Basic setup question - where do I plug the USB from the DAC/amp?

While I wait for my SU-G30 to come back from the repair shop, I am setting up my (hopefully) Roon-based infrastructure, having just got an older Mac mini to act as core.

My stupid question is:

With the Mac mini as headless core (and REALLY set up solely as a dedicated Roon host and music storage center), what do I connect the DAC/amp via USB to? To the Mac mini as core, or to my main iMac (who would then be an endpoint/remote, I guess)?

Both Macs are in the same room, together with the DAC/amp and main speakers - everything else would be playing Roon content remotely through iDevices or laptops.

With the MacMini as headless core (and dedicated to Roon Core and music storage), I would connect the DAC/amp (endpoint) to the USB output of the MacMini (Core) while the iMac would be the control/remote.

Tks - that’s what I thought as well. Just could not find anything in the Roon Knowledge Base. They should have some sort of diagram to show what goes where as far as connections are concerned.

And if I understand correctly, in this case there is no need to connect the amp via Ethernet too, right?

No need for an additional connection from the amp to the LAN for this purpose.

The SU-G30 probably should be connected to your network by ethernet. Then you don’t need the USB connection, and you may have improved sound quality. That is recommended practice from Roon.

But they told me that USB would ensure that RAAT works for non-Roon Ready devices. Besides, I’ve never heard that Ethernet ensures better SQ compared to USB…which option should I follow?

Best practices are to have your core machine and endpoint (DAC/AMP) connected only via ethernet. This minimizes the chance for noise to be passed from your core machine to your endpoint. Having said that many in the Roon community have an endpoint connected directly to a core machine via USB and it works great for them and if that is working properly for you and sounds great, I’d be happy and listen to the music.

There is reason for sound quality and there is reason for convenience. Each environment is going to be slightly different with regards to sound quality and your environment appears to make it easy to move things around. I’d try the different options you have and determine which sounds best.

For convenience, plug the DAC into something that will always be on (the Core should always be on). This allows you to quickly play something from another remote even if your Mac is off, updating, etc. That’s the more convenient option and the option I’d go with as long as it wasn’t noticeably detrimental to sound quality… which you should just try the various combinations available to you in your environment to determine which sounds best.

1 Like

That was my intent from the beginning - a headless Mac mini as core permanently connected (via USB? Ethernet?) to the DAC/amp.

You could just try it for yourself since you have both options available. Then you would not have to base it on anecdotal suggestions.

Will do - just need my amp back from the repair shop.

Think of ethernet as just another “wire”. Like USB, TOSLINK, Coax, AES, etc.

So, try it. The reference recommendation from Roon is that all Zones be dedicated network zones. That would mean connecting a DAC directly to Core goes against the reference recommendation. However, plenty of people use it this way with good success. Again, it is going to be dependent on your environment and equipment which sounds better. If you want follow the reference and not worry about it then use Ethernet. Otherwise experiment and find what’s convenient to your environment.

Unfortunately wires are not the same. Ethernet has lower SQ specs than USB-B in most amp/DACs such as mine. Same for toslink or USB-A. This is why I will hook it up to USB-B, most probably.

1 Like

No one mentions if the Amp is Roon Ready, Ethernet wouldn’t work unless it was ?

1 Like

My amp is not Roon Ready; it’s Roon Tested.

I just read a review of this amp, there seems some questionable advice above. Unless, of course I am wrong and the amp has been updated since this review :sunglasses:

On the face of this the amp is DNLA compliant but NOT Roon Ready , as you say . So connecting by Ethernet will not work with Roon . RAAT requires a Roon Ready Ethernet device end point , which this is not . Ethernet would work with a DNLA server which Roon isn’t of course.

Roon recommended Ethernet over direct connection so to achieve this you will need some Roon Ready Bridge , eg a RPi/Riopeee.

The USB route using either your Core or the other Mac (as an end point as you say) will achieve this indeed that is the only option without more kit. The Core in your listening room may be a noise source , you will tell obviously hence the normal recommendation to split core and end point.

I hope this helps

See my reply below, this amp is DNLA …

Tks, Mike - I was aware of that and this is exactly why past information has geared me towards connecting via USB as far as Roon is concerned. I am not too worried about noise, since the Mac mini will remain headless, use SSD and be dedicated to this Roon-hosting task only - besides, cable connection quality seems OK overall. I just hope my SU-G30 will not come back as a lemon again (it is the second time I am facing problems with it).