Roon Musings

regarding Cyrus products and other hifi related threads
RichardLowe
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Roon Musings

Postby RichardLowe » Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:54 am

I recently replaced my Blu-ray player with an Oppo-203 4K player. Oppo being Oppo, its no mere 4K player, though it does that spectacularly well. One of the other hats it wears is a Roon end point.

I've not bothered with Roon till now, but I thought I would give it a look. I took out the 14-day demo of Roon, installed the Roon Core on my desktop PC, and the Roon Remote on my Android phone. The iPad I use for a remote control of my Primare Pre/Streamer is unfortunately too old to support the Roon Remote app. I pointed the Roon Core software at my NAS drive which has my music library on it, and also connected it to my Tidal Subscription. This was all very simple and took 15 minutes start to finish. My library took a couple of hours for Roon to index, sort, tag, download art, lyrics and all manner of extra information on, and then I was able to start playing.

First impressions are extremely good. I had no idea Roon would find not just my Oppo and desktop PC as output devices, but also my phone and Sonos speakers. I had to give it a go so I played different tracks to all 4 output devices simultaneously. The network handled it all easily, so for those looking for multi-zone control Roon ticks the box.

The Roon Remote app is superb, the way it presents the music library, makes finding music simple, and adds a wealth of additional information (sleeve notes, band/performer bios and similar artists list, to name but three) to enhance your musical experience was eye-opening. I'd read how good it is, but having used it now I appreciate why. I'm certainly entertaining the idea of keeping it, but I would need to add a dedicated Roon Core, as I don't want to use my desktop PC which is in a separate room from the hifi. Whether a home-build silent PC, or an off-the-shelf Roon device like the Roon Labs Nucleus or Metrum Acoustics Ambre. For the "Roonies" out there (is that a term?), what do you use and why? If going down the self-build PC option, what is a typical spec?

Off to play with Roon and see what else is under the hood...
Last edited by RichardLowe on Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.
(NAS > LAN network) + (oppo 203 > ml binary star i/c) > primare pre60 > tellurium q black xlr > primare a60 > tellurium q black 2.0 > boenicke w11

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Re: Roon Musings

Postby mickbald » Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:33 am

That was very interesting, thank you.

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Re: Roon Musings

Postby RichardLowe » Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:51 pm

I read a review of Roon, and they mentioned all the features I wrote about. One thing I hadn't tried was the "Roon radio". When your music queue is empty or if you click the Radio button at any time, Roon will make up a play list from your library based on the previous selection(s) you've just listened to. Its very similar to a shuffle button, but instead of playing random tracks from your library it creates a themed list based on the previous selections. If you fancy a rock and roll evening, play a rock and roll track and hit the Radio button and off it goes. A classical evening, play a classical selection and it will tailor the play list to that. I need to play with the feature more, but it was really good to sit back and have a virtual DJ serve me up music I often don't listen to. I find my own play list selection process often gets in the way - too much choice often leads to being blinkered, ending up playing the same selections more often than not. Roon radio did a good job of serving me up a play list based on my "seed" selection, and if there was a track I really didn't want to listen to, simply hit "Next" and it moves on to its next selection.

On the teckie side I also found this - https://kb.roonlabs.com/Roon_Optimized_Core_Kit. I think others on here have mentioned this before, but Roon wasn't on my radar so I didn't look at it in any depth. The Roon OS is a specialised Linux distro, tailored to running the Roon Core, and its free. Its what the Roon Nucleus and many other hardware offerings use as the Roon Core. Has anyone built a Roon OS-based silent PC? Any feedback on Roon OS or what hardware you used gratefully received...
(NAS > LAN network) + (oppo 203 > ml binary star i/c) > primare pre60 > tellurium q black xlr > primare a60 > tellurium q black 2.0 > boenicke w11

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Re: Roon Musings

Postby RichardLowe » Mon Jul 30, 2018 2:53 pm

Just checking through the forum for other Roon posts and (re)found this thread - viewtopic.php?f=9&t=31556&p=359578&hilit=roon&sid=f6ede2c370051029c0f809aab2db7bf8#p359578.

Simon and Caine did you find the Raspberry Pi as a Roon Core had enough processing power to handle your music library or was it slow doing particular things? Simon, it appears you had gone the NUC route as well as looking to try a Pi. Did you use i3, i5 or i7 and what were your thoughts? Was installing the Roon OS as simple as it sounds?

I'm thinking an i5 NUC is probably enough given the size of my library. One thing I'm not certain of by the ROCK link I posted is whether the NUC can also act as an end-point. Perhaps I'm not looking hard enough! If it is also an end-point I assume I can use the USB as an asynch output to my DAC?

If anyone else wants to weigh in please do...
(NAS > LAN network) + (oppo 203 > ml binary star i/c) > primare pre60 > tellurium q black xlr > primare a60 > tellurium q black 2.0 > boenicke w11

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Re: Roon Musings

Postby SimonJ » Mon Jul 30, 2018 4:41 pm

RichardLowe wrote:Just checking through the forum for other Roon posts and (re)found this thread - viewtopic.php?f=9&t=31556&p=359578&hilit=roon&sid=f6ede2c370051029c0f809aab2db7bf8#p359578.

Simon and Caine did you find the Raspberry Pi as a Roon Core had enough processing power to handle your music library or was it slow doing particular things? Simon, it appears you had gone the NUC route as well as looking to try a Pi. Did you use i3, i5 or i7 and what were your thoughts? Was installing the Roon OS as simple as it sounds?

I'm thinking an i5 NUC is probably enough given the size of my library. One thing I'm not certain of by the ROCK link I posted is whether the NUC can also act as an end-point. Perhaps I'm not looking hard enough! If it is also an end-point I assume I can use the USB as an asynch output to my DAC?

If anyone else wants to weigh in please do...


Hi Richard, welcome to Roon it is ace! :)

The Pi does not run the core it is used as an endpoint. I went the i5 NUC route for the core and works perfectly well. The install of the ROON OS (ROCK) is so simple and just works and recommend it.

The NUC can be an end point too but it is not 100% silent so many dont do this way.

Hope it helps
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Re: Roon Musings

Postby RichardLowe » Mon Jul 30, 2018 5:58 pm

Cheers Simon.

I thought the Pi may not have enough oomph for the Core, so it makes sense its just an end-point.

I thought the NUC's had no cooling fan it was just passive. The online spec on eBuyer doesn't mention one but a quick Google seems to show the CPU has a fan. Are you aware of silent PC's using Roon OS? I'd prefer the unit to sit in the same room as the hifi, but if it has a fan I'd have to move it.
(NAS > LAN network) + (oppo 203 > ml binary star i/c) > primare pre60 > tellurium q black xlr > primare a60 > tellurium q black 2.0 > boenicke w11

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Re: Roon Musings

Postby SimonJ » Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:14 pm

NUCs have fans

If you search the Roon forums I am sure I have seen threads on silent options which the Roon offering is of course

NUC is far easier IMHO
Main system: GyroDec>Dynavector XX2MK2>Auralic Aries>Pimped DDDAC 1794>Coherant 4d>TE Vibe & Pulse PSU>Coherant 4D & 4D Mains>Sugden Sapphire FBA-800 & 4D Mains>Coherant 4D Speaker Cable>Focal 1028
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Re: Roon Musings

Postby Starwarsmike2422 » Mon Jul 30, 2018 8:04 pm

Hi

I’ve recently bought Chord Qutest DAC as my secondary source, I also purchased Roon. I have to say I love it....I hope this wears off because I’ve not played a record in a while! Because of Roon I feel the an itch....sell my TT phonostage etc & buy Chord Dave?.

As I say I hope the new thrill of Roon wears slighty. Back to Roon...I was considering the Nucleus as an end point & also SOTM Ultra, I’ll have a look at NUC also.

Cheers

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Re: Roon Musings

Postby RichardLowe » Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:29 pm

SimonJ wrote:NUCs have fans

If you search the Roon forums I am sure I have seen threads on silent options which the Roon offering is of course

NUC is far easier IMHO


Simon, I've read several threads on the Roon forum. One theme that seems to be coming up is potential overheating with the NUC solutions, but the more expensive fanless options, particularly the Roon Nucleus boxes are far more reliable. Given its mainly Roon admins that seem to be saying this it could be marketing, but is that something you have direct experience of, or know of other people having?

How noisy is the NUC i5 you have? Does the fan run continuously at a noticeable level or does it burst depending on what its doing - playing music, indexing a new set of folders, etc.? What is the sort of level of noise - does it compare to a desktop PC, a small laptop at idle, etc.? If I place a NUC in my lounge would I likely notice the fan running with no other noise to cover it? I'm trying to gauge if its worth biting the bullet and paying the extra for a silent solution.
(NAS > LAN network) + (oppo 203 > ml binary star i/c) > primare pre60 > tellurium q black xlr > primare a60 > tellurium q black 2.0 > boenicke w11

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Re: Roon Musings

Postby SimonJ » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:06 pm

The fan is on most of the time even when just doing nothing

I have not altered the BIOS as not a problem for me as in the office and want it to run cool. The NUC is so small it’s not surprising the fan is always on.

I feel you will notice the fan I have to say. Of course the ROON silent option is great but at a price!
Main system: GyroDec>Dynavector XX2MK2>Auralic Aries>Pimped DDDAC 1794>Coherant 4d>TE Vibe & Pulse PSU>Coherant 4D & 4D Mains>Sugden Sapphire FBA-800 & 4D Mains>Coherant 4D Speaker Cable>Focal 1028
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Re: Roon Musings

Postby RichardLowe » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:21 pm

Thanks for that Simon. It sounds like I need to place the NUC in my study with the desktop PC then. That foregoes the USB input into my DAC unless I also do as you've done and get a silent, USB-output end-point (Pi or other) to feed the DAC. A Roon Nucleus is a great off-the-shelf solution, but £1500 is a hefty price to pay.

A couple of follow up questions Simon, what's the ball-park cost of the Pi end-point you use, and how is the sound quality?
(NAS > LAN network) + (oppo 203 > ml binary star i/c) > primare pre60 > tellurium q black xlr > primare a60 > tellurium q black 2.0 > boenicke w11

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Re: Roon Musings

Postby SimonJ » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:35 pm

Agree with your feedback.

Pi not finished as the amazing summer has paused that! Cost is less than £100 so far and expecting the sound to be great BUT I will be using the I2S output first in my DDDAC so no USB conversion etc so expecting the best you can get from the Pi especially when I build the linear PSU in the winter
Main system: GyroDec>Dynavector XX2MK2>Auralic Aries>Pimped DDDAC 1794>Coherant 4d>TE Vibe & Pulse PSU>Coherant 4D & 4D Mains>Sugden Sapphire FBA-800 & 4D Mains>Coherant 4D Speaker Cable>Focal 1028
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Re: Roon Musings

Postby wyjsar » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:16 pm

Look at QuietPC. I got my NUC from there, only hear the fan when it is doing application updates. That being said I use JRiver and not Roon.
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Re: Roon Musings

Postby RichardLowe » Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:05 am

wyjsar wrote:Look at QuietPC. I got my NUC from there, only hear the fan when it is doing application updates. That being said I use JRiver and not Roon.


Thank you for that. Out of interest what model of QuietPC NUC do you use?

My ideal solution is:

Silent (or very quiet) NUC/PC in my listening room, powered by a Linear PSU, and feeding my DAC via asynch USB.

However, given I can use my Oppo as an end-point, connected to my DAC via Digital Coax, the cheaper option is:

NUC in my study where noise won't matter, and using the Oppo as an end-point.

At least I can go with the second option now, and if the NUC is quiet enough, use it to implement the first option eventually.
(NAS > LAN network) + (oppo 203 > ml binary star i/c) > primare pre60 > tellurium q black xlr > primare a60 > tellurium q black 2.0 > boenicke w11

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Re: Roon Musings

Postby SimonJ » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:10 pm

Please note that Roon will only support certain versions of a NUC

It might work on others but if you upgrade the Roon software and it stops working you are on your own
Main system: GyroDec>Dynavector XX2MK2>Auralic Aries>Pimped DDDAC 1794>Coherant 4d>TE Vibe & Pulse PSU>Coherant 4D & 4D Mains>Sugden Sapphire FBA-800 & 4D Mains>Coherant 4D Speaker Cable>Focal 1028
Office - DIY System: MMStreamer>DDDAC>KT88 Valve Amp>Focal 1008