ROCK from inside-tech

I am considering a pre-built Fanless ROCK Music Server - NUC7i3DNBE or NUC7i7DNBE in an Akasa x7D case from Inside-Tech.

(It will replace a MacBook Pro 16GB running Roon Core that’s located in a a large listening room connected to a Sonicore Orbiter to an Audiolab M-DAC+…Marantz AV7010, Audiolab MB8300 power amps, Focal Arias).

I have a couple of questions:

  1. Will this provide the better, quieter listening experience I am looking for? The fan on the Mac is deeply unsettling and I’ve outgrown having a computer doing more than one thing and interfering with music. I want an always on solution.

  2. The DAC is USB - is there any merit in keeping the Sonicore Orbiter in the chain as an endpoint? Or can it can be deployed to another Zone in the house and the new quieter dedicated ROCK be connected direct without losing any sound advantages?

  3. Can I have the benefit of switching between the USB-DAC and the HDMI on the NUC Rock to the AV Receiver for the odd occasion I want Multichannel? Is there any?

  4. My impulse is to always buy bigger and faster but my library is exclusively TIDAL - and is a mere 20K tracks, 1500 albums. I am told by the Vendor that even with some DSP upsampling and running a couple of zones, I don’t need the i7 spec. It would be overkill.

Any feedback welcome.

Yes it will be quieter it’s fanless so silent.

It’s still Roons recommended setup to have core separated from endpoints, but you have two options now so try which one your happier with sq wise. If your happy with the ROCK stick to it.

Yes I do this on my ROCK. Not that I have 5.1 music but it stops me from changing it over to the two channel setup and I’m future proofed. You just add it as well as usb but give it a different name and it becomes another zone.

Get the i7 you never now what’s round the corner and your future proofed. I didn’t think I needed an i7 but then now I am using DSP a lot on different endpoints so glad I did.


Any reason not to just move the RoonCore to a different room. I keep mine in the basement where it can be as loud as it wants to be without bothering anyone’s listening enjoyment.

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  1. It will be totally silent. After I fitted a spinning disk to a silent NUC I went out and bought a SSD. Silence is compelling and addictive.
  2. You can go either way here. I’d try and see what the best fit is for you.
  3. You can have them both connected at the same time and switch between them whenever you want to. A dedicated machine gives you that option.
  4. Tread the middle ground and go for an i5. There is a possibility that even though it will ‘work’ your silent case isn’t certified to cool an i7.
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I bought the i7 model from Inside Tech a couple of months ago. Run my files on a separate Synology Nas.
It is totally silent as others predict above. Just a blue light that shows it’s on. I leave it running 24/7. Only time the case got warm was when it was doing the initial cataloging of my music. I have it connected to Sonos end points in part of the house, a Google Chrome Audio as a bedside device with headphones plugged in directly to the Chrome Audio, and finally an Allo Digione Signature into a Marantz HD-DAC1 as a headphone listening station in the living room.
It’s been absolutely fine running ROCK. My thinking at the time of purchase was the same as yours - go for bigger/faster processor to try to future proof to some extent.


Thanks for the responses - all good advice and much appreciated. I will probably go for an i7 and keep the Sonicore Orbiter in place as an endpoint. Few questions I knew would come from that…

  1. I am going to need an ethernet switch to feed the SOSE and the ROCK in this set-up as all three ports are taken on the nearest router. Any pitfalls or advice on switches?

  2. If I keep the SOSE in this set-up - I am right in assuming that I could still connect to it on the network and switch to HQ Player which I do from time to time?

Thanks in advance.

Get the simplest unmanaged switch you need. The Netgear GS108 works perfectly. The more managed the switch is, the more potential problems you can run into.

I see these guys are having ROCK pre installed, I believe that is against ROCKs licensing agreement it cannot be freely distributed.

where do you see that it is preinstalled?

If you Google nucleus alternative it comes up with a few.

To add insult to injury, if you read the copy you will see they are touting their device to be better and cheaper than Roon Nucleus.

Dog whistle, Slim!

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How so? Really don’t know what you mean by this.

My point was that not only did the vendor use Roon software in an unlicensed manner, but the vendor turned around and used the inclusion of that software on its hardware as an opportunity to criticize Roon offerings.

Pretty sure @danny knows my posts well enough to understand it that way.:expressionless:


I’m going to tread lightly here, but I have three questions:

  1. Where is the ROCK eula (or equivalent) to be found? I did a search on “license” on the knowledge base and then only mentions of license are about the subscription license. I find no mention of ROCK not being allowed to be preinstalled by a hardware vendor. Maybe I missed it in the KB (a glossary would be nice)

  2. Why do some posters find it offensive that a hardware vendor claims to sell better hardware than Roon’s? There’s a lot of marketing hyperbole in the audio world, so what does it matter that someone claims to sell superior hardware.

  3. Why should Roon even care? They’ll be making money of the buyer’s subscriptions anyway.

I’m just interested, not trying to start a flame war.


1.They have mentioned before that Roon Bridge and ROCK cannot be pre installed and distributed by third parties, it might be as it then invalidates the licensing they use in their source code thats open source.

  1. It could leave them open to legal action

this is speculation though.

As stated -

Not ‘offensive’ so much as ironic.

BTW - What I find offensive is being accused throwing out a dog whistle.

No flame intended.

Valid questions. I’m genuinely interested in having it explained in a non-sanctimonious way, preferably from Roon themselves, whether this is a genuine issue. And why? I’m sure I’d respect their view on this.

As for vendors, and their gall, for supposedly ‘criticising Roon offerings’. I think this is pretty much a gross misinterpretation of what they say on their site. If anything, they’re hugely supportive and actively promoting Roon as a platform. What they’re offering clients is that middle ground - for people who perhaps can’t justify the outlay on a Nucleus, and aren’t confident of building a machine to run ROCK - by providing one with it built and pre-installed. Which only a Roon subscriber could put to any use. I’ve seen threads on this Community where people say they do just that - assemble machines for clients. Think about it - if these vendors were critical of Roon and it’s offering - why would they be offering to configure machines that did only that?

As for people claiming they make superior hardware to run Roon - pretty sure I’ve read some bold claims about Small Green Computer doing just that. Isn’t the SonicTransporter a pre-installed machine that is seen as a cheaper alternative to Nucleus?

They may use the RAAT SDK which is different licensing or it installs the bridge on demand form Roons servers with the GUI like DietPI does. But its not up and running when you buy it you have to activate it.

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I’m not from Roon, and I’m not a lawyer. But if your terms of use specify you can’t do something, somebody does it, and there are no consequences, the terms of use are a joke. If a precedent is set, situations that are more threatening could arise. One has to be serious about enforcing terms. We have to go through extra gymnastics when we install ROCK because of the terms for ffmpeg. Roon respected that and put the onus on us to install it. In that sense, it is a genuine issue.