Nucleus Plus Queries

I’m considering purchasing Roon Nucelus Plus, but have a few questions. I wonder if anyone can help.

To provide some context, let me describe my current setup. I have a PC (Windows 10) in my study where I rip CDs and download albums, etc which are imported into JRiver. It has excellent facilities for editing metadata, providing better resolution album covers and the like and is an interface with which I’m familiar. I have a backup script (using SyncBackPro) which runs in the small wee hours and makes a backup of all newly added albums (not the same as the database backup in JRiver).

Usually once a day another SyncBack Pro script copies all new albums over the network to external drives connected to my hi-if laptop (Windows 10) connected to the laptop via a USB 3 hub, which is located in my music room, also running JRiver which imports those albums in due course, and which I can play using JRemote on my iPad. The laptop is connected to a Chord DAVE, etc. This is an arrangement which I’ve used for a few years now, and it works very well.

If I were to change my hi-if laptop for Roon and the Nucleus plus some issues arise.

(1) I think it’s correct that my existing external drives could connect via the USB hub to one of the USB inputs on the Nucleus and Roon would import all the albums.

(2) I have a lot of albums - about 41,000 – which will far exceed 300,000 files and I understand that it would be wise to ask whomever I purchase the Nucleus Plus from to add a further 8 gigs of memory (16 in total).

(3) I tried Roon about four to five years ago, installed on my laptop. I liked some things but found others problematic, specifically that it overrode the metadata tags so that a significant number of albums came out wrong after the import. As I mentioned, I check and edit these on JRiver up in my study before transferring the files to the external drives downstairs and I want to keep the metadata details – all standard tags. I have quite a few albums that are not commercially available, such as off-air recordings and vinyl rips of albums that never made it to CD. Roon made its own (incorrect) interpretation of what some these were which was rather annoying. There are enough for me not to want to have to edit the details again using Roon – I would like it to leave them alone.

(4) I would like to retain my current system of using JRiver on my study PC to edit metadata before using a script to transfer them over the network to the external drives attached to the Nucleus. Alternatively, I would be prepared to install Roon on my study PC in place of JRiver (would I need an additional licence?), import and edit all new files using Roon and then transfer them to the Nucleus drives over the network with a script. I appreciate that were I to do that there would be no “mismanagement” issues with new albums, but it’s more my existing, large collection that concerns me.

Apologies for the length of this post but Roon and Nucleus plus would be a substantial investment and I want to make sure I can accommodate the above.

  1. Your external drives should work fine with the Nucleus. If it was me I’d install a 4TB SSD. That should fit all your files.

  2. I have read similar information concerning additional memory for large libraries.

  3. Roon is designed to try to identify your albums. If it can’t it will make a best guess which will probably be wrong. Under Settings/Library/Import Settings you can force Roon to prioritize your metadata and tags over Roon’s database. Having said that, Roon will get things wrong and you will need to manually repair many of your albums especially with a library that big.

  4. The Roon Core is installed on the Nucleus. Roon remotes are used to manage the Core which includes the ability to edit your library wherever that is located. You can install as many remotes as you need. For instance, I have the remote on a PC in my office, on my IPad, and on my IPhone. Like you I do most data management from my PC because it’s easier. Then I use my phone or IPad to select and play music in my music room or other locations around the house. When I rip a CD I rip it directly from my PC to my Nucleus using dBpoweramp. However, if I download an album, I’ll download it to my PC then copy it to the Nucleus. I have all my music backed up on USB drives connected to my PC and I use ViceVersa Pro to keep the music backed up.

I think the bottom line is, the only way to know if Roon will work for you and your large library is to try it for yourself. I would take advantage of the trial offer and install Roon on your PC. It should run as well on your PC as it does on a Nucleus +. If it works that way, then you can invest in the Nucleus + and hopefully it will work just as well.

Many thanks for your input, David.

A couple of points – I’m afraid 4TB wouldn’t be anything like enough for my 41,000 albums. The collection currently takes up several times that space. This is the reason I could never go down the Innuos route, even with the largest internal drives their units wouldn’t be able to hold my music collection.

Yes, I see the logic of installing a trial version of Roon on my PC and seeing how it deals with the import process and how much I would have to change. Rather than import my whole collection I could just choose part of it and see how that goes.

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Definitely a sensible idea. If you point it at your whole collection there will be a lot of whirring and steam until it all gets digested. Another thing you can do to speed up import (before you start) is to turn off background audio analysis.

Hi @Colin_Green1

Your system pretty well mirrors mine (I even use SyncBack Pro !!) except my content is quite a bit smaller , around 7000 albums, 180,000 tracks. I run mine on a bog std PC tower Windows 10 , i7 7700, 16 Gb RAM 2x 4Tb data drives .

Firstly JRiver and Roon can co-exist and “play nicely” together. I run my main PC with both servers active at all times without any clashes. My video and audio runs through JRiver , and audio only through Roon. I use both systems.

Copying between the study and the Hi Fi laptop would mean either 2 Roon licenses or messily swapping where the license “lived” (ie on the study PC while you are maintaining or the HiFi laptop while you are listening – Not Ideal). Roon allows only one one Core per license so the Main PC would be the Core the laptop an “End Point”. Its important to understand Roon architecture before moving on.

Setting up a Core/End Point system would work equally well for JRiver . That’s how mine is set up .Add to that you have only one set of drives to maintain and backup not 2 as you have at present. I would do that first ,once settled with JRiver the Roon transition would be trivial

The Nucleus is a big investment , my initial suggestion would be to install Roon on your Study PC . You can get a 2 weeks trial and convert to a monthly Subscription until you have evaluated, 2 weeks will hardly get the system up and running on your number of files …

Roon is similar to JRiver in the sense of Zones , the main PC (study in your case) holds the data files and library and connects to the network . As in DLNA where you have “Renderers” , Roon has “End Points”. My suggestion would be to use the study PC as the core / server , and the main library point of both JRiver & Roon

Your Hi Fi laptop can be set up to see both the networked JRiver library (Media Server) and the Roon library assuming they are both on the same network. I had originally a small laptop doing exactly this , connected to my AV Amp and TV before I moved to a networked dedicated streamers (audio & video) set up.

The Library PC (Core) and Renderer (End Point) is the same principal in both JRiver and Roon, the only difference is the transfer protocol (DLNA vs RAAT).

Clear as mud so far ?

Firstly once you import your Files, Roon will set off to analyze the files for audio content to enable volume levelling etc . This will take days in your case.

Roon starts by Identifying your albums against 2 online data sources AllMusic / Tivo or MusicBrainz , if it can’t find a match it designates as Unidentified. The big thing to be aware of is that Roon does NOT ALTER your files in anyway. Any metadata you have groomed in JRiver is left alone, it may be ignored by Roon but it is unaltered. You can set import settings to prefer your metadata over Roons (If you are that confident !!). Obscure cotent will lead to lots of unidentified albums (eg Bootlegs, old vinyl)

Enough to chew on ?

I have done exactly what you are planning to do except without the Nucleus. The Nucleus would in Roon terms replace your study PC as the SERVER not as an end point thats the prime design of the Nucleus.

Running a Nucleus as an end point would be a big maintenance load. The Nucleus can take external USB drives as input if that is how you want to run. Also your study PC would become almost redundant. I am not sure if you would be able to copy to a Nucleus attached Drive across the network (I suspect yes)

Rather than bog down the forum , I am quite happy if you PM me if you want to move this way and guide you through. It sounds like you have sufficient kit to set up the prototype now without losing JRiver functionality as you add Roon to it

Good Luck

No disrespect to roon labs, but nucleus is not a magic bullet solution. It seems made for people who don’t know much about this stuff or don’t want to be bothered and just want an appliance that works. And it fills that niche nicely.

You, on the other hand, seem to know about this stuff and aren’t bothered by being bothered. And you seem to be Windows oriented.

So, you can run Roon Widows Server on a big honkin’ i7 PC with megagobs of RAM and TBs of direct attached storage (highly recommended v NAS) and Roon remote/endpoint on just about anything, including Windows laptops, small form factor PCs or whatever, even a Celeron or Pentium, and save a lot of money in the process.

P.S. I moved on from jriver and now run roon on a similar setup (with a much much smaller library), and never looked back. But, if you don’t use streaming integrated into roon and only want local library playback, jriver is probably all you need. What problem are you wanting to solve?

P.P.S. If you are obsessive about curating metadata, you will probably not like roon v jriver. I used to be obsessive about it. Now, I’m old, don’t care any more, and roon is close enough for rock and roll as the saying goes. If you have a lot of out-of-mainstream recordings without any internet database metadata, roon might be frustrating.

Thanks for all the replies. After reading them I wonder if I should be more bothered about being bothered!
I may have misunderstood, but are you suggesting that I run JRiver or Roon from my PC, which is in a different room from my hi-fi, with playback etc controlled from my iPad? In that case, how would I get music into the USB input on my DAC?
I don’t bother with Internet streaming services as my experience is that local file playback is of superior quality and given the size of my collection I don’t need the extra resource. (It’s great for others though.)

As to the problem I’m staying to solve, that’s a good question. I’d like to feed my DAC from something other than a laptop while still using JRiver if possible due to my having an established database of music in a format JRiver understands. The several comments made in response to my enquiry have got me thinking about overall architecture, however.

Sorry, but why? Any windows pc with usb out can feed any dac from roon or jriver bit perfect.

You could also buy way more expensive roon ready streamers that can do that. Or an RPi in various configurations for next to nothing.

Honestly, though, if you don’t care about streaming jriver is all you need. You give up roon’s nicer user interface and live/real time internet database metadata integration, but it doesn’t sound like you need that. Jriver can already get (some) internet metadata and embed it in your files that it recognizes.

Based on your use case, not sure what roon brings to the party.

For me, streaming integration, RAAT protocol, metadata, deep dive into linked album/artist/writer/producer linked metadata for discovery is very much worth it.

The route is simply

1 – Study PC (JRiver/Roon Running in Server Mode) > Network (Ethernet) > Router
2 – Router > Ethernet to the Hi Fi Room
3 – Hi Fi Room Laptop (I assume Windows ?) Running Roon or JRiver in Client Mode>
4 – USB > DAC

Install on your iPad (I think you have one ) either Roon Remote or JRemote and you have “armchair control” using the iPad. Both from iStore.

That’s the simple DLNA or Roon Server / End Point / Control point Model as per the architecture above. In this Roon & JRiver are identical structures.

You will note Ethernet , both Roon and JRiver can be quite demanding on Hi Res content so much so that WiFI can be a bit doubtful and may lead to dropouts, better to go the Ethernet route. It sounds like you already have it.

If you want to go away from a laptop in the Hifi Room , consider a Raspberry Pi running RoPieee XL in pace of the laptop (ie < $100 end point) then USB to your DAC

RoPieee is a cut down Linux OS , written and supported by a Roon Community member (@spockfish ) and in its XL version supports RAAT (ie Roon) and DLNA (ie JRiver)

This is the set up I have used for several years with no issues whatsoever. I have an “expensive” streamer , a Cambridge Audio CXN, which is DLNA only , I cannot tell the difference. (Caveat I am 70 !! my golden ears are well gone).

To me you can experiment with what you have for zero cost and when happy buy a RPi add RoPieee and get a solution for under a $100 . Roon or JRiver.

If you don’t go Roon and stay JRiver nothing is lost !! JRiver even offer a version on an SD card to allow a simple Plug and Play in an RPI (see IDPi on Interact)

Clear as clear MUD , honestly it is extremely simple , plug and play :nerd_face:

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