Looking to purchase Nucleus+ equipment

Season greetings! New to the forum.
I am potentially looking to purchase Nucleus+ equipment trying to figure out how it connects to Zidoo Neo Alpha or if what I need is something else instead.
I am no Audio expert but enjoy listening to music, I think it sounds good enough now.
Using Zidoo mainly to connect to home theater 7.1 speaker setup with main tower speakers in Stereo (Analog)

Currently Roon Core/Server is on Desktop PC. 10900XE and been streaming Wireless to Zidoo Neo Alpha when playing Offline Library or Online Streaming (Tidal). I think I am getting the highest possible signal paths already and the only problem is Desktop needs to be On.

My idea is to have a standalone Roon Core/Server so that I am able to still listen to music through phones/tablets and zidoo with main tower speakers without having the need to turn on the desktop. (Hoping to migrate PC to Standalone Roon Device)
What I think I know:
Here is what I am trying to figure out, after watching youtube, reading other forums I gather Nucleus+ is best connected directly to endpoint (I am guessing endpoint is Zidoo Neo Alpha?) for best quality sound even though I doubt I can hear a difference but if need to spend $2000 I would like to achieve that best possible sound.
I did also check Roon Rock solutions, this device can sit in the server room where it is more noisy.
But would like to have a better high end equipment, checked out the Innuos Zenith MK3 but seems like this is a endpoint when connected to a standalone dac (I think thats what the zidoo is for as a all in one, roon ready, built in dac ES9038Pro etc)

Questions:

  1. Is what I need a nucleus+ or something else?
  2. If so, cant figure out how Nucleus+ connect directly to Zidoo Neo Alpha?
  • The USB Dac port to me seems its used for connecting a external Dac (I am not sure if this is the port that a Roon device can connect to or the correct way?)
  • Only 1 ethernet cable which will be connecting to switch?)
  • There is 2 USB 3.0 ports at the back which one of them I use for external HDD.

Thank you in advance!

Hardware setup.
Unifi UDM Pro + PoE switch + AP points
Desktop connected by ethernet to switch
Zidoo currently connects by Wireless-5GHZ (Can connect to switch by ethernet, need to run a 20m long ethernet cable)

  • Zidoo connected balanced XLR to Marantz 8805A
  • Marantz XLR connected to AMP L/R
  • Main Towers connected to AMP L/R RCA

Welcome to the Roon community, @Dawn.

If you require an always-on Roon Server, the Nucleus will do this for you. However, it will not improve the sound in any way, since the Zidoo is a Roon Ready network player and not connected directly to the server.

The optimum setup is to have both Roon Server and the Zidoo connected to your network using Ethernet cables via the router or an unmanaged switch. Avoid Wi-Fi if you can.

It would be really helpful if you mentioned your library size, whether you use DSP, and if there are other endpoints in use. Likewise, a screenshot of the current signal path would be useful.

Thank you sir for response.

I can opt for a alternate solution if in terms of sound quality will not make a difference such as Roon Rock setup?

For DSP I actually dont know what that is until I googled it just now. I guess 1 headphone with ibasso DC04pro dac that I use with Oppo android phone or maybe on the ipad (havent used this yet with headphone but have used it with Roon) these are the only devices that has Roon apps installed.
All other audio, visual equipments connecting to Pre-amp Marantz.
I have Oppo 203 but not used at all for Roon.

With regards to unmanaged switch, I am using a Unifi POE switch (US 16 POE 150W) not sure if that is unmanaged?
Only Desktop and Unifi AP’s are connected to the switch with 1000 (Mbps) ethernet cables.
Additionally since anything I add to the switch it automatically detects and setup example sometimes I connect zidoo to transfers files quickly instead of wifi.
The switch is then connected to UDM Pro, the UDM pro connects to the modem (Huawei Fiber Optic, I cant change any settings in this which is supplied by the ISP)

Library size, everything is on my desktop now but as of now less than 1tb roughly 10000 songs.
But will be expanding it at least double.

On the Zidoo for example DSD I see DSD62 2CH 1bi 2.82mhz.

Again, thank you for taking your time.

Here is some screenshot of the paths:





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You can accomplish what you want with a Roon Nucleus, Nucleus+, NUC, Mac Mini, or many other third party computer devices. Simply connect the Roon server device (it’s a computer) to your router or non-managed switch using ethernet and off you go. There should be no difference in SQ.

Thank you Jim. Basically get a standalone roon server device (doesnt even have to be fancy), connect directly to router (UDM Pro). Where I stay theres people who sells fairly inexpensive Roon Rock ready devices (300 USD gstarting about depending the specs)

Also, just on another quick topic the HDDs just plug to USB of this Roon device and work as if on a normal PC, Sound right?

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@Martin_Webster has the right advice. Ethernet to both the Server machine and the Zidoo box. Roon will take care of everything else.

You don’t need a Nucleus as the server box; any small computer will do – mini PC, even a Mac Mini. Doesn’t even have to be ROCK – you can run Windows or macOS or (my preference) Linux, and then just run Roon Server on that.

Yes, plug your HDD directly into the Roon server.

It usually works best if your Roon end-points are connected by ethernet, but many times, WIFI works just fine. I use WIFI to my main listening room with never a problem.

Great, thanks for everyones advice.
This will be easier kind of what I had originally but other seller was telling me about their DIY roon devices. Supposedly give better sounds which is what got me thinking as well advising to connect directly to Zidoo. Since been trying to figure how that would work but couldnt find how a zidoo connects to a Nucleus.

Its nice looking equipment but if its gonna sit in the server room where its not gonna be seen and making no sound difference. Then I can just go with one of the Nuc ready devices.




Ok thats good to know as well, so far I have almost no issues with the desktop setup Wifi mode. Only Roon Arc which I couldnt get to work only with Teleport VPN.
Also it just be myself using one zone at a time.
The only times due to where I stay have connections issues and online streaming Tidal may cut out but never problems with offline library.

Will figure out how to run the cables directly from zidoo to the router instead of switch then.
Same with the Roon device will just sit there by the server room connected to router.

Just to clarify, your Roon server needs to be connected by ethernet either to your router or a switch. Your end-points can be ethernet or WIFI if you have a good WIFI signal.

And, of course, you can connect a DAC directly by USB or HDMI from your Roon server.

A NUC running ROCK will work for you, as will other flavours of OS including Linux, macOS, and Windows. It all depends on your knowledge of a particular OS and whether you want to tinker. I run Roon on Ubuntu Server 22.04 along with other services including Plex and CCTV.

Since you have a server room, put Roon server there, and use hardware you already have if there’s capacity. Building a dedicated server won’t bring any audio benefit, since the audio transport (RAAT) is designed to give the best experience over Ethernet.

Regarding HDD, my preference when running ROCK is to use an external USB drive, as copying and keeping music up-to-date over a Samba share isn’t a great experience. If you opt for an OS that’s not locked down like ROCK, you can use rsync or similar apps. Oh. and a spinning disk is absolutely fine for media files, especially since it will be placed out of earshot.

Well, you know, a lot of folks just like to tinker with their setup and then convince themselves it sounds better. Whether or not the tinkered system sounds better to anyone else is something else altogether. :rofl:

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