Having problems with Roon with Innuos Zenith

According to Innuos release/overview information:
„ Tidal will not have these features at release time but this will be available via update later on, together with full Tidal Masters support.“

This made me lol. Claiming a Nucleus would be an upgrade over a Zenith… I am sure that most readers did look through this.

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This is what is listed in the most recent release info:

Nuno I thought you mentioned there would be an update about full Tidal implementation this week?

Not sure I did but I can provide an update anyway. The full integration with TIDAL has already started development. This is planned to be implemented in 2 stages: First the direct integration of TIDAL including the Music Library and after that TIDAL Masters / MQA. This last part is something that will still need some discussion as it tends to be quite contentious on the community.

All of Nunos comments seem to be „subject to change“…
Will we get Tidal HiRes or not?

Personally I don’t use dsp, no multiroom and no hqplayer. Roon is above all a well-made tool to discover music. This tool, in my opinion, is getting a little too complex and is becoming really demanding in terms of machine and network resources. And if one of the two is not up to the task, we have problems. The network capabilities are a real source of improvement.

Searching only represents 5% of my time and the remaining 95% is spent listening and not doing anything else while listening, so Innuos sense is the best tool at the moment and for a very low financial cost.

I have no desire to invest thousands of euros for a possible better that is very dependent on the configurations and therefore the result varied.

If I had to make improvements, first a passive acoustic treatment, second an active treatment by convolution, treatment of reverberations, phases, delays…

In short, I don’t think I would entrust these optimization operations to Roon. This Roon tool is, in my opinion, the best tool for discovery to date.
For playing music, it is not the case anymore.

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I believe bits are bits. If you don’t use DSP, Roon is just a streamer, so the sound quality should depend solely on the source, DAC and the rest of the [analog] chain. I have no reason to believe Roon is fiddling with the bits just for fun. If you suspect Roon is not doing a good job at DSP, you can use HQPlayer and again let Roon just do the streaming.

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I am a former owner and heavy user of an Innuos Zenith Mk3 and PhoenixUSB. I too had been having lots of crashes and bad functionality with Roon. But I suspected that the problem was NOT Roon. It was my InnuOS gear. As a pandemic project I bought the less than $800 of parts (miniPC/Intel NUC, M.2 SSD and dual rank RAM from Amazon. I put together a NUC Roon Core Server. Watch John Darko’s video about how to do it. It is easy. You need a monitor with HDMI port, an HDMI cable and a usb keyboard. I built a NUC for less than $800 that had a better processor, more RAM and larger SSD than the Innuos Zenith. I configured the BIOS. Not hard. Installed ROCK and used this as my Roon Core. This NUC blew away my Zenith. Roon stopped crashing. Roon remote was very snappy. Sound quality was at least as good if not better than the Innuos Zenith an additional benefit is the power supply on the NUC is external and your streamer is now separate from the server. All of this makes for less noise. Speaking of which, this is the BS rationale for Innuos using their underpowered processors in their servers. They are so slow and obsolete you can’t even easily find them anymore! I suspect they use them because they are cheap, not because the make less noise. This has proven to me that it is a waste of money to buy Innuos gear or any other expensive Roon core server hardware. It isn’t needed. You can easily build one inexpensively from Amazon. Your SQ and Roon functionality will improve significantly and now you have thousands of saved money you can spend on gear that is really worth it.

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Very interesting, What streamer do you use?

I mainly use a Lumin U1 Mini. But I also have an UltraRendu and an Orchard Audio PecanPi. The thing about the NUC is you can built it from parts at Amazon. If you try it and don’t like it, you can take it apart and return everything to Amazon. In my case I didn’t return anything. Hi sold my InnuOS Zenith Mk3 and sold my PhoenixUSB.

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Maybe I’m a bad Roon user, one of my first systems was an NAS with a fast processor, 8gb of memory, an SSD drive to run ROON and another drive for music. Then a SOTM NEO 200 +SPS 500 which was Roon Ready. So all this was in line with the ROON specifications. With each OS change, each upgrade I had problems (library, sound rendering…), may be if everything was as simple as a NUC there wouldn’t be so many complaints about the ROON support?
But well, Innuos suits me well for the reading, it is very qualitative on my system.

I use Roon, it’s a bit slow but it works, but for my use it’s too busy with a lot of information that is useless in my use.

And if the menus can change languages, all the biblios are in English and only in English.

So for my research and documentation I use Roon, Qobuz and other sites like Philharmonie à la demande - Symphonie n° 9 de Ludwig van Beethoven, which presents in detail the ninth symphony of Beethoven. Of course it’s in French, but it gives an idea of what it’s possible to learn, to understand, to then listen and hear like never before a work like this one (and also to imagine the work for someone who is not bilingual the frustration that it can cause :slight_smile:

So, in some time I’ll see if I’ll go to something else, for the moment everything is perfect with Innuos Sense.

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I want to keep this as short as possible. I used to think that Roon support was the issue. Maybe the do have some issues. But my easy experiment showed that my InnuOS gear was underpowered and overhyped. My advice is this: build a powerful NUC with greater specs than the Roon minimum. Get a NUC8-10 i5 but preferably i7. Put in 32GB of dual rank RAM and a 250-256 M.2 SSD and try it. See how it performs compared to your current gear. That is what I did. It was a trial. An experiment. If you like it. Great. If not, dismantle it and send the parts back to Amazon.

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I’m curious, since the power supply is external, what one did you use? Power supplies are one thing that I’ve long believed have substantial influence on the overall tonal performance of digital front ends, including neutrality or not, fine resolution, base “weight” etc. You can prove that to yourself if you experiment. I feel with Innuos that the Sean Jacobs power supplies used internally probably are responsible for the Innuos sound character of bass weight (i.e. “warm”), rolled off highs, and quite restricted color in the mids.

As a check on that, this reviewer of external linear power supplies found the same type of sonic variations I’ve heard, and so far I agree with his characterizations, which he describes as consistent when supplies are used across different gear: The World's Best Audiophile Linear Power Supplies - Audio Bacon

Got it, maybe I’ll try.

Just curious, have you listened to a system with Innuos Sense as a player?

Hi all.

  1. I had a Small Green Computer linear power supply. So I used that. But I have heard that because, in using the NUC, you have separated the server from the streamer and therefore noise from the server won’t effect the rest of your system. But I had the LPS, so I used it. But I am also a big proponent of good power supplies and cables.
  2. No I have not used Innuos Sense. I am not familiar with it. But you can compare a well built NUC to an Innuos Sense system and see how they compare.
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If you can borrow one of the well known linear power supplies (Sean Jacobs, Plixir, Paul Hynes if available since they’re discontinued) try it and see how much effect it has. I predict, a big difference and would be curious about your result.

Would you expect a difference if Qobuz used one at their servers too?

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32GB ram is probably overkill, but RAM is cheap so…

A 64GB M.2 is enough for ROCK, but one can’t find 64 or 128 GB M.2s and the cost difference is negligible.

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Right. Because they are cheap and easy to get on Amazon that is why I got 32GB and 250-256 GB. Plus if I am going to the trouble of building a NUC and not knowing with the progress Roonlabs makes on Roon will the minimum hardware requirements increase? What if the current minimum requirements are understated? That is why I feed it is good to use at least 32GB RAM and 256 GB M.2 SSD. Doing this removes all questions about whether the hardware is capable. It gives you a lot of compute headroom and addresses all of the above. Lastly, I wanted to compare my NUC against the Innuos. So I wanted to make certain that the NUC was more powerful than the Innuos to dispel the myth that high compute power needed to be sacrificed because it was “too noisy”.

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So if you want to compare what is comparable :

  • for Roon, you need a powerful computer for 800 (plus screen) to use it only at 1 or 2%, plus some knowledge to set it up, plus a good power supply, plus an end point, plus another power supply, plus the annual cost of Roon, that is how much ?
    Oups I forgot we need a disk for the music…

  • For Innuos sense, you need a 1000 or 3000 for a device and that’s it.

Finally, the choice is based on the way you listen to the music.

The cost of the Zenith Mk3 and PhoenixUSB are more like 8000. Sense is just the OS with player and isn’t independent of hardware. Zen, Zenith and Statement w/wo PhoenixUSB and/or PhoenixNet will all sound different.