Here’s my situation. Have a lifetime Roon license, but am struggling to find a place for Roon in my musical universe. Here’s why.
I have a 2020 M1 Mac Mini operating as the Roon Core. Also have HQPlayer.
My sound system is a Marantz Model 30 integrated, Marantz SACD 30n, iFi Zen Stream, and Magnepan LRS.
The problem centers around the Marantz SACD 30n. It plays CDs, SACDs, and can stream Tidal or Spotify. Roon on the M1 Mac Mini (with or without HQP) sounds quite good. The problem is the Marantz playing optical discs smokes the Mac setup. And streaming Tidal directly to the Marantz, or to the rather amazing Zen Stream, also sounds several notches better than the via Roon on the M1 Mac Mini.
I had hoped the Zen Stream would fix things, but it has not. It’s not that Roon sounds bad, it’s just that music played via optical disc or streaming without a computer involved sounds clearly better. My theory is that the Mac Mini is somehow the weak link.
I’m wondering if a Roon Nucleus would fix things? Running the Nucleus into the Zen Stream, and onto the Marantz SACD 30n via Coax. My hesitation is that isn’t the Nucleus just a NUC with a fancy case?
And what’s all this about the Roon Core should be on one device, and the something something should be on another?
I’m simply not satisfied with the perspective that Roon isn’t the best sounding software, but boy oh boy is it great at library management, and that’s the inherent trade off. If that’s the trade off, I’ll not longer use Roon for music playback and instead only as a master library.
I only have $499 invested into Roon financially, but enumerable hours of self generated curation. Genuinely want Roon an active part of my system, but the sound quality needs to match that of my sans Roon (computer) options.
Kind gentlemen of the Roon universe, please show me the Light!