ROCK - General Question about Connecting


I think about going the Roon path, but before doing so I want to be sure that I understood the Core/Output/Control-Thing correctly.

I want to install Roon ROCK based on the recommended NUC7i5BNH with a M.2 SSD for ROCK and a internal 2.5" SSD for the Music files. I’m not able to have a LAN-connection in my living room (only WiFi is possible). So here my questions about the possible setups:

  1. Using Roon as a “Non-Networked Audio System”, connecting a Roon Ready DAC via USB to the ROCK and controlling Roon using a Android Smartphone with Roon Remote

  2. Using Roon as a “Networked Audio System” and putting the Rock in a different room (floor) with a LAN-connction to the router, then placing a Roon Ready Network Player (with DAC integrated or separated) with WiFi in the living room (connected via WiFi to the ROCK) controlling Roon using a Android Smartphone with Roon Remote

Can anyone tell what the pros/cons of these ways are?

  1. (con) having the NUC in your listening room.
  2. (con) wifi may not be as robust and reliable as LAN

other than that performance and options will be similar. my main system is wired and my headphone setup is wifi and both are humming along nicely. But I have fast internet and a solid mesh. Hard wiring just eliminates some variables that can make troubleshooting easier or more difficult.

I would recommend using an external drive vs internal for your music files to make upgrading/replacing/backing up simpler. If you do go internal be sure to follow the instructions on installing ROCK; I believe you do not want to have the second SSD hooked up until after ROCK is installed on the M2

the NUC in the living room will not be a problem, I found a nice looking fanless case :slightly_smiling_face:

Do you mean that internal SSD will be formattad during installing ROCK? That’s not a problem, the SSD is still empty, I will fill it with music after installing ROCK.

But in general, will both of my configurations work or did I overlook something?

Should be fine. I’ve never run anything directly off of my nuc. May want to look around and see if there are any issues being discussed.

Some DACs don’t have full driver support for USB connected ROCK.

You cant use the internal m2 drive for anything other than the ROCK operating system. You need either a NuC that has the room for secondary drive or use and external usb drive or networked storage for your music files.
In my experience having the Roon core on a wired connection is more stable and less prone to network congestion. If you need to use wireless then ensure you have a good wireless solution in place that has enough overall bandwidth to cover your normal wireless traffic and Roon. I would not recommend using 2ghz wireless if you can have it on a dedicated 5ghz uplink.

Following on to this, a number of users (myself included) have found that setting up a mesh network (e.g., Eero, Orbi) that ensures good WiFi coverage at your Roon core and endpoint locations works quite well in minimizing WiFi-related issues.

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Number 1. Since everything that matters to playback is local, Storage is internal and the DAC is direct connected, you will get the best experience. And that includes easier troubleshooting in the future.

You didn’t say what DAC you were using and if DSD playback was important to you. That could have an effect on whether Rock or Windows is the best OS for your use as many DACs need specific drivers (Windows only) for higher resolution native DSD playback.

Also, while a phone does work fine as control, a nice tablet is better as there are control features that are not in the phone version. I use a Samsung Tab S2 9.7", fyi. Works great and can probably be found used cheap.

As mentioned, in the fanless case I use for the NUC I can connect a M.2 SSD and a 2.5" SATA at the same time.

I thought about using the Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital, maybe in combination with the Pro-Ject Stream Box S2 Ultra but didn’t bought one so I’m open for recommendations. I don’t want to install Windos if possible, so I would choose a DAC/Streamer which works fine with ROCK.

I have about 25000 titles at the moment, 99% are 16/44.1 to 24/192 flac/m4a/wav, the rest is DSD. So DSD is not that important at the moment.

Yes, a tablet would be nice and I already have an old iPad but there are no more OS-Updates after iOS 10.3.3 (Apple says the hardware is to old) and Roon Remote needs at least iOS 11. So I want to start with ROCK and a Streamer/DAC to play some music and maybe later on invest in a comfortable control.

Both configurations will work. In your situation, I’d start with 1) which is simplest and cheapest. If you like the quality, stay there. If you’d like to (try to) improve it later, consider 2): in general, specialized endpoints can be somewhat better from the electrical noise point of view than general-purpose server boxes, but whether that matters depends a lot on the particular DAC. And with 1) you’ll avoid potential networking/wifi complexity/unreliability, which is a common source of problems and support requests on this forum.

Sounds like a good option to start with 1. and maybe later improve.

When I start with 1. and connect a Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital direct via USB to the NUC, can I later add the Pro-Ject Stream Box S2 Ultra?

Just looking at the Ultra’s specs, it would seem that the best way to use it with your ROCK NUC would be to have both on Ethernet, and connect the DAC to the Ultra’s USB out. That is, pretty much your setup 2.

I’d like to do it the way you described, but I don’t have a router nearby and I’m afraid that connecting the ROCK NUC directly via Ethernet with the Ultra won’t work?