Raspberry Pi for Roon Bridge and Airplay Receiver

I love Roon! After trying it out for 14 days, I bought the subscription. It’s just so easy to manage my FLAC library with Roon. The number one feature I love is Roon’s attention to high quality output and flexibility to play music to any receiver. My receiver is a Raspberry Pi.

A few days ago I set up my Raspberry Pi to act as a Roon Bridge. I plugged my USB mixer to my Raspberry Pi allowing me to listen to music even if my Hackintosh is turned off. It’s a simple Behringer Xenyx Q502USB. Before using this mixer, I plugged a Behringer UMC202HD but was disappointed by the loudness, but then it’s powered from the USB bus so fair play to it. Plugging to the small mixer made a world of difference in loudness.

My small mixer

Please ignore the cabling mess in the back.

What I don’t like by this setup, now my Hackintosh reverted back my Jabra 510 USB for its audio output. I wanted a way for me to still output to those studio monitor speakers. A few years back, I remembered I used a Cubieboard to act as an Airplay receiver for audio. That led me here. Followed it to install shairport-sync.

By default the Pi will output to its onboard sound card. We need to disable it. Follow here to do so. After disabling the sound card, reboot.

$ sudo shutdown -r now

When we’re back, let’s start the Airplay service and crank the volume up.

$ sudo systemctl start shairport-sync # Will persist every reboot
$ alsamixer # Press up to crank the volume

Now from my Hackintosh, I went to System Preferences / Sound / Output and chose Raspberrypi as the output. If you want to change that name, it’s actually the hostname of the Pi. You can change it by using raspi-config.

Both my Hackintosh and Raspberry Pi are connected by LAN connections. There will be delays when playing back audio from the Hackintosh to the Pi. The reason for this is the Airplay receiver needs to sync the timing with my Hackintosh, hence the name sync name for the receiver. I can live with that.