I have four audio systems which I would like to be Roon ready. But I think I’ve taken a detour, so I don’t quite know what to do.
Living Room traditional stereo with Quad ESL-63 Speakers and Audiomat Prelude Reference Mark II Tube integrated amp. Just added Naim Uniti Core feeding Audio Alchemy DDP-1 DAC. No Roon endpoint.
TV system traditional two channel stereo by choice. Video switching managed by Arcam SR-250 stereo AVR. Audio switching managed by Vintage Pioneer SX-1050 Stereo Receiver and Musical Fidelity A3cr Preamp. Oppo UDP-205 can be a Roon endpoint.
Windows 7 Professional 64 OS with Intel Core i7 processor. Audiomat Arpege integrated amp, Spendor S3/5 Speakers. No Roon endpoint.
Windows 7 Pro 32 OS wirh Intel Core i5 processor and Meridian 551 integrated amp. No Roon endpoint.
I started with the Naim Uniti Core thinking it was more than it is. It did a great job ripping my CDs, but now that I’ve learned more about streaming I find it doesn’t do Tidal and Deezer and Primephonic. I’d especially like Primephonic because it’s classical music. It doesn’t do MQA or native DSD either. The DAC I bought is quite nice sounding, but it’s not a server. I could add the MicroRendu (I think) and put it to use in my main desktop system which presently has no sound.
I keep thinking I should put the main desktop to use as a music server and add the necessary Roon endpoints as I can afford them, but I only have a vague idea how BEST to do that. I read about NAS. I read about a NUC. If I continue with Naim I will be stuck with a good product line but it is very proprietary and it will be very costly to add one of their servers in every system. And I’m not sure how well the Oppo will help me.
Believe it or not, you already may have all of the Roon endpoints that you require. As you note, your OPPO UDP can be a Roon endpoint. Your Windows 7 PCs can be Roon endpoints. And your Naim Uniti Core may include Roon endpoint functionality.
On that last count, some Naim Uniti components are Roon capable, while others may not be. Regardless, Naim Uniti Core appears to be designed as a music server unto itself and may be overkill if it were to be purposed as just a Roon endpoint for one room.
Your best course of action should be, yes, to set up your main desktop PC as your Roon + Tidal server for all rooms. Add one Roon endpoint to supplement or replace the Naim, if necessary.
(now wearing snowshoes on my asymmetrical isolation feet)
What Andrew said.
You can run Room Core on either of your Windows machines, put the music more or less wherever you want (or co-locate it with the Room Core), and both Windows machines will work as endpoints as well.
The simplest way to add a Roon endpoint is to plug a Chromecast Audio into either a Toslink or analog input of a system. You’ll get 24bit/192kHz connectivity to your Room core whereever that may be on your network.
For your living room system, the best thing might be to ask your Naim dealer to let you trade in the Core or an Atom or one of their other players that is Roon Ready. If that doesn’t work, I don’t know technically if you can use the Uniti as a music library for Roon since Naim may not support standard network file protocols that Roon uses but that would be the next best option. If that doesn’t work, move your music library to a NAS or USB hard drive and sell the Uniti. For a Roon endpoint for your DAC, there are many choices including the Rendu line you mentioned, SOtM has several, Auralic, and many others have standalone Roon (and other) protocol endpoints that can connect to your DAC via USB which will give you the most flexibility in terms of file resolutions supported, including DSD.
As others have said, use the Oppo as your Roon endpoint.
This PC would be the best choice to run as your Roon server. The other option is to buy a Nucleus or Intel NUC with ROCK to use as a dedicated, always on, Roon server. If you have a standalone Roon Server, you can install the Roon Bridge on this PC to use it as a Roon endpoint but I don’t see a DAC mentioned for this setup and I don’t think the Audiomat has a built-in DAC, so you’ll need a DAC. Maybe something like an AudioQuest, iFi, Schitt, or Meridian Explorer (if you want MQA) depending on your budget.
As with #3, you’ll need a DAC but you can run Roon Bridge on your PC and use it as the networked Roon endpoint.
Note: Both PCs can do the D to A conversion without a DAC but I wouldn’t recommend it. You have good equipment in terms of the integrateds and speakers, so I would definitely go with a USB DAC instead of letting the PC do the conversion internally. It will sound much better and be easier to configure and use with Roon, as well.
I know one difficulty at least and that is the Naim Uniti Core is not a server.
The other difficulty is the cost of good network servers. As I see it, I’d have to buy three. One for the living room, and one for each of the computers. The OPPO can serve the TV room.
The main audio system and the computer both have very fine stereo systems so both need a very decent Roon endpoint to do the audio systems there justice.
The second computer has a decent integrated amp in the Meridian but the speakers are ordinary, so I don’t have to break the bank there.
Nope. You seem to get the endpoint concept well enough, but your understanding of the music server position in all of this is off target.
You do not need nor even want multiple music servers, one per room. You need just one music server for the whole house. And that one music server could be one of your existing PCs, provided you have solid wired or wireless networking throughout the house.
I would check the Naim and Roon Naim forums to see if you can keep using your Core as a network library for Roon. If not the options are to move those files to a USB drive (fairly cheap) or to a NAS (more expensive) or just use the HD of your PC (cheapest but least convenient and you may not have enough space depending on the size of your library). I suggest you focus on solving this issue first. The rest will fall into place once you’ve made this decision.
You will not need Roon endpoints (not to be confused with the word Roon server which means something different in Roon lingo) for the two PCs. You can install free Roon Bridge software on both of them that will act as the Roon endpoint. But since neither of those systems has a DAC currently, you will need to invest in buying a USB DAC and USB cable for each. This can range from around $100 up to as much as you want to spend (~$50K), so decide on your budget first and that will narrow the options to consider. If you don’t want to do this right away, you can continue using the internal DAC inside your PCs until you are ready to get an external DAC, so no need to rush.
I’ve been exploring some of the other forums on the Naim/Roon issue and it seems like you can use the Uniti Core as the library for the Roon Server (also called Core which is confusing in this context). The Uniti Core supports the standard Microsoft network file protocol called SMB, however, it seems they only support SMBv1 which is old and has some security issues so Microsoft is trying to push everyone to SMBv2. However, since the PC that is best for running Roon Server/Core is running Windows 7, this may not be as much of an issue for you. I’d try it to see. If you can’t get it working there are plenty of other options but it would be a shame note to use the Uniti in some capacity unless your dealer will give you a good deal on a trade.
I am so glad I started this topic as it is already clearing up a lot of my confusion. I think an important penny dropped when I understood I needed a DAC at the computers, not a network server.
Let me give it a try to see if I understand:
The Roon Core is installed on the two computers and they both acquire DACs.
A Roon ready DAC is installed at the Living Room audio system.
The Oppo takes care of the TV system
That adds up to four Roon Endpoints.
Then how do I direct the music? Can I do everything from an iOS app? Do the computers need to be turned on? Or only if the music files are on internal hard drive. Presumably, if there is an external network location for the music files, then music can be accessed by the app and streaming can be directed to any of the four locations?
Not sure where the Uniti Core fits in. It doesn’t make a lot of sense now as a NAS or NUC makes much more sense. But if I sell it, I’ll have to acquire a means to rip new CDs.
Karl, Yes, it would be a shame if I couldn’t use the Naim Uniti Core somehow. It works really nice as a ripper. But if it is only a ripper, it is a very pricey one. I see a lot of homework ahead of me on this issue.
Why not spent NO money and test drive Roon and Tidal?
I would recommend loading a free trial version of Roon onto the PC on your System 3. You can also take advantage of a Tidal free trial. Your System 2 will work using the Oppo Roon Ready BluRay / DAC.
For the purposes of a trial you could temporarily put the Roon core PC next to your System 1 and connect to your Audio Alchemy DDP-1 DAC by USB. A better long term solution for system 1 would be a Micro Rendu.
Hopefully you can export your ripped music files from your Naim server to an external USB hard drive. This hard drive would be plugged into your Room core PC.
The system 4 PC could run Roon software just using the output function aka endpoint but you would need a DAC also.
As recommended by others, read the documentation on the Core, Control & Output concepts
You can also load the FREE phone or tablet Roon control app and use it as part of the trial.
Do you have wired ethernet to all your systems?
@Echolane Just to be clear, you only have a single Roon Core in one place ie on just one of your computers. The Roon Core is what does all the work and accesses your music files (which can be on/attached to that same computer or in another location on your network that can be accessed by the Roon Core. Your other locations will need a networked Roon endpoint of some kind.
Don’t be mislead into buying costume jewelry endpoints. I won’t name specific devices, but you have already mentioned one in your OP. Any endpoint (AKA streamer, transport) that costs more than $200-$300 is a rip-off, IMHO. Probably half the forum will agree with me and the other half won’t. Go small before you try something else.
For all the endpoints you’ll ever need check out Allo.com.
BTW - with the latest firmware update, your OPPO is both an Roon Ready endpoint and a DAC. Great device.
This KB page will help you with the learning curve.
The functional trinity of Core - Output - Control is a central concept. You only need one Core and can have as many Outputs and Controls as you want. Every Control can control the Core and every Output (Private Zones excepted).
Each of the three Roon programs has a different mix of the above functions:
Roon - (Core, Output, Control)
Start with the main Roon program, install it on your desktop (3). Make it your Core. When you install the Roon program on other computers, point them to this Core. They will then operate as Roon Remotes (Output, Control).
Roon Server (Core, Output)
This program lacks Control functionality. You would use it on a Core server which is controlled by a Roon Remote or tablet.
Roon Bridge (Output)
This is a small footprint program that enables a computer or smaller device to be seen as a network zone. It lacks Control functionality.
Let me try one more time. I agree with others that it will help if you read the Roon KB FAQ to get the terminology straight
There is only one Roon Core installed in a network. In fact, Roon limits this in their software. If you have more than one they force you to choose which core you are using. You have two choices for running the Roon Core.
The cheapest is to install Roon on your i7 PC. As others have said, you can download and try for free. This PC will then act as the server for your entire network. This is the best place to start.
If you find it inconvenient to use your i7 as a Roon Server, then you can add a standalone Roon Core/Server from Roon themselves (the Nucleus), Small Green Computer (Sonic Transport), or get an Intel NUC and install ROCK (ROCK software is available for free from Roon Labs).
Use the DAC that you have but you’ll need a Roon Endpoint to connect to your network and to your existing DAC. Lots of suggestions have already been made for this - Chromecast, Allo, microRendu will all work but have various cost and feature tradeoffs.
Not exactly, so far we’ve covered 3 Roon Endpoints - buy one for the Living Room, use the Oppo for the TV system and install full Roon (which includes all 3 components - Core, Output, and Control) on your i7, it can serve as an endpoint for system #3.
For your i5 system, you’ll need to install the Roon Bridge software which will make that PC a Roon endpoint and be able to feed your Meridian. That will be your 4th endpoint.
You have several options for controlling Roon. One, you can use the Roon software on the i7 also as a Control device. You can select which music to play and send different streams to each endpoint or group them all together and stream the same music to all the endpoints at the same time.
Two, you can install the Roon Control app on almost any mobile device - Android or iOS. A phone works but a tablet is better in order to see your library and cover art. You can do everything from the Control app, in fact, it is the only UI for Roon.
The i7 PC will need to remain on 24/7 if you want to use it for your Roon Server/Core. This is one reason some people buy a standalone Roon Server. The i5 PC will only need to be on if you want to stream to that system. The endpoints like the microRendu are always on. The Oppo will need to be on to stream to the TV system, obviously.
This is where it gets a bit complicated because there are a lot of options. Assuming you start with the i7 PC as your Roon Server, you have at least 3 options:
Assuming you can see the music files on your Uniti Core from Windows File Explorer on your PC, you can try just configuring the Roon Library to point at the Uniti Core and it becomes your networked music library. This was discussed in depth on another thread in these forums that I see you participated in, so it may or may not work depending on the support for SMB v1 on your i7 PC.
Copy all the files from your Uniti to the hard drive on your i7 PC and simply configure Roon to use that folder as your music library.
Copy all the files from your Uniti to an external USB hard drive and plug that hard drive into your i7 PC. If you later decide to buy a standalone Roon Server, you just plug this same drive into the new server and you’re good to go.
There are other options like setting up a NAS but I don’t recommend them at this time. Once the Roon Server knows what folder contains your music library, it will monitor it for changes and add any new music to the interface. You can then choose what you want to listen to in each system independently or use the Group function to send the same stream to any combination of endpoints.
If option 1 above works, you’re good to continue using the Uniti as part of the Roon ecosystem. If not, you could continue to use it to rip CDs but then you need to manually copy them to whatever HD drive you are using for your Roon library. In this case, the better option is to sell the Uniti and just use your PC for ripping CDs. There is software like DBPowerAmp that does a great job ripping and tagging your files but since Roon does its own metadata, tagging isn’t that important, so you can probably use the standard Windows MC or whatever comes with Windows 7 to do the ripping. Just point the ripper to save in the folder for your Roon library and Roon will automatically see the new file and add it to the library.
Hopefully, this is clear and answers all your questions.