This app note shows you how to stream multichannel audio over the network to a multichannel miniDSP processor or interface, such as the Flex HT or U-DIO8. We will be using a Window mini PC as the streaming endpoint to interface the miniDSP unit to the network, and Roon as the network audio software.

  1. In this app note we will assume that you are already set up with Roon. Roon is a paid subscription service, but there is a free trial if you want to see how the experience works for you.

  2. You will of course need multichannel audio content. We will assume that you have these files already in your Roon library. For multichannel content on the streaming service Qobuz, see the appendix of the companion app note.

  3. You could instead use a Raspberry Pi for this task. See the app note Multichannel streaming with miniDSP, Roon and Raspberry Pi. However, an advantage of using a Windows mini PC is that you can monitor and configure the Flex HT with Device Console while playing music.

  4. The setup described in this app note works with stereo audio too. If you only need stereo audio, you can instead use a stereo processor such as a miniDSP 2x4 HD, DDRC-24 or Flex. In that case, however, be sure to check out our all-in-one SHD Series streamers.

  5. miniDSP doesn't provide support for hardware and software that aren't miniDSP products. This application note demonstrates the use of miniDSP products together with other products.

What you'll need [Top]

For this app note we will be using a Windows PC as the streaming endpoint. You may already have a small PC you can use for this. However, if you are going to leave it turned on all the time, consider the power consumption figures. There are lots of low power mini PCs available now with RAM, storage, and Windows 11 Pro already installed. Some are barely any larger than a Raspberry Pi (by the time it's in a case). Look into the lower-powered CPUs (for example, as of mid-2023, the Intel N95 or the slightly older N5105 are good choices) and at manufacturers such as Mele and Beelink.

Note: to use Microsoft Remote Desktop to access the mini PC, you will need Windows 11 Pro.

You will of course need a multichannel miniDSP processor that accepts audio over USB, such as the miniDSP Flex HT. You can also use our multichannel digital interface solution U-DIO8 if you don't need onboard DSP. (In this app note we will assume the Flex HT is being used.)

Getting set up [Top]

The initial setup will need to be done with a screen, keyboard and mouse connected to the mini PC. Once everything is done, you will be able to use Microsoft Remote Desktop to access the mini PC.

  1. Install the miniDSP Device Console and the USB Audio Driver. If you're not familiar with how to do this, refer to our documentation.

  2. Open the Windows Settings and search for "remote desktop." Enable remote desktop access:

    Enable remote desktop in Windows 11 Pro

  3. In the Windows Settings, search for "name." Rename the PC to something that is easier to remember. We used "flex-ht-minipc":

    Rename Windows 11 PC

    You will need to restart the PC for the name change to take effect.

  4. Download and install the Roon Bridge. The reason we install the Roon Bridge instead of the full Roon User Interface is that Roon Bridge starts automatically when Windows starts, so you don't have to log in. (We're assuming this is a dedicated mini PC for audio purposes.)

  5. Connect a USB cable from one of the mini PC's USB ports to the Flex HT's USB input.

  6. On the Flex HT, select the USB audio input using the front panel control or remote control.

  7. Open the Windows Control Panel and navigate to Manage Audio Devices. You will see the Flex HT in the list of output devices:

    miniDSP Flex HT in Windows Control Panel

    Select it and click the Configure button (lower left). Select 5.1 Surround as the output format:

    miniDSP Flex HT sound output format in Windows Control Panel

    Click through the rest of the screens. Leave all speakers set as "full-range." (If you need to set up bass management, do this in the Flex HT using miniDSP Device Console.)

  8. Restart the PC. You can disconnect the screen at this time.

Enable and configure in Roon[Top]

Go to Roon's Settings page and then to Audio. You should see your mini PC appear in the list with several audio devices, like this:

miniDSP Flex HT in Roon audio settings

We want to use the ASIO driver, so click on Enable next to miniDSP ASIO Driver. Then click the pencil icon and give it a useful name:

miniDSP Flex HT enabled in Roon audio settings

Click on the gear icon to open the device setup for the Flex HT. If you want to be able to control the volume from Roon, select DSP volume (the "DSP" in this case refers to the digital signal processing that Roon executes, not the miniDSP.) If you want to control the volume from the Flex HT only, select Fixed Volume.

miniDSP Flex HT setup in Roon

Click on "Show advanced" to show more options. Scroll down to Channel Layout and select 5.1. (If you have a stereo processor, then this option will not appear.) Click on Save. We left all the other options at their defaults.

miniDSP Flex HT advanced setup in Roon


In Roon, locate a multichannel file or album and play it. You can check what's happening in the Roon Signal Path (click the little icon to the left of the playback control buttons). Here is how ours looks when playing a multichannel FLAC file:

Roon signal path with multichannel FLAC

And here is how it looks when playing a multichannel DSD file:

Roon signal path with multichannel DSD

If you have a screen connected or are accessing the desktop of the mini PC with Microsoft Remote Desktop, you can run miniDSP Device Console to monitor the signal levels:

Signal levels in the miniDSP Flex HT with Device Console

Wrapping up [Top]

You can also stream multichannel content to the Flex HT from the streaming service Qobuz. To see how, read the Appendix to the multichannel Raspberry Pi app note.

And that's it! Have fun, and please feel free to share your experiences with multichannel streaming in our community forum.


Related Products - HomeTheater Series