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Roon. Please help a beginner choose setup.


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Hi all.  I've dabbled with Roon reading and maybe taking the plunge.  Black Friday (today) deals lead me to scoring Tidal AND Roon for a trial of 3 months for $1 plus $1.  No more mucking around! 

 

 

 

What I already have:

 

- I have a perfect setup for a "central" core - a cupboard with internet into the property (NBN), a new fast router, a large managed switch, and cat6 to the whole house (most rooms).  I am aware this would be ideal for when I have multiple endpoints....

 

- I have an unused NUC7i7BNH with a 250GB M.2 drive and a few spare external/internal SSD's

 

What I may get in near future:

 

- a Synology NAS, something like the DS920+

 

- a Bluesound Vault 2i, so I finally get around to ripping my CD collection (over 1000), and it would provide a nice endpoint too as I understand it.

 

 

Now, I have a few options.  Thus many questions:

 

- I am told that, once Roon Core is installed on a machine, it's a bit of a bugger to move somewhere else.  Is this true?

 

- I was thinking about setting up the NUC as a core for the trial.  I would have the NUC doing anything else.  I don't have "end points" as yet, so perhaps I'd set it up with one of the stereos and go fairly direct, say: NUC>USB to spdif converter>DAC.  If I do this, can it be moved later?

 

- Am I best to just put the core on the NAS, to make best use of the NAS as well as reduce devices and electricity consumption?

 

Thanks to the brains trust!

Mat

 

 

 

Edited by Mat-with-one-t
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I don't think moving your Roon Core is problematic at all. Regular backups are the key and of course a forced backup just before you shift to a new Roon Core is a given.

When you launch Roon for the first time on the new Core machine/server, instead of logging in with your details, there is an option on the screen to "restore from backup".

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Ah gotcha.  So I can muck about with the NUC, and if it's a go-er past the trial 3 months, I can move it onto a NAS?  I suppose it could also go in the cupboard and be connected to the NAS, but that may be a bit of overkill?  I'm also aware that, during a trial using the NUC directly to stereo, it'd not be the best sound.  I'm mainly looking at the format more than the sound for now.....

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17 minutes ago, Mat-with-one-t said:

Ah gotcha.  So I can muck about with the NUC, and if it's a go-er past the trial 3 months, I can move it onto a NAS?

Yes, so long as the NAS has the horsepower to run Roon.

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1 hour ago, Hydrology said:

Yes, so long as the NAS has the horsepower to run Roon.

This is something I hear a lot about.  One reason why I wonder whether, irrespective of which NAS I get, I should just use the i7 NUC solely for Roon and avoid any issues entirely.....

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https://help.roonlabs.com/portal/en/kb/articles/faq-what-are-the-minimum-requirements#Recommended_Hardware

 

The above has all that you need to get your roon core started.

 

I use a 2015 Mac Mini as a headless roon server and ive not had any issues. I am not sure if a dedicated Roon server like the nucleus and the likes improve SQ.

 

If you are looking at your CDs ripped, do check out the Innous streamers as well. They also double up as your Roon core so one less box. 

Edited by BrownMagic
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Just now, BrownMagic said:

If you are looking at your CDs ripped, do check out the Innous streamers as well. They also double up as your Roon core so one less box. 

 

I concur. I use an Innuos ZEN MK3 myself.

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I’m running Roon core on a 2012 Mac mini with 2-core i5, upsampling everything to DSD256, and it’s not breaking a sweat (~70% idle CPU during playback). The mini is headless, I’m not running the GUI there. For that, I use the iPad app.

 

The i7 NUC hardware should be plenty, subject only to software limitations. A NAS on the other hand might get taxed a bit, depending on what you’re planning to do (upsampling, DSP, etc.).

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So I’m thinking, for the purpose of my 3 month trial of Tidal and Roon, I will download Roon onto my NUC.  

 

Questions:

 

- so is that called “Roon Core” or “Roon Rock”?  

 

- if I’m not running anything else in that NUC, do I need any other sort of operating system installed, or is that it?

 

- I do not have any “Roon Ready” endpoints, nor do I have any endpoints with Ethernet connectivity, so I assume my trial will involve having the NUC physically sitting in my Stereo rack, connected to my home’s Ethernet so its available on the home network.  I have a Singxer SU1 USB>spdif converter, so I assume I go:

NUC>USB to Singxer>spdif to DAC?

 

- in terms of “endpoints”, at the moment I have iPhones (old iPhone 5’s) sitting at each of my 2 rigs.  They are permanently on charge and connected via USB using Apple “Camera Connectors”, then via USB>spdif converters to DAC’s.  Can I continue to use them in this sort of configuration as “Roon Endpoints” so I can test Roon’s multiroom stuff out?

 

Note that this is about getting a feel for it all, not about sound quality yet!  I can’t justify a lovely upmarket streamer Roony Endpointy Thingy just yet!  

 

Thanks gang!

Mat

 

 

Edited by Mat-with-one-t
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Hi Mat, Roon Rock is the operating system, you load it onto a barebones (empty) computer, your NUC in this case. It will be your core.

AFAIK you cannot directly connect Roon Rock to your dac, it must go through a renderer (streamer) configured as a Roon endpoint ( possibly your iphones) to render the data into something your DAC can convert. 

Your NUC should connect to your iPhones over the network or maybe bluetooth, I don’t know cos I use a dedicated streamer. 

I assume you  would have to go into phone settings and set up as a Roon endpoint and they will then pass on data to dac. Sound quality would not be indicative of what is possible though but you should get an idea of the user interface. 

Plenty of useful info on Roon forums.

 

 

 

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That’s helpful Pebbles.  Thus I’ll maybe try the NUC in the cupboard with my router, and hook into the network switch there.  This means it’d only be over wifi to phones, so not ideal.  However as mentioned, it’s about trialling the interface.  If my library works nicely, along with Tidal trial, ultimate.y I’d maybe look at a Bluesound Vault 2i to start with as an endpoint/streamer/burner for my CD  collection.  After that, maybe a posh end point for my main rig......

.  

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1 hour ago, Pebbles said:

AFAIK you cannot directly connect Roon Rock to your dac, it must go through a renderer (streamer) configured as a Roon endpoint ( possibly your iphones) to render the data into something your DAC can convert. 

Not 100% I have the context right - so apologies if I missed something.
If you load Roon Rock on the NUC, you can use USB out from the NUC to connect direct to DAC (via adapter to SPDIF in OP's case).   Works fine - and would be better than phones / wifi.  Technically Roon 'prefer' to leave the NUC purely running the core and use separate End Points - simply to keep the NUC dedicated to its core task.  Tidal integration into Roon is great.

Given you are all hard wired Cat 6, you will have no problems pointing Roon core on the NUC to your NAS as music library if that is what you prefer.  I just just have a USB drive plugged into the NUC and back it up to NAS regularly. 

In terms of End Points, Raspberry Pi's running Ropiee make very good and inexpensive ones - I use them for two satellite systems and have used them in main system before moving to a miniDSP device.

Enjoy the experimenting.

Gibbo

Edited by gibbo9000
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Don't put the core on the NAS.. Depending what else you wanted to do, you could either run WIndows on your NUC so you can do other stuff, or install Rock in which case it will be dedicated Roon. I have done both but prefer a sparate Rock - my NUCs previously weren't very powerful though.

 

I currently have three endpoints: a Meridian 861 (main hifi) and two Raspberry pi with hifiberry.

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I'm running a NUC I5 with Roon Rock as my core and my end point. Which is to say, the USB on the NUC is being used to supply the output to my DAC.

It is constantly upsampling to 356khz / 352.8khz depending on the native sampling in the source file. It's not breaking a sweat and there are no pauses, jumps, glitches, pops or any other disturbances.

Having said that I do have a few extra bits and bobs to get what I think is good sound. I have an IFI Idefender filtering out the crud from the NUC's USB hub - I also have it being fed with the optional 5V input at the side from a good linear power supply. Also, I have a good, high current linear power supply feeding the NUC itself.

If you have access to a try out of a good USB filter then it would be worth trying. If you were is Brissy I'd give you a loan of one ;)

 

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Hey thanks again all. got confused there (very easily done!!!) Yeah that all makes more sense.  I'll try this:

 

- i7 NUC loaded with Roon Core as a sole Roon device (nothing else on it).  Sitting at one of my stereo rigs, hooked into home network via ethernet, and directly connected to DAC as

NUC>USB out (i have a Audioquest jitterbug as only filter thingy)>SingxerSU1 converter>spiff into DAC

 

- plug-in external SSD into NUC with all music files 

 

- also try iPhone at other rig as an endpoint

 

Does that all sound about right to get started?  Note that I have old DAC's (PCM1704) so won't be getting into any fancy upsampling/hi res/DSD as yet, but I can borrow a few modern DAC's for comparison....

 

Mat

 

 

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On 27/11/2020 at 7:52 AM, Mat-with-one-t said:

Hi all.  I've dabbled with Roon reading and maybe taking the plunge.  Black Friday (today) deals lead me to scoring Tidal AND Roon for a trial of 3 months for $1 plus $1.  No more mucking around! 

 

 

 

What I already have:

 

- I have a perfect setup for a "central" core - a cupboard with internet into the property (NBN), a new fast router, a large managed switch, and cat6 to the whole house (most rooms).  I am aware this would be ideal for when I have multiple endpoints....

 

- I have an unused NUC7i7BNH with a 250GB M.2 drive and a few spare external/internal SSD's

 

What I may get in near future:

 

- a Synology NAS, something like the DS920+

 

- a Bluesound Vault 2i, so I finally get around to ripping my CD collection (over 1000), and it would provide a nice endpoint too as I understand it.

 

 

Now, I have a few options.  Thus many questions:

 

- I am told that, once Roon Core is installed on a machine, it's a bit of a bugger to move somewhere else.  Is this true?

 

- I was thinking about setting up the NUC as a core for the trial.  I would have the NUC doing anything else.  I don't have "end points" as yet, so perhaps I'd set it up with one of the stereos and go fairly direct, say: NUC>USB to spdif converter>DAC.  If I do this, can it be moved later?

 

- Am I best to just put the core on the NAS, to make best use of the NAS as well as reduce devices and electricity consumption?

 

Thanks to the brains trust!

Mat

 

 

 

The Roon Knowledge Base has specific step by step instructions for moving a Roon Core and all library data to a new machine. It's not hard, just follow the steps they outline and it will work fine. Important to look there so you don't screw it up.

 

The NUC would be great for Roon Core or Roon Rock. If you are really going to just use it for Roon, load Rock (make sure your NUC is one of the supported models first), as it will give you the fastest, most seamless experience.

 

The setup you outlined above should be great.

Edited by firedog
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2 hours ago, Mat-with-one-t said:

Hey thanks again all. got confused there (very easily done!!!) Yeah that all makes more sense.  I'll try this:

 

- i7 NUC loaded with Roon Core as a sole Roon device (nothing else on it).  Sitting at one of my stereo rigs, hooked into home network via ethernet, and directly connected to DAC as

NUC>USB out (i have a Audioquest jitterbug as only filter thingy)>SingxerSU1 converter>spiff into DAC

 

- plug-in external SSD into NUC with all music files 

Sounds good Mat.  What do you plan to use for the user interface - one of the iPhones? Laptop or Tablet?

Gibbo

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One of the main goals of the trial is to see if the family (missus, 2 teens, 10yo), can  (and will) use it.  I’ve always maintained that hi fidelity sound is pointless if no-one’s listening!!

Thus, I want to see if we can continue like we do with Spotify - kids with laptops and i-things, missus with iPhone, me with iPhone and iPad.  

I assume that means Tidal app for everyone.  Not sure how Roon fits in with that though!?

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1 hour ago, Mat-with-one-t said:

I assume that means Tidal app for everyone.  Not sure how Roon fits in with that though!?


Tidal app has no role to play with Roon. You will have to install a roon remote on every user’a device and that is how they will be able to access Tidal. 
 

I don’t think roon has any integration with Spotify either. From what I have read from your requirements, the only reason Roon can come in handy is because you want to rip the 1k CDs that you have. Roon will become obsolete for you if the ripped files are out of the equation. 

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I've found it easy to migrate Roon Core data. Simply backup to your NAS, install on another system and restore the backup. Easy as. I've done it a few times.

 

I've found it's easiest to keep your files on the NAS, and use the NUC with Roon Server installed, I then install Roon over the top to control it. The benefit of this is simply that if my wife closes the Roon app (it's the media PC after all), the server continues to run in the background.

 

Currently building a custom NAS. Hoping to migrate everything to that once done. Haven't had much luck tinkering with UnRAID so I will probably install Ubuntu desktop and get that set up as a NAS. Plenty of info available on how to do this thankfully.

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11 hours ago, Mat-with-one-t said:

One of the main goals of the trial is to see if the family (missus, 2 teens, 10yo), can  (and will) use it.  I’ve always maintained that hi fidelity sound is pointless if no-one’s listening!!

Sounds like a good objective for the trial!
As a heads up the thing the 'family' will need to get comfortable with is that while Roon supports multiple 'zones' very well (so multiple end points), it does not support multiple users as well.  So there is no ability to have separate playlists (other than by naming convention), favourites, history etc.  per user.  Similar for Tidal - it is a single log in for Roon and only supports a single users favourites etc. 

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Really? I have multiple users on my Roon setup and they don't share playlists.  

 

It's still a single Roon login but there are multiple users in the Roon app who have access to the Roon server and keep their own playlists separate.

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19 minutes ago, BugPowderDust said:

Really? I have multiple users on my Roon setup and they don't share playlists.  

Oops - maybe I overstepped the mark - perhaps a minor frustration coming through.  Apologies.  I agree it does have separate users.  It is the the single Tidal login that frustrates the family who use Tidal on their phones etc. as well and it doesn't reflect any of their Tidal favourites etc.

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Thanks again all.  I’ll need to brush up on terminologies - losing what’s what between ““Roon”, “ Roon Server” and “Roon Rock”....!

 

Thanks MattyW - I’ll eventually sort a NAS (likely a Synology) and put all the music on it.  I’ll (in meantime) directly attach an external SSD to the NUC as a music library source.

 

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If anyone can help - I've downloaded Tidal app to devices in the house.  As mentioned, for the time being, I'm using old iPhones, connected via USB>spiff converters to DAC's on each stereo for easy and cheap streaming.  

 

Thing is, these phones (and my iPad, laptop, and so on) don't appear in the devices list for Tidal.  All devices are on the same wifi network, turned on, logged in, and Tidal app open.  Tidal does pick up 2 Chromecast devices however (one on each of our TV's).

 

On Spotify, they always appear in the list of devices when I click the little speaker icon, and thus I can sit on my iPad and "send" music to, say, front lounge stereo by choosing the iPhone connected to that stereo.

 

What am I doing wrong with Tidal?  It's annoying, as I can't control anything from a distance.

 

Cheers, Mat

 

Edited by Mat-with-one-t
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2 hours ago, BrownMagic said:

Please read my earlier comment. 

Ok.  But I'm not yet using Roon - Just starting with Tidal 1st.  I would've thought it'd have much like Spotify, where one could send the stream to whatever device on the network....?

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15 minutes ago, Mat-with-one-t said:

Ok.  But I'm not yet using Roon - Just starting with Tidal 1st.  I would've thought it'd have much like Spotify, where one could send the stream to whatever device on the network....?

 

Yup, but it's all via the Roon server.  It signs into your Tidal account. You don't need the Tidal app.

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Ah ok.  Looks like I'll get the Roon happening then!  Thanks MattyW.  Now I just need that tube DAC you used to have that's up for sale to get the best out of my main rig.....

Edited by Mat-with-one-t
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41 minutes ago, Mat-with-one-t said:

I would've thought it'd have much like Spotify, where one could send the stream to whatever device on the network

 

This is called Tidal Connect. Which has just been announced and only a handful of devices now support it but you can be sure that many streamers will support them soon. 

 

https://tidal.com/connect

 

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55 minutes ago, Mat-with-one-t said:

Ah ok.  Looks like I'll get the Roon happening then!  Thanks MattyW.  Now I just need that tube DAC you used to have that's up for sale to get the best out of my main rig.....

 

A beautiful sounding DAC that  :)

 

OPAMP rolling between Burson V5i-D and Sparkos SS3602 will change the fundamental sound of the DAC... I wouldn't change the Phillips 6DJ8 tubes though.....  Those lend a certain magic to the sound that Telefunken and Siemens tubes lacked. I didn't try other brands beyond that though.

Edited by MattyW
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11 hours ago, gibbo9000 said:

Oops - maybe I overstepped the mark - perhaps a minor frustration coming through.  Apologies.  I agree it does have separate users.  It is the the single Tidal login that frustrates the family who use Tidal on their phones etc. as well and it doesn't reflect any of their Tidal favourites etc.

You can also set up everyone  to have separate zones / endpoints. They can access your library/tidal simultaneously and independently. My kids are 10 and 12 and don’t appreciate hifi as much as they probably will in a few years. Good thing I do! Rock on a NUK, library on NAS. Ethernet everywhere. Love it.

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As many end points as you like, and as many playlists as you like. Roon is incredibly flexible and easy to use. You can even use mobile devices as end points should you wish to do so. Anything you can install Roon on can act as an interface for controlling Roon or as an end point. Very cool.  :)

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On 01/12/2020 at 1:14 PM, Mat-with-one-t said:

What am I doing wrong with Tidal?  It's annoying, as I can't control anything from a distance.

 

Doesn't work the way Spotify Connect works, in that regard. Not even with the new 'Tidal Connect'. 
 

But I saw someone somewhere say Tidal Support mentioned this feature will soon make it to their phone and desktop apps.

 

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1 hour ago, rand129678 said:

 

Doesn't work the way Spotify Connect works, in that regard. Not even with the new 'Tidal Connect'. 
 

But I saw someone somewhere say Tidal Support mentioned this feature will soon make it to their phone and desktop apps.

 

That would certainly tilt me in their favour in our household!

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On 27/11/2020 at 4:58 PM, Hydrology said:

I don't think moving your Roon Core is problematic at all. Regular backups are the key and of course a forced backup just before you shift to a new Roon Core is a given.

When you launch Roon for the first time on the new Core machine/server, instead of logging in with your details, there is an option on the screen to "restore from backup".

 

also unless you manually edited  your Roon data, you can even just move the core to a new computer and rescan the tracks from scratch it doesn’t take that long (unless you have a big library or an underpowered computer running your core)  

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