NUC running ROCK - still need to use laptop for bridge

Hi Thinking of putting together a NUC/ ROCK system for HQPlayer and ROON.

If I start with a Intel NUC NUC7i7BNH - add storage and RAM, then install ROCk, do I still need to use my laptop to extend the audio to an endpoint (Bridge extender?).

Thank you,


You can drive a DAC directly from the NUC with USB.
Using a network link is considered to give better sound quality. How big the difference is probably depends on the equipment. In my system, I have both a network connection and a USB connection to my Meridian 818 and I don’t notice a difference.

If you want to do a network connection, you can get various small and cheap devices.

You will still need a computer on which to run HQPlayer. The only software running on the Nuc will be ROCK.

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Dumb question: My ROCK is on one side of the house, my audio system on the other. If I were to connect a USB Rock near my Rock, can one run the analog signal output the length of the house?

If I should ever want a USB DAC, I’d have to physically move the Rock close to my system, right? And higher levels of DSD are only possible by USB, yes?
ugh…I think I messed up.

But, instead of hooking it into the Rock, I could buy another Pi with USB outs and do it that way. Thinking as I go…

Exactly. Network connection lets you go long distance, even WiFi works.
You can get a Pi or a MicroRendu or something.
DSD works over the network, depending on the endpoint.

Once you network your hifi, unexpected advantages appear.
Most here recommend it.
USB cable straight out of the server is easiest and cheapest, but I prefer networking.

For a USB-out Roon endpoint, DietPi with RoonBridge running on an USBridge is an economical solution that performs well above its price compared with other offerings in my experience. For S/PDIF output two interesting economical options are the Allo DigiOne Player or an off-the-shelf P2 with a Pi 2 Designs 502DAC board (which has an onboard DAC but also provides well-clocked, low noise S/PDIF and AES/EBU).

Hmmm - right now both are running on my laptop and Roon is the stable one. HQPlayer keeps freezing.

I have the ultra Rendu sips that should work networked from the NUC right?

Do you really need HQPlayer?

Yes, I appreciate the sound.

Yes, the ultraRendu should work well networked to the NUC. I don’t have one, but I used to have microRendus, and they are really easy to configure for Roon with Roon Core on a NUC.

I have a Nuc with ROCK in my office, connected via WiFi to my network. My audio system is in my living room, UltraRendu connected via Ethernet to my router. Everything functions as it should, including Roon DSP, both Convolution filters and upsampling to DSD 256.

Since ROCK is a complete operating system intended just for Roon, there’s no way to run HQPlayer and ROCK on the same machine (at least that I’m aware of). I have requested this ability from the Roon team, as it makes a lot of sense if you’re running a dedicated Nuc.

It doesn’t make sense though. If the purpose of ROCK is to be a self contained headless device with no GUI then it doesn’t make sense to add a third party’s code, especially when my understanding is that code requires a GUI, or it did when I was using it. The only way to maintain the integrity of ROCK is to run two machines. And you would need to spend the money on/put the effort in to the machine running HQPlayer, not limiting yourself to a dual core NUC.

Except that a Nuc is seriously under utilized running just ROCK. There’s plenty of processing power available to run HQP as well.

Rock has been developed and released as a robust and easily supportable os, HQP would complicate that and defeat Rock’s purpose.

I really think you’re missing the point. One can choose to run Roon + HQP on any other computer, together, and most likely not as a dedicated music “server”. The ability to do the same on a Nuc with ROCK and HQP would be similar, but better as the machine would be dedicated to music playback unlike (as an example), running Roon and HQP on a Mac Mini.

You may feel differently, and that’s fine, but I think Roon is missing an opportunity.

ROCK is not a computer.
It’s an audio server appliance.
Intended to be as reliable as consumer electronics, which rules out installing third party software.

The fact that it contains computer technology is irrelevant. So does a car, and a sewing machine.


ROCK is an operating system, installed on a computer. Nothing wrong with having more than one technology on the same platform. For example, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are installed in a car which has it’s own operating system. I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.

Its a closed ecostructure. Just install the linux distro of choice on your nuc, install roon bridge and hqplayer and off you go.

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Extensive studies of corporate PCs, which do install lots of third party software, shows that the total cost of ownership vastly outstrips the cost of the machine.