CORE/ROCK help for a new ROON

Ok, brand new to ROON as in don’t even have a CORE yet.

I am not particularly computer savvy and need to purchase a CORE or kit. I have read loads of information and sometimes that just confuses the issue even more.

Here is what I need clarified.

Are the recommended NUC8i CORE absolutely needed ONLY if running ROON OS (for support or otherwise)? If I run Windows is there any support from ROONlabs?

If you have a build that is not Intel NUC but uses the same intel chips, recommended RAM, SSD etc why would the support not be the same? I mean isn’t the only difference the box or are other components that critical in this build?

I can get an Intel NUC8i5BEH kit and build it (hopefully) with 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD for $750CDN
or a prebuilt fanless Mini PC, Intel i5 8250U. 4 Cores CPU, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 120GB SSD, 4096x2304, HDMI, LAN, VGA, 4xUSB 3.0, Wi-Fi, Windows 10 Pro for $615

Am I exposing myself to issues down the road in support if I run windows 10, choose ROON OS?

Am I missing something as to why the Intel units will get full support and others with similar/identical components will not?

Sorry for the (potentially) stupid questions.


You are not restricted to ROCK. You can run the appropriate Windows version of Roon on it just fine and will be supported.

Technically, this is a MOCK. Lots of people do it, but it is not officially supported. See the Tinkering section

If you buy a NUC and initially install Windows and run Roon there, you can subsequently install ROCK. You get support either way.
If you buy a MOCK and put in Windows you get support. If you then switch that machine to ROCK, it is not supported.

At least for ROCK, it’s because that system was specifically tuned to run on a NUC with Intel BIOS and hardware, etc. If you get something else, there could be some sort of variation that ROCK will choke on. Then you are screwed. You can certainly go that way, but personally speaking I’m too chicken and not savvy enough to overcome those sorts of errors.

As an example, the new 10th generation Intel NUC is not supported. There’s something with it’s ethernet facilities that won’t work smoothly with ROCK. People can overcome it, but it’s not supported yet. ROCK is a free ‘gift’ from Roon, so they aren’t terribly compelled to put a lot of work into working out the kinks.

These are all good questions, BTW!

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Just one other fairly important point. I would not get too nuts about support/no support. The Roon support people generally go a long way to help make things work for users. They will help folks with underpowered NAS cpus, for example. They’ll tell them it’s underpowered and doesn’t meet specs, but if the issue isn’t obviously related they can still get help, especially with the software.
You probably appreciate that if you run into issues that are somehow hardware or driver related, they will only go so far. That’s fair, IMO.


Before diving unto ROCK/ NUC etc. I recommend that you install and try Roon on a laptop/ Mac or PC you have.

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I have setup on my Mac. Thing is my Mac I use for work so it can’t stay there. I also have found a limitation with my Cambridge CXN V1 only available on Airplay…unfortunate

Yes, only the CXN v2 is Roon Ready.

Ok the terminology of ready v certified etc confuses me. My 851N is “Roon ready” but seems limited to Airplay unless connected via USB. Airplay gives 16/44. USB connection gives “roon” On the device or RAAT which leads to upscaling of 96/384 presumably by the 851N. So before I try running a 25’ USB cable to the CXN does anybody know what happens if I connect it to the CXN (V1) ? I mean it’s supposed to be roon ready too. Currently I only get AirPlay 16/44 on it. Using the stream magic app 16/44 FLAC Was much better than Airplay 16/44 via Tidal direct and I assumed that was because my iPhone DAC was being used and not the CXN DAC. Does Airplay via roon change the DAC being used to the CXN via Airplay?

Cambridge Audio did not make the CXN V1 Roon Ready - some hardware issue apparently - only the V2. You will only ever get max 16/44 via Airplay to any device.

I have a MOCK and have had no issues with getting support, infact I even mentioned it’s ROCK not running on a NuC and they didn’t seem to have an issue with it. But then all the issues I have encountered have been bugs with Roons software not the OS. However I did expose one issue with ROCK and DNS that they fixed but again it was not my hardware causing an issue.

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In my experience, the forum society is the greatest support in all problems related to ROON. ROON is a commercial application so they care more about selling and not repairing. I had various problems with my ROON Rock, especially after the roon updates. Roon always asked the same questions according to their pattern but never gave a solution to the problem. I have always solved my own problems with the help of this forum.

A lot also depends on budget. Roon Core Server will happily run on most Windows or macOS computers and most Linux machines. You don’t need a dedicated server by any means. It just needs to be running with Roon Server loaded when you want to do some listening.

There are advantages to have a dedicated server but they are not huge. Personally I wanted my Roon Server to run 24/7 so built a MOCK pc using an AMD Ryzen 3 which just sits there sipping but a few watts but is otherwise utterly reliable. To steal a well known marketing phrase - it just works.

I will caveat that by saying I’ve been tinkering with pc builds since the mid 90’s but even taking that into account it was really straightforward.

That said, looking at your case I’d certainly just start off using whatever computer you currently use and look at a dedicated machine if and when you feel you need it.

You could buy a MOCK that uses the same components that the supported NUCs use. For instance, the PrimeMini4 from Prime computers is used by a couple of users (including me) without any issues. Still cheaper than a Nucleus (but not looking as puristic).

The 851N is Roon Ready but you’ll need to update the firmware.

The fact that I have a CXN V1 and it seems it will never become roon ready is a bit of a let down but the experience with my 851N via USB has been very nice.

Just to confirm then I could continue to use my Apple laptop as core and not leave it running full time? I would simply lose the ability to run roon while It’s not running which since the laptop would be with me at work wouldn’t be an issue anyway. If I choose this method what would the other downsides be? As it seems I need to replace the CXN perhaps my budget would be better spent there than a ROCK/windows core

You can easily make your CNX V1 a full Roon endpoint via Ethernet by using RoPieee connected to a digital input on the CNX V1 (Roon Core>Ethernet>RoPieee>CNX V1). That is how I connected my 851N before the Roon Support update, so now I simply use the 851N built-in Ethernet port and my RoPieee is now sitting idle and unused…

Can you comment on how you set the 851N to work via Ethernet? I must be doing something wrong as I only get AirPlay unless I connect the USB

Have you updated the firmware to the latest version? Can you share a screenshot from Settings > Audio.

PS. Shall I move this thread to #support for you?

Well I did not do anything, as it was already connected to Ethernet for playing direct from the CA app and Assett uPNP player, which I used before I took on Roon.

If you have not previously used the 851N via Ethernet, you will have to go into settings on the 851N control panel and set up the network settings… I have mine on a fixed ip address. then of course you will have to set it up/enable it as an Zone in Roon. If you need any help with the 851N settings get back to me and I will “relive” whatever I did to set it up…

Ok, I have been using roon for the last few days and a few issues

  1. Cambridge CXR120 isn’t found at all by roon despite having a stream magic module and being on the Network. I assumed it would be available for AirPlay at a minimum. Anybody have any experience on this? I have sent Cambridge a support request and await their response.

  2. Core:Apple Air with the 851N connected by USB shows as a different zone than the 851N over network connection. I cannot set that zone (USB) to have volume controlled by the device (851N), As a result I need the Cambridge remote to change volume since it is in Preamplifier Mode. While I understand I don’t need to run the 851N in USB mode anymore I am curious if there is a way to have the 851N as a single zone and control the input method using its input switch. Or at least control the volume from the roon app and not the Cambridge remote.

  3. Multi zone is not what I had expected due to incompatibility of the zone endpoints. Even Apple TV and the Cambridge streamers via AirPlay can’t be zoned together which was unexpected. Is there a workaround?

Thanks in advance

CRX120 is not Roon ready therefore you cannot expect it to be a Roon endpoint, nor is it listed as supporting AirPlay so I think you will need to use a Roon bridge of some sort. I used a Rasperry Pi with a HiFiBerry Digi + Pro with my 851N before it became Roon ready last month. StreamMagic in itself does not imply, or provide Roon support capability.

I have Preamp set off on my 851N as it feeds an 851A and can control volume with Roon remote and or CA StreamMagic app.