Roon Core options

I think it’s important to avoid, and eschew unqualified generalisations like ‘USB impacts on audio quality’, etc.
In my own experience, a Nucleus=>USB DAC has performed as well, if not better than a Roon-Ready Ethernet endpoint.
It’s important to use your ears, and see what sounds better to you.

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Agree, however while I remain neutral and open minded on the subject I also believe there is much we have yet to learn about our auditory system.

In the end, I also think not worrying about real or imagined deficiencies of you audio equipment can truly yield an enjoyment in listening experience that may be equivalent to spending several grand on fixing perceived problems for the simple reason that being relaxed will probably also relax those little muscles in your inner ear and prevent them from limiting the movement of the little bones in the inner ear which in turn will let you perceive the best you can from whatever equipment you have.

The converse is probably true as well for many people - spend the money to alleviate the worries rather than actually create a sufficiently real gain, or in this case, avoid USB so that you don’t have to worry about it which in turn will make everything you hear better by virtue of not worrying about it :slight_smile:

David-the best way to look at wireless is to stream music and look at your network stats. If you compare network stats of a wireless network to a wired network, the wireless will have many more lost packets.

USB is fine! Have you ever compared usb to Ethernet? Probably not because you need a network connection to your dac and I’m sure you don’t.
If usb is so good, why do you have so many devices to try and make it better? I had the best usb cable at that time ($750 audioquest), and I had other devices like reclocker and others and some made a difference. But when I got rid of the Mac/pure music/audirvana setup to external dac, then a dedicated music server to an external dac (all using usb to dac), to an external iMac (nondedicated) running Roon using Ethernet to an external dacs internal network bridge card, SQ went up and sold all the usb crap. No noise from a servers hard drives in the audio room, no noise from an Ethernet connection, and no more playing around trying to make usb sound good.
You are right, not all dacs have Ethernet, only the better 1’s Do

Maybe something like this could be a good choice for some people:

It is a Roon compatible DAC-less streamer or network to USB DAC adapter. There is a review of it (including use with Roon) on the UK avforums by Ed Selley.

I had one and sold it.

It’s no better than a RPi or (probably) an Allo device.

I suppose some will criticize my ear or my system, but there are others on this forum who agree about these ‘costume jewelry’ transports.

Most of these reviewers are frauds and shills.

Agree, however I don’t put Ed Selley in that category having conversed with him quite a lot and read many of his reviews. Still, there some comments on resulting sound via the device that I have to question without the benefit of having heard the same equipment combination :slight_smile:

The new RPi 4 running RoPieee (for example) should be a really nice low power consumption USB endpoint.

No shared USB & ethernet power that previous Pi’s had (infamous clicks and pops at high sample rates) and should have very long term kernel support.

Do you think it matters which usb-port you use (usb2 or usb3) on the pi4?

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Ethernet is completely independent from USB.

So I can’t imagine it matters which you use , USB 2.0 or 3.0

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But - correct me if I’m wrong - this doesn’t really matter as any lost packets will be retransmitted to the DAC or other wireless endpoint without any loss of SQ.

Not true all the time. If you have a stream of lost/dropped packets, eventually you could experience pauses/delays or even gaps. Network devices don’t retry lost packets forever, they eventually timeout. Check this out:
“ Causes of Wi-Fi Packet Loss

Network interference is the main packet loss cause in a wireless network . … If a received packet has an error, the receiving device sends a message to the sending device to re-send the bad data, which can cause network delays until the data is sent correctly.”

“ Causes of Wi-Fi Packet Loss

Network interference is the main packet loss cause in a wireless network. Interference degrades transmission signal quality and can cause the receiving end of a network transfer to receive incomplete packets. The receiving device runs a data check for each packet to see if it came through correctly. If a received packet has an error, the receiving device sends a message to the sending device to re-send the bad data, which can cause network delays until the data is sent correctly. Interference is not the only potential issue. According to TechWorld, Wi-Fi networks unavoidably lose packets because of a flaw in the standard that causes the receiving side to mistake the size and speed of the incoming data.”

The saying goes: go wired anytime you can, go wireless when you can’t go wired.

I stream wireless to a couple of zones in my house for background music using Roon endpoint devices. I get a few dropouts every hour which are very annoying. Using wired connections to the other endpoints, or to my Ethernet connected dac, I get 0 dropouts.

Agreed, but I think the point I’m trying to make is that there’s no difference in sound quality between wifi and wired unless there’s a problem with your wifi network. If not, then either will work well.


@Geoff_Coupe when you say Intel has no fanless NUC, does it mean they all have Fans?

I have not seen any Nuc with a fan, and I run Ubuntu 18.04 on my Nuc (fanless, 5 TDP) which I use as a streamer and not Roon core, and the temperature always stays around 50 degree celcious, like any Raspberry pi.

All Intel NUCs have a fan cooler on the CPU.

For example, see here.

There is one NUC that is fanless. It has been spoken about elsewhere as being a decent device to run RoonBridge on. I suspect it is the one being talked about, single core, 5 watt tdp. DE3815***?


Thanks. My bad. Those links are for old Nucs, but I checked the setup and there is fan, then I listened to it.

Thanks. My NUC sound more musical than my $1000 streamer, both on a $400 linear power supply. I try to find a fanless with same TDP.

fascinating thread, great community

but my heart sank when the computer to dac via usb was mentioned and so strongly dismissed

been discarding old dacs, cables, psu’s etc etc to stream from mini (ethernet remote) to denon pma 2500 amp/dac connected by an old usb a-b nordost cable. the amp delivers honest power to a pair of sonus faber toy towers, and they’re singing beautifully.

am now i to believe that transferring data destined for a dac is best delivered by ethernet?

so am i also to believe my speakers haven’t been delivering transcendental sound, only beautiful sound, because of the missing, final ethernet link?


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I use a USB connection between my Roon Nucleus, and my Chord Hugo TT2, and it works perfectly, and sounds sublime.
‘Don’t believe the hype’, that’s what I say! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I have one cost £70, way better than a pi and runs Roon bridge perfectly connected now to AQ Cobalt. Thanks for the tip off in a different thread.