Help specifying a NUC for ROCK

It’s an appliance, not a general-purpose computer, so the ROCK OS doesn’t have these bells and whistles by design. It’s been asked for (look in the Feature Requests category), but I don’t think it’s part of Roon Labs vision for the Nucleus products.

I suspect that most people (like myself) with NAS drives used them as part of their Audio system prior to getting on board with Roon. For me, it was a simple matter of connecting my new NUC to one of my switches in order to be up and running with Roon.

I personally don’t get the assertion that “a locally attached hard drive attached to the Roon core is just plain better”. Have you compared music delivery to your system from a USB drive and a NAS and found the USB delivery to ‘sound’ better or do you have other reasons for preferring a USB drive music store? I back up to USB hard drives which I store off-site - the only really secure way to back up one’s system. NAS devices by definition (Network Attached Storage) would be much more unwieldy to use in this way than a simple USB drive backup.

I have a separate NAS for my photo and home video files which I can stream over my home network to any of my devices very easily using my Network Attached Storage device. However, I guess that many people will have their music and photo/video footage on the same large NAS drive. It makes a lot of sense for many to use NAS drives for their music file storage.

In addition to this, in the (hopefully unlikely) scenario that I get tired of Roon or heaven forbid, Roon should go under and cease to function, I could easily configure my NAS to make my music available to all 4 of my music streaming systems - something that could not be done so easily with a USB hard drive.

Incidentally, my home network performs flawlessly via both ethernet and wi-fi connections. I don’t see any advantage in moving my music store from my NAS to a USB connected storage device.

I’m of the belief that outside of issues like contamination of the mains or emi interference, better sound from storage media is something that would require a peer-reviewed scientific paper before its effects are taken seriously as a hypothesis, so I’ll stick to practicalities.

So why single drive ? Less latency, no problems with adding stuff, less moving parts both physically (noise…) and on the network side of things, so less things that can go wrong.
At this point, most Roon libraries can fit comfortably on a single USB drive. I’d be surprised if that many users had libraries bigger than 5TB, which is where 2,5" self-powered devices stop, let alone 16TB, which is where Seagate is at right now.

Assuming you want to get all tweaky because you’re concerned about mains pollution or whatnot, it’s much easier to power a single drive off of a linear PSU than it is to do that with a NAS.

Got tired of Roon also doesn’t really hold sway: plug that USB drive into a RaspBerry, and serve it up over Volumio (or any of the other options).

Another dimension is the flexibility you have with multiple libraries on a NAS.
I have one library for the SD card of my car. I transcode my main library to a format the car will take.
I have another library for my A&K player I use when I travel.
I have an ‘interim’ library for where I do metatag manipulation just after I download music from Qobuz.
Of course, I do all of that with JRiver or mp3Tag because they do those things much better than Roon.
I still have my main ‘everyday’ library on an internal SSD in the NUC, but I don’t want to mess with that at all. It is a mirror of what is on the NAS.
While my library isn’t large (<1TB), I notice very little performance difference between playing off the NAS and the internal drive. The internal is just a bit snappier to start a new file. Sonically the same. Of course, lag for new song discovery isn’t good with a NAS.
Overall, a NAS has lots of upsides and I don’t see many downsides to using it with ROCK, at least with a modest library.

1 Like

But then - I have never had a problem with latency, have had no problems loading stuff and (very) occasionally carrying out a (very) quick rescan. Nor do I have any issue with moving parts on my NAS. I could of course use SSD drives in my NAS if that was a problem.

I have no desire any more to “get all tweaty” (that was something I largely gave up many years ago). Any issues relating to mains pollution (NAS vs internal hard drive in my NUC) are likely in my opinion (although I could be wrong, but I don’t have any desire to experiment) to be so insignificant as to not be worth bothering about.

I have absolutely no issue whatsoever with anyone deciding to use an internal DAC in their NUC as their music store. In different circumstances I might have decided to do this myself. However, I cannot understand the antipathy of some to ‘good’ NAS drives such as those offered by Synology or Qnap.

By “moving parts” (on the network side), I meant config issues. I don’t see why someone who’s got a working setup they’re happy with should change anything, but as far as people setting themselves up (which was the topic of this thread), reducing the possible issues and variables is generally a good thing.

Not everyone has the forethought to keep physically separate copies of their music library, for example. While it sure ain’t perfect, having another copy on something that is NOT a RAID array can help if things go catastrophically wrong, simply because if you take RAID out of the equation, it’s easier to recuperate the files. Go try carving FLACs, mp3s, or your honeymoon pictures out of a single-parity RAID 5 array with two failed drives if you want to see what I mean. Try the same from a $100 seagate consumer drive, and you’re probably more likely to find stuff.

I cannot understand that you do not understand that not all users here are technical. You’re adding networking, and, since it’s a given search on the forum will come back with “I run Roon Core on my Synology, it’s awesome”, the need to go parse processor specs for some randomly named device to figure out if someone who isn’t technical and really shouldn’t be setting Dockers up can do that.

It won’t run as well, it won’t be as easy to set up, and it won’t be as resilient to catastrophic problems. Other than “that’s what I always had, and I don’t want to spend another $100 on a hard drive”, what’s to like about it ?

Well - I certainly would not consider running Roon Core on either of my Synology devices - they definitely aren’t up to the job. Indeed, I probably wouldn’t consider running Roon on anything but a decently specced NUC (or similar device) running Roon Rock, nor would I recommend that anyone else do so, network or technically minded or not.

However, I do take your point that adding ‘networking’ via a NAS can potentially add another layer of complications, although most if not all users who manage to get a streaming service incorporating Tidal or Qobuz and broadband access up and running must already have a modicum of networking skills.

I do agree that recovering files from a Raid 5 array with two failed drives would not be easy. However, modern hard drives (such as WD Reds) designed for use in NAS devices are amazingly robust and so that scenario is very unlikely to happen. In any case, I don’t think that complex RAID setups are appropriate for partial backup security of something like a home music file store. Much better simply to avoid RAID altogether and simply backup on a regular basis to another device (such as a USB hard drive).

I don’t disagree with you. It might be easier for someone who is setting up local streaming for the first time to use a USB hard drive with specialist front end software or an internal drive in a Roon Rock NUC. However, setting up a good NAS is not particularly difficult and many people will have potential additional uses for the many available features of their NAS.

Would you not consider using a NAS for anything, or is your aversion simply to using a NAS as a local music store?

Hmm, I don’t think I would go as far as to think that… :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like


In a situation like mine, where there is already NAS infrastructure in place, in my case acting as server/PVR back-end for multiple Kodi clients, central MariaDB etc, is there any reason why one would not point a NUC to the NAS rather than attach storage directly?

I just built my first NUC and the performance with files hosted on my Synology NAS is bullet-proof. I could easily add local storage to the NUC but I see no window at all for performance improvement vs what I’m experiencing now. Unless SQ?

Personally, I have internal storage for my local music files in my ROCK/NUC. I don’t have a NAS, but I do have a Windows 10 PC acting as a server for our media files, including music files. However, I use it as one of my backup destinations for the local files in my music library. The other backup destinations are the cloud and off-site storage.

So, nothing to do with performance (other than the fact that some NASes are iffy when it comes to recognising new additions to the library) or sound quality - I just use a “NAS” as an additional backup destination.

Oh, no aversion at all ! I was only talking in Roon’s very specific, use.

The setup I described higher up is a NAS (it does a bunch of other things, like running VMs, really well), and it’s not perfect, but I love it.
It’s filled with WD Reds, and I agree that they’re great, other than DOA, haven’t had one fail yet.

I’m also running UnRaid, which takes care of a bunch of the things I don’t like with RAID arrays (it’s essentially JBOD + (dual) parity, so you get stuff back if several drives go bad at the same time, which can happen from stuff that isn’t the drives themselves like controller chips (in my case, two drives failing at the same time is 0% loss, three and above depends on what’s hit… best case there is the parity drives + another. But you’re going to be introduced to CAINE no matter what)). Other niceties for me are that you don’t have everything spun up all the time, you don’t have to have a bunch of drives that are the identical size, and you can add storage as you go (or repurpose old drives if you fell like it)).
The compromise is that it’s much slower than a good RAID array in terms of read/write, but it’s good enough for my use.

Ah - in that case, I probably do agree with you.