I currently have my NDX2 set up with XPS DR going to 282 to 250DR.
I am using the NDX2 currently to stream Qobuz and Tidal directly from the internet via a Cisco switch and also listening to internet radio stations. Very pleased with it, especially Qobuz.
I would like to use its capabilities further and am interested in trying Roon.
Could people let me know their thoughts on the following please:
1:To run Roon
2:To rip CDs and store as Hi res files
3:Download music maybe from Qobuz - Mainly at first to see if stored files sound better than Qobuz streamed
4: I want to be able to access everything through phone/tablet app. Do not want to be doing things via PC/laptop.
Dealer recommended Uniti Core but seems expensive and not sure runs Roon.
I normally rip / download music to my laptop and check the metadata before moving the files to a dedicated music server.
Before I tried Roon I used a Qnap NAS. I first tried Roon on a Mac Mini, before I bought the server, to convince myself I liked what Roon does.
I listened to the Core - liked it, but it can’t do Roon, but you could use it to store the music and place Roon elsewhere (but see @AndyR comments below). I considered building my own server, but was not confident in my skills, so I listened to other servers (Moon, Melco, Innuos); but decided to find a cheaper option. Hence I bought a Prestige from Audiostore / vortexbox.
I’d suggest a proof-of-concept trial before buying anything. Any recent computer should run Roon well enough to get the idea. If you like Roon you then have a lot of options, but I’d suggest Uniti Core is not one of them. If a turnkey solution appeals, Roon Nucleus with an additional storage drive for music files might suit, but I’d still recommend ripping CDs on a separate computer using (eg) dbpoweramp so that you can check and correct the metadata using (eg) mp3tag. This would give you a set of music files that is usable across different systems if necessary in future.
I think your dealer misunderstood what you wanted. Uniti Core won’t run Roon, and I’ve seen a good few cases of users getting very frustrated trying to use it as a music store with Roon running on another computer on the local network.
The thing is - I would like something that does it all. A device that can sit on or near the hifi rack and I can rip Cds there and do through an app. Just want a simpler procees if you like and can do whilst listening to music.
Understand completely, my Prestige does the job. See the website for other options as various price points. I still use my laptop (but it’s cd drive is giving out) as I can control the metadata that can go missing, especially if you download from Bandcamp.
If you want just one box that does everything I would consider an Innuos, and the entry level Zen Mini will do everything on your list.
If you but a Core it will cost twice as much, and then you’ll need something else to run Roon.
That would be nice… the compromise might be cost, complexity, or loss of control of the process. Or all three. If you are reluctant to just throw money at the problem, I’d still suggest trying Roon on kit you already have if at all possible. Roon often does things in perfectly sensible ways, but not always the way you might expect, and for some users that’s a deal breaker.
One question - no ‘right’ answer here - do you think you will you continue to buy CDs when you have ripped all your current collection? If not, you don’t (necessarily) need to locate any future ‘server’ (for want of a better word… ) near your hifi.
I use Roon across multiple ecosystems including Naim, Linn and Sonos. I use a 2012 Mac Mini Server to run Roon as well as using it to rip CD’s as required using XLD.
If you want a dedicated music server you’ll find Innuos and Melco mentioned frequently, both of which support a level of integration with Roon as a controller and database tool.
You can also rip CD’s directly within Roon if you run the Roon server on a device with an optical drive either internally or connected over USB.
To answer your question - I think I would still buy CDs if I could then rip them and they sounded as good as a downloaded Hi res file. But this i am not sure of, if they do or not. Appears to be cheaper to buy a CD then a Hi res download.
CD’s will always be a 16/44.1 resolution, a download can be anything up to 24/192 and of course you have DSD as a format which is supported on the Naim NDX2.
Roon performs a number of functions, some of which aren’t used or of interest to some including DSP and room correction.
What it is good at is consolidating multiple libraries, both your own local one and those from Tidal and Qobuz and providing you a curated experience to both rediscover your own library and new material available from streaming services.
I use the Roon Radio feature a lot as it allows you to start with playback of a track or album of your choice then carries on the playback based on similar music, some you may know well, some you may have never heard before. It’s a great way to both gain insight to your own library and compliment it with appropriate choices available from the streaming services.
If a ‘hi-res’ download is the same recording, transfer, and mastering as the CD, it’s likely that any audible differences are marginal. It gets complicated when the same recording has been remastered and rereleased several times during its life, or a new digital transfer made from the analogue master tape. Streaming services might have several different releases available, but it’s not always easy to tell which master they are, and they may change or even disappear depending on licensing deals and so on.
Hunting out the ‘best’ release can be part of the fun; buying that release so you are not relying on streaming services can be a good idea. But if that doesn’t sound like your idea of fun…
With a streamer you’ll be using the Zen over the network rather than with a direct USB or SPDIF connection, which is Roon’s recommended way if you have the option. In this case I would go for the much cheaper Mini.
If you are fully committed to Roon, another option would be a Nucleus, or a PC such as an Intel Nuc or Mac Mini. This can do everything you want, including CD rips if you add a CD drive via USB. The only issue with a Nucleus is that if you don’t take to Roon, you would have to sell it. Whereas if you run the Roon Core on a PC or Innuos, you can use it as a UPnP server if you prefer it to Roon.
Apologies, could you please explain as I am a bit slow in this department, really have very little clue with regards to streaming and networks.
I thought the Zen would connect to another port on my switch as well as the NDX2. Is there a better way ?
The Innuos, Mini/Zen/Zenith are all streamers as well as servers and Roon cores, as you have an expensive/good streamer in terms of your NDX2 there is no real need to utilise the Innuos as a streamer. The Zen will connect to your network via ethernet.
The Innuos servers all have a USB output, but this is not compatible with a Naim streamer. The Zen Mini also has an SPDIF output which would allow you to connect it directly to the NDX2, but my recommendation would be to use it with a network connection as you suggest.