Alternatives to melco or innuos

another alternative to innuos, core, melco…specially to roon africionados

roon nucleus plus, in black please!

I have one of these and a Melco. They work very well together.

why do you need both ? which one sounds best if used in the same way?

PS: new review on the roon nucleus plus on stereophile.

Have you tried the Nucleus with directly attached, or other network storage instead of the Melco?

Chris, FR - yes a slightly strange combination. I had the Melco originally as a USB source to replace a Mac Mini. It then moved to UPnP server duties. A fairly recent move to Roon brought a Roon Nucleus into play and up until recently i still preferred the Melco ‘quiet’ player port output to the Cisco. Devialet released a new FW update this week which included full Roon RAAT functionality (compared to the Roon modified Devialet AIR application i’d previously used) so with this now loaded and sounding rather fine i’ll try the Cisco direct connection again when i get the chance. If it sounds better or at least equivalent to the Melco player port then i’ll look to retire the Melco. Used purely as a network share it, not surprisingly, doesn’t sound any different to another NAS in the house.


Hmm - i’ve now opened up my own can of worms… some fiddling about required…

Any DIY alternatives? A case, a low powered quality mainboard with 2 network ports,a linear power supply and a few Linux OS optimizations is all we need…
Am i wrong?

You can go one step in that direction by running a regular NAS with a UPnP server, Roon RAAT, LMS or whatever on it. Plenty of people have gone further, and used a RPi, Intel NUC or other computer to run the server, with either local or network storage. I’m sure DIY options will work just fine if you know how to build one.

You could always buy an Intel NUC kit from Amazon with an extra finless case. The Roon Community website even provides the product links for the NUC components.

Alternatively, call Martin At the Audiostore in the UK. I ended up buying one of his finless, linear power supplied servers. Most helpful.

Happy hunting, BF


another alternative. AudioAnzee Reference flow mk7. Dutch product.
Review in Hifi Advice. com.

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What about the Bryston BDP-3 Digital Player? Seems like a very well specified product.

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I rather like the mini Krell KSA style PSU :sunglasses:

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I went the NUC route about 5 years ago… best NAS solution I’ve tried. Windows 7 on it with asset and it’s been faultless. 1TB SSID fitted and it just sits there in the back ground silently doing it’s job. Plus it’s super easy for me to update/tune/add programmes/etc. and using Windows Remote means easy to access from work or home!

There are NUC alternatives e.g. I purchased a pre-built min PC from china via alibaba… it was a lot cheaper than the NUC (half the price) higher spec but not as well built. I actually purchased it for a different job but it’s now all setup with windows and asset ready as a backup if/when the NUC dies :wink:

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Why would anyone in their right mind pay thousands for a phono cartridge when all they consist of is a magnet, some coils, a bit of suspension, a cantilever, a tiny diamond stylus and a little casing to mount it in?

If someone can build one for less than 30 quid how can anyone justify charging £200, let alone X,000s?

Does the above strike you as a naive and maybe somewhat ignorant question?

No doubt many of you could explain the care, finesse, talent, skill and rare materials that go into building the better moving magnet and especially moving coil cartridges and why in the context of paying for sound quality they are worth their asking price. And exactly the same applies to servers.

There are very good ones, that in terms of sound quality provide excellent value for money vs alternatives and not such good ones, but a lot of the general observations provided above are equally as naive as my question.

Would you rather have a bog standard operating system or one designed to help you make bit perfect rips of your CDs, detect any duplicates or damaged files, obtain meta data automatically from the internet, sort and manage your music libraries without the need for a PC or Mac, set up and optimise your system for sound quality without needing to modify and tweak things like BIOS files, buffer sizes etc., remove unnecessary, noise generating processes, minimise disc access and noise produced by unnecessary CPU and disc drive activity, integrate streaming and file download from Qobuz, Tidal, Spotify etc, Would you want cheap and noisy switch mode power supplies or ultra low noise and ripple linear supplies? How about Roon integration at the point of a finger…core, endpoint, both?
What about your network? Bog standard or fully isolated and optimised to remove jitter and reduce phase noise?

Take a look at some of the best servers on the market today and they are no less worth their money than similarly priced Naim gear and no less carefully designed and constructed


I would definitely prefer a bog standard operating system!

No operating system has ever been designed to perform the tasks you are mentioning.

A few operating systems, typically linux distributions, that have been “optimized” for running music servers and/or renderers. Some of these are brand-specific, proprietary solutions. They are typically poorly supported and some have been found to violate copyleft licenses, see

Other solutions like Volumio, DietPi, AudioLinux are better supported but typically lack flexibility and customizability.

It is really not diffcult to optimize a standard distribution for running a dedicated music server and this is the approach that I would prefer.

In terms of hardware, the situation is completely different. Here I would be very happy to invest in products that have been designed with special care to power supply, selection of components, filtering, isolation, heat transfer, etc.

Unfortunately, most such product are not certified for bog standard operating system and are thus a no-go for me.

Still I have the impression that Innuos, Bryston and perhaps a few others meanwhile have rather interesting products. But one has to be very careful: when looking at music servers, price is often a very poor indicator for quality, unfortunately.

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Scroll down and check out InnuOS operating system.


That’s the usual marketing information. It does not mean that there is anything wrong with InnuOS but also it does not provide any reliable indication about the quality of InnuOS. What one would need to know here are, among others, the open source components used and their version numbers, the list of applications that can be installed, de-installed by users and their version numbers, the communication protocols for transferring files to and from the server that are supported, the frequency of security and software updates issued so far, the ticket system to which users can submit bug reports and see how long it takes for issues to be solved … For an example of a software component that is not open source and yet is documented in an exemplary fashion, look at MinimServer: they have detailed guide, a very active forum and en excellent support.

I have a Innuos Zenith Mk 2 with Audiophilleo 2 + PurePower USB to spdif hanging of the back nDAC. Both work to get real low jitter ( < 8ps across the frequency range) going into nDAC. Doesn’t seem to limit my new unDRed 552/500 SQ wise. I’ve keep my CDX2 without added PS which sounds pretty good when I want a change.

I’m really pleased. I could use Roon running on the Innuos which I actually like especially with TIDAL. I’d hope Innuos are doing the work to get closer integration with Roon and eventually use the 4GB music buffer. No need for network traffic to keep the music playing once you hit the play button so how could the SQ be affected if they get integration right.


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With respect I think you’ll find that Innuos’s target customers who precisely those people who don’t want to do any of the things you suggested. What they want is a very easy to use, bullet proof system for streaming, ripping and managing their music collections with sound quality exceeding anything they’ve previously had from digital.


I have argued about the need of knowing some facts in order get an idea of the quality of a software system, not about doing anything. There is nothing wrong with the information you are referring to, it’s just that it does not say anything about the quality of the software it advertises. It’s just promotion with no relevant technical specifications.