Roon Nucleus versus Small Green Computer

Antipodes have made some interesting choices, but a lot of what they have done could have been achieved by running the CX at full speed and applying all of those noise reducing measures to a networked endpoint. By their own admission the CX cannot exploit all of Roons’ capability whereas you can presume that the Nucleus can. After that it comes down to choices on how best to exploit sound quality.

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I see what you mean, but I have not myself read that the CX itself cannot do DSP and filtering the noise out at the endpoint is a bit like using MIT cables with Spectral electronics to minimize oscillation caused buy ultra-high bandwidth rather than limiting the bandwidth a bit to minimize noise without a detrimental network filter box at the end of the cable and you could still get very high bandwidth (analogous to throughput) at the endpoint / speaker terminals, right? If the Nucleus+ used a Quad-Core i7 rather than a dual-core i7 what you say would make more sense I believe.

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Put simply, they have tried really hard to make a 4 core 8 thread machine quiet. They could have just used a low power low core count device endpoint to achieve 80% of the effect and used clean power to achieve the rest. To give an example of what I did, I used a single core Atom processor as my end point. I would be very impressed if they could genuinely claim the CX to be electrically quieter than a single core Atom with negligible load.

It’s a four-core CPU, the number of threads is a matter of the software, which would be Roon. They did use a low-power CPU, the i5 as opposed to the i7; and they are using clean power, a linear PSU with a ground wire on the three-prong plug and a filtered toroidal transformer. The CX is a server, like the Nucleus, not an endpoint. I choose the endpoints so neither you or they control that. 1+1 != 3.

Except that even Antipodes says that it doesn’t have the power to do DSD to DSD transcoding without a PCM step. In other words, it’s not very powerful as @danny said…my sonicTransporter i5 is more powerful.

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I need to set the record straight here. The CX is not constrained in terms of power running Roon Server. Many comments here seem to be referring to the DX, CORE or EX products. The CX handles all DSP functions including native DSD processing - we just ask that you use multi-threading. By running four desktop-level cores, in parallel but at rates where the CPU is idling, we get much better sound. The sound quality difference is very noticeable in the higher frequencies. We were much less impressed with the sound of running one Core flat out, which is what you need to do if you turn multi-threading (which Roon calls ‘parallelize’) off. Some of our competitors don’t think that the server design can affect the sound quality so they do it differently. Only you can decide.

Thank you for supporting what I originally wrote.

From the Antipodes website (bolding is mine):

“In making the trade-off between power and sound quality, we were able to make sure that the CX could transcode PCM files of any resolution to DSD512 using Roon’s DSP features, without any impairment of sound quality. To achieve this, a user needs to set Roon to use ‘parallelisation’, which is their word for using all 4 Cores multithreaded. The clock rate could have been increased to provide much more power, so that DSD to DSD transcoding without a PCM step was also possible at high rates, but the negative impact on sound quality is too significant to warrant it, so we have not targeted this feature.

So, is the web site not correct or is what you are saying not correct?

Needs updating - apologies for that. We just changed to a faster CPU that has just become available from Intel for release.

I see the website is up-to-date. Perhaps refresh the page or clear your browser cache.

That’s a Roon-coined term for multithread processing, which is what allows Roon Core to most efficiently use all 4 cores pf the “slow” quad-core i5–even doing DSP–with faster actual throughput than a “fast” 2-core i7, which will have more inherent noise.

Can you filter out the noise? Sure, but why bother when you can have higher throughput when running multiple concurrent threads on a “slower” 4-core i5 with less inherent noise.

Then, of course, there’s bus speed and how you load/unload the RAM plus the internal SSD hosting ROCK/Roon OS/Linux “Light”/etc.

As examples:

That text must have been updated recently as that text was there not long ago and certainly was not there when I made my observation earlier in the thread.

It’s good to know you are improving the CX!

I know what parallelization is…

Cool, but other forum readers night not. :–)

Hi Scott. It can take a while to get website changes through, sorry. I don’t do them myself so don’t know exactly when that one was updated.

As Intel comes up with new CPUs we will test them and bring them into the product if it is beneficial. We will be able to update earlier models as it is a flexible platform that allows that. As much as we would like to nail things down, software companies like Roon will keep pushing the envelope and Intel will keep improving the architecture of their chips. That is just the way it is and we prefer to keep up to date rather than allow our products to get stuck in a time capsule. That is why we offer update programs. Every model we have sold since 2011 is able to be updated to use our latest technology.

Apologies again for creating confusion about the CX capability.


Excuse a displaced question but will migrate it after if there is a more appropriate location.
Question: Re: Small Green Computers (SGC) as of today, 11-1-18,i don’t see a telephone # for them. Is there not a method I’d direct contact for them. Was interested in a i7 ROON Pkg from them but I don’t see much activity online from them either if you also throw in other’s reviews. Are they not set up to correspond via telephone?

Thanks. David C.

They normally respond very quickly using there message box on their site. When I was having a minor issue we did speak over the phone once after the initial contact using the messaging app.

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Support from Small Green Computer has been absolutely stellar and I can not recommend them and their products enough. I would much rather have a sonicTransporter i5 or i7 than a Roon Nucleus! It is a much more flexible product.


Paging @agillis

Cheers, Greg

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@Dcrook23 I would be happy to talk to you on the phone. Can you go to my website and click on contact us? In the message give me your phone number and I’ll call you or just your email and I’ll email you with my phone number.