A NUC for Roon ROCK & HQPlayer

Hello All,

I have been using ROON from the beginning it was launched…

I have been using a MacMini since to run ROON, but i believe as my system has been growing it is time to make the next step on both a ROON ROCK computer and my endpoint…

I will appreciate any suggestion to find the best choices for a “NUC/PC”, i want to have ROON ROCK, with the flexibility of possible HQplayer to do DSD512 and maybe have the chance to use it for watching 4k movies thru Netflix too! cause my MacMini just can’t go that far anymore and i would not want to get 2 NUC/PC

Can i do those things with both the NUC & the Fanless?

I know the first choice (FANLESS) is more powerful than the NUC as far i understood, so it will give me more flexibility to do more BUT i was reading in the recommended NUCS for ROON ROCK, that the Intel NUC 7I7BNH NUC is the best they have tried…

I would like to go with the Fanless Choice BUT i am a bit afraid the FANLESS choice and more powerful one could not FIT ROON ROCK as the NUC apparently does…both choices costs about the same.

I am planning on using either the Bricasti M5 or SOtM sMS-200ultra as an endpoint.

ANY SUGGESTIONS?

Thanks

Miguel

1.-
Fanless PC, 8th Gen 6-Core i5 8500T, 8GB DDR4, 250GB PCIe NVMe SSD [ASUS H370i]

2.-
Intel BOXNUC7I7BNHX1 NUC Kit with 16GB Optane memory preinstalled


+
SanDisk SSD PLUS 960GB Solid State Drive - SDSSDA-960GB-G26
+
ZTC 128GB Armor 42mm M.2 NGFF 6G SSD Solid State Drive. Model ZTC-SM201-128G

Hi Miguel,

ROCK doesn’t run anything but RoonServer and minimal system functions. It won’t run HQP.

You can run HQP and RoonServer on a NUC but you will need to run a conventional OS.

You can run a NUC ROCK and HQP on another computer.

I elected to run RoonServer and HQP on a dedicated server running Windows 10. I used an ITX case rather than a NUC so I could have a graphics card for CUDA assist for HQP and house some music drives. But if you are using a network endpoint then you can just use any old computer case and cooling solution and keep the server in another room.

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Just for some additional info, I tried DSD512 poly-sinc-xtr-lp-2s on a NUC7I7BNH (HQP Embedded on a stick) and it couldn’t work - playback stuttered badly. The NUC7I7BNH is what I use for ROCK (and love it).

I hope this doesn’t get me in trouble with @danny again but if you want a fanless and headless computer for HQP DSD512 up-sampling, I recommend the sonicTransporter i7. A bonus is it can also run RoonServer on the same machine at the same time.

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I have tried HQplayer with ROON on my Mac mini, but honestly i can hardly say it is better than with only ROON, i guess it is because i really suck at combining all different choices , i am curious about what DSD512 can do to SQ i have read it is the “Nirvana” grade of upsampling that everybody talks about, sadly i can’t get to that number cause i use the MacMini, so NOW i am in that part of the PATH where i don’t know which way to go: ROON ROCk in a simple linux NUC or ROONSERVER & HQPLAYER in a more powerful PC.

Can i run ROON ROCK on the fanless PC too? perhaps having the Fanless let me try both scenarios ONE with only ROON ROCK and the other with ROON SERVER + HQplayer…

I guess this could do that task too right?:

Fanless PC, 8th Gen 6-Core i5 8500T, 8GB DDR4, 250GB PCIe NVMe SSD [ASUS H370i]

It is like 980 dollars

That would be a complete guess from me.

I actually tested the NUC7I7BNH which you mentioned in the 1st post because I have a NUC7I7BNH running ROCK here (love it!) and it was free and easy to test it.

I haven’t tested an i5 8500T with DSD512 poly-sinc-xtr-lp-2s

It is supposed to more powerful than the i7 Kaby lake,

So are you liking the NUC717BNH with ROCK?

What differences do you find between ROON and ROON ROCK?

You don’t have to upsample to DSD 512, use a particular filter in HQP or even use a network endpoint in order to enjoy high quality sound. All of those things are less important than speakers, room configuration and treatment, amplification and DAC.

I would strongly suggest to anyone who is into music more than computers that they try to arrange to listen to a system upsampling with HQP to DSD 512 and compare it to Roon DSD 512 and PCM before making a decision to depart from a ROCK server. ROCK brings convenience and simplicity. HQP isn’t aiming in that direction and for many people the added complexity just doesn’t justify the result.

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ROCK is a subset of Linux that runs RoonServer. There is no functional difference and any SQ difference arises from system characteristics like reduced CPU load and type of connection.

The main difference with ROCK is the smooth, untroubled brow of the user who no longer has to manage a computer in order to listen to music.

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Thanks for those suggestions guys, would you suggest that i first get the endpoint and then the dedicated server (NUC) or viceversa?

Kind regards

Miguel

I suppose what I am trying to say is that there is a good body of opinion on the Forum that ROCK is an excellent solution and HQP is for hobbyists. That is my view and I believe @AndersVinberg, @Rugby and @RBM have similar views.

@Sloop_John_B recently invested in a powerful server and has had the kind of bleeding edge issues that can occur. I hope that all in all he’s pleased with the results, but his and @dabassgoesboomboom’s experiences with the ups and downs of running RoonServer and HQP are worth bearing in mind.

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For clarity and correctness, my ups and downs had nothing to do with running Roon Server and HQP on the same machine… That was due to a completely un-related issue (the NAA side), as I explained here 10 days ago:

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Interesting. According to this link it’s quicker than an i7-7700HQ which i tested running poly-sinc-xtr-lp-2s fine at DSD512.

If I were a betting man I’d say yes, that should be fine. With the obvious caveat that I haven’t tested it.

Where is that complete fanless build? Do you have a link?

http://cpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Intel-Core-i7-7700HQ-vs-Intel-Core-i5-8500/m211019vsm447884

Oops, I linked the i5-8500 up there. Not the i5-8500T, which has a lower base clock speed.

Hard to know if the extra 2 cores will better the i7-7700HQ I tested, with it’s lower base speed.

https://www.cpubenchmark.net/compare/Intel-i7-7700HQ-vs-Intel-i5-8500T/2906vs3231

Hi Mike,

I am using the NUC6iSYH with a QNAP NAS as file store and I am very satisfied. However, I have dropped my HQplayer as it did not show any improvement at all but brought up some availability issues (had to restart it frequently on the NUC for reasons I could never sort out). Now the NUC is running without any access from my side at all…

Let me stress that the masterpiece of my setup is the Mutec MC3+, which is connected NUC->Mutec->my tube DAC. The Mutec is offering the best sound I could find so far, highly recommended ! No reason for HQplayer in my opinion… With this device you will see that also DSD upsampling is not necessary anymore…

Cheers,
Stefan

This notion comes up quite a lot but I have to say I struggle to understand it. I’ve used a Mac mini with RoonServer since pretty much day 1, and there’s practically zero ‘management’ required.

I can schedule other tasks on it, I can organise my data however I want, plug whatever drives I want in, run backup utility’s, sync to the cloud, rip cds, run headless via vnc, or if needed/desired run any other software on it. Other than setting it up I can barely remember ‘having’ to do any management.

Ok my library’s not huge, and I don’t need upsampling (although all Roons upsampling options run fine up to my max 192 while contolling a few other zones too).

Maybe I’ve just been lucky, but I think the computer is the most flexible option especially if you want to rip cds too without using another machine.

@Mike_Casellas Personally I don’t find any benefit of upsampling and I’ve tried quite a lot of the past years. I certainly wouldn’t invest in a load of kit to upsample without having heard a definite benefit on your exact system - I don’t think the majority of people think it’s the holy grail. I genuinely think it makes practically no difference with a lot of kit, and if you haven’t heard it with 256 I’m not sure 512 will do what you’re hoping it will.

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This is an easy one to understand, if you look at my old man (dad) as an example. He’s 70 and struggles with his Mac. The only thing he remembers how to do is load up TeamViewer so I can take control of his Mac from the other side of the country :smile:

With the sonicTransporter i7 I gave him, he presses the power button, and by the time he sits down, Roon and HQplayer are both ready on his iPad, ready to start playing music - just hit play. When he finishes, he presses the power button and it shuts down. There’s no Mac/PC/Linux interaction with a keyboard/mouse.

The beauty about Roon is they offer different solutions for you and for my old man and everybody’s happy :slight_smile:

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Well I can certainly understand that, good point. :slight_smile:

I guess I look at everything from a computer user perspective. Still, I can’t really see how building a Nuc and setting up ROCK combined with running another computer to rip CDs etc or copy music to it is much easier. Haven’t used the sonic transporter but if it’s plug and play and has automated ripping then I can see the benefit in that for people with limited computer skills.

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I would agree with your previous post that room/speaker setup will have a much bigger impact than DSD512.

I have the sort of system that I could only have dreamed about when I started with separates in 1994 when my eldest daughter was born (Marantz CD63/Denon PMA450/ Revolver Purdy speakers). So my Naim 552/300/SL2 are here to stay, they suit my ears and suit my room. I had ditched their flagship CDP when a Hugo TT being fed Roon took over to the extent that the CDP was a very large and heavy paperweight.

The obvious place for me to go from my dealer’s perspective and the other fora I polygamously freqeunt was to the Chord DAVE. I had used upsampling to the Hugo at various stages but to my ears DSD did not sound good on it (and I think this is explained somewhere by Jussi - due to the was it handles DSD - reconverting to PCM?) and I had reverted to listening to the Hugo direct without any upsampling.

So I decided rather than splurge I’d investigate a NOS DAC keeping the Hugo, comparing the 2 and then deciding which way to go. So I got a Holo Spring level 3 s/h and started sending DSD 256 from Roon to it (which was the highest my NUC could do). This gave me my best source yet.

It was hard to ignore the allure of 512 Valhalla (thanks @andybob) so I needed something that would play this and so I said I may as well and try get one that can do DSD512 on HQP as well. Not being able to make such a PC I went for a Dell Alienware gaming PC with specs that had a good chance of playing all the DSD 512 filters in HQP. (You relay never know until you press play).

I’m giving all this background to give you an idea of how your decision should be framed. It’s not an A vs B , bclak or white, HQQP vs ROCK choice.

The only thing when one goes “bleeding edge” as Andy calls it is that any issue you have will always be blamed on you machine. I had thought I had made a horrible mistake as I was having clicking but it turned out not to be the PC but the NAA on the ultraRendu (as @dabassgoesboomboom alluded to).

I plugged the Hugo back in once or twice but there really is no comparison to the open sound I now get with the Holo Spring. Interestingly Chord have in the meantime come up with an upsclaer Blu which as far as I can make out does something similar to HQP that makes the DAVE sound even better (and doubles the price). I think I made the correct decision to try a NOS DAC and feel that this is the great thing about computer audio, one can get a performance level way below the price point one would have expected.

I know I’m wandering but I’m trying to give a flavour of my journey. My advice Int the end is that if the machine doesn’t have to go in the music room go for a beast with the capability to run HQP and keep your options open.

.sjb

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Thanks for the feedback, very helpful!