Dean Clough, the owner of the startup whole-house audio brand Sonic.Build, recalls how he started a residential technology design/build firm, Casa Integration 15 years ago, and now as part of his “day job” he searches for whole-house music systems that can deliver high levels of sound quality and reliable, long-term performance for his clients.
Serving the typically well-heeled San Francisco Bay Area residents, Clough says he recently discovered the Roon home audio software and had an idea for how Roon could be implemented for whole-house audio applications.
“I call Roon 'home audio infrastructure' because it is a uniquely modular approach to having music throughout one's home. Add our Endpoints to a Roon Server, your digital music collection, and a Tidal subscription, and you have an amazing, high-resolution home audio system, that can scale from one or two rooms to dozens,” says Clough. “I've been putting Sonos-based music systems in some of the world's finest homes for years, but I think Roon is way beyond what they and the copycats are doing, [and] that's what motivated me to start Sonic.Build. It started as something for my existing Casa Integration clientele, but then I saw a bigger opportunity to offer my handmade products to anyone that's interested in Roon.”
Working in his San Francisco workshop Clough explains that he hand-assembles Sonic.Build's products, which combine Roon's Endpoint software with a Raspberry Pi 3 computer and Swiss or British audio components.
Regardless of the model, all of Sonic.Build's products come as tiny boxes that are no bigger than a deck of playing cards. Sonic.Build's Roon Endpoints are available in unamplified digital (Sonic Bitstream) or analog (Sonic DAC) versions, and there's also an amplified model (Sonic Amp) for monitor-style bookshelf speakers; prices start at $219.
According to Clough, feedback from customers so far has been excellent, and sales have surpassed what he originally projected. For the immediate future Clough plans on keeping Sonic.Build as an adjunct to Casa Integration, but he admits the company's long-term plans are unknown.
“I love building things, be they audio components or businesses. So who knows?” admits Clough.