Introduction, completing Roon trial and looking for some advice

Hi all. I’m just about done with my Roon trial, and planning to extend my trial month by month. So far I love what Roon is doing.

About me and my gear:

I’m in my 40s, an amateur musician, and I work from home. I don’t have a ton of money in HiFi equipment.
Core is running on a Asustor AT6404t NAS, with SSD and m2 cache.
I very much enjoy listening to entire albums at a time, and rip CDs to flac, scanning in the art work of the entire booklet. I make a PDF of this and place it in the same folder as the music. Roon is the only software I’ve found that makes it easy to navigate the booklet while I’m listening to that album.
My favorite music is Bluegrass. But I’m also into Country, Blues, Folk, etc. and I dabble in other genres. Most streaming services do not have an extensive Bluegrass library. So I’m likely to rely on my own library to some degree for the foreseeable future.

My endpoints so far are Android and iPhones and tablets of both varieties.
I almost always connect these endpoints to an iFi HipDac with an OTG cable.
My headphones are Focal Elegia. In a pinch, I’ll use Etymotic iems for more portability.
My best speakers are admittedly pretty pedestrian: Edifier 2000 mIII connected to my Surface 3 at my desk.
So far so good. Given that 90% of the music I listen to is only available in 16/44.1, I guess I’m wondering if there are settings I should be exploring to improve the listening experience with my headphones.

My main phone is a Samsung Note 9 running Android 10. I’m still a little unclear about whether or not they’ve upgraded its HiFi abilities in Android 10 or if I need to be looking at ways to “go around” Android to the capabilities of the HipDac. Or just use my wife’s old iPhone with the HipDac. Or maybe it doesn’t matter unless I’m listening to a source file that exceeds 16/44.1?

I also welcome any general or specific advice. Or if there’s a piece of gear/additional software that I should put on my radar that would make a huge difference in my listening experience, I’m open to it.

In any case, thanks for reading / scanning / skipping this far. Looking forward to participating in discussions and learning from you all.


1 Like

Get a NUC/Nucleus, Roon ROCK and a decent remote and you won’t look back! :smiley:

Thanks Martin,
Forgive my ignorance. But what would a NUC and Roon ROCK do that my current set up does not?
I haven’t really seen any performance issues that I perceive to be a problem. Maybe the NAS core is underpowered for running convolution filters or something more complex?
If I find it to be a rate limiting factor at some point, I may pull the trigger on a NUC/ROCK with a higher powered CPU.
While most of the available Bluegrass on Qobuz is limited to 16/44.1–really no different from my ripped CDs–I still love the idea of being able to listen to the latest releases in HiFi, and would love to take advantage of these capabilities.
Is the best way to do this with a phone as an endpoint going to be Apple (vs Android)?
Am I right to think that Android vs iOS won’t matter (at least in theory) if I’m listening to my flac files?

The Asustor AT6404t NAS has a quad-core Intel Celeron.

Roon recommend an i3 Ivy Bridge+ as a minimum spec.

Plus, running the Roon core on a NAS can place additional demands on the hardware.

Having the core in a NUC/Nucleus will lead to a better overall experience, especially as your library grows.

You could look at using a USB DAC into one of your mobile ‘phone endpoints. This would give you access to ‘High Res’ files/streams.

But the main thing is, you’re enjoying the music :smiley:

1 Like

Hi and welcome,

with regard to your headphone listening experience, you could use Roon DSP to equalise the headphones, see link below for presets. The Focals are listed:

There are quite a few threads on that topic so just search for ‘Headphone DSP’ .

Thanks again, Martin. I picked up the NAS knowing that I would need a storage/backup solution like this in the long run anyway–and if Roon ended up a failed experiment, I’d still be glad I had the NAS. It’s handling my (4000+) albums without a hitch so far, so that’s a good sign. But I take your point and appreciate the advice.

So my iFi HipDac is a USB DAC, and is being used along with my mobile phone endpoints. My understanding is that Android OS still limits the output through USB to 16/44.1, unless I use an app that specifically bypasses the OS to handle its audio.

It looks to me like I need to use an iOS device to get HiFi through a mobile phone to my HipDac.

The HiFi stuff is a nice-to-have at this point. Lossless is probably good enough quality considering the recording quality on a lot of my older bluegrass albums may well be the limiting factor.

Quite honestly, the GUI is probably worth it to me alone. I listen to my music mostly as foreground and being able to navigate through the information about the musicians, the composers (writers), and uploaded PDFs of booklets and reviews ticks a LOT of boxes on my wish list. This is how I want to listen to my music.

1 Like

Thanks Tony,

I appreciate the link. I’m pretty new to adjusting EQ, and will have to do some more research. I was really hoping I could simply upload some convolution filters and have it be automatically done with some Wav files. But it looks like this isn’t possible yet on mobile platforms like android and iOS endpoints. So I will have to get educated on this a bit more. Thanks again for the warm welcome and information about EQ for the Elegia.

The Core does all of the DSP so you can load filters or build your your own, apply at the core for your device.