a new intelligent lighting system and a sensible way of putting surround sound in an open plan space. Big screens have rubbish sound quality, and I did not want a soundbar.
What were the options? In-wall speakers? Sonos? Lightwave? Lutron? Everything I looked at was a compromise on installation costs, wiring, sound quality, and duplication of systems.
Then Zuma opened a pop-up shop for the Lumisonic launch where I could see the whole system in operation. (They now sell through independent retailers.) Ultimately the system does not compare to anything else, as there is nothing comparable. The design and technical team have worked together since they did the B&W Nautilus, 30+ years ago.
I installed the product throughout much of my house last year; in seven months we largely rebuilt the entire space. One of the main features is that it is incredibly cost-effective, much cheaper than putting in something like Lightewave + Sonos, and infinitely better. Each unit only draws about 8w, so on one circuit I have 22 units on a ring connected to a single rocker switch.
It is designed to be self-installed because all you have to do is attach a 24v transformer to the existing lighting circuit. I was going to put the units in myself, but ultimately Zuma came round and offered to assist, as it was a large installation. My electrician installed all 50 transformers in half a day. That’s how easy it is.
Compatibility and supported services
Zuma Lumisonic supports multiple audio services; Roon Ready, Amazon HD, TIDAL, Apple Music, Airplay, Spotify, Radio, and Alexa voice control.
Spending a few months using Alexa and Amazon HD for voice-controlled music was ultimately rather frustrating. It’s OK until you start to get specific; then, it throws up unexpected music quite often. Plus, I have a lot of downloads that are not on Amazon. The Amazon HD app is also rather horrible. It’s fine if you just want Mozart, Steely Dan, or very popular tracks. I’m much happier using Roon and have since canceled the Amazon HD subscription.
My primary interest was in the lighting side of this product; it’s as advanced as the sound. You can buy one unit, expand an existing LED hole to 95mm, connect the supplied 24v transformer to the existing lighting circuit, and install the unit. That can be done in a few minutes.
Zuma has “well-being” settings that combine sound and light. It also has a Circadian setting that automatically changes the light intensity and warmth throughout the day. It’s made me want a Roon Circadian sound setting, changing the mood dependent on the time of day.
Another key feature is that you can connect them to Shelly relays. With a Zuma-programmed Shelley relay behind the wall switch, you can turn off the lights without cutting power – meaning they can still be used for sound. In effect, they are never powered down. If you want to power them down for a software update, the Shelly relays can be switched off using the Shelly app or Alexa.
Roon + sound quality
The Zuma Lumisonic audio system is wireless/Roon Ready and can be easily fitted into an existing lighting circuit. Zuma zones can be grouped in Roon or Alexa. Lumisonic was engineered by Lawrence Dickie (B&W, Vivid) and Trevor Wilson (Naim), who I assume was involved in the Roon implementation.
As mentioned, the main sound requirement for this project was home cinema. For that, I use seven Lumisonic speakers in two zones using Airplay via an Apple TV+. The Apple TV+ can also group zones as easily as Roon. I have 50 Zuma units in total; 24 are for sound configured in about seven Roon zones. No problems at all. I can stream 24/192 all day long and have four bars on almost every unit.
These units can receive audio via Roon or with AirPlay, which is not as good for a couple of reasons, not least because these units operate at 24/192 PCM, and AirPlay is limited to only 16/44. Roon plays 24/192 native format (Roon calls it Lossless), and DSD files get converted to 176.4/32 PCM (Roon calls it High Quality). It certainly sounds better than AirPlay!
Roon provides phenomenal sound from a 95mm external diameter unit. I’ve always assumed a small speaker is a compromise. These units are very small, but listening to Shostakovich’s first violin concerto, they sound very good.
For anyone who knows it, the main dramatic staccato theme in the second movement borrowed from Act 3 of Lady Macbeth (in the opera, it’s used when Zinovy’s body is discovered) comes across very well. There’s a kettle drum at the start of the 4th movement that actually sounds like a kettle drum when played through the Lummisonic. There is a lot to be said about filling a room with sound using this kind of system rather than using point sources for stereo. In some respects, it’s as realistic as real live music.
One of the big features of this system is the DSP and excellent sound dispersion! The patented spring mounting system is also fundamental, as it gives an extremely strong fix. There is no chance of the units rattling and distorting at high volumes. You get no sensation of a point source, so you get a very even, immersive sound. We bought a Devialet Phantom Reactor for the same reason, which is Roon Ready. My wife uses it in her work environment all the time.
I also have a Roon Ready 2-channel system in a music room (Wilson/Devialet/Innuos), plus a six-speaker Lumisonic array in that room. In addition to those, there are 6 other Zuma zones, a Devialet Phantom in a garden room, and a Naim Mu-so QB2 zone for a total of 11 Roon zones. I have four more Zuma Lumisonic zones planned – Roon does everything, everywhere.
Roon certification is intended, first and foremost, to ensure ease of use and that Roon-enabled products work as they are meant to, simply and fault-free. That has always been my experience. I’ve used a Devialet Expert Pro for 6 years, and Roon Ready was the best thing that happened to it.
If Roon were to design a multi-room audio system, Zuma Lumisonic would be it. For sound, the products are made for each other.
Full Specs for Zuma Lumisonic can be found on their product page. For more Roon Ready products, visit our Partners page. Discover why serious music lovers call Roon a “must-have” by taking our free trial!
It’s been an eventful month for us here at Roon! We’ve certified some exciting anniversary products, brand-new music servers, and highly capable integrated amplifiers. No matter what kind of system piques your interest, chances are good this update has something for you. Let’s get started!
You can read all about them in our latest partner update below. For a full list of our partner brands – and every device that works with Roon – visit our Partners page on the Roon website.
Building on 40 years of expertise and performance heralded by its flagship predecessor, the audiolab 9000A brings power and capability to the heart of your stereo listening system. Enjoy its high-resolution, full-color display with myriad of views available, from resolution data to dynamic VU meter designs. This integrated amplifier’s plethora of inputs, from USB to Toslink S/PDIF, make establishing a complete system easy, and its powerful internal DAC can handle PCM (including MQA) tracks up to 32-bit/768kHz and DSD tracks up to DSD512 with aplomb. An impressive 100-watt per channel Class AB amplifier makes sure that your speakers are never wanting more power.
The audiolab 7000A brings much of the capability and prowess of its siblings into a sleek, compact chassis and more affordable price point. With an impressive Class AB power output of 70 watts per channel, this amplifier can handily manage your favorite speakers without any trouble. You’ll find connectivity is a breeze, thanks to HDMI ARC, optical Toslink, coaxial S/PDIF, and USB ports all conveniently packaged inside of this amplifier. Those digital inputs are paired with a powerful ESS ES9038Q2M DAC chip, which tackles ultra Hi-Res streaming and MQA files with aplomb. Whether big or small, this is a spectacular integrated amplifier for just about every need.
The N1 is the latest development in a growing history of powerful and capable digital music servers from Dela Audio, with simple integration for importing and managing your music library. Ethernet connectivity makes streaming your music simple and easy, while a broad selection of USB and AES ports gives you plenty of options for accessing your favorite music. Featuring Roon Ready streaming, you can also use your N1 as a potent Hi-Res network streamer in addition to storing all of your music, making for a spectacular and robust listening setup for those looking to store their large digital music libraries.
LEAK Stereo 230
After creating the class-leading topology housed inside of the Stereo 130, LEAK Audio has upped the ante with their Stereo 230. With more power and upgraded functionality, this is the perfect integrated amplifier for the audiophile who just needs more from their listening system. WIth a chassis that exudes timeless vintage style married to a broad collection of digital inputs, including HDMI ARC, optical Toslink, coaxial S/PDIF, and USB, you’ll have the looks you love with the connectivity you need on command. An impressive 115 watts per channel of power will drive your favorite speakers with ease, and analog inputs that include Moving Magnet Phono will make integrating your best components a cinch.
PIEGA connect plus
The PIEGA connect plus introduces Roon Ready streaming and wired connectivity to your PIEGA wireless speaker system. Featuring built WiFi networking, this network streamer has a broad selection of wired inputs, from Toslink optical, HDMI ARC, coaxial S/PDIF, to USB – all for added convenience in your wireless PIEGA speaker setup. Enjoy easy control via the PIEGA control app, which includes native Spotify Connect, Chromecast, AirPlay, and Roon Ready streaming all in one simple hub.
NAD 3050 LE
This is NAD’s way of celebrating 50 years of innovation and refinement as a stereo amplifier manufacturer. Featuring specially integrated HybridDigital UcD amplifier technology inside, fully functional analog VU meters, and all of the convenience you could possibly need in the form of network connectivity powered by BluOS. You’ll love the easy, HiRes streaming capability the C 3050 LE has on offer, with support for resolutions up to 32-bit/384kHz and MQA. This stereo amplifier is clearly built to be the centerpiece of just about any HiFi system, and its classic good looks cement it as the perfect upgrade piece that nearly every audiophile is looking for.
In the short time since its release, Roon ARC has completely transformed our connection to the music we love by providing a wonderfully familiar, on-the-go version of Roon. The ARC app, like Roon, restores the excitement of interacting with physical media when listening to streaming and file-based music. ARC’s offline listening feature keeps the music flowing wherever your adventures take you – even if you’re off the grid entirely.
In this how-to, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to listen offline in ARC. First, you’ll need to make sure you’ve installed Roon ARC on your mobile device. Visit the App Store or Play Store to download the app. Once ARC is installed and configured, all that’s left to do is browse, select, and download the music favorites you can’t live without.
Offline listening essentials
Before we dive in, let’s touch upon one of your frequently asked questions, “Why can’t I download music from TIDAL and Qobuz in Roon ARC?” The answer takes us into the complexities of music licensing – but thankfully, only momentarily.
Offline listening in Roon ARC requires the use of files from your local music library because music from TIDAL and Qobuz cannot be downloaded to other apps. Unless otherwise stated in the contractual agreements with the rights holders, streaming services can only allow customers to download music when using the streaming service’s native app. It’s an industry-wide music licensing restriction that applies to all streaming services with third-party partners.
Immediately upon opening the app, ARC makes finding music for offline listening effortless.
To get started, tap the downloads icon at the top of the ARC home screen. (You can also use the library icon in the footer and then press Downloads on the next page.)
Your current downloads are displayed on the Downloads page.
Press the Find something to download banner on the Downloads page to browse albums from your local library.
Tap the download icon to download an album on the Available to Download page.
The album will begin downloading. Selecting multiple albums will create a download queue.
BONUS: You can still listen to music while your selections are downloading!
Finding downloads from your library pages
Finding your downloads in ARC is equally intuitive. For this example, we’ll use the Albums page.
Press the library icon in the footer to navigate to your Albums page.
Tap the download icon on the Albums page to see your current downloads.
You can also press the favorites icon while the download icon is selected to see favorited albums in your downloads.
The download icon will appear on album or playlist pages that display music from your local library.
Simply tap the download button to save a copy on your device for offline listening.
Pro tip: ARC will automatically display your downloads when in Offline mode!
Removing downloads from your device
ARC makes removing downloaded music as effortless as browsing for your local files.
To remove downloaded music from your device, press the download icon or ellipsis button when viewing music from your local library.
The download icon provides two options: Remove from downloads, or View all downloads.
Tap Remove from downloads to remove the selection from your device storage.
The ellipsis button provides a greater range of functions, as shown.
Press Remove from downloads to remove the selection from your device storage.
Pro tip: You can batch-remove all downloaded music from your device storage by pressing Delete all downloads from the ARC settings page.
Caution: The Remove from library (highlighted in red) option permanently deletes the selection from your Roon music library. If you only want to remove the item from your mobile device storage – use Remove from downloads instead.
More helpful hints
To switch to offline listening in ARC, tap the gear icon on the ARC home page, then toggle on Offline mode – found just below profiles. ARC automatically filters to your downloaded music when viewing library pages in Offline mode.
By default, ARC is set to download music in its original quality and preserve your mobile data by only downloading while on Wi-Fi. To turn off that setting,
Press the gear icon on the ARC Home Page.
Go to Downloads and turn off “Download on Wi-Fi Only.”
Alternatively, you can start downloading a selection while on mobile data. ARC will prompt you to change your settings preferences.
Download speeds in ARC will vary depending on your in-app download settings, the internet traffic and speed of your home network, and the strength of your data connection while downloading to ARC on your mobile device.
Roon reignites the excitement that sparked our love of music. By transplanting Roon’s immense archive of music knowledge to our mobile devices, ARC allows you to enjoy your favorite music and Roon features wherever you are and no matter where you’re headed.
The best way to discover why serious music lovers call Roon a “must-have” is by taking our free trial, which includes Roon ARC!
It’s been another busy month as we welcomed an array of new network players into the Roon Ready family from Cambridge Audio, FiiO, NAD, Primare and Volumio.
You can read all about them in our latest partner update below. For a full list of our partner brands – and every device that works with Roon – visit our Partners page on the Roon website.
The Cambridge Audio MXN10 Network Player brings the world of Hi-Res music to much-loved hi-fi set-ups and other audio systems with total ease. Thanks to its compact, half-width footprint, placing this network player in your system is a cinch. The MXN10 can stream Hi-Res music natively, via Roon Ready streaming, and even play your music that’s stored on USB and NAS drives too. You can conveniently control this network player with Cambridge Audio’s StreamMagic app, or from the native app of your preferred service.
The Cambridge Audio AXN10 Network Player is the perfect piece for bringing a spectacular streaming music experience to your Hi-Fi system, taking you far beyond your prized collection of discs. In addition to integration with all of the best-known premium subscription services, AXN10 has stacks of free options, such as internet radio and even Bluetooth. Thanks to Cambridge Audio’s streaming know-how, you’ll soon be enjoying high-quality music easily from a variety of sources via their StreamMagic app, Roon Ready streaming, or through your preferred service’s own native app – the choice is yours.
FiiO is arguably one of the most exciting audio brands in the world right now. The Fiio R7 – their first ever desktop grade digital audio player – is only set to raise that reputation even further.
The R7 is built on impressive foundations – under its sleek black exterior there’s a wealth of top-level hardware, including a premium Sabre DAC chipset, an 8 core Snapdragon SoC, and an exhaustive set of input and output options. Amplification comes from dual THX AAA 788+ desktop-grade chips, meaning there’s enough punch to handle even the most power-hungry headphones. Combine this superb quality build with great useability and Roon Ready capability built-in, and the Fiio R7 represents a truly complete all-in-one setup for premium desktop listening.
NAD – CS1
The NAD CS1 is a super flexible, super compact network streamer that delivers classic NAD looks along with their trademark high-performance sound quality. Analogue and digital audio outputs make the CS1 an easy solution for integrating streaming into any home HiFi setup. You get Roon Ready playback built in up to 24 bit / 192khz, and plenty of other playback options besides – with both Spotify Connect and AirPlay 2 support provided as standard.
Primare I25 Prisma, I35 Prisma, I15 Prisma Mk 2
For three decades, Swedish HiFi manufacturers Primare have been instilling Scandinavian principles of design quality and aesthetic into every one of their beautifully produced audio products. We’re delighted to welcome three new Primare devices into the Roon Ready family.
Primare I25 Prisma
The I25 Prisma is a modular integrated amplifier and network player that offers serious power alongside truly versatile control. For the I25 Prisma, Primare have combined their DM35 DAC and SM35 Prisma network player with their award-winning I25 integrated amplifier platform. That potent combination delivers an impressive 100 watts of power per channel, whilst providing a naturally fast, clean and agile sound that really brings your music to life. There’s plenty of playback options available to you – you can stream Roon Ready direct from the I25, alongside hundreds of other popular music services. It really looks the part, too, with a simple but attractive design that will comfortably pair alongside pieces in your current audio setup.
Primare I35 Prisma
The Primare I35 Prisma offers many of the excellent performance, sound quality, and design characteristics of the I25 – but with a big extra kick. The Primare I35 once again pairs the DM35 DAC with Prisma’s SM35 network player – but this time they’ve combined those elements with the more muscular I35 integrated amplifier for a seriously punchy 150 watts of power per channel. Once again you get Roon Ready connectivity alongside hundreds of other music applications, and all of it comes presented in a beautifully slick-looking chassis.
Primare I15 Prisma Mk2
This compact network streaming integrated amplifier packs 60 watts of power per channel and serious versatility into a super slim, cool running chassis. The Primare I15 Prisma Mk2’s three-quarter size cabinet opens up a world of set-up integration opportunities, without ever compromising on build or sound quality. Powerful amplification and sophisticated DAC sections deliver every detail and nuance with power and precise control. Roon Ready playback comes built in alongside plenty of other music service options for superb usability.
The Volumio Primo is a network streaming DAC that brings the essentials of Roon Ready streaming seamlessly to your HiFi listening system. With integrated balanced and unbalanced analog outputs, and digital outputs that include USB, coaxial S/PDIF, and HDMI. The Primo is ready to be your complete media streaming hub, with support for USB storage, video output, and full access to the Volumio app platform – you’ll be able to stream your favorite music and movies no matter where they reside.
At Roon, our passion for music is illustrated by a growing selection of eclectic playlists featuring a diverse mix of genres, instrumentation, and voices from around the globe. As music lovers, we’re fortunate to live in a time when music is so plentiful and easily accessible. When you sync a Qobuz or TIDAL membership with your Roon subscription, your listening choices are practically limitless. An all-encompassing palette of sound is at your fingertips, accompanied by the freedom to listen to, and enjoy, anything you desire.
It’s easy, sometimes, to forget that this wasn’t always the case. But we’re not talking about the relatively new emergence of streaming music and its transformation of the music industry; we’re talking about a time in history when there were strict racial boundaries in music. When black music was heard only in black churches, black clubs and theaters, black radio stations, and when black musicians were relegated to Race Records Charts and Race Label catalogs.
American Music was just as segregated as American society and culture. But Jazz, Blues, Folk, R&B, and Gospel music forms were relentlessly working their magic, building enclaves in white record collections, fighting rhythmically for acceptance. Like a rose growing through concrete to find the sunshine, beauty demanded appreciation.
The list below is a roster of the trailblazing Black musicians who broke through the race barrier with music that was too beautiful to be ignored or denied. It makes sense that music would be a force that helped tear down racial discrimination in The United States.
Music is a universal language, but one that speaks to us in ways that exceed our full understanding. Tonal color, pitch, tempo, texture, timbre, harmony, melody, rhythm – they communicate something deeper than language. They convey emotional expression that recognizes and reminds us of our commonalities – it’s a nonverbal language of brotherhood.
Racial division doesn’t have a chance when one group of people can recognize themselves in the art of another group of people. We’ve all had our lives enriched through that musical kinship. Our Roon libraries are evidence of that.
We hope you’ll find something that resonates with you in our Black Trailblazers playlist in Roon, Qobuz, and TIDAL; offered in honor of the musical visionaries who first opened our ears and our hearts.
Firsts in Black Music
First African-American Ensemble to play at The White House (1882) –
The Fisk Jubilee Singers, a choir from the Fisk School in Nashville, Tennessee, became the first African American choir to perform at the White House for President Chester Arthur.
First Commercially Recorded African-American Singer (1890) –
Recently we announced the release of full CarPlay support for Roon ARC, with the promise of Android Auto coming in hot on its tail. Today, we’re happy to make good on that pledge; Android Auto for Roon ARC has crossed the finish line!
Last September, Roon ARC paved the way to enjoying Roon and all your favorite music outside the home. Now, with Roon ARC for Android Auto within easy reach of the wheel, every road you take is a journey in sound.
Take the ultimate Hi-Fi joyride
Nothing makes a road trip or daily commute more satisfying than our favorite music. Android Auto for Roon ARC fully integrates Roon’s browsing and discovery features into your car’s controls for safe and convenient playback.
Now you can tour your daily mixes, give recently played favs another spin, test drive Roon’s featured playlists, explore new musical avenues, cruise your Roon library, and much more – just by tapping a few buttons from your car’s controls. With Roon ARC, music on the go shifts into high gear.
How to use Roon ARC in Android Auto
We’ve made using Roon ARC in Android Auto as familiar as pressing the accelerator, so you can focus on the road while Roon ARC delivers your favorite music. Get up and running with these easy steps:
To begin, make sure you have Roon ARC. Visit the Play Store to download the app.
If this is your first time using Android Auto, you’ll need to get that set up. Use these step-by-step instructions to get started.
Once Android Auto is ready to go, and you’ve synced your phone, you’ll see the Roon ARC app on your car’s display.
Just tap the Roon ARC icon, select some music, and you’re on your way.
Every road leads to music discovery with Roon ARC
Android Auto and CarPlay support has held the top spot for most requested features since we first unveiled Roon ARC. We’re thrilled to deliver on those requests, and numerous other feature additions, just months into ARC’s existence. With Android Auto and CarPlay for Roon ARC, the road ahead sounds better than ever!
To enjoy Android Auto and CarPlay for Roon ARC, visit the Play Store or App Store and download the app.
This month’s round up features new releases of classics from an iconic brand, a range of top-level DAPs, and more.
A new year, a new round of exciting products to welcome into the Roon Ready family. This month we’ve got classic designs relaunched for the modern music lover, revolutionary audio solutions that integrate seamlessly with your home’s interior design, and a range of DAPs from ‘entry level’ to ‘top of the line’. Let’s get started!
Naim NSC 222
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Naim Audio – a huge marker for one of Britain’s most iconic high-end audio brands. In celebration of a half-century of sonic excellence, Naim are relaunching their classic 200 series, harking back to some of their greatest hardware achievements whilst offering plenty of product enhancements for the 2023 music lover to really get their teeth into.
Right at the forefront of this relaunch is the Naim NSC 222 – a user-focused streaming pre-amplifier with dizzying functionality and uncompromising sound quality. Housed in a beautifully designed chassis, the NSC 222 utilizes Naim’s time-honored commitment to engineering excellence to get the very best from your music, comfortably handling bit-rates of up to 32bit/284kHz. The NSC 222 comes Roon Ready for easy and instant access to your Roon library, along with a host of other top-name streaming services and radio stations. True to their roots, Naim hasn’t forgotten about your analogue music collection, either. Amidst a full range of connectivity options there’s an MM phono input for integrating vinyl into your digital listening system.
Here at Roon, we occasionally see a new product that looks like it’s a genuine game-changer. The Zuma Lumisonic feels truly revolutionary, offering music lovers a whole new and novel way to integrate high end audio into their home.
The Zuma Lumisonic is a ceiling light and a speaker, combining mood-sensory lighting and immersive sound to generate the ultimate ambience within your home. Zuma’s truly brilliant integrated sound and lighting solution potentially removes the need for cabling or big, bulky tech products within your home entirely.
The Zuma Lumisonic units may be small enough to fit into a standard recessed light fitting, but this doesn’t come at the cost of sound or build quality. An HD-audio Class D monolithic amplifier is controlled by a top of the line quad-core processor for high-end sound quality. Each channel is actively filtered by advanced DSP algorithms for a totally immersive audio experience. From Lumisonic’s custom-built app, you can control both sound and lighting harmoniously, and link the two for a fully sensory experience. All your favorite streaming services are supported via the app, including Roon Ready compatibility built-in for a seamless Roon experience.
PSB Speakers – Alpha IQ
If you’re a home HiFi enthusiast, cable clutter is probably one of your biggest everyday irritations. So when you find speakers that combine reduced cabling with great sound quality, it’s definitely a product worthy of your attention. The Alpha iQ Streaming Powered Speakers from PSB Speakers strike that balance perfectly – making it easy to enjoy PSB’s trademark ‘True to Nature’ sound from streaming services and legacy sources, with significantly less cable clutter.
The two powered speakers carry 180W of built-in amplification, backed up by superb build quality and real attention to sonic detail – resulting in a clean, consistent sound whether you’re sitting or standing. And to top it all off, the Alpha iQ’s now come Roon Ready for simple and straightforward connection to your entire Roon library.
Fiio M11S, M11 Plus, M17
Chinese portable audio specialists Fiio have become synonymous with on-the-go high performance listening in recent years, becoming a firm favorite for music lovers and audiophiles across the globe. We’re delighted to announce the introduction of four of their flagship portable music players to the Roon Ready family. Let’s take a look at each new addition in turn.
The FiiO M11S offers up Fiio’s trademark power and sound quality at a relatively budget-friendly price point, making it a great option for audiophiles exploring the world of DAPs for the first time. Under the sleek casing, the M11S is powered by a Snapdragon 660 processor, and great audio quality is guaranteed from two fully balanced Dual ES9038Q2M DAC chips. It all adds up to give the M11S a slick, immersive user and listening experience at an affordable price.
FiiO M11 Plus
The FiiO M11 Plus takes everything that’s great about the M11S and elevates it. An octacore Snapdragon 660 processor makes for lightning-fast useability from a 5.5inch touch screen display. Two balanced ES9068AS DAC chips take your portable listening to a whole new level, bringing a complete, rich sound to the music you love. It looks the part, too – it’s sleek black casing is further complemented by a unique, intelligent touch-panel volume system.
The desktop-class FiiO M17 represents an entirely new chapter in digital audio players – quite possibly one of the most advanced DAPs available on the market today. It comes powered by two ESS ES9038PRO desktop-level dac chips, a seriously punchy THX 788+ headphone amp, and unrivaled gain and connectivity. It all adds up to give the M17 the output power and sound quality to rival and perhaps even surpass highly-rated desktop systems, but in a pint-sized, portable package.
The SOULNOTE Z-3 is a Roon Ready bridge that provides network connectivity to audio devices using ZERO LINK, a new connection protocol developed in collaboration between Sforzato and SOULNOTE – two hugely popular brands among A-PAC audiophiles.
Utilizing their unique ZERO LINK technology, the SOULNOTE Z-3 maximizes audio quality by removing all asynchronous circuitry to create a significantly streamlined signal path. It can be used as either ZERO LINK or standard LAN to USB network transports. The Z-3 offers USB, SFP (RJ45 and optical input connectivity via SFP adapter) to USB or ZERO LINK output with support for up to 32-bit/768kHz PCM and DSD 512 formats. Besides as a Roon Ready device, the Z-3 functions also as a UPnP media renderer, an OpenHome renderer, and a Diretta Target (a proprietary audio protocol developed by Diretta). Control functions are facilitated via Linn’s Kazoo app for OpenHome.
Roon ARC has forever changed how and where we enjoy our favorite music by transforming our Roon library into a bespoke streaming service that’s ready to go anywhere our adventures may take us. Today, we’re excited to introduce full CarPlay and Android Auto support for Roon ARC!
Ready to hit the road? Your Roon library is too
As soon as we began work on Roon ARC, we were eager to see Roon’s features come to life on our car’s display screen – and so were all of you. Now, just a few months into ARC’s existence, that day has arrived.
Nothing makes the road more exciting than our favorite music. CarPlay and Android Auto fully integrate Roon’s browsing and discovery features into your car’s controls for safe and easy playback.
Now you can cruise your Roon library, dig into your daily mixes as you drive, check out featured playlists, explore new releases, hit repeat on recently played favs, and much more just by tapping a few buttons from your car’s controls. With Roon along for the ride, every car trip drops right into the groove.
How to use Roon ARC in CarPlay
We’ve made accessing Roon ARC in CarPlay as easy as possible so you can focus on the road while Roon provides the soundtrack.
If you’re an Android user, you’ll find similar setup tips in our dedicated Android Auto blog.
To begin, make sure you have Roon ARC. Visit the App Store to download the app.
Once CarPlay is set up and your phone is synced to your vehicle’s interface, you’ll see the Roon ARC app on your display.
Just tap the Roon ARC icon, and you’re on your way.
Explore a new road to music discovery
CarPlay and Android Auto support has maintained the pole position of most requested feature since we waved the starting flag on Roon ARC.
This release reflects our commitment to listening to your needs and delivering the features that matter most to our customers. We can’t wait for CarPlay and Android Auto for Roon ARC to transform your driver’s seat into your new favorite listening chair.
To enjoy CarPlay and Android Auto for Roon ARC, you first need to download the app. Download it now from the App Store or Play Store.
At Roon, our passion is to help you get the very best sound and performance from your gear purchases. Our Roon partner products guarantee seamless integration, stress-free reliability, and high-quality sound within every music lover’s budget.
We understand that gear homework can be confusing and a chore, “will this X sync with my Y DAC/Amp” ad infinitum….. The excitement of gear shopping can evaporate pretty quickly.
Roon-certified gear takes care of all that for you and leaves you with only the fun tasks: shipment tracking, setup planning, and more quality time for enjoying music. Those are benefits we all can appreciate!
Winner and Still Champion: Chord Hugo 2
Chord’s Hugo 2 sports an impressive winning streak and continues to rack up Best DAC awards for its design, aesthetics, and sound – even when matched against much more expensive units. It’s not especially difficult to understand why. It remains one of the best value upgrades you can add to your system for its price range. Like all things Chord, Hugo 2’s technical advances and innovation never lose sight of the ultimate goal – superior sonic performance. Let’s take a look!
Aesthetics and Design
From its robust aluminum enclosure to its lovely polychromatic spherical controls, every element of Hugo 2 / 2go exhibits exceptional design thinking. These products deliver the features and functionality that music lovers demand, and they do it creatively and engagingly.
Yes, some critics still grumble about Chord’s fondness for color-coded controls. For my tastes, they’re a brilliant, intuitive means for conveying a wealth of information without using an LED screen. Using the crib sheet in the manual, you’ll be up to speed with color translation in no time. We put the cheat sheet back in its box much quicker than expected.
Grippy rubber feet keep Hugo 2 and 2go safely in place when used as a desktop headphone DAC/amp or streamer/server combo. The handy full-function remote eliminates having to leave your favorite listening spot to make adjustments when using Hugo 2 as an integrated component. Its feature set makes it ideal for that role. We realize design perfection means different things to different people. But we couldn’t find any noteworthy shortcomings in either of these devices that warranted further discussion.
Hugo 2 and 2go, poised to satisfy every audio need
The Chord 2go is a high-performance streamer/server that adds Bluetooth, wi-fi, and wired network connectivity for Hugo 2. Together, they’re a solution for an impressive range of use scenarios. Here are just a few we were able to tackle with ease:
An unmatched Roon ARC mobile headphone rig
A feature-rich Roon Ready sonic advancement for any legacy Hi-Fi setup
A high-quality desktop and handheld head-fi audio solution
A veritable digital audio player (DAP) slayer! 2go’s dual microSD card slots provide 4 TB of onboard high-res audio storage,
A highly portable around-the-house RAAT streaming endpoint
Hugo 2 has all the device connection inputs and outputs you’ll likely need, making it a powerful contender for myriad applications beyond those we mention.
Use flexibility is a significant factor when I purchase gear. Hugo 2 excels in this capacity. Its small footprint, the size of a petite paperback, further accentuates its versatility.
Not surprisingly, the Hugo2/2go produce awe-inspiring sound that reflects their award-winning pedigree. Every genre we fed through the duo assumed a new level of spaciousness, dynamics, and fidelity. The highest praise anyone can give a piece of gear is to say it motivates its owner to find extra time for music listening. These devices do that effortlessly!
Chord products achieve their unique sound signature with bespoke conversion, filtering, and processing chipsets designed by Rob Watts. 4 filter settings provide users with options for crisp, transparent presentation or a warmer, rounded analog vibe reminiscent of vintage gear. To clarify, Chord states that the filters’ purpose is to reduce high-frequency noise generated by the selected input. They aren’t designed or intended to act as DSP or EQ enhancements. To my ear, they do add understated coloration. It’s very slight, but it’s there. My favorite filter settings were Incisive Neutral, or Warm, depending on the music I was playing.
I’m even more surprised to discover that I’m a big fan of Hugo 2’s crossfeed filters. Crossfeed gives headphone listening a more speaker-like soundstage by subtly blending left and right headphone channels, giving you a bit of both in each driver rather than distinct separation. I don’t typically use crossfeed features because they rarely produce the desired results for my tastes. Hugo 2’s crossfeed feature outshines all others I’ve tried. As a result, I used the Medium crossfeed setting for most of my casual listening – turning it off only for the close listening session below.
For detailed listening, I drove Hugo 2/2go with tracks sourced from Qobuz and TIDAL. All were rendered at their native sample rates, indicated below. Hugo 2’s EQ, crossfeed, and noise processing settings were toggled off for reference listening.
Gordon Lightfoot – Sundown from Sundown (24-bit/192 kHz PCM)
This one gave me chills when I played it from Hugo 2 through the Meze 109 PRO. The combination instantly transported me to the early 70s when this song dominated AM radio.
The layered acoustic guitars shimmered as if they were in the room. The soundstage was enormous and airy with excellent depth, adding considerably to the perfect vibe achieved in this performance. Textural separation was also very impressive. Each instrument had plenty of room to be enjoyed distinctly in the mix. The bass and drums lock in wonderfully, exhibiting heaps of instrumental detail. Lightfoot’s voice was as warm and comforting as fine winter cognac – the plate reverb on the double-tracked vocal chorus becomes a star contributor in its own right. The Meze 109 PRO’s detail retrieval dovetailed divinely with the Hugo 2. If you’re a detail junkie, this combo deserves consideration.
Tom Waits – Alice from Alice (24-bit/96 kHz PCM)
Tom Waits is a musical enigma who shape-shifts between a skid-row carnival barker, a whiskey-soaked crooner, and a tin-pan alley apparition.
On this track, he leans heavily into a sweet tube mic and lays down a spoken jazz vocal that the Hugo 2 delivered absolutely brilliantly. He’s accompanied by a Paul Desmondish sax line, stand-up bass, vibes, piano, snare brushes, and other assorted magic. In my Massdrop Sennheiser 6XX cans, this song transmuted into a moody film noir with undercurrents of loss and unrequited love.
Orchestra Baobab – Mouhamadou Bamba from Bamba: (16-bit/44.1 kHz PCM)
Orchestra Baobab comes across as a powerhouse Afro-Carribean ensemble rather than a Senegalese music institution. Bamba compiles several of their early 80s sessions.
Mouhamadou Bamba opens with ethereal guitar and an ocean of plate reverb on the Sengalese vocals before being joined by Afro-Caribbean percussion and a pulsating reggae bass motif. A stinging tremolo-drenched overdriven guitar solo lights up the bridge with a bit of Afro Rock flavor. It’s an intoxicating blend! With the Hugo 2/2go powering the Meze 99 Classics, I noticed a touch of tape hiss sizzle in the track as I was carried blissfully away to West Africa. Meze audio cans pair exceptionally well with the Hugo 2.
John Coltrane – Afro-Blue from Live at Birdland (24-bit/192 kHz PCM)
This track is a favorite for spotlighting the John Coltrane Quartet’s emotional and visceral power in live performance. The group drives headlong into a passionate reading of Mongo Santamaria’s classic.
Coltrane’s soprano sax soars above and inside McCoy Tyner’s fluid runs and block chords. Elvin Jones’ electrifying percussion propels the ensemble ahead while Jimmy Garrison’s double bass holds the foundation and answers Elvin’s cymbal attack. It’s genuinely mind-blowing to imagine experiencing a performance of this caliber and intensity in that tiny intimate space.
My crossfeed curiosity got the better of me when listening to this track. Using maximum crossfeed to mix channels through the warm voice of the Meze 99 Classics, I felt as if I was there when listening with my eyes closed. I’ve heard this track innumerable times and was amazed at the detail I experienced using this combination. I’ve had the opportunity to listen to some of the most esteemed headphones in existence over the last several months. The Meze Classic 99 always satisfies, even when following on the heels of Audeze’s flagship models.
The Chord Hugo 2 / 2go delivers brilliantly refined detail and warm, lush sound via its expertly designed sonics, filters, and soundstage. If you’re looking for a superior DAC/amp for headphones that also shines as an integrated component, you can’t do much better than Chord’s Hugo 2 at this price. Add Chord’s 2go, and you can easily take those sonic qualities anywhere.
Hugo 2 enters RMS line level mode by simultaneously holding down the power button and X-PHD buttons during power up. Though not easy to accomplish, I accidentally activated this mode while sitting down for some relaxed headphones listening. It was painfully memorable. Please use caution to avoid having a similar experience.
The Hugo 2’s dual headphone outputs lack individual volume controls. Volume changes affect both outputs.
Hugo 2’s clean design leaves no room for either an I2S or HDMI output. If either is needed, a low-cost coaxial to I2S or HDMI adapter will do the trick.
Hugo 2/ 2go is a tad chunky for in-pocket on-the-go use. Mojo/Mojo2/Poly is a better match if frequent mobile use is a critical requirement.
Some coaxial cables may require an adapter for optimal coupling with Hugo 2’s connection points.
Chord products don’t offer MQA support; fans of the format will need to consider other options.
Chord Hugo 2 and 2go FAQs
Are the Chord Hugo 2 and 2go Roon Ready?
Yes, the Hugo 2 and 2go are Roon Ready! The Hugo 2, when used alone, requires a USB connection. Adding the 2go provides wireless Roon Ready streaming over your home network.
What file formats and resolutions do the Chord Hugo 2 / 2go support?
Hugo 2 offers future-proof format support up to 32bit/768kHz PCM, Native DSD512, and Encapsulated DSD256.
2go supports gapless PCM to 32-bit/768kHz, DSD via DoP to DSD256, and SD card DSD playback as well as FLAC, WAV, ACC, AIFF, OGG VORBIS, ALAC, WMA, and MP3 file formats. Tidal, Qobuz, Internet radio, and more with the GoFigure app.
What type of input and output connections does Hugo 2 / 2go have?
Hugo 2 offers four digital inputs: optical, dual configuration coaxial, Mini-USB, Roon RAAT, DNLA, AirPlay, and Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity.
Hugo 2 analog outputs include two headphone outs: one ¼” (6.35mm) and one ⅛” (3.5mm), plus Stereo RCA out. The RCA outs remain active when using headphones.
2go inputs include long-range 2.4GHz WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1 A2Dp, Hotspot mode, and a Gigabit (GbE) ethernet port.
2go features dual MicroSD card slots capable of 4 TB of music storage.
How much play time do I get from a fully charged Hugo 2 / 2go?
Hugo 2 and 2go are each equipped with Mini-USB battery charging ports.
Hugo 2 provides 7-8 hours of music with a full charge.
2go provides about 10 hours of use with a full charge.
Hugo 2 / 2go allows around 7 to 8 hours of playback time when paired.
Intelligent desktop mode protects the Hugo 2 and 2go internal batteries from overcharging damage.
Hugo 2 will automatically power off when dormant for 15 minutes. This feature is deactivated when charging in desktop mode.
Hugo 2 and 2go allow tandem charging during use. A 2A (amps) or more charger is required.
Hugo 2 has two charging modes: fast charge in 4 hours with a 2A charger and 8 hours with a charger rated under 2A.
THD and noise at 3v RMS: 120dB at 1kHz 300ohms ‘A’ weighted (reference 5.3v)
Noise 2.6 uV ‘A’ weighted: No measurable noise floor modulation
Signal-to-noise ratio: 126dB ‘A’ Weighted
Channel separation: 135dB at 1kHz 300Ω
Power output @ 1kHz 1% THD: 94mW 300Ω, 740mW 32Ω,
Dimensions: 5.11″ (W) x 3.97″ (H) x 0.82″ (D)
Weight: 12.5 ounces
Compatibility: For 2go to perform as a fully functional streamer, a connection with Hugo 2 (DAC/Preamp/Headphone amp) or 2yu is required.
Power supply: Internal battery with up to 10 hrs (approx) playback. Desktop mode activated upon insertion of Micro USB charging cable).
Wireless connectivity: Long-range 2.4GHz WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1, A2Dp
WiFi modes: Connect to (allows 2go to connect to an existing 2.4GHz WiFi network) or Hotspot mode (activated within the Gofigure app, which enables 2go to broadcast its own WiFi network with SSID and password in the eventuality that the device cannot connect to a static network).
Wired connectivity: Gigabit (GbE) ethernet
PCM and DSD Support: up to 32-bit/768kHZ PCM, DSD256
File format support: ACC, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, OGG VORBIS, ALAC, WMA, MP3, and more…
Initial setup, configuration, and updates: Via the free Gofigure app for iOS and Android
Music storage: 2x Onboard Micro SD card slots (up to 4TB of total storage)
Playback: Roon Ready, DLNA (server and render), AirPlay, Bluetooth audio (A2DP), Tidal, Qobuz, Internet radio, and more coming…
The Roon team has been working on improving the search engine throughout 2022, and last week, we rolled out a whole new architecture for search.
It’s been just about a year since I last wrote about search, so I figured it was a good time to provide an update on what’s been going on behind the scenes.
The Roon team has been working on improving the search engine throughout 2022, and last week, we rolled out a new architecture for search. If you are running Roon 2.0, you have been using the new stuff for several days.
Previously, the cloud performed a search of TIDAL/Qobuz libraries and the Core performed a search of your personal library, then merged the results.
Now, the Core gathers potential matches for the search query and submits them to a cloud service. The cloud service then searches the TIDAL/Qobuz libraries if needed, ranks and merges the results, and returns the final list to the app.
This change will allow us to deliver better results and improve the search engine more quickly. For more information, keep on reading.
Automated Testing Tools
One of the challenges of improving a search engine is understanding the effects of each change that we make. A change that improves one search might accidentally make other searches worse. In order to make progress, we need to be able to test our search system and understand the intended and unintended consequences of each change.
We introduced an automated testing system in 2022 to help us with that. This system allows us to test thousands of searches in the cloud without using the Roon Core. Our test infrastructure will help us make sure we’re not making things worse as we continue to improve the search engine.
Shorter Cycle Time for Improvements
By moving the search engine to the cloud, we can release improvements without shipping new versions of the Roon Core and apps. This reduces the time it takes to deliver improvements to our users, and allows us to iterate quickly on specific issues when they are reported.
While our primary goal is to make our users happy, it’s also helpful to have objective signals that show we are making things better. The new search system includes an array of metrics that allow us to monitor search results quality on an ongoing basis. This helps us see if our changes are helping, and also helps us catch any accidental issues that might degrade the quality of search results for our users.
As an example, the “Average Click Position” metric measures the average position where a user clicks when they select an instant search result. For example, a result of ‘1’ means that the user selected the first item in the list.
These are the results from last week’s rollout. You can see that the number dropped quickly around the time of our rollout, which shows that our changes were an improvement.
One of the challenges with the old search system was merging lists that had been ranked separately in the Core and in the cloud. It was difficult to compare scores from different ranking systems, so we relied on heuristics that tried to balance the ranks, popularity information, and text match accuracy.
This often led to less-than-ideal results, and troubleshooting issues was time-consuming because we had to replicate each user’s library in-house in order to see the issues. Since search ranking is now performed in the cloud in a unified way, this class of tricky issues has disappeared.
More Powerful Algorithms
Today, state-of-the-art search systems use Machine Learning to deliver results. It was difficult to use these techniques in the old Roon Core, so one of the main goals of the re-architecture was to enable this.
In the future, we will be able to tailor results to individual users. For example, a Beatles fan typing “John” into the search box probably expects “John Lennon” to be the top result, while a Jazz listener might expect “John Coltrane”.
This will also enable the implementation of modern search techniques like spelling corrections, search suggestions, semantic search, and gradient boosting, none of which are practical within the Roon Core.
Instant Search Improvements
After deploying the new architecture internally in September, we started the process of tuning it to perform better than the old system. We focused on improving the instant search dropdown, making sure that fewer characters are required to reach the desired result, and that the results continue to feel sensible as more characters are entered.
In addition to automated testing, we have a weekly review process where the product and search teams come together to examine a set of 50 representative searches and discuss how the results changed because of the previous week’s work. This helps us understand the tradeoffs and make decisions that prioritize the user experience.
Dozens of Smaller Improvements
As part of this work, we made many of smaller improvements to the search system. Shorter queries like “john” or “pink” should now return more coherent results. The system is not directly auto-correcting misspellings, but it is more tolerant of misspelled terms in multi-word searches. It is also better at prioritizing exact matches, deduplicating similar results, and choosing the best version of an album or track when there are multiple versions available.
While things have definitely gotten better in the past year, 2022 was mostly about laying the groundwork. We plan to make faster and more visible progress in 2023 and beyond.
I want to thank everyone for their patience as we work on improving the search engine, and for all the feedback in last year’s thread. It has been very helpful in understanding our users’ perspectives, and we hope you will continue to use our product and provide feedback in the future.