Roon Core/Streamer Best Options

Hi there…

I am starting a thread which I am sure is already on here, but I am honestly too lazy to search for the answers so I want to throw it out and anyone who has the time to answer, I would be eternally grateful.

I currently use my MAC as my Roon Core and End Point. I use an External hard drive into the back of my MAC and push everything into Roon through my external instead of my MAC, that way I keep my MAC clean and working better. I know that I need to move to a Roon Core like a NUC or Nucleus. I also want to try streaming, but I don’t need a DAC, and most are a mixture of the two. I’d rather put my money to a dedicated streamer and or Roon Core. My biggest issue is that my listening room doesn’t have an ethernet pot, which I need to have rectified. I will have my internet company come out and put an Ethernet Port in this room. I do have Fiber Optic Wifi that is extremely good, but won’t come close to hard wiring even as good as it is wireless.

I don’t have a complicated set up and it is a headphone set up. But, I have a great DAC and Amps, and want to maximize my listening experience. Once I get the ethernet port, do you recommend that I get a Roon Nucleus and run my DAC into it, or will I see even greater benefits from having both a Roon Core as well as a streamer. I mostly listen to the music from my external which is 1.2 terabytes. I do have Tidal flowing into Roon, but I use it maybe 10% of the time.

Thanks for the advice…

Sorry, but I’m too lazy to respond. :rofl:


A NUC with ROCK is great and really a set-up-and-forget solution.

Roon recommends separating the Core and DAC by Ethernet:

It may or may not (probably not) make a difference with a well-engineered DAC, but personally I’d probably do it and have peace of mind

I am responding because I am very desirous of having people be eternally grateful to me. But… I can’t parse your question. You have a headphone set up… It’s working fine… help me make you eternally grateful to me.

I will admit, it is late on a Friday night and I have had multiple cocktails… But there is nothing wrong with a mac as a roon core. What is broken that needs to be fixed?

Until recently I have used my trusty old 2017 MacBook Air as a Roon Core in the living room. First through WiFi, later through Ethernet. It worked pretty well.

I’ve replaced it by a much more powerful Lenovo laptop running on Zorin Linux Pro. It makes for a much snappier experience. But apart from this the Air did work as it should.

I am using a WiiM Mini as a streamer in the living room. Only through AirPlay for the time being. But it plays all day.

The Core also serves my Harman Kardon citation one speakers in the bedroom and kitchen. And my iFi zen DAC V2 which is connected to my MacBook Pro.

My local music is stored on my Core’s SSD while it was stored on the Air through an external USB 3.0 hard drive. I have just over 500 gb worth of music. But most of the time I am streaming using both Qobuz and Tidal.

I don’t have experience with a Nucleus but to me it seems like it is a pricy device that should just work. But if you only plan to use a single endpoint any computer meeting Roon’s minimum system requirements will do more than fine.

I’m not sure what “benefits” you are looking for: sound? convenience? something else?
There are endless arguments about sound - some will say the server (core)>streamer setup sounds better, some will say it makes no difference.

A dedicated streamer can also be of use, it depends how you listen. I use more than one playback method, so I have streamers that can run several different playback modes, depending on choice. Again, some think it sounds better, others don’t. A dedicated streamer can be a very basic tiny PC or Chromecast, up to something specially made costing thousands. A Raspberry Pi also works well, if you don’t mind a bit of DIY. Any old PC or laptop you have laying around could also be repurposed to Run Roon as an endpoint.

Have a separate core server will probably help prevent any glitches etc. as you won’t be doing playback on a PC being used for other tasks. It also, for the same reason, has some convenience aspects. If you have issues, it makes it easier to solve them and it doesn’t involve your non-music PC.

The Nucleus is a well built NUC in a nice case. Nothing special about it internally. If you are willing to install ROCK on a standard fanless NUC, you will get exactly the same result and save some money.
Your choice.

I always cringe when reading requests for “best” options.
You better head over to whatsbestforum’s Computer Based Music Server Forum section and let yourself be carried away…most posters here are too mundane!

That place sucks big time.


You did see the clown face, right?

Yes, I know it was tongue in cheek, just adding my pennies worth.

A iFi ZEN Stream oder LUMIN U2 Mini are great value/performance streamers.

Nothing is broken. I am trying to discern whether or not pulling my Roon Core off my MAC is going to make a big difference in sound quality with my system.

Thank you. I am looking at the Zen Stream as an option. My biggest problem being that I do not have ethernet currently in this room. So, I would need a streamer if I get a NUC. The NUC I can put somewhere else in the house with my external hard drive, but I would need a streamer close to my DAC to connect to. Hence, my questions. It is a bit of a pandora’s box for me. I am not well versed in this side of the digital domain.

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