Roon is fantastic

(Mike Lacey) #1

I’m 65, retired, and don’t have the pleasure of hearing like most folks. A head injury in 1990 caused total hearing loss on the right side and the sound of crickets screaming in my ears all the time. I need pleasing sound to provide a distraction and drown out the noise. I’m really enjoying the distraction this Roon music server setup provides.

My compliments for a fantastic product. The technology is amazing. Performance is fast and flawlessly with Roon Ready player. The presentation of my library content is visually pleasing, informative, and the integration of Tidal and Qobuz provides endless access to artists and music that is new to me.

I have the Roon+Tidal+Qobuz trial running on a 10 year old desktop purpose built for photo processing with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. Mid tower case, 9 ventilation fans, i7 quad 860 CPU, 16GB ram, 3 SSD’s, Quadro P4000 GPU and Windows 7 64. The fans rev up and get noisy when the system is pushed but it seems to be idling with Roon.

Control - desktop interface, Ipad and android phone remote apps.

Network/connectivity - 1GB cable service, high speed modem, ASUS GT-AC5300 3 band router with 8 Ethernet ports. Cat 7 Ethernet cables.

Surround System components - Denon AVR-X8500H, OPPO UDP-205 Roon Ready player, B&W/SVS speakers, JL Audio Fathom subs.

My setup is not the best for getting the most out of Roon. The desktop workstation is located 60’ from the Network/Media closet. Wireless performance between desktop and router is good at that distance with 500 to 700 Mbps. My wife let me move the workstation close to the media closet and try Ethernet for a week then I had to move it back. It does work well over the wireless connection, no interruptions, but I would prefer a dedicated music server platform in the media closet with Ethernet to router and HDMI to the player for multi-channel higher-res music.

Need to add a Nucleus Plus to my Christmas/Birthday wish list.

22 Likes
#2

Wow, surprised you can get anything out of music at all. Fantastic.

Have you tried headphones?

(Mike Lacey) #3

I don’t think Headphones would be right for me but No I have not tried them. It would have to be mono. I really enjoy listening to music and like the separation of a multi speaker environment. Detecting the sound from different locations in the room. Love good SACD multi-channel recordings.

2 Likes
(Mike) #4

Mike, welcome, and congratulations on your setup. If you’re up for a little tinkering, a Intel NUC and ROCK might be a nice weekend project: https://kb.roonlabs.com/Roon_Optimized_Core_Kit

2 Likes
(Robert ) #5

Hi Mike. Welcome.

I’d give headphones a try. You’d be surprised the quality of sound delivered and isolation you can receive with a good sets of cans. Headphone listening has become my preferred method of listening to music. It brings a whole new feel to my music.

1 Like
(Mike Lacey) #6

I’m not opposed to building a server platform and have considered the NUC8I7BEH. Seems like I read that it was supported and then it wasn’t. Thought I’d wait and see what happens with that. Want to make sure the server has the stuff to run 4 Roon Ready endpoints in sync for sound throughout the house. Or separately if we have company with different musical tastes.

(Geoff Coupe) #7

It’s back in the supported list now…

#8

I use exactly that NUC for my Roon Server. Admittedly it’s my main desktop PC as well so my server is running on top of my base Windows 10 OS rather than a dedicated ROCK installation but it barely breaks a sweat running my setup and I’d guess that if you went the ROCK route it would be even more efficient. Quite frankly the NUC8i7BEH totally demolishes the task of running a Roon server (as in it can do it with ease) even with the server hosted on top of Win10.

(Mike O'Neill) #9

I am seriously considering this too.

Out of interest, how much fan noise is there, could it sit in the main listening room and be unheard?

I assume it’s quiet enough for headphone use

#10

Sorry but I can’t give particularly good input because my NUC8i7BEH is in my hallway cupboard with a hole drilled through the wall to get 5m HDMI & USB cables to my monitor & USB peripherals on my desk in the next room. When it’s working hard though I have sometimes been in that cupboard and heard the fan being quite noticeable, more than I’d want in the living room except on headphones. One of those occassions was immediately after Roon installation when it was analysing my 400 or so FLAC 44.1kHz/16-bit albums. I had the analysis throttle set to allow it to use 6 of its 8 cores and the fan was on what I assume was max and you could definitely hear it from a couple of metres away.

I have just set something playing (FLAC 44.1kHz/16-bit streaming from Tidal - no DSP) and my total CPU load as measured by Windows Task Manager is mostly in the 3-5% range occasionally spiking to 15% but that’s total system load (I also have 16 tabs open in my Chrome browser). Looking at the breakdown per process Roon is mostly using 0.3% - 0.4% CPU with a few spikes up to 5%! As mentioned already, my NUC just doesn’t break a sweat and I suspect is complete overkill except when as much power as you can get for initial library analysis is useful but if that CPU power isn’t there it just means the analysis will take longer. I also just went and listened to my fan. Putting my ear against it I think it is turning as opposed to stopped completely but it is barely audible at about 5cm away.

I haven’t lived with my NUC in the same room as my speakers on an ongoing basis but my assessment here is that if the NUC8i7 did kick into high gear, e.g. on initial library analysis or if doing a “Fast” on-the-fly analysis of a newly added album, the fan noise would be intrusive but when the library is all scanned and you’re just listening to a stream or two (or maybe more) the load is so low that even the NUC8i7BEH is effectively silent. Do note the caveat though, I don’t use any of the Roon DSP features so I don’t know how much extra CPU load they would add.

I should also have amplified Mike’s original comment. Roon really is fantastic. I’m having such a good experience with my setup (playing direct to KEF LS50 wireless speakers). Between Roon, my new speakers, and the free 6 month Tidal HQ subscription that came with the KEFs it really has rejuvenated my interest in music. (I think at the end of month 5 of my free Tidal sub I’ll start a free Qobuz Hi-Fi sub as well and then take the decision at the end of month 6 as to which one to extend on a permanent basis.)

(Mike Lacey) #11

Thanks for the responses. Helpful input for consideration.

I’m not overly concerned about the noise level. It’s usually below the noise in my head anyway. But I do consider what my wife hears, want her to enjoy it with me and not be bothered by external sounds. She has good hearing and gets annoyed with me at the movies if I make noise getting popcorn out of the bag. I can feel her eyeballs snap in my direction every time I do that.

We have a 2’ by 3’ closet next to the fireplace that used to be just for games but we turned it into a media closet. Took off the door/trim and made a faceplate out of 3/4 inch high grade plywood. Cut a rectangle in the upper portion to mount a shelving unit and another rectangle in the lower portion that is slightly larger than my A/V equipment rack. The rack rolls into the space with 1/4 inch clearance all around it. The rack and all the equipment is black so we painted the faceplate, shelving and the inside of the closet black. Nothing shows through the spaces. It looks like a custom built in wall installation and that made my wife happy. Happy wife happy life. It used to be a pain in the butt for me to do any work with the equipment, replacing components or changing out cables, or if the cable company needed to get to the wiring. Had to empty the shelves, remove the faceplate and spin the rack around to do anything. While remodeling the room behind the fireplace wall I added a rear door entrance to the closet so it’s all easily accessible. Also had a 20 amp power circuit added to the media closet so the equipment has an isolated breaker.

All the equipment generates heat especially the receiver with 13 individual amps inside. Had to add cooling so we have an intake fan system in the bottom slot on the rack. Another fan system sits on top of the receiver blowing out the front so it doesn’t exhaust into the closet space. And an exhaust fan system cut through the wall above the rear door to remove collected heat near the ceiling around the network equipment. The closet usually stays around 76 degrees, basically house temp, and the receiver stays in the mid to high 80’s while running all day long.

Whew… I added all that just to say the sound generated by the NUC will be contained in the media closet with the rest of the fan generated noise which is pretty low.

1 Like
(Adam Goodfellow) #12

Mine is a 717bnh, so previous generation. In normal use I don’t recall ever noticing the fan (its sat on my hifi rack). However on original importing I do remember getting a bit concerned about the noise it made.

In the end it will depend on how much CPU demand you make upon it and the temperature of its environment. Lots of zones each doing heavy DSP with a big library - then sure - the fan will probably crank up. I do some DSP - for room EQ and have even run it with DSD512 and PCM768 to try these out and neither seemed to be sufficient to get the fan going.

(Mike Lacey) #13

I’m looking at the NUC8I7BEH with G.SKILL F4-240016D-16GRS ram, Samsung 250GB 860 EVO SATA III M.2 SSD and Samsung 860 EVO 1TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD for the server package.

G.SKILL Ripjaws memory and Samsung SSD’s are my go-to brands simply because installing those in my desktop totally eliminated weekly BSOD issues that had plagued me for years.

For the M.2 drive, Is SATA vs PCIe NVNE still recommend are has that changed?

1TB internal ssd should be enough for awhile. Currently have less then 100 GB in my library.

(Geoff Coupe) #14

The recommended HW list is showing PCIe NVMe for the M.2 SSD. I believe the NVMe boards have been supported by Intel since the 6th generation NUCs.

(Mike Lacey) #15

Thought I had read something that indicated the pcie wasn’t supported by Roon so Sata was recommended. I have reviewed all information I could find on Roon. Maybe it was an older article or I was just mistaken.

I did review the recommended HW list previously and only noticed the M.2 SSD specification and not SATA vs PCie. But selecting the link to the SSD at Amazon did show it to be PCIe.

Thanks for the info.

#16

M.2 SSDs use PCIe bus lanes which why the terms can be confusing.
PCIe is the hardware bus. SATA is the drive ‘protocol’.

For a ROCK build I used this in my 7th gen NUC.

(Preben Damsgaard Thomsen) #17

Hey Mike
Enjoying Your story and history and especially Your enthusiasm about getting into the intriguing universe of exploring music, which Roon is a primary exponent for!
When life hits You in unfortunate ways by chance, it is in fact respectable that You proceed on a path possible following passionate ways to still get the best out of life. Best regards!

(Mike Lacey) #18

Thank you. I have limitations but am very grateful that I can hear at all. And I’m picky about the quality of music I listen to. I’d never heard of Roon, found it by chance while doing online searches for Hi-res streaming music. When I discovered I already had a Roon Ready player with a link to a free trial I had to give it try. It’s amazing to have an easily accessible catalog of my music integrated with everything that is available online. No going back now.

2 Likes
(Filipe Cunha) #19

Hi,

Congrats on your setup, a good way!to get data across big distances is to use media devices converters that convert LAN into fiber optics, a and a fiber cable. there are some tp-link MC200 series that you can use. The ones that use multi mode fiber are better suited for home applications.

Enjoy the music, and have fun

Filipe

(Steven Hansen) #20

Side comment, Mike. You might enjoy the movie, Baby Driver. The main character is a get-a-way driver, and he always has a portable music player and headphones in his ears to drowned out the ringing. Good chase scenes too.