ROCK or Core on Linux?

Guys I’m running ROCK and I am perfectly happy with it after a few years with lots of issues on Windows.
But now reading this thread I’m wondering what am I missing by running ROCK instead of Roon Core on Linux?
I have only a few hundred files locally, most of my listening is from tidal, where I have about 100k tracks in the library. I don’t do DSP and I almost never run more than one endpoint.
Maybe this question is better suited for a new thread but I’ll let the admins decide that.
Thank you

I tried all options. The best option is Rock.

  1. Windows is the worst. Updates, restarts …
  2. Linux and Mac are fine but there is no reason for even the low maintenance required.
    Rock. Just works. You plug the storage you like in the USB ports.

My perception is Rock also gives the best sound. in Windows and Mac, I used to notice the sound improves with a restart. With Rock it is always great.

Please tell me your thoughts because I always have the same question.

My perc

1 Like

My standard measurement for SQ is the wife hearing a difference with music playing in the living room while she’s in the kitchen doing dishes. She didn’t report any difference between Windows and ROCK.
:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

4 Likes

My wife enjoys the music more from the TV speakers. :innocent:

3 Likes

None of these options are about sound quality. If you are following Roon’s suggested topography by using an endpoint separate from the core, then sound quality is identical for streams from any core. It’s the same PCM stream no matter what.

This is about stability and performance - DSP capabilities and such.

If you are having no performance issues with Rock, then you are perfectly good. If the machine seems to be too slow, then perhaps a hardware upgrade is in order - the question then is whether Rock will run on that upgraded hardware or do you have to go more general Linux. Rock has limited hardware support and doesn’t work on current NUCs. Even if it works upon installation, an update could break it because Roon won’t commit to update Rock to support it on non-supported hardware.

So Rock is great if you aren’t seeing any performance issues. Nothing you tweak on the core is going to change sound quality unless your DAC is connected directly to it, and even then, improvements are highly theoretical…

6 Likes

I moved from Windows to ROCK, now some 6 months back, I wasn’t unhappy with Windows (one of the few) , I was planning a downsize to move to a Naim Atom HE. So two discrete boxes looked neat. Both connected as per Roon recommendation on Ethernet.

6 months on I have absolutely no regrets , I put a 4Tb SSD inside the NUC job done.

I too tend to run one end point with little or no DSP , a library around 150k local tracks

I think it’s definitely a KISS principal decision

As ever 2 changes so my SQ observations are null.

1 Like

Hi. I agree as this is what is supposed to be on paper, all sound identical. The strange phenomena I had with windows was that performance was normal and after some time like 2 to 3 weeks I hear extra strange echo in the sound. I reboot the core and that goes away. That does not happen with Rock.

Am I sure of the above? no as that is not scientific. But that is the perception.

This sounds like something going wrong with Roon in your Windows installation. It’s not actually a sound quality issue.

1 Like

Install on a dedicated Ubuntu server has been rock solid and almost zero maintenance… any maintenance that is required is easy with Cockpit.

2 Likes

I’ve never run Roon on Windows (I find Windows servers to be absolutely miserable to administer), but I did move my Roon core from a general Linux installation (Ubuntu) to ROCK just about two years ago, and it’s been a good change for me.

Basically, I was running enough services on my server that it would occasionally impact Roon’s ability to fetch and process music files. When it was under heavy load, it would sometimes take a few seconds to load a track from my NAS, or occasionally it would just fail to play an entire track that I knew worked fine.

Putting Roon on dedicated hardware (an officially Roon-supported NUC model, since those were still readily available at the time) solved all of my performance-related issues. I also set up an rsync cron job on my server to copy my music over to my ROCK host, so I don’t have to worry about playback issues when my NAS is busy, either (which would occasionally happen with my prior setup). I’m not sure I’d try installing ROCK on unsupported hardware, though, since there aren’t any guarantees that an update wouldn’t break something unless you have a supported NUC model for it.

this made me wonder, is ROCK basically not supported anymore since it won’t work on newer NUC’s?

Yeah, I dunno what’s up with supporting new NUC models. There have been times in the past where there weren’t any currently-available supported models as well, and then the Roon team added support for new ones (maybe having skipped a generation or two). They have said they’re still working on ROCK, so it’s probably at least partly a resource/priority thing, but I don’t really know how they decide it’s time to start supporting new NUCs.

1 Like

UEFI boot support for newer NUCs is pretty sure to be added to Roon OS 2.0, whenever that will be released

1 Like

Do you need to run something than Roon or want your own monitoring?

No = ROCK
Yes = Roon Server on Linux

The UEFI issue is also a good reason to skip ROCK.

You can also run Linux and ROCK in a VM or container (docker) but that’s a little bit more of a learning curve.

1 Like

I’ve been running Roon on a Linux (Debian) server (Lenovo M910q) for more than a year now. Completely reliable and because it’s a minimal install–that is, no GUI–all the resources are available to Roon. I went this direction instead of ROCK because I wanted to be able to choose my own hardware and have full administrative control. For example, I use third-party software for a nightly backup to the cloud and a script of my own to run a local backup. (Belt and suspenders.) What are you missing? Other than some administrative control, probably nothing.

2 Likes

Lots of great answers.

Seems like the only proper reason for me to look into Core on Linux is potential replacing my NUC with pretty much any other cheap computer when my NUC gives up the ghost.

1 Like

There’s also the idea of getting a latest-gen NUC, install Linux on it (it’a a generic computer, right) then put your Core on that Linux.
That way, you get the freedom of choice regarding tools like backup and monitoring, you get a potentially supported ROCK platform and you get a lowish energy consumption. And if you transplant it to a fanless case, you get Nucleus-grade silence in a formfactor of your choice.

On the subject of processing power required: I believe I saw somewhere the Nucleus contains an aging i3 NUC mainboard. Meaning any old i5 NUC should do just fine as a basis for a homemade Rock.

Remember; Nucleus contains no magic - its selling point is ‘ready to run’.

1 Like

Hi there,

I ran Roon on a MAC, then on a Intel NUC, then on Synology NAS (DS918+)

The Synology NAS works absolutely fine streaming to my KEF LS50W and LSX speakers.
I also have some chromecast endpoints and they work fine too. This works for a few hundred flac albums, Tidal and some DSP (EQ).

I used to run Roon on Synology via the Synology package management and community build… that worked fine but then I moved to Synology via Docker, it’s been like that for a couple of years now, no issues.

In my experience Roon doesn’t need heaps of CPU for a decent performance
I hear no sound difference either - that is expected.
Running it as a service on linux is a good move if you already have a linux server of reasonable power running on your home network.
You do need to ensure your network is good though. I run with wired ethernet as much as possible… definitely from NAS to my KEFs.

I had an old 2012 Mac mini with 16gb ram and a 512gb SSD it’s no longer supported with upgrades by Apple so I thought what the hell and downloaded Unbuntu … I was a bit concerned as I had never delved into Linux before but it was really easy. It runs really quickly with Roon (and that’s all it does) in the background and in 4 months so far has never skipped a beat.

2 Likes

Beware a Windows update lurking ready to be applied, I find they often create odd artefacts. Reboot to the update and all will be well.

FWIW I ran Roon on my “tower desktop” for years without a blip :sunglasses: