John Darko builds a ROCK server

Would you or anyone else here be able to tell me how an Intel Nuc i7 fabless with 16-32GB RAM and a 256GB SSD would compare to an Innuos Zenith Mk3? I would be using DSP. Thanks!

Main is an iPad Pro 9.7, with an older iPad Mini as backup.
I do use my iPhone 7, but only if the iPads are not to hand.
I also use a Windows 7, machine, but is normally for library management and network admin.

Are all of your device connected on WiFi, and using the 5GHz channel?
Where is your library maintained? My is on a ReadyNAS and if the discs has spun down, there can be a delay as they spin up.

I believe the processing figure is good as long as 1.something

Yes I remember reading about wanting to be above 1.2 or 1.3 to Allow for anything getting in the way and it slowing down and creating some headroom

You would need to have someone with a Zenith Mk3 and a NUC i7 run the same benchmark and compare the processing figures.

Running RoonOS is a closed embedded appliance usage, so you don’t get to see CPU usage, IOwait etc. I imagine the same is with the Zenith platform.

it’ll blow the Innuos out of the water when it comes to performance and the Roon experience.


The Innuos line is below our recommended spec for Roon Core:


Thanks, I have no experience of the Innuos Product line.

Back on track… Just watched the video and thought it was a very good.
Informative and a great advert for bringing new user’s to Roon

He shows this as an easy process that almost anyone can do as long as they spend an hour or two and do the reading.
He could have pushed the reading part a bit more, but I don’t want to be too picky

Even better I didn’t hear any complaining about 1.8 :wink:


Nucleus is pronounced “new cleus”, but NUC is pronounced “nuck”.

Can’t be both ways.

500 GB drive to install ROCK? ‘Good’ advice. :roll_eyes:

Also, what’s with coat avec fur collar? No heat, I guess.

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What about in terms of black background and detail. Innuos markets there streamer/servers that because of low powered chips and constriction that reduces EMI their units sound better. I have tested their line against each other with headphones and Benchmark HPA4 and one was better than the other.

See Roon’s recommendations regarding SQ. Separating Core and Output is the primary recommendation.


Totally wrong about why he has turned comments off, it’s because of idiots who they themselves think they know it all and spoil it for the rest of us…


Separating the core from output is a given with me. I have USB out from the Zenith to USB in on my Innuos Phoenix. USB out front the Phoenix goes to my DAC. But I am wondering if in this setup the Zenith Mk3 was replaced by an i7 Intel NUC with 16GB RAM, 250 GB SSD and an external power supply with USB output to the Phoenix, how would this compare to my current setup in terms of the various parameters of SQ and ability to process DSD. Thanks.

That setup is not separating Core and Output. The Zenith is being used as both Core and Output. In order to separate Core from Output you either need a Roon Ready device or a network endpoint running Roon Bridge. If you used the NUC then the signal path would be as follows (assuming music files stored on USB or a further internal SSD on the NUC):

NUC (Core) >>> Ethernet >>> Router/Switch >>> Ethernet >>> Endpoint Device (Output) >>> USB >>> Phoenix >>> USB >>> DAC.

I don’t know if there will be any SQ difference, haven’t heard the setups to compare. The NUC should handle up to DSD 512 , but probably not noiselessly. The idea is to put the NUC in another room near your Router and just use the low footprint network endpoint device near your system.

I use a Sonore microRendu as a network endpoint device, it has Roon Ready and HQP NAA software.

You will notice that with this topology the NUC is in another room. So why use a NUC ? You can probably build a server in a larger case for less cost but the NUC can run ROCK. I use a server running Linux because it also runs HQP.

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Hi Andrew. I see what you mean. In the above example I would be using Roon Advanced Audio Transport. But I see what you are getting at. I can construct that system you referred to above. But I don’t need to put the NUC in another room do I? I am running an Eero Pro 6 mesh network. I can set up the following in my listening room NUC >Ethernet> SOtM SH-10G network switch connected via Ethernet to an Eero Pro 6 mesh network router >Ethernet> Sonore UltraRendu > USB> Innuos Phoenix> USB> DAC > etc. With this setup would any noice from the NUC be removed by the system between the NUC and the DAC? Essentially what I am wondering if I can have the same level of performance with a properly configured NUC and sell my Zenith. Is the Zenith overkill?

John Darko is based in Berlin, so I would imagine it is pretty cold there.
It was pretty cold in Ireland these past two weeks, with a bitter wind from the East

Is John Darko trying to make good again after pre-announcing the v1.8 release date?

Don’t think so, he has been a Roon fan for many years.
He does show the native Tidal app and direct device connection, plus Spotify and Spotify Connect. He does not cover the manufacturers individual applications, preferring Roon.
He has a Nucleus, but is now demonstrating that a NUC and ROCK is a pen equivalent path.

On the upside, we can now argue that installing ROCK is easy because even Darko managed.