Dedicated Roon Core

Hi,

Currently I use Roon player. My desktop PC is Roon Core. So signal path is:

PC -> Router -> AQVOC switch -> Uniti Atom

I was thinking to buy dedicated Roon core (like Roon Nucleus). In this case signal path would be:

Roon Nucleus -> AQVOC switch -> Uniti Atom

Will dedicated Roon core improve audio quality?

I’ve noticed, that music from PC is much harsher compared to Uniti Atom Radios.
Radio sound is more relaxed and natural. So I thought maybe PC is to blame and dedicated Roon core could improve sound quality.

Intel NUC. Its all you need. Setup instruction on the Roon site.

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I was using an old Mac Book Pro and changed to dedicated Roon NUC. There were two significant improvements, sound quality, which became clearer and more detailed and streaming reliability. For the latter, when using the Mac, 96khz and 192khz files over Wi-fi could sometimes drop out, but since using the NUC, it seems rock solid.

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Doubtful. I run a Nucleus just because it freed up another machine, sits quietly elsewhere in the house needing minimal maintenance and also contains an SSD with my whole library so no NAS needed either. The move for me was based on practicality and stability. As Raym55 says, a NUC will do the job nicely for hosting the Roon core. I only went the Nucleus route as it was plug and play - little inclination here to fiddle with NUCs in my leisure time.

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I use an Inel NUC, i3 8th generation model. It probably took me half an hour to set it up. Install the Ram and the SSD, create a USB disk and install which takes just a few minutes.

Now it just does it’s job and hasn’t skipped a beat. Excellent value too.

I might add a 2tb SSD when the prices drop, allowing some space to be freed up on my main NAS,

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I would always recommend a dedicated machine for running Roon. It benefits from it in many ways. Using a NuC and ROCK even more so.

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I also went the NUC i7 and internal SSD route. It is in another room as the fan noise can be distracting. It was very easy to set up and I’m no IT expert. Roon really need to be commended for offering the Rock software for free, it works faultlessly.

I was previously using an iMac and switched not expecting any sound quality improvement. However there has definitely been an enhancement with the overall sound having greater solidity and realism, a subtle change but worthwhile. And Roon now operates so quickly, no lag.

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A Nucleus, an Aqvox switch and an Atom cost about the same as a Nova. I know what I’d do…

I used a Qnap NAS until recently; I was surprised by the improved sound quality with a NUC. Mine has a SSD for the Roon software and 4TB for music storage and 16 GB Ram.
Unlike @trickydickie I went for an off the shelf solution as I did not trust my IT skills, but I would consider the DIY route for the next upgrade in ‘n’ years time (assuming Roon is still around).

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I have as Roon Core an Intel NUC I7 with a 2TB SSD that has all my music stored on it purchased as plug and play following easy ROCK installation and it worked fine given I am no tech expert.

Just search Roon Nucleus alternative on any search engine and take your pick.

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I use a Roon Nucleus+ with internal Samsung SSD, which is silent, foolproof, runs cool and is rock solid.SQ was a nice step up from a high-specced fanless QNAP and improved significantly with the purchase of a DC3 power supply from Custom Hi-Fi cables.

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Chris, If you guarantee that if I sell AQVOX and Atom (with all “hi-end” network cables) and buy Uniti Nova and sound quality will increase (in this case I would have simple desktop pc with simple cat5a cable connected to Nova), I’ll do so :slight_smile: . But I really doubt if Nova can sound good if source (and interconnects) is crap.

Actually that would be very interesting challenge: Nova vs. Atom, where Nova has very bad quality network setup and Atom has perfect network setup. I think it is impossible (or very hard) to predict who would win.

Thanks to everyone. So seems dedicated Roon core would be good solution.

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Yes Luke, that would make sense. Now, which one?
A DIY Intel NUC kit would probably be the least expensive but fan noise can be an issue if it is in the listening room.
A Roon Nucleus or Nucleus+ is a proven if expensive solution.
Or there are options in between.

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Two options in between include searching for a pre-assembled fanless NUC, i.e. an Intel NUC in a case that also acts as a heat sink. Your favourite search engine can help you here.

I ended up with a slightly different option, going for an Audiostore Prestige 3 music server, a fanless music server with an internal SSD. Its processor can be specified to be equivalent to a Roon Nucleus or a Nucleus+. This is considerably faster than the Innuos Zen and Zenith servers but this only matters if you wish to run Roon’s DSP functionality to tailor the frequencies of the sound produced, e.g. if you wish to compensate for any room modes.

Enjoy your search!

Best regards, BF

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I can’t guarantee anything about what your ears will prefer, but my experience of network equipment (by which I mean everything upstream of the streamer) has a subtle effect of sound quality, if it has any effect at all. I admit that I haven’t ‘heard’ an Aqvox switch, and my Roon Core runs on a Macbook Pro, but yes,if I was a betting man, my money would be on the Nova.

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Somethiing that has impressed me about Roon is that running it on a Macbook Pro, it seems to handle anything I throw at it over WiFi, despite the fact that it has, if anything, more work to do than a UPnP server. When I can be bothered, I use a wired Ethernet connection to the Macbook, and I think this possibly improves sound quality very slightly.

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Thanks, Chris. The main purpose for me is journey. The journey to explore new things, to find something new in hi-end world. And that is what gives me satisfaction and happiness :slight_smile:

And it is always moving journey. I’m sure time will come for Nova also. And someday maybe for Statement (but I will buy new house first :smiley: ).

So what I want to say, no matter what I upgrade first – streamer or network. In any case I will upgrade them all in the future.

As for network I found absolutely incredible changes in sound quality after doing some tweaks. For example, going from wi-fi to wired, or changing LAN cables, or adding AQVOX switch instead of simple switch. All things I changed in network setup were significant. And now I’m sure I will be very happy after adding Nucleus (or other Roon Core) to my system and I will also see changes in sound quality. If not – I’ll see benefits when I buy better streamer or audio system. So in any case I’m sure I’ll see benefits with Atom or with upgraded streamer/system.

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Thanks Bluesfan for your recommendations.

Hi @Bluesfan did you add a LPS to your Prestige?
I’m considering it, whilst contemplating how to Roonify one of my Unitiqutes. Martin Smith is helpful but I’m still dithering …
BTW the Prestige is fanless if that helps the OP @Luc.