Cheap Roon Endpoint

If you put it in a metal case you definitely don’t need a fan. I’d stick to the official charger as it just works.


Thanks Ged.

TBH I’d say very little, if your Nucleus is in your HiFi rack then just get an external USB DAC connect it to the Nucleus and skip the Pi completely.

If you still fancy going the RPi route, which will allow you to have the Nucleus sitting elsewhere then no need for the fan (unless you live in a very hot country) or even a heatsink if using a steel case or a aluminium one like the Flirc one (although the Flirc case can’t fit a hat). I’ve had a HiFiBerry/RPi4 setup in a steel case and it’s been running for years without issues (with no fan or heatsink). As for the power supply, yes any (decent ie. can supply a steady 2.5A without issue, but not ‘audiophile’) 5v USB charger will suffice.

Someone will be along shortly to say that using a RPi/Network connection physically isolates the Nucleus from the DAC (and indeed is what Roon recommend) and so saves any risk of noise being introduced, but to be honest that is not something I have ever seen myself. I think you’d need a pretty poor DAC for that to be an real world issue.

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Absolutely agree. I’ve had pi with external dac, pi with different hats, ROCK and USB, other streamer and DAC. Minute differences between them as long as they all meet a common minimum.

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Thinking about this a bit more. I expect the key reason Roon recommend not connecting DACs directly to the Nucleus is it increase the support burden on them re. 'Why doesn’t my DAC work with Nucleus?".

Whereas the RPi/Linux/Roopiee community have put a huge about of work and effort into supporting all kinds of 3rd party USB DACs (and Hats). As Bill mentions above Roopiee have managed to build in support for turning off the display on the Topping when not in use, something I expect you won’t get when connecting it directly to the Nucleus.

That’s not to knock Roon/Nucleus for not supporting more USB DAC directly. Just pointing out what I expect the real motivation for advising users to use a network connected streamer/endpoint is. And to be honest I can’t blame them as it would double their support burden overnight :wink:

I suspect — although haven’t tried it myself — that a popular and well-behaved DAC like the Topping will happily work using the standard Linux USB drivers when connected directly to the Nucleus. If it does and your Nucleus is already in your HiFI rack there is little benefit to adding a RPi into the mix.


I’ve got a couple of these Pimoroni cases. Minimalist design, but work very well.

Thinking about this a bit more. I expect the key reason Roon recommend not connecting DACs directly to the Nucleus as it increase the support burden on them re. 'Why doesn’t my DAC work with Nucleus?".

@j_a_m_i_e That’s a good point :+1: I guess one advantage with having a RPi 4, is that I can install RoPieee XL, which now boasts new features. Or, is that something most people wouldn’t use?

Yes, one advantage of Roopiee XL (and HiFiBerryOS) is that they also support AirPlay and Bluetooth (:grimacing:) which can be a useful fallback if you just want to stream something direct from a website or an app on your phone ie. a podcast or audio stream.

Ditto, Spotify Connect can be useful if friends come over and want to play something from their Spotify playlist (and you allow them to do that on your nice system!)

You can also get a physical remote for HiFiBerryOS which allows you to skip tracks etc. Roopiee allows to you add a touch screen.

@j_a_m_i_e…I am nearly there and will probably make a purchase over the weekend.
A RPi 4 with RoPieee is a definite, it’s just the DAC that I’m undecided on.

I’ve watched a couple of YouTubes with John Darko. Using an external DAC, he suggests the ‘digione Signature’ due to it’s ‘Dirty Board’, which apparently keeps the noise away from the RPi 4, providing a very clean signal, also two power supplies. I have no idea, but it sounds credible?

I am drawn towards the RPi 4 with the DAC2 HD which simply snaps into place. My question is, would the DAC2 HD draw noise from the RPi?

Apologies to burden you with all these questions :grinning: If anyone else wants to chip in, please do.

Thanks for your kind help.

I bought a DAC 2 HD a few days ago to replace my time tested Denon DA 300 USB, can’t tell a difference in my current configuration. 15 min assembly, programming and configuring and it runs with Ropieee. Pretty cool at that price point.

John Darko makes great, easy to understand videos. He’s brought a lot of people into the world of digital audio and quality HiFi. But he’s also (to some extent) working on behalf of equipment manufactures. I think (like any HiFi reviewer) you need to read between the lines with that he says.

He’s — as you point out — a great orator and very convincing with his argument. But “keeps the noise away from the RPi 4, providing a very clean signal, also two power supplies” is a text book example of classic HiFi / audiophile pseudo science. Sounds convincing, uses some technical terms that sound wholly sensible, but underneath it’s just word soup. He’s not actually empirically testing or measuring anything. It’s a bit like my partner when she tells me the £45 jar of moisturiser she’s just bought has ‘hydrogenic healing properties’ :wink:

So my take, he’s spouting nonsense, the DAC2 HD is fine as it is. The guys at HiFiBerry have far more electronics engineering experience than he does (and are trusted by companies like B&O and Bryston). If they say you don’t need to use multiple or expensive power supplies with their products (which they could easily sell you) then I’d take them at their word over some guy running a YouTube channel who has probably never taken a measurement with a oscilloscope in his life!

It’s not going to match your Bartók where literally there is no limit to cost when it comes to circuit design and testing of tollerances. But (politely) a lot of that additional design/testing is probably not something you can actually hear. It’s a bit like designing a car where ever component is hand crafted and perfect, just knowing that care and attention has gone into a product is beautiful in itself. But at the level of $150 DAC hats, I’d suggest that worrying about power supplies or ‘electronic circuit noise’ is a bit like buying a good mid-priced car and then sticking a spoiler or some vinyl stripe on it hoping that will make it go faster :slight_smile:

If your drawn to the one box RPi hat route get the DAC2 HD and the matching steel case, set it up, plug it in and enjoy some music. Your Kudos Titan’s will still be by far the biggest factor in your system still sounding fantastic.


FAN: if the case is fairly open, not a big deal. The pins let you run it at 5V or 3V (quieter).

HAT NOISE: my guess is that, unless you have a super-revealing system, noise will be irrelevant. (I either have no noise, or my system/ears don’t pick it up!)

POWER: I’d use the stock power supply for sure. If you use a HAT, sometimes those come with their own power supplies, and can power the Pi as well, once connected. Some (like Darko, mentioned above) have experimented with battery power for less noise… but again, I’m not hearing any, and I wouldn’t have the patience to keep replacing/charging batteries.

The one caveat with the Pi is that the SD card can get corrupted if you have a power outage or the thing gets shut down improperly. Not all the time, but it has happened occasionally. Sometimes you can re-flash the card, but sometimes the card just gets unhappy and can’t be revived.

Not a huge deal, and it’s rare. But it’s annoying when you can’t figure out why you can’t see your endpoint, no matter how many times you reboot the thing. I keep a couple spare SD cards flashed with the RoPieee OS just for the heck of it. (They’re only $5 or so.)


Thank you Chris…
£7 SD card…In the UK that’s 1.5 pints of Peroni! :beers: :grinning:

I’m nearly there…Just want to confirm

  1. What RAM do I need on the RPi? The choice is 2, 4, 8. The RPi will only be used for streaming music.
  2. What size Micro SD do I need? Music storage is not required, as it is located on my Nucleus SSD.
  3. One of the RPi retailers sell SD cards with NOOBS pre-installed. Do I need NOOBS for the RPi to work? I intend to install RoPieee on the SD.

Thanks :+1:

2 GB Ram is enough, 8-16 GB SD card. Ropieee as per instructions from their website and you are good to go

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2GB is fine, no need for more.

8GB is fine (although you may actually find the 16GB ones are cheaper, if so get one of those instead. But no benefit in going larger than 8GB otherwise)

(as Chris said, buy two of them so you have a backup. It’s rare they fail and I have never had one fail on any of my Roon endpoints. But they can be prone to issues if you remove the power without shutting down the RPi first and it’s simpler to just have a spare card handy if that does ever happen. It also means you can try both RoPieee and HiFiBerryOS without having to wipe the card)

No you’ll wipe the Micro SD card when you install RoPieee so just get a blank one.

(I think it’s hard to get them without now, but make sure to get one that includes the MicroSD to standard sized SD card adaptor)

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High quality DAC? No. Usable DAC? Maybe for some…not for my main system. For the cheap speakers in my garage it would be fine.

Don’t do that, would be my advice :slight_smile: . Seriously, he makes these videos to sell ads, so there’s a fine slurry of wisdom and nonsense in them. Until you can tell which is which, they are dangerous.

That’s the problem. All these marketing myths sound credible. If you are using a 1995 DAC, sure, it might make a difference. A modern DAC? (1) You don’t want to use S/PDIF, which is what the DigiOne provides, and (2) you don’t need the separation. Just use a Pi.

Why would it? I personally don’t like the daughterboard approach, seems too gimmicky, which is why I use an outboard DAC, but thousands use things like the DAC2, and they are happy with them.

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On the RAM, like Klaus says above, 2GB might be enough.

But for whatever reason, maybe because I’ve had to spec Macbooks for our office, I ALWAYS bump up the RAM. I think each 2GB step up for the Pi is only $10, so I spend the extra $20 for 8GB.

Might be overkill, but once it’s spent, it’s forgotten. (Even if it could have bought a really good pint!)

Have you actually tried the DAC2HD HAT? It can’t be good in your opinion because it costs less than a PS Audio Directstream?

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I would not consider that cheap? depends on your pockets I guess.