Merging+player - experience - is it future proof

I have an opportunity to but a Merging+player second hand. I have a number of questions that some of your owners might be able to answer:

Firstly, can the computer built into the DAC work with ROON 1.8 and will it continue to be updated?

Second question: Will it be possible to upgrade the computer built into the player when it becomes too small to run ROON?

Thirdly, is there any restrictions on the sound formats the player can access on a USB harddisk linked directly to the player?

Fourthly, is it possible to have the Roon core on an iMac instead and then stream the music from the computer to the Merging+player (this would make any problem with the inbuilt computer mood.) Will there be any restrictions in terms of sound format. It looks like from your guide that Roon can perform at DSD256 through core audio - while HQplayer only can perform at DSD128 through core audio - why is there this difference?

Finally, are there any limitations on the drivers on apple computers - I have a new iMac with latest firmware. Can I expect the coreaudio drivers to work and if not - how can I be sure that I can actually use a computer as a Roon core to play music from the Merging+player in the future?

As you can see my concern really is about the future durability of the concept of Merging+player. If the computer inside the player becomes too small to play Roon it is crucial that one can use a computer as the Roon core and then comes the question of drivers. How can I be sure that the drivers are updated in the next ten years?

Those are questions for Merging, not Roon.

It will play standard DSD and PCM but has no decoders for compressed formats like DD or dts.


10 years? Nothing is assured. OTOH, since we are talking about relatively standard interface protocols, it is likely that there will be continued compatibility but I would not bet on it for any devices.

Thanks so much KaI for your answers - just one detail. Are the any limits of the specs of DSD and PCM via usb or is it similar to the specs through ethernet?

I understand that there is no guarantee you know. On the other hand, unless you are super rich a player like this is not something you change every five years. But of course it is possible to buy a computer and run windows 10 for the next decade and thus still be able to use the DAC of the Merging+player for a long time…

Not that I know of. However, I prefer to use the ethernet even with an external computer as a streaming source since that is the NADAC’s native mode. The inbuilt i3 that came in the model I reviewed was a relative processing wimp compared to my external PC-based streamer.

Exactly! (Although, it may be Windows 21 by then.)

That’s an interesting box. I see that Merging will tell you how many pixels the front display has, but not what kind of CPU is inside the +Player. Update: Stereophile says the PL8 has an i3, and that it “could benefit from more horsepower”.

You should note that the USB ports on the back of the player are “downstream” ports, which means you can’t stream music to it from another computer or Raspberry Pi via those ports. (DACs that support USB inputs have “upstream” ports, typically with type B connectors.) However, you can still use the AES and S/PDIF inputs from another streamer which supports them.

Roon’s website says the +Player is “Roon Ready”. Merging says it runs the Roon Core. Does that mean that any box running the Core is also “Roon Ready”? Or does it mean that even when not running the Roon Core in the +Player, it’s still Roon Ready and accessible over the network? That would make it pretty future-proof.

In any case, the box supports AES67, designed to work over networks. You’d install the Ravenna Virtual Audio Device on a standard computer like the Mac, Roon running on the Mac would see it as just another audio device, and you’d play music to it, which would be transported via AES67 to the +Player for playing.

All in all, very future-proof, I’d say.

Thanks Bill. I agree. I think the merging+player can work with a computer that host ROON core and stream the music to the DAC. However, it would be nice if Merging actually opened the option that one could upgrade the NUC inside the merging+player to make sure it works well with ROON also in the future.

Yeah, but now I want to go out and get myself an AES67 DAC! :slight_smile:

Well, there’s the NADAC (w/o player), the HAPI and the Anubis.

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I have a Hapi (as an 8-channel audio interface) and it excels as both an ADC and DAC. The Anubis is reputedly an outstanding ADC and DAC too. Both are available in standard (up to 192k PCM) and premium (DXD/DSD256) versions/configurations. I have the latest “Anubis” tech. 192k AD/DA card in my Hapi and it’s damn good.

Also, these “pro” units don’t have the mark-up/margin as retail “Hi-Fi” units, so are a comparative bargain. Need a bit of knowledge to set them up though.

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