I tried Roon for a trial period but was not fully satisfied due to some instability issues but foremost because the SQ just was lower over the NUC than purely over the streamer. So my question is, how can I get the best out of my configuration. My configuration is the following:
- NUC8i7 with Windows 10
- MiniDSP SHD (a self-contained pre-amp and streamer using Volumio and processes the signal with Dirac)
- Active Speakers with their own volume control
- 99.9% Streaming over Tidal, no music server
I tried the following during my trial:
NUC with “Roon” on it --> USB to the SHD --> Coax to speakers
The problem was, that SQ dropped significantly. There was less “air” to the music, instrument placement and separation was not that clear anymore, the soundstage regarding depth and width was smaller. The results were not dramatic but they were there and clearly audible - so audible that there was no going back to the NUC and Roon.
My question: the SHD will be certified as Roon ready at some point, the option is already there in the menu of the SHD. So my main question is if there is a chance that SQ can improve if I install “Roon Server” on the NUC and don’t use USB but Ethernet to the SHD as a Roon ready device?
As nice as Roon might be but the weakest link in the signalpath will most likely be the server for 99% of people using Roon, since PCs are not built for audio. That is unfortunate, since you need a server but that server in most cases lowers SQ substantially, at least in my case it was obvious.
I’m aware that a better power supply for the NUC might help too, but I didn’t dig into that since a 300€-500€ power supply for a 400€ NUC seems a lot.
So, how much will the SQ improve when the SHD gets Roon ready?