Maximizing sound quality with Roon?

Depends how far away. While I found little too difference in sound quality from moving from NAS to Roon NUC, I did experience an improvement when moving the NUC so it joined the Aries G1 on the Cisco 2960 switch.

Because of the noise of the NAS, there was no way I’d want it in the same room but as the NUC is silent, it made sense to attach it to the Cisco rather being on a different standard switch on the other side of the house.

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As @Michaelb and @ChrisSU suggested you want to keep your computer, NAS, switch, etc. all your noisy stuff, away from your delicate and sensible analog gear.

Computers and network switches are noisy gear!

@Thomas Thanks for a really helpful post.

I’ve been thinking about building a NUC to run Roon ROCK for some time but since my old Mac Mini still runs Roon well having plenty of processor and memory ‘headroom’ I suspect I’ll not do this. (Mac Mini’s current ‘uptime’ is 19 days and 23 hours so I’m certainly not suffering from the memory leaks @mook has seen)

Unless, of course, I get bored and decide that it makes sense to build a NUC for whatever reason…

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I think you’d be right to keep to the mini… if the CPU and memory etc are sufficient and its not being run in the same room as the system then the money would be better used/saved elsewhere :+1:t2:

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Hi, Thanks for sharing your Rock am Core experiences!
May I ask if you run your Roon Rock NUC on the last switch together with the streamer?

How much noise can one expect from a nuc (with fan), my Mac book is completely silent running Roon core? Is a fan less case really required if on only have moderate library and don’t use DSP etc.

I think this is good general advice!
My problem is that I clearly prefer a switch before my streamer. I also found that using streaming cables can make a difference, my choice was Chord Signature. I have a 3m and a 1m. So I can get some distance to the the server. How do you solve this? Long cable to streamer?

My MacPro has been up 58 days and counting and working fine with Roon Core, plus a myriad of other applications. Certainly no obvious resources being leaked… that would become obvious very quickly. Roon is used daily, and my library has 23,824 tracks.

I would be careful about not assuming any sort of signal processing (DSP is certainly not all about room correction) , it will cripple your use potentially.
Different end points can require optimising such as headphones, and Roon has inbuilt the Audeze profiles for example, and then there is the active loudness capability that can be useful when playing playlists, that ensures tracks are consistent with each other.
Finally there is the peak level adjustment where subtracting a few dB can help badly produced tracks clipping with certain DACs in the reconstruction filtering… these are all potential options and benefits in using Roon in certain scenarios to add musical enjoyment and flexibility, and having a Core that is unable to provide this to be would be a false economy and really missing a key value in using Roon.

On the network switch(s) supporting Roon, best ensure those switch(s) supports IGMP snooping, so as to prevent the Roon groups broadcasting over your home network/wifi where they are not needed.

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Out of interest @Toonartist, what fanless case did you go with for your NUC? Thanks.

I bought an Akasa Newton case. There are different ones based on the NUC you buy so don’t just by anyone. Use the intel nuc name as part of any search.

Forr example intel NUC7i5BNH. They go for about £60 mark

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I agree… it’s what really put the final nail in the coffin for my NAS drive running the core. It would be running real nice and then you add a filter and the cpu usage would jump. The menu interface on the app became very sluggish so I needed a new solution that would last.

The i5 gen 7 seems to be the sweet spot for NUCs at the moment based on price/power ratio. If I’d kept an old Mac mini that would have been ideal as well… if kept out of the room.

Hi, thanks for all the input, my take away from the above is… get at least an i5 to be future prof and if placed in listening room seriously consider a fan less solution.

I have done a bit of googling and it seams that there are fan less cases for NUCs and experiences are generally positive. (Looks not to complicated and roughly a 2h job to convert to). So was thinking order an i5 an see how bad the noise actually is.
Then stumbled on a firm Cirrus7 that can provide this ready built. They even install different OS and Rock among them, so basically ready to use. Anyone who have any experience with these NUCs?

They can’t supply it with Rock installed it’s against Roons licensing. Whilst its free it can’t be redistributed buy others. They already did a cease and desist on another company doing this. So I would look down on this if it’s actually installing it.

That said there a number of users of this model on Roons forum and they seem very happy with it.

Akasa fanless cases are very well built.

You may easily build your own Nucleus like machine.

But be aware that the Roon Rock version included in the Nucleus is slightly different from the standard Roon Rock (it includes thermal management).

–> ROON users - Nucleus or Nucleus+ what are you using?

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Hello Thomas. If I understand you correctly you are saying that a LPS does not improve the sound quality of a Roon Rock NUC, Nucleus or otherwise. Elsewhere, you have spoken of an expensive waste of money. In fact, Intel discourage the use of alternative power supplies with their NUCs. They do not specify power requirements and state that a non-standard supply invalidates the warranty. They also helpfully include a ferrite with their cable. Yet some others here speak very warmly about the positive benefits of swapping standard SMPS for LPS. So what advice do you and others offer? Thanks.

This is of course my own experience.

I tried it several times. No difference at all.

Considering the Nucleus or Roon server is networked, it makes sense.

But, if the Nucleus is directly connected to the DAC using the USB port, than yes the LPS makes massive difference.

The Roon Server, as recommended by Roon Labs, shouldn’t be anywhere near your audio equipment. It should be away from it, and hardwire connected to your network.

Mine is in a network cabinet, in a dedicated little room.

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Getting the Roon core away from the hifi could have three benefits:

  1. Less EM noise fields emanating directly from the box that does the core processing into nearby cables and boxes.

  2. The EM noise the core processor spills into connected cables has further to travel to reach the hifi?

  3. Less mechanical vibration into the hifi.

Which is most important?

Is number 2 above really a thing??

I’d also add getting a SMPS away from the hifi and (probably) onto another ring reducing the noise pushed onto the mains.

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I utilise a repurposed Mac Min Server, 2012 model from memory?
I replaced the original pair of Apple (Samsung) SSD’s with Samsun EVO 860 @ 2x 2TB. One runs the MacOS and Roon Server, the other is home to all the audio files.
In my case the Mac Mini is located in another room and runs over 10m of Ethernet cable to my main LAN switch.
Can’t say I ever did any serious comparisons with other options apart from an evaluation of the Innuos Zen Mini a little while back (and other non Roon server capable options).
I had the Mac Mini Server lying dormant looking for a job and to be fair I’ve had no issues with it since it was setup.

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How did the Zen Mini compare to the Mac Mini as a Roon core and file store?