I have just purchased Roon Lifetime and have build my own core.
(Intel NUC10, i7, 16GB Ram, 512GB System SSD, 2TB internal SSD, Akasa case fanless)
As endpoint I use a NAD C658 with Audiolab MB8300 monos and Wharfdale Elysian 4. (NAD connected via RAAT and cabled network)
So far all is working perfectly, but I’m hunting for further improvement. I assume that the NAD is the weak spot in my chain, so I developed the following idea:
Replace the NAD and the monos with a Rotel Michi X5.
The Rotel is Roon tested, has as DAC an AKM4495 (!) and meets my requirements.
As my core is without any noise I have it place in the living room next to my system. Therefore I could connect the Rotel directly with an USB cable (1-2m) to the core.
As my core has power enough and the Rotel is a little painful investment I could save a dedicated endpoint for this system in my opinion.
Do I miss something or am I totally wrong?
Is there a disadvantage comparing to a setup with a Roon Ready endpoint in between that is connected via RAAT?
Has anyone experience with the Rotel Michi and can tell me if I can controll the volume within the Roon remote app in such setup?
Just to point out:
The idea is to improve the sound further. If such direct USB connection is not recommended (would be nice to learn why in case) and I need an endpoint in between, I will look for a Lumin or Hifi Rose, but it would be of course nice to save the money and have one device less.
Has nobody experience in using a core as well as an endpoint?
I have and occasionally still use my core (ROCK) as my endpoint.
Either via HDMI into a Fire TV Cube for HDMI pass through. Or via USB to DAC.
As the core is intended to be tucked away it isn’t usually used as the endpoint but nothing stops you from doing it.
Benefits, well I suppose less boxes for a start.
Now, it’s best to have them connect via Ethernet to your network equipment so sometimes this limits its location. I have successfully without issue operated my core via Wi-Fi. But best wired.
Thanks. I have all network wired and the option to connect the core directly with USB to a Roon tested DAC (would be the X5 if I decide to buy it).
There is no real disadvantage in such setup?
Is it possible to control the volume with the Roon app in such setup?
No disadvantage from my perspective.
Volume control, yes.
There is nothing really wrong with what you suggest but true best practice is to seperate core, endpoint and remotes per roon. You can read why below;
Volume control, yes → means it is in general possible to do it when you’re connecting a DAC directly with USB to the core or does it mean it works with the Rotel Michi X5 or does it work in your setup (which one?)?
You’ll have control over volume.
Either hardware or software.
I tend to have volume fixed and set to full from start.
I then use my amps volume.
You could use Roon to control volume and having your amps volume set at a certain level.
If the X5 (don’t have one) is only Roon tested and not Roon ready.
I occasionally have my core to DAC via USB. Works well either way.
I’ll borrow a Michi X5 again from my dealer and test it over eastern. Idea is a direct USB connection from my core to the DAC and testing if a) any sound issues and b) how it works in the daily usage.
I’ll give a feedback with my experience here so that others that may struggle with a similar idea have (hopefully) all information they need.
My concern is: if I setup the output of the core to fixed volume I will lose, comparing to todays setup with the roon ready NAD, the comfort of full volume control within Roon remote and have to handle a secondary remote (from the Michi) . BUT: If I don’t, I will have redundant volume control what may have an impact on the sound quality.
I’m currently using my Roon Remote app on an iPhone to control my primary headphone amp setup.
I set the Roon Remote slider to around 50%. Set my amps volume to just under my normal listening volume. The slider has enough diversity either way to increase or decrease volume as desired.
I haven’t notice any discernible loss in SQ.
My Core is connected currently via USB to my Head-fi DAC/amp and running it on Wi-Fi
Goes against the recommended way to use the core, but I’m my case it works without any issue. YMMV
THX Menzies. I will test your “50% approach”. That sounds reasonable.
I have tested to connect the core directly with USB to a Roon tested DAC (Rotel Michi X5).
To make it short:
I will buy tomorrow the X5 as it just sounds amazingly good. No need at all for a Roon bridge or other streaming device.
If the hardware of the Roon Core is a clean and dedicated setup and has a good performance I see no point for an additional device as long as you can place the Core close enough to the DAC.
For the volume adjustment:
I have no yet tested it as I need to get some old speakers for a testing.
The Michi has the option to set the USB to volume fixed, what means that Roon can control it within Roon Remote.
But the actual firmware of the X5 is a little buggy and I will wait for a fix. I will not take the risk and blow my Elysian 4 with the 600S power of the X5 to hell, just due to some bugs in the firmware. So I will test with some ■■■■■■■■ speakers or wait until the firmware is stable and ok.