Voice Activated Roon Control


Several users have posted in the Roon forums various ways to use Apple Siri to control Roon. These usually take the form of a fake device in HomeBridge that then communicates with HomeKit and Siri. This seemed cool but maybe overkill. I was able to get Siri voice control of Roon working with simple SSH shortcuts that execute Python scripts which utilize the Roon API to control Roon.

Subsequently I activated and configured the MMM-GoogleAssistant and MMM-Detector modules on my MagicMirror and wrote recipes to control Roon using Google Assistant.

Both of these methods, Siri voice control of Roon and Google Assistant voice control of Roon, utilize a command line interface that issues commands to the Roon Core. With Siri the shell command is executed using SSH and with Google Assistant the shell command is executed by a MagicMirror module without the need for SSH.

I will describe in detail both of these methods for voice control of Roon and the setup precedures required for each. Both methods consist of getting a voice assistant working then creating voice triggers in that assistant that activate a corresponding action which executes a RoonCommandLine command.

First I will address the voice assistant setup for each. Following those sections I will describe the integration of the RoonCommandLine package into the setup and provide example configurations.

Using Apple Siri

Apple SSH shortcuts can be used to execute commands on systems that allow SSH access. I used an Ubuntu 20.10 system recently installed to install the Python Roon API project (pip install roonapi) and quickly cobbled together a Python script based on one of the examples in that project. The Python script accepts an argument specifying an artist name in my Roon library. It then uses the Roon API to play music from my library by that artist in the specified zone.

On my iPhone I then created shortcuts which use the “Run script over SSH” option for Apple Scripting shortcuts. The shortcuts execute a Bash command which is a shell script that executes the Python script with appropriate arguments. It all seemed to work. Over time I refined this setup to utilize the roon frontend to the Python Roon API and added shortcuts for a variety of Roon commands and control.

To get started with Apple SSH shortcuts first enable SSH access on the system where the RoonCommandLine package will be installed. Follow one of the many guides for setting up SSH with Apple Shortcuts. For example, these two guides should get you started:

Verify that Apple Siri is working and responds to queries like “Hey Siri”, “What time is it?”. Verify that SSH Shortcuts are working by creating a shortcut that performs a simple command like ping as described in the guides above. Once Siri and SSH Shortcuts are confirmed to be working, proceed to the RoonCommandLine Setup described below followed by the Apple Siri Roon Control Setup.

See the article Roon Voice Commands with Siri for a detailed walkthru of Roon voice control using Siri and Apple Shortcuts.

Using Google Assistant

See the article Roon Voice Commands with Google Assistant for a detailed walkthru of Roon voice control using MagicMirror modules and Google Assistant.

Google Assistant Requirements

This method for voice control of Roon requires a MagicMirror with the MMM-GoogleAssistant wiki and MMM-Detector wiki modules activated and configured properly. Setup for this method is considerably more difficult but once accomplished results in a superior quality setup with far more ease and flexibility of use. The Siri setup requires SSH and the Apple Shortcuts are more difficult to setup and maintain than the Google Assistant voice recipes.

The Google Assistant setup requires a MagicMirror - something I am guessing most people do not have. However, the MagicMirror is super cool so set one up then use this Roon voice control method :smiley: To get started with a MagicMirror installation, see the MagicMirror Documentation. Alternately, and preferably, install the MirrorCommand package which performs an automated installation and configuration of MagicMirror along with required modules.

Google Assistant Setup

If you have a MagicMirror with a microphone then you can setup Google Assistant by following the instructions at the MMM-GoogleAssistant wiki. This setup is not simple as it requires a Google Project with Actions and OAuth credentials. However, I found this 12 year old girl on YouTube who did it and so I figured I could too. It turns out I could so you probably can too.

MMM-GoogleAssistant requires MMM-Detector which can also be setup and configured following the instructins at the MMM-Detector wiki.

Google Assistant Roon Control Setup

After activating and configuring MMM-GoogleAssistant and MMM-Detector it is now time to tackle setting up Roon control with Google Assistant. Test the initial MMM-GoogleAssistant setup by saying something like “Hey Google” or “OK Google” or “Computer” or whatever your MMM-Detector “Model” setting is. MMM-Detector should wake up and listen. Then say something like “What time is it” and verify that you get a response from Google Assistant. It it’s working we can proceed.

RoonCommandLine Setup

Voice control of Roon as described in this document requires the use of a command line interface to issue the Roon commands. This is accomplished with the RoonCommandLine package which contains a shell command that acts as a frontend to the Python Roon API.

See the RoonCommandLine website for an overview of this package and documentation on its installation, configuration, and use.

RoonCommandLine Requirements

RoonCommandLine can be installed on either Linux or Mac OS X systems. It requires a Roon Core System reachable on the local network, Bash, Python 3, and the Python Roon API. The Python Roon API will be installed as part of the RoonCommandLine installation process.

Ensure that a Roon Core System is running on the local area network and Python 3 is installed on the Linux or Mac on which you wish to install the RoonCommandLine package. Most modern Linux systems will have Python 3 already installed. A good guide for installing Python 3 on Mac OS X can be found at

RoonCommandLine Installation

RoonCommandLine v2.0.0 and later can be installed on Linux systems using either the Debian packaging format or the Red Hat Package Manager (RPM). Support is also included for installing on Mac OS X. Other systems will require a manual installation described below. The Mac OS X installation procedure may also work under Microsoft’s Windows Subsystem for Linux but it is as yet untested.

Debian Package installation

Many Linux distributions, most notably Ubuntu and its derivatives, use the Debian packaging system.

To tell if a Linux system is Debian based it is usually sufficient to check for the existence of the file /etc/debian_version and/or examine the contents of the file /etc/os-release.

To install on a Debian based Linux system, download the latest Debian format package from the RoonCommandLine Releases.

Install the RoonCommandLine package by executing the command

sudo apt install ./RoonCommandLine_<version>-<release>.deb


sudo dpkg -i ./RoonCommandLine_<version>-<release>.deb

RPM Package installation

Red Hat Linux, SUSE Linux, and their derivatives use the RPM packaging format. RPM based Linux distributions include Fedora, AlmaLinux, CentOS, openSUSE, OpenMandriva, Mandrake Linux, Red Hat Linux, and Oracle Linux.

To install on an RPM based Linux system, download the latest RPM format package from the RoonCommandLine Releases.

Install the RoonCommandLine package by executing the command

sudo yum localinstall ./RoonCommandLine_<version>-<release>.rpm


sudo rpm -i ./RoonCommandLine_<version>-<release>.rpm

Mac OS X installation

RoonCommandLine requires Python 3. See the excellent Hitchhiker’s Guide to Python for step by step instructions to install Python 3 on Mac OS X. If you already have Homebrew installed on your Mac then you can install Python 3 with:

brew install python

Once the Python 3 dependency is met, install RoonCommandLine by cloning the RoonCommandLine repository and executing the Install script:

    git clone ``
    cd RoonCommandLine

Note: A cleaner installation can be accomplished by executing the Install script as a user with sudo privileges and as the user which will be used to SSH in to the system. If you are not going to enable SSH support, at least make sure the user has sudo privileges.

Post installation configuration

Default settings are applied during the installation process. The primary area of post-installation configuration is setting the ZONEGROUPS and DEFAULT values in the file /usr/local/Roon/etc/roon_api.ini. The RoonCommandLine installation attempts to automate this configuration and should have provided a good starting point with default settings in roon_api.ini but you may wish to adjust these.

Zone groupings and defaults

In Roon, you can view your existing zones by visiting Settings->Audio. The names of the enabled audio devices are your zones. You can change the name of a zone by clicking the “pencil” icon next to the name in the Roon audio settings screen.

Modify roon_api.ini with your desired zone groupings and default values. In particular, set the DefaultZone value in the DEFAULT section to a zone that will be available, enabled, and one you wish to use as your primary default fallback zone. The installation picked a DefaultZone for you and you may be satisfied with that automatic setting.

Note, the DefaultZone setting is used when no zone is specified, RoonCommandLine commands all accept a -z zone argument that can be used to specify the zone to be used as well as a -G <group> that can be used to specify the zone grouping to use.

Note also that should you change the name of a Roon audio device in the future then that name change will also need to be reflected in the roon_api.ini groupings.

Apple Siri Roon Control Setup

After verifying that Apple Siri is working, SSH Shortcuts are enabled and working, and RoonCommandLine has been installed and configured on a system in the same local area network as your Roon Core, it’s now time to configure Roon Control using Apple Siri.

See the article Roon Voice Commands with Siri for a detailed walkthru of Roon voice control using Siri and Apple Shortcuts.


SSH Setup for Apple Shortcuts

MagicMirror Google Assistant Setup

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.