The phrase “as we went to press” is often a euphemism for something happening close to the date of publication, but in the case of the latest update for the Devialet Expert 1000 Pro, it really was “as we went to press”. Within a minute of signing off the issue containing the Devialet Expert 1000 Pro review for printing, Devialet announced that its latest update unlocked Roon for the Expert range. This doesn’t invalidate the previous review, but the step of making the Devialet a Roon endpoint does make Devialet’s electronics seem even more attractive.
The fact Devialet can simply unlock Roon through firmware, rather than a deeper level hardware update speaks of the capacity of the Expert’s processing power, and how much it holds in reserve. Running Roon on a device can be a little more ‘nuanced’ than it seems in simple description, and – if we are being truly honest – requires more on-board processor firepower than many products can muster. It usually requires a wholly new model or extensive upgrading of the digital processing boards. This is why very few older models can achieve compatibility with Roon. Devialet, in part due to its constant upgrade path, and because of that inherent reservoir of processing power, has no such issues with Roon.
Updating the Devialet was performed in the company’s usual way; the SD card in the rear panel is removed and connected to your computer running Devialet’s Configurator webpage. As this also stores your configuration history, it should already have record of the products you use and how you configured your system. Load the latest firmware (and your custom CONFIG files) onto the SD card, insert it into the rear of your Devialet, press and hold the front power button and let it do its stuff.
Adding Roon means the purchase of a license and the download of Roon’s Core program (from roonlabs.com) and control programs or Apps. Roon then interrogates your stored music library (and ideally your TIDAL account) and builds an integrated music service. Adding Roon Readiness to the Devialet means Roon ‘discovers’ the Devialet on your network, automatically delivers music at its best possible format to the Roon Ready device, and takes over the control of the device. In other words, Devialet cedes control to Roon, and the listener effectively ‘lives’ in Roon’s Control app. Devialet’s own programs are all but forgotten once this takes place.
If this all sounds a little bit Invasion of the Body Snatchers, then you haven’t got what Roon can do for you. This is entirely understandable as it doesn’t easily translate from actions to page. The best way of thinking about Roon is it’s like inviting an infintely knowledgable and benign musicologist to simultaneously act as your personal musical curator, navigator, and butler. If you combine Roon with TIDAL in particular, you almost immediately stop thinking of music in terms of ‘your collection’ and ‘online’ and instead everything becomes one big musical mash-up. This still doesn’t quite get across the significance of Roon. Trial it, and you will.