Innuous Zen Mini as Roon Core - any good?

Hi currently I use an old iMac running Windows 10 as my Roon core server in server mode only. It’s ok but the fans run full tilt all the time which is annoying (the fan issue isn’t to do with Roon, but something I can’t fix - probably a Windows 10 on iMac issue).

Anyway, I was wondering if I would be better off setting the Innuous (Zen Mini Mk 3) as the core instead? I have heard there are limitations.

Does anyone have a view if this would be a good solution and if it works ok?

My Innuous is connected to my Rega amp via rca and I also have a Bluesound Node 2i in another room connected to a basic Marantz amplifier. The rest of my setup is Sonos.

Thanks for any views/opinions and tips in how to go about setting this up/transferring my Roon library.

You can setup the Zen as a Roon core and try it out before moving everything.

When it comes to Win 10 on the iMac, others have solved the fan issue with things like this: https://crystalidea.com/macs-fan-control

Thanks. I didn’t want to do that in case it messed things up/confused Roon.

I guess I just set the Innuos to Roon core in settings. However, where will my Roon Library be? How will I be able to tell which Roon library I am looking at on the control apps?

thanks for the tip on the fan control software by the way. I had a quick look and I don’t think it will work on an iMac which only has Windows 10 installed (no Boot camp).

Hi there. I’m running the mini MK 3 in core experimental mode, essentially using the zen as both a core and a streamer, streaming to itself. Then usb into my denafrips aris II dac. I have to tell you it has exceeded my expectations. The sound this combo presented via my kef LS50s over my previous dac and streamer was stunning. Streamer was introduced first and omg the sound quality difference was incredible. Of course I was moving from a Sonos connect so there is that. The R2R dac made me cry when added and man do those two make for a beautiful stack.

Let me know if I can answer any questions.

Eric

I’m only suggesting testing it first. If you find it to be a suitable core, THEN, worry about moving the library.

Well, it looked like it was free to try, and, there might be other software out there. :smiley:

My bad, wrong photo. That’s my headfi station. Here is the one you want :slight_smile:

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Your Roon library will reside on the zen mini. Recommended to back up to nas, which is what I do. It’s so straight forward. The zen mini has a very well laid out setting menu. So easy. Switch back and forth between dirrerent core setting and experiment.

I don’t use the internal dac in the mini (yes there is one) well because denafrips. Need I say more :slight_smile:

Hi Eric

Thanks for this. I’m convinced to give it a go and worry about moving my Roon data later (fills me with dread).

Initially I had a Bluesound Node 2i in between my Zen Mini mk3 and my Rega amp. It sounded great. Then I moved it to my other room to try out Roon and the Zen as a streamer ooand DAC. Sounded better. The DAC on the Zen Mini is really good.

I am very interested in your comments about your denafrips aris II dac. I am tempted. But was the big jump in quality your experienced moving from the Sonos connect?

Thanks for the photos. Looks great too.

Hi
I emailed the Mac fan software people and they say it will work, so thanks for that. I’ll continue with my old iMac fir my Plex server. Works great for that.
Thanks for the tip.

Great idea using a google hub for the music display. Might give that a go too!

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I’ve used an Alexa Show in the same way.

Interesting. I thought chromecast video support was needed for Roon display to function on a smart device with no web browser. Hmm, so what protocol is being used in the Alexa device to support Roon now playing? Color me intrigued. :slight_smile:

There is a web browser on the show it is a version of Firefox

I also use my Apple TV as a display. Works in two ways - the now playing section of Apple Music shows what Roon is playing if AirPlay is being used. Otherwise there is a fantastic Roon app for the Apple TV. Works great. You can also skip back and forth through tracks and look at the queue using the AppleTV remote. Slightly off topic, sorry.

I’ll post back with my experience using Innuos as a Roon core when I try it out this weekend.

I Amy also need help moving my Roon library and setting a backup location if I can’t figure it out.

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Would be happy to help. Please note that I really don’t know how you’d move the db. That’d be a good question for Roon labs folks though.

Evening Robert: I’m a relatively new Roon convert and have only used the ZenMini Mk3 as a Roon core (so do not have a comparator). I have circa 1,000 CDs on the ZenMini (and stream via Qobuz and Tidal) and it works well - response times are not lightning fast but are perfectly adequate and the sounds is excellent. I already had the ZenMini as my NAS (but was using the Naim app /UPnP to stream prior to Roon) but the installation was a doddle and accessing the ZenMini (back-ups, adding files via USB etc) is still very easy.

PS. I strongly recommend the LPSU for the ZenMini.

Cheers,

Jonathan

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Evening Jonathan,
Thanks for your input. Gives me more confidence to try it out. I just need to make time to figure out how to move my Roon database from my PC to the Zen Mini, but I am definitely going to do it at some point soon. Sounds like you are enjoying Roon. I am too. Sometimes I feel it’s quite expensive, especially when there are “free” alternatives like the BluOS app on Bluesound or the new player from Innuous (although they tie you in to their devises). But when I use Roon I am reminded of how excellent it is.

I was interested in your comment about the LPSU. I have been considering getting either that or an external DAC of similar cost. Does it really make an improvement?

The LPSU makes a noticeable difference - the sound has more body without being flabby. Even my wife (who says lossy streaming from Spotify is fine) noticed the difference almost immediately. Whether it’s worth the extra outlay is another question - that only you can judge. The same for an external DAC - I’ve been using the ZenMini as exclusively digital out so can’t say what I think of the internal DAC.

Re transferring your Roon database over to the ZenMini, do you mean all your FLAC/WAV files? If so, importing via USB on the ZenMini is straight-forward - it’ll take a long time with any sizeable library but I’ve done it loads of time without any hiccups. The only potential headache is missing meta data which, if you’re ripping to FLAC CD by CD, is easier to spot as you go. That said, I think the ZenMini failed to recognise less than 10 CDs out of 1,000 so this is an area where it excels compared to other products on the market.

Hi Jonathan,
Thanks for that insight. I think I’ll go for the LPSU before trying a new DAC. Christmas is coming!
I was actually meaning the Roon database, not the music library. All my CDs are already ripped to the Mini. I’m sure I’ll figure out how to backup and restore to the Zen. Hopefully it’s straightforward.

I’m running Roon on zen mini mk3 into kef Ls50w via usb, the zen is the core & player ( end point ) this was recommended by innuos. The sq is superb. Contemplating pulling the trigger on a LPSU but not heard one so any one who’s heard it would be good to here your opinion