Does ROON require a separate streamer?

On a subjective note and to my ears, non scientific nor blind test I did a test side by side with my Roon Rock NUC in fanless case I built and a Node2i and a Auralic G1 and with a Benchmark AHB2/TT2/MS/Quad ESL2905 and the difference is not night and day but it is there with the G1 (usb to dac) using wifi (which is the reason I got it as to far from my router)
I could here slightly firmer and deeper bottom end and a sightly smoother top end compared to node 2i (toslink) and direct from Roon Rock via USB.
If it is worth +2K compared to direct from Roon I don not think so, I used Roon Rock direct for 2 years and would still be happy with it if it was not for the reason I wanted to stream via wifi and had some drop outs with node 2i, Node 2I or probably newer version is good as a streamer however the DAC is not top notch. So my personal bottom line is that it is probably not worth to upgrade and spend 2K extra unless you are very picky and have a system to match, I would rather spend the $$ on better Speakers/Headphones and DAC and last upgrade would be the streamer ( actually cables would be my last upgrade)…just my 2 cents

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The Bluesound Node 2i doesn’t have a particularly great DAC implementation. ASR’s measurements found it barely capable of resolving Redbook 44.1/16.

I replaced mine with a RPi4B running Ropieee and a Topping DX7 Pro.

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Agree, so used with Toslink out to DAC as streamer only it works fine.


Indeed, but it’s an expensive streamer compared to a Raspberry Pi, though still inexpensive in the scheme of some of the “audiophile” streamers…

Agree but I still think the Node2I is a bargain for what it does unless you want to go the pie route…

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Which is significantly more expensive component than the Node 2i is with out any streaming section. When I had my 2i didn’t think it sounded bad at all for what it does it costs. Putting into my RME helped it a little but not as much as I would have thought . You pay for the Swiss.Army knife approach of the BluOs software which isn’t cheap to develop. If just using Roon they are a wasted expense as a pi will sound as good into a DAC but they are not as convenient for everyone, maintain a better resale value cover most services and you can easily get them repaired or exchanged under warranty or likely afterwards.

Yes, when using the analog output. When using digital output, it works just fine. Want to be clear about that for others reading this thread.

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The “it” in the quoted sentence is clearly referring to the DAC of the Node 2i. DACs don’t have digital output, only analog. Clarity would be aided by quoting in context, not by taking sentences out of context, I’d suppose.

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I wanted a DAC that measured better (and hopefully sounded better) than the Bluesound’s. Tried the Soncoz LA-QXD1 and was having periodic blips in the sound with it so I returned it, couldn’t lay my hands on a Gustard X-16 and decided to go with the Topping DX7 Pro with its built-in headphone amp for evening listening when herself is in bed.

I then got onto playing with Raspberry Pi/Ropieee and built a PoE powered Pi4B with a display and sold on the Node2i.

It does indeed, but it’s way more expensive than a Raspberry Pi streamer and doesn’t have a digital USB output.

EDIT: Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dissing the Node 2i - for a lot of people, it’s an easy to use plug and play streamer with TOSLINK and SPDIF outputs and it’s nicely made. It also does full MQA from it’s analogue outputs if MQA floats your boat.

I use a 2012 MAC Mini’s USB out to my Audiobyte Hydra that gets me an AES signal for my A2 Yggy and I find it totally silent. It’s odd that I never tried the Unison USB out…but I like to stick with what works the best for my system.

Thanks for clarification. My point is that since with the same USB connection I ear much better the local library that the streaming from the NUC ROCK ROON, then the factor should not be the usb cable but some thing coming from NUC computer. The possible better quality using Ethernet is another subject.

We kinda do know this. There’s ample scientific research on the performance envelope of human hearing and on performance envelope of music reproduction equipment (DACs, preamps, amps, etc.) needed to be audibly transparent. Google average household noise level shows that homes average 50 db noise. Libraries are quieter at 40 db. Having an audible effect on music in the context of these typical listening environments and at the threshold of human hearing means that those effects would need to rise above the noise floor in that listening environment. At those levels, they would be easily measurable.

It’s not possible that those very low signals measured by Archimago or Amir are amplified well into the audible range when listening to music. The signal level of the music would be damagingly high to the equipment attempting to reproduce music at that sound level and to human hearing. Mixing a these tiny signal with other signals gets smaller level harmonic signals that are well below the threshold of hearing. That’s just how it works.

So back to the original question, it seems reasonable to choose the streaming architecture that works best for your needs. Directly connected to the Core or through a streamer should work equally well.


Please, according to your experience Multirendu works fine as core for ROON and as well is good quality better than Mac for streaming.
As per your experience the lack of quality I get for streaming directly with my NUC Intel could be due to the hardaware of it.
Thanks for help

Douglas, these should probably be the last words on this subject, but I fear it will roll on and on…

What has to be borne in mind when comparing different sources, is that the final signal level coming from the DAC is level matched to within +/- 0.1 dB. A “hotter” source signal will subjectively sound better. This is something many people seem to overlook.


thanks for your clarification. But with the same ethernet. Same DAC. I can ear my local library connected to my NUC INTEL ROCK ROON and from it via usb to DAC much better than I ear the Tidal streaming. And when listening through LINN streamer with out put to same DAC such difference dissapear.
I am not electronic engineer, but aeronautical, but my logic tells me it shall be a problem of NUC hardware.

Well, logically, it would seem that LINN is applying some kind of DSP to the TIDAL streams so that they have a different sound, which seems to you better.

Let me ask: (1) Are you using the same connection type from the LINN to the DAC as you are with the NUC? and (2) which model LINN is it that sounds so good?

Ermm… No. Linn doesn’t use DSP, outside of ‘Space Optimisation’ (SO).

Not sure how the same bits to a high-end DAC would sound different, then.