Considering Roon But I'm Confused? Please Help

Recently I decided to upgrade my music system. Currently I listen to a Bose Wave CD Radio and this is my entire music system. I have about 500 CD’s and, a long time ago, I ripped them to an external hard drive but that hard drive has since failed so I’m back to listening to the FM tuner and listening to CD’s on my radio. As archaic as this sounds to many of you, I think of it this way; it’s a blank slate to move forward.

I mostly listen to classical and world music. Many of my favorite CD’s are not available for streaming hence why I need to rip them again. My 2010 MacBook takes forever to rip just one CD. Is there a CD ripper you would recommend?

Recently, I went to the Sonos store and was pretty impressed with the Play 5’s. For my smalll NYC apartment, I think they would work just fine. Perhaps with Roon, should I just skip the Play 5’s and maybe get the Naim Muso Qb’s instead? Apparently, Naim has connectivity issues. Is this true? Also, is Naim Roon enabled? Then there is Bluesound which is Roon enabled. Too many choices. Sonos vs. Naim vs. Bluesound? I need your help.

I am just confused about whether or not to just use the Sonos app or move to Roon. I’ve read great reviews about the Roon Music Server and it seems impressive. With talk of Rock, and NUC, and Nucleus, and this and that, Roon seems to be a bit complicated for me.

Here are a few options I was thinking about. Currently I only use Sync Cloud Storage to backup my files. Theoretically, I could rip all of my music and put it there but do need a stand-a-lone NAS? I have already had two standard hard drives fail in the past so if I back up any music I want to use SSD’s. Here are a few ideas that I had:

  1. Get a Brennan B2. It’s a CD player and a ripper that stores up to 2 TB of music. Storage is not SSD but it seems very convenient. I would also be able to continue to play obscure CD’s that are not offered for streaming without having to rip them first. It also has a built-in amplifier and the sound quality should be better than using a non-audio NAS device. Check it out here:

  2. Get a QNAP TS-453BT3. It has two thunderbolt ports so read/write times should be very fast for ripping CD’s and I can get up to 2 TB’s of SSD storage. I also need an NAS anyway. My computer is running out of storage space. My photo library is huge. It’s pre-loaded with Roon software too.

  3. Get a Samsung T3 1TB Portable SSD. Only rip music on the SSD. Connect it to Sonos and call it a day.

  4. Get a Microjukebox with a 1 TB SSD. It’s over $1,100 and you can not use it as a regular CD player like the Brennan B2 but the SSD is a huge advantage. It will rip my CD’s and, perhaps, store them in a more archival place than the QNAP? Perhaps the Microjukebox has better sound quality?

  5. There is one more piece to this puzzle. What about purchasing the Roon Music App instead of the Sonos App? Roon is already integrated into QNAP’s NAS devices. I could also use Roon with these other solutions, I think…

  6. Get a NUC. Up until yesterday I had no idea what it is and I’m still clueless. Does it come with a 1 TB SSD? With a NUC and can run Roon “Rock” (software) and have a dedicated and stable music server separate from my NAS. I think I can rip my 500’s to a USB stick or SD card and plug it into a NUC?

  7. Get Roon’s proprietary music server, the Roon Nucleus. I’m even more confused…

In the end, do you all see why I am so bloody confused? Now back to my music with my 15 year old Bose Wave CD Radio. It may be antiquated but it is simple to understand.

Listen to Bluesound as you get High res and MQA with BluOS app. They sound nicer IMHO

You can still use that Bose Wave if you’d like. I actually have a small bedroom system that uses two of them, one for each channel. You could pick up an inexpensive Roon endpoint, even a Sonos device, or RPi3 HiFi Berry DAC+ would do the job to get the Roon music to the Bose…

After all of these years, I want to ditch the Bose. I want an optimal multi-room music solution, great sound quality, with an easy to use interface and stable platform. I am curious, though. How did you use two Bose Radios to play two channels? Amazing.

  1. MIcrojukebox is uber expensive for what it is and is way over kill. Spend the extra money on music.
  2. A decent i5 NUC with a 128 GB m.2 drive (for your OS, Roon and any other programs you might want) and 8 GB of memory is less than $500 on Amazon. Buy the pieces separately, it’s cheaper than a whole package. It’s cake to put together no matter how big a NOOB you are. You’ll need $100 for Windows OS, unless you can successfully hassle with Linux, then Ubuntu Linux is free.
  3. Depending on your other storage needs, an external HDD to store your music files is the cheapest way to go.
  4. Buy an external CD drive, connect it to your NUC and rip with ripping software, E.g. dbPoweramp, to your external HDD.
  5. With Roon you no longer need a stand alone CD player.
  6. Get a TIDAL subscription to discover new music.
  7. DACs, receivers, speakers are a matter of personal preference.
  8. Have fun. :sunglasses:

I split the outbound signal from My Arcam Sonlink, which is a DAC that mounts directly under my Sonos Connect ZP 90. Using RCA adapters, I connected the left channel to one BWR, and the right channel to another BWR. The works by playing the outboard DAC through the BWR AUX inputs. If the devices are not too far apart, the remote changes them in unison without much difficulty.

Also, FYI, if it ever quits working, the Bose factory stores will give you credit for the old one. I turned in my late mother’s Bose Wave Radio (Radio only version) from the 90s with a bad display, and they gave me $250 in credit off a new one (CD version). It was 17 years old…

Thank you for all of your input. Now to get back to the proposed 7 solutions in my initial post. For me it’s complicated. For a Roon specialist, it’s not complicated at all. What is the optimal solution? I do not need the cheapest solution nor the most expensive solution. I just want the best solution regardless of cost that is simple, easy to use once I have it set up and will last for a long while without fear of crashing or dropped signals.

@David_Hunter A lot will come down to budget…and if you are not the least bit interested in some hands on then Nucleus for Roon is where you should be looking, but there are other options like Sonic Transporter too. All assuming you want to stick with Roon

Roon for multi room setups is better than anything else I seen with good library interface and support.

Digital streaming is complicated as there are so many variables when you want to start from scratch and jump from a simple BWR to multiroom all in one breath.

You already have 7 options on the table… but you should also perhaps list down your priorities and budget. Also consider detailing what your home networking is like, how many rooms you need to cover and how you would interface to those endpoints - phone/tablet/desktop etc.

Long term storage on disks (SSD/HDD) is not all its cracked up to be. Backups are still needed and cloud is but one option.

wizardofoz - Thank you!
In terms of budget, let’s say up to $5,000 for my set-up with an additional budget for the speakers.

Whether I choose to go Sonos or BlueSound or Naim Muso for speakers is an extra added expense. Please, with this budget I do not want to entertain HDD. I want SSD only.

I also want the ability for a friend to come over to my apartment with a random CD and listen to it on my sound system. I want to cover 6 rooms. I do not want to interface with my laptop. I want to interface with my iPhone & iPad.

It would be even better to control music with a stand-a-lone sound system not Apple reliant. That is why I like the Brennan B2 and Roon.

David, your network and wifi setup may need to be evaluated as well. Do you want to listen to hi-res or DSD? You’re in the right place asking questions upfront. There are lots of different setups. I have three different setups for various rooms, and no two are alike. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to setup a system at different price points. FYI, If you go with Sonos, you are limited to 16/48.

You have a fairly modest collection of CDs…you could easily get by with 500GB SSD. I’ll bet a 250GB SSD would hold 500 CDs in flac. I have around 1,000 albums on a 500 GB, some are hi-res. Make a backup or two on a spinning HDD…drives fail, even SSDs.

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The CD part might be the most awkward to achieve in a fully digital streaming setup with roon without first ripping the CD to you storage location - Sonic Transporter might achieve this however…not so familiar with that product. @agillis

I’m about to travel for the next 48 hours so might not be replying for a bit, however plenty of people here can chime in I’m sure.

@David_Hunter Again I suggest you detail your network situation.

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I have absolutely no knowledge as to what the difference between Hi-Res and DSD is? Which has better sound quality? Which format is supported around the world? If I can’t get Gagaku music in Hi-Res than I prefer DSD.

What do you mean by my network situation? Why does it have to be examined? Ask me anything about this and I will do my best to answer you.

Streaming in a multiroom setup has some interesting things to consider like wifi bandwidth and throughput that can really only be looked at with a detailed network setup described

If its all LAN cabled then this is not so much of an issue

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If your network is lacking, you’ll suffer performance issues. Are you going to hard wire each room or utilize bridges, wifi, etc.

I use a blend of hard wired connections, switches, EOP, and wifi…My router setup is eero mesh, and I have around 25-30 items rolling on my network at any given time. Being sure your network/wifi has enough juice is a good start to planning a setup.

So off the bat, my internet speed test shows 120 Mbps download and 23 Mbps upload times. Is this sufficient to support streaming to 6 rooms? I am in a rental apartment so I can not hard wire anything. There is a cable hardwire going into the master bedroom and the secondary bedroom. Does this help?

You have sufficient speed. As long as you have sufficient coverage you should be fine. Is your wifi setup effective in all parts of your living space. That’s what is so good about mesh wifi. Coverage is really good. I have four eero mesh routers in my house. No dead spots.

There is an ethernet over cable module setup (MoCA). I did not have great luck with it. It worked for around a year, and the device went belly up. EOP (Ethernet over power) works too, but it can be kind of noisy in the wrong spot. Off to bed…got to get up early AM…if your wifi is solid, you should be in good shape.

This could be an issue. David has said that he lives in a rental apartment, so that almost certainly means close neighbours with competing wifi networks. Care will need to be taken to ensure that his wifi network is setup in an optimal way to get the best performance. Streaming CD quality should be OK, but if he wants to step up to higher resolution streams, then wifi can be problematic. Not for nothing does Roon advise hardwired networks for best results. See rule 5 here and here.

X[quote=“David_Hunter, post:11, topic:43487”]
I need someone to take me seriously.
I’m taking you as seriously as a heart attack.:laughing:

That’s more than many spend. After all is said and done, you should have enough left over for a decent DAC, which is as important as good speakers…

You’re confusing internet speed with WiFI speed. For this discussion, internet speed is not important. My WiFi is around 48 Mbps, yours probably is also.

WiFI vs. Ethernet is a consideration. You live in an apartment so you can’t have wired. It doesn’t matter, WiFi is more than enough for Roon transport, etc. A reason people use Ethernet (wired) is for privacy as WiFI can be hacked and wired can’t, but is that really a consideration in this application?

Set your WiFI up on a channel that your neighbors aren’t using.

I stream DSD256 to multiple WiFI endpoints, simultaneously, without any problems. It isn’t that the music quality will suffer, it’s that you might get drop outs. I’ve never experienced that with WiFI. I moved from Ethernet to Wifi because it’s less equipment, i.e. no extra switches or cables to contend with (wires and cables are the bane of my existence).

You live in an apartment, any quality router should give you enough wireless coverage.

A sidebar on music files -
You said you originally ripped your music years ago. I’m guessing you ripped to mp3. Don’t do that again. Rip to WAV or FLAC. There’s whole arguments about which format is better, but FLAC seems to be directional. It sounds as good as WAV and takes up less space.

HiRes is anything 192K/24 bit and above. DSD64,DSD128,DSD256,DSD512 are the highest resolutions. Roon lets one upsample anything to HI-Res. CD quality is 44.1K/16 bit.

Wikipedia is a good source to explain this or anything else, more fully.