I want to setup the NAA on a Mac mini BUT I cannot find the software to install on the Mac OS.
(Because I am using a FireWire interface as DAC while Macmini can be my only choice which have the FireWire port.)
Then… the NAA app acts like a Roon endpoint like Roon Bridge did?
(Select NetworkAudioAdapter from the HQPlayer Backend dropdown)
So, can I ask, because I truly want to know, and I love to learn about the best way to do these things: Does this improve the sound quality over using Roon Bridge?
If so, why?
EDIT: I did it, and it seems to work just fine. (Did it to both of my mini’s that are running roon bridge.)
It sounds great, sure, but I can’t really tell if it’s better. I’m really not going back and forth testing and whatnot. But I might do that at some point. Or not. I tend to hate the fact that I never have revelatory audio experiences like some of you, where a cable changes your life, or whatever.
Just curious tho, why this might/should sound/work better than using Roon Bridge.
Roon Bridge enables you to send a signal over Ethernet using RAAT from a Roon Core to the device running Roon Bridge, which is now a Roon endpoint.
When you install HQPlayer and select the HQPlayer Zone in Roon then HQPlayer handles output, not Roon.
NAA enables you to send a signal over Ethernet from a computer running HQPlayer Desktop or Embedded to the device on which the NAA is installed. You configure output to that device in HQPlayer, not Roon.
The Roon Signal Path should show what is happening. Post a screenshot of it if you’d like the Community to assist further.
Can you tell us a bit more about your system, describing specifications:
What computer are you using as your Roon Core ?
What computer are you using to run HQPlayer ?
What device is running NAA ?
How is your DAC connected to the NAA device ?
What DAC are you using ? What resolution inputs can it take ?
Whole point of using HQPlayer is to use it’s upsampling algorithms. That is where most of the sound-quality argument comes from.
NAA has it’s own logic why, the amount of effect is also system dependent. But in addition, functionally it allows one to keep HQPlayer server in a separate room so things like loud fans is not an issue if it is located somewhere else than listening space. NAA itself is very lean and can run on a very low power hardware.
It doesn’t make much difference on HQPlayer computer side load. But it makes possible to have very light device between network and the DAC (if not built straight into the DAC).
NAS to handle backups of music files. (I only have 500 CDs that I’ve ripped to FLAC. I don’t need a dozen Terabytes. Tidal/Qobuz for most of it.)
I have two audio systems. One in my den/office. One in the living room. I know all DACs can handle DSD, but I basically only upsample to 176.4/192 PCM. I don’t bother with DSD, as I don’t think my systems are resolving enough to care.
Both systems use a mac mini as the server. (I decommissioned them from business use, so they were just sitting around with no other purpose.) Previously I used Roon Bridge. Now they run NAA. And both also run HQPlayer. (I think this was the bit that the forum member called “bass-ackwards”. That HQPlayer should run on the core. But I actually DM’d Jussi a while back about this, and he said either way is fine. He mentioned NAA was also an option, which is why I’m in this thread!)
Mac mini (same specs as Core)
Mini > USB into X-SPDIF 2 > AES/EBU into Topping D70 (Tried its I2S interface from the X-SPDIF 2, but it’s incompatible. I also have a TEAC UD-501, and if I use that, I’ll go either optical or coax from the X-SPDIF 2.)
Audiolab 8000A integrated amplifier
Harbeth P3ESR 40th Anniversary speakers
USB in: 44.1 kHz – 768 kHz / 16 Bit – 32 Bit; DSD64–DSD512(Native); DSD64–DSD256 (Dop)
If the Mac Mini fans don’t get very loud (likely with 192k upsampling they won’t), you can use HQPlayer on these.
Let’s say you would get an i9-10900K server to run DSD256 upsampling in HQPlayer using ASDM7EC modulator for your DACs, then running NAA on those Mac Minis would certainly sense. Instead of building two quiet i9-10900K servers…
For comparison you could also try to boot my NAA image from USB memory stick on the endpoint Mac Mini and run HQPlayer on the Core computer. This would make a drastic change on what runs on the endpoint Mini. But doesn’t touch your current installations on those endpoints.
One question I have is if I run HQPlayer on the Roon server, how do I point HQPlayer to two separate devices? Not that they’d be playing at the same time, but isn’t HQP only able to specify a single one of them?
For what it’s worth, I NEVER hear the fans or the drives on the macs. The living room mini is in a separate closet, so it’s a non factor. But I don’t hear the one in the office, either, and that one sits on the same shelving as the other equipment.
Yes, you’d need to switch the selected output device in HQPlayer Preferences.
The one I had tended to get a bit loud under constant ~90% CPU load. Not as loud as my new i9-9900K iMac though which sounds like a hair dryer under HQPlayer loads and under heavier graphics (100% CPU + GPU) loads like a vacuum cleaner…