Budget-friendly hardware solution? Your help, please?

Hi all,

I am seeking seeking an uber budget-friendly solution to run Roon with my Magnepan 3.6, Bryston 4BSST and a Wyred4Sound DAC 2 DSD in a 16x32 room, so SQ is important. Also, does anyone have any comments about the suitability of my Amazon Fire HD 10 with Roon?: It works with Roon Essentials, (after I side-loaded the Play Store).

By “budget” I mean by re-purposing, (If possible) my non-USB DAC and tablet. And of course, what I can afford to spend,

I’ve already decided on a RPi4 (thanks for the numerous parts lists and the excellent Ropiee guide).

So… I would love to solicit your input regarding Core hardware, (I’m too old and and not interested in a DIY NUC and too poor for a Nucleus)


Do you have a computer? And a network connection available to your media room?

Ethernet yes, a PC yes, but not in the listening room

If you have a network connection to feed your RPI, you can network from your computer (Roon Core) over the ethernet. The RPI would serve as an endpoint (player) to your W4S DAC (if digital). HiFiBerry makes RPIs that have analog out DACs as well. The Roon Core would be established on the computer, and the network would deliver data to the RPI via ethernet. Check the Roon Knowledge Base for minimum computer specifications. I do not suggest connected endpoints via wifi, but some people have had success. Weak networks are what lead to most problems.

Yes, the Core on my existing PC would be the least expensive option, but I don’t want to have the PC powered on continuously

Do you know if NUC’s.are supposed to be powered on continuously with Roon?

My setup is on an iMac, but an NUC user should be able to weigh in on that.

Thanks so much for your help!

Well, supposed? Roon has never said anyone has to leave a server on or turn it off/on. They have left that to the individual user.

No matter what computer you use to run Roon. Roon, or RoonServer, is well, a server. Roon does things in off peak times. If you turn it off, when it turns on again, it will have a period of re-scanning all the music and downloading updates, maintenance, etc etc. That can be quick, or, depending on the library, not so quick. Again, depending on hardware and library, this might have some initial impact.

Personally, I leave my cores ON.

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Good to know! thanks…

I’m thinking that with about 40k tracks, constant re-scans would just be too cumbersome. Whatever will eventually host my Core will be left on…

I guess that I will have to pay attention to a devices power consumption.bo0th in use and while idling.

The Roon core software needs to run on a computer. That can be a Nucleus, NUC, Mac, laptop, desktop. It should be connected to your network using ethernet and can be located anywhere you have an ethernet connection.

You can use a RPi4 as a Roon bridge connected to your sound system via USB or you can add a HAT if you need some other type connection (RCA, coax, optical, etc). The RPi4 can connect to your network via ethernet or WIFI.

You can use your Amazon Fire as your Roon control device connected via WIFI. You can also use an iPhone, iPad, or Android device.

If you don’t want to use your existing computer, the cheapest way might be a used desktop. For best results, this computer should probably run 24/7. My Nucleus has been running 24/7 since early December. My RPi4 runs 24/7 for headphone use. I also have a battery powered RPi4 that runs as needed as a portable device.

My main listening system is an ethernet and HDMI connected Oppo 203 (Roon Ready end-point) with HDMI to Bose. Those are turned on when needed.

A NUC is a PC by any other name , probably lower powered than your PC but a PC all the same.

There are threads here describing “ordered shutdown” of PC’s ROCK etc (one by @danny somewhere) . I suspect “just turn it off” is not really an option as with most things computer

i shutdown my Win 10 core PC every day , due mainly to potential for lightening strikes in summer here (Johannesburg , South Africa)

If you’re a Mac person, you can purchase a used Mac Mini equipped with a small SSD and 8GB of RAM for $500 or less from a number of sources including macsales.com. I have Roon running on a couple of 2012 Minis that I purchased used from macsales. They run all of the time. I’ve only noticed fan noise during the initial import of my library, never when playing music. But I don’t use DSP, which could cause the fan to run. These older Minis seem to work well as Core machines while not breaking the bank!

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Did you already buy the RPi4?
Because if not why not considering ready built music server?
Like www.innuos.com/en/catalog/go/zenmini-mk3-1tb-hdd
It is core (+ CD-Ripper) and player in one unit and has connectors for your non-USB DAC.
It is about $1200 but a NUC + storage + RPi4 seems close but more hazzle to configure, and it‘s audiophile enough to suit your other equipment.

Are you running Roon or Roon Essentials? I thought that only comes with Elacs, right? So, is that what you are using for a core?

There’s really not much to fuzz about. An idling NUC will pull about 10W, and actually my full size Asus ROG B360 with a standard Core i3 8100 only consumes a few watts more.
I love the availiability of Roon and wouldn’t dream about power off my Core(s).

Ypu can find power consumption figures and processing speeds for a lot of examples in the Performance Matrix spread sheet, link in the first post here

Or buy a Google Chromecast Audio $35.00. They can still be found works great as an end point

If you are running roon essentials I was told by tech-support yesterday that Chromecast is not supported. I could not get it to be recognized as a valid output device.

I’m not running essentials and they work perfectly