Planning RoonRock Headphone Setup. Questions inside!

Hello there,

I’m planning a headphone setup. Depending on which room I will choose for that, the setup might include a Roon setup.

So my request to you guys would be to check if there is any flaw in my signal chain. Furthermore I have some more questions regarding RoonRock.

  1. When installing RoonRock on a NUC do I need another “RoonReady” Streamer or can I directly connect a DAC/Amp to my RoonRock NUC? In other words: is the NUC becoming a Roon Server only or can it also be used as “Player”?

  2. Planned Roon-Chain:

Router → wired into NUC8i7 with RoonRock installed → via USB into RME ADI 2 FS → Headphones

  1. Would wireless be an option too for mentioned signal chain above? Is it supported by RoonRock?

  2. Would SQ improve by adding a RoonReady Streamer (e.g. Bluesound Node 2i) in between the NUC and the DAC?

Thanks in advance!

Hi @Marc_Born and welcome to the Roon forum. I’ll see if I can help.

There’s no need for a streamer or endpoint, a core and a USB DAC should work.

Your RME device is USB or SPDIF in only so you’ll need a streamer to go networked, whether wired or wireless. Without another device USB is the only option.

A Bluesound might be a good choice, as stated above it would allow a networked connection. They’re not too pricey and plenty of folk seem happy with them. A Raspberry Pi with an SPDIF board would be cheaper and will perform as well. Using a network setup may improve sound quality but only if the DAC’s USB interface is badly implemented. I doubt that’s the case, it looks quite well thought out.


Hey Carl,

thanks for elaborating! That helped a lot. So it comes down to personal preference since both options seem viable.

From what I was reading around the net I thought the NUC out via USB is electrically more noisy than ethernet or wireless via a streamer. That’s why I was asking.

One of your statements remains unclear to me. If the NUC is connected via ethernet to the router and via USB to the DAC I wouldn’t need a streamer anymore, would I?
So it’s either NUC OR streamer, but NUC AND streamer are not necessary in any case, right?


That’s possible, USB can be affected, but the DAC should be able to reject/handle the noise, it’s not a problem with competently made kit in real life. Put another way if the DAC manufacturer can’t handle noise from USB/ethernet/SPDIF inputs I’d not trust them to do so elsewhere in the unit.

You’ll always need the NUC as it’s your core. To use the streamer you’d disconnect the DAC from the NUC via USB and plug it into the streamer via SPDIF. NUC and streamer communicate over the network. So instead of NUC --USB--> DAC it becomes NUC--ethernet-->STREAMER---SPDIF--->DAC.

I hope that helps.

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Carl is correct that the noise might be there in the NUC but you don’t really hear it.

I was going to buy the RME DAC that you have until I saw that the Matrix audio mini-i 3 pro was Roon ready so it was an all in one streamer headphone amp for me, but truth be told the RME would have been as good (if not better) if fed from the NUC or the Pi that I had there as well with SPDIF out. There was only a small amount of difference between any of them. Though I used a decent Audioquest cinnamon USB cable and a Audioquest Jitterbug out of the NUC, which seemed to improve the quality (or in my mind).

There is no harm in trying it and see if you like it or not, and then trying an alternative solution. That is the one thing about this community is that there are many ways to do everything


Thanks both of you @Michael_Harris and @killdozer .

I got you now and got all the answers I was looking for. Since I now fully understand the options I need to make up my mind on which system I prefer (streamer vs Roon).Thanks a lot!

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