Roon and my next step

I am currently trialing Roon, but it’s a must keep for me. I love the simplicity of it all.
So in the next couple of months I am going to make some changes to my set up to accommodate it as at present I am using my lap top as the core and I don’t want that as a long term solution.
My listening now is almost exclusively Tidal, but I do have about 2000 albums in FLAC file, and the odd 24bit album in there too
At present I have the Devialet 200 connected via USB to the Melco N1A. I am looking to replace the Melco with something similar but with Roon installed . I want a USB connection as in my room/system it sounded much better .
I know there are other ways I could do this and I may consider these too but for the purposes of this post I am looking at solutions where I could just simply replace the Melco with one more piece of kit
The obvious ones for me appear to be the Innuos and Roon Nucleus products .
I would appreciate any input from any forum members who have been on a similar journey or are thinking about it as there appear to be numerous options and the more I read the more confusing it gets .
I am up in Newcastle and so it’s very difficult to audition too.

You will pay a massive premium to do it this way and I haven’t. You could add a Sonic Transporter to the list to look at. It seems to be priced ok and many on here seem happy with it.

Tony is referring to the premium by buying a Nucleus compared to building your own ROCK NUC. Have a look at the ROCK how to guides on YouTube. It’s a pretty simple process and will save you some $$$.

Thanks for the replies guys. I know this is an option and I wont rule it out but saving a few quid doesnt really turn me on as much as buying a product that is ready to go without me fiddling about. I am not good with technical stuff either so i think I would refer to go a more simplified route.
I have a very simple one room set up so i assumed the entry level Nucleus would do and thats not too expensive. Dont get me wrong I am no millionaire but I dont mind spending a bit of cash to get what I am looking for.

One of the things I am considering at present is a temporary solution, I need a back up lap top for my business anyway as I had a scare last month. So I can get a lap top for about £400 that will be higher spec than the one Roon Core currently sits on.
This lap top would sit on top of my hifi rack and be used solely for Roon. The downside is I would probably sell the Melco as it would not be getting used, so for a while I would not have access to my music collection, but I listen to my own collection so little these days I m not sure I would miss it . Also I have it all backed up on a MyPassport HD.

This would give me a temporary solution until i decide which way I go, as I would imagine there could be a lot more products coming to the market in the next 6 months or so.

It will be fine with your library and in one room for everything except the most demanding upsampling (DSD 512). If that’s not a goal then you’ll be able to turn it on and forget it.

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The Innuos Zenith Mk2 is now getting my attention . A lot of positive reviews.
The NUC option is very attractive but I am hopeless with technology and with the Innuos I would get support.

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As a ROCK user, I think I would agree. I was happy to go the DIY route and build my own “Nucleus”, but I can readily appreciate that others would want to buy off-the-shelf, with the support that goes with it.

It seems to me that the difference between the Innuos products and the Nucleus is that the former is aiming to be a multi-purpose appliance (i.e. it can rip CDs and be a Roon Core), while the latter is a single-purpose appliance (Roon Core and Endpoint only). That might be the key to your ultimate choice?

Yes the CD ripper would not get used as all of my CDs already ripped and I won’t be buying any more . I think the Nucleus Plus sort of gives me an element of future proofing

I think I have now narrowed it down to a choice between the Zenith MK2 or the Roon Nucleus Plus.
As I can trade in the Melco this takes a bit of the hassle away so that, and the doubts about the lack of support I would get if i went the NUC route have led me to this conclusion.
The prices are similar, but the Zenith has the SSD hard drive in , whereas the Plus does mot have a HD. I could just use my MyPasport via USB though or install an internal drive myself.
The Zenith has advantages of some good reviews and is highly regarded, and looks quite smart too. The Plus is fairly new, but is basically made for Roon and is much more powerful and this will help with longevity. I will experiment with DSP especially with my headphone listening so the extra power may be useful.

Does the Zenith have a special audio USB port as well to reduce noise or maybe a level of isolation?

I have no idea to be honest, does the Nucleus Plus? Is that the point you are making?

@DrTone According to the Innuos web site it has an Ultra-low Noise USB Audio Output

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Yes, that’s what I’m getting at. That would be a special plus for the Innuos over the Nucleus.

Indeed it would but that has to be balanced with the limited processing power of the Zenith if eq, upsampling and “future proofing” is required? I believe the Nucleus+ is an i7 NUC in a very nice fan-less case with some tweaking on the power management side I guess to minimise heat, maybe someone from Roon can answer the USB question?

I wonder if my Melco has this…I dont tend to get too hung up on this kind of stuff normally, but guess its a consideration

For best sound quality it’s always been advised to have your core away from your sound equipment and a RAAT endpoint there instead. This recommendation has been put forward by Roon staff themselves at times.

Zenith was specifically designed as a one box at your audio equipment solution. I don’t think the Nucleus was designed with the same goals, it is a quiet, very good looking turn key Roon Server. It’s for people wanting those particular attributes or don’t have the skill or can’t be bothered to setup and maintain their own server.

I agree, I have a NUC which was purchased before the Roon Nucleus was announced, I am quite happy with it as it is located away from the listening room.

That sounds like me :grinning:
On a serious note though I try not to get hung up too much on SQ unless its a big difference. I mean for eg right now I have my 3 year old lap top as the Core via USB and to me it sounds sublime.
I get your point though but Nucleus is a Roon product so they are going against their own advice in that case.
I do worry that the Zenith is under spec in say a years time. I wont do upsampling but I may use DSP a little

Just thinking guys that as I am now about 95% streaming things like SSD will not really make any difference to me I doubt

Nope - it’s an appliance that can be used as a Core connected to networked endpoints, or if you really want to, you can directly connect your audio hardware to the Nucleus. That’s an option, not a requirement.

I might add that, for my “DIY Nucleus” (NUC + ROCK), I’m actually using both scenarios. My main audio system is connected to a networked endpoint, but I also have the NUC directly connected to our home cinema AVR via HDMI. And this is all in the same living room.