Roon on Windows 10

I am currently working on a Pro-ject Stream Box S2 Ultra connected with a Dac North Star Design, the Roon core is on my PC and the music library on a Qnap nas.
This system works quite well.
The problems is that VOLUMIO, the o.s. of the Stream Box, don’t send direct DSD stream to my dac, only DoP stream are allowed, so I can’t play DSD 256 files.
My dac work well with direct DSD stream, untill DSD 256, but only through ASIO driver and windows o.s.
Now I would like to replace the Stream Box with an Intel NUC on which I can install windows10 with the ASIO driver of my dac. At this point I could also put the ROON core on it.

I wonder which NUC should I take to manage a library of around 50,000 files, do conversions on the fly and manage convolution?
And if I installed the Roon core in the QNAP server?
What do you recommend?


It looks like you are trying to solve two different problems:

  1. Replacing the Pro-Ject Stream Box with a network audio transport that supports DSD256
  2. Move Core from your PC to a dedicated server, possibly running ROCK

The problem is that you can’t really do both of these with the same device unless you’re willing to compromise on sound quality. Roon explains this in detail here:

There’s nothing wrong with your current architecture, which already has Core, Output(s), and Remotes running on physically separate networked devices. You just need something better than the Pro-Ject for your output. I would go with the USBridge Signature from Allo. More details on the actual board here:

It supports 32-bit, 768 kHz PCM, DSD512 (probably DSD1024, but Allo did not have a way to test), and is quite a bit less expensive than the Pro-Ject (not that it matters, since you already have that).

Yes, the first problem is replacing Pro-Ject Stream BOX with a network audio transport that support windows 10 and ASIO driver of North Star Design Supremo.
If I understand, also USBridge Signature use a Linux o.s. … I need use windows to use ASIO driver of my dac … or I need change dac

The question could be:
which barebone should I take to install on it : windows10, the ASIO driver and ROON Bridge?

HI Paulo, there is no issue in running Win 10 and the Core on the NUC. An i5 nuc, with 8 GB of RAM will handle a 50k library just fine. Also, you can attach the Core directly to the DAC via USB.

Feel free to PM me if you want additional help/suggestions.


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This is technically true, but Roon’s Knowledge Base advises against this if you care about sound quality. Am I the only person who reads these things?

Paolo has a pretty expensive DAC and spent almost $1k on the Pro-Ject Stream BOX, so I assume that he cares about sound quality enough to do things properly rather than just getting something to work.

Sorry if I sound snippy, but it’s frustrating to me when people make recommendations like this that go against Roon’s advice for getting the best sound quality.

Are you sure? When I looked at the website, it says, “DRIVERLESS ON APPLE OSX AND LINUX”. I’ll be surprised if it does not work with the USB driver on Linux.

Of course not. But, not everyone agrees that any potential difference in SQ is going to be heard by all users in a direct connection. Or that the convenience and cost factor outweighs any potential SQ difference. That is why they also wrote this:

I have used DACs directly connected to the Core and not. For me, the sound difference was not great. That said, I do indeed keep my core in the basement. But, that is mostly because it is a gargantuan behemoth, not suited to a quiet living/listening space.

The OP asked a direct question about if a setup would work and what the base requirements would be for his library. I answered those questions directly. I am not going to tell him to do things a different way and spend more money unless he indicates that he wants additional advice on SQ. He did not.

Paolo has to have his DAC connected to a Windows PC to run the ASIO drivers to get native DSD256. The SQ increase in going to native DSD256, imho, beats in a trade-off any lessening due to it being a Core as well as an endpoint.

However, Paolo, could get a very cheap Windows PC to run just the ASIO drivers and RoonBridge, and just keep his current RoonServer. But, since we don’t know the specs of the his current Roon Core, I am not able to guarantee him running DSD256 smoothly; which is his goal.

Additionally, my recommendation allows for him to “grow” the system. If he later wants to spend the money to separate the Core and the DAC, he can.

Linux and MAC send DSD via DOP. The OP wants to get native DSD 256. High Rate Native DSD is a mess on Linux, and nearly non-existent on MAC OS. That is why a direct USB connected Windows PC running ASIO drivers is the easiest and cleanest way to go, if high rate native DSD is your goal.

Note: Not that it cannot be done on Linux, but, the individual Linux distro needs to be patched for each individual DAC (or USB Interface Family, for example, Amanero). Sometimes it is easier, to start with choosing the endpoint that is going to feed the DAC, like say a microRendu or Allo USB Bridge Signature, see what DACs are on it’s “Native DSD supported” list, and use that as a short list to research. It can get complicated and confusing, which is the “mess” I referred to above.

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In this case, it would be helpful to consider the source. Rugby knows Roon about as well as anybody can.
What Roon recommends is generally true across all use cases. But there are going to be lots of instances where the differences between direct USB connection and connection via another box are vanishingly small. I can also attest to this from my own direct experience as well.
It’s not bad at all to challenge folks when they are spewing nonsense, but sometimes there is a basis to statements that are somewhat divergent from the norm.

Me, too. Except I couln’t hear any difference.

Honestly, why shouldn’t core, endpoint, and control on a machine with sufficient horsepower sound pretty great?

All this stuff about network, power supply and “overworked” cpu noise seems like alot of noise to me.

Guess my denon/vintage klipsch system isn’t “resolving” enough. That’s ok, though, because it rocks the house with roon.

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Sure, but he already has his Core and DAC separated. Giving that up would be a step backward sonically (in my experience), even if he gains native DSD256 support in the process.

I think that used to be the case. Perhaps it still is with some DACs? Not sure, but it’s working fine with all of the DACs from iFi Audio that I’ve ever tested, including DSD512 to the micro iDSD.

At this very moment, I have a Raspberry Pi 4 connected to an iFi micro iDAC2. Listening to a DSD256 album from over Wi-Fi with no problems and no dropouts. Sounds great. The RPi4 is running the latest DietPi with Kernel v4.19.66-v7l+.

(ignore the kodi logo…that’s just the branding on this particular flirc case)

It looks like native DSD has been supported on Volumio for a while, so perhaps Paolo’s DAC has not been added yet. Probably sending developers the output of lsusb could get things going.

I contacted the Volumio designer in June and he replied that he added my dac to the list of those enabled to manage the direct DSD, the change would be active from the next system release … Since then there have been 4 new releases of the Stream Box operating system, but nothing has changed:

  • if I set DSD direct --> the Stream Box automatically converts the data to PCM 352 khz;
  • if I set DSD DoP --> everything runs up to DSD 128, but with DSD 256 files the data stream is converted into PCM 352 kHz.

My DAC use Amanero interface and I am not shure that it can manage direct DSD with Linux.
When I read that VOLUMIO was able to manage the direct DSD up to the DSD 512, I purchased the Stream Box hoping it would work, but obviously this is not the case.

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Bummer. That’s the way it goes with this stuff, but I still think you have the right architecture for your Roon setup and would encourage you to maintain that.

Here’s another idea for you. I had great luck using a Quantum Byte Fanless PC from Azulle as a Roon output for a while (feeding a USB DAC). You can still buy the model that I have, but if I was buying today, I’d probably go with the Byte3 version with 4 GB of RAM and Windows 10 Pro. You just need to install your ASIO driver, connect your DAC, and install Roon Bridge to get things working.

I would highly recommend also installing Fidelizer (and considering the upgrade to Pro). This application does what’s necessary to calm Windows 10 down to the point that it’s actually a mostly okay streaming audio device.

Sorry that your DAC is not well supported for native DSD streaming yet. @Rugby was right that DSD on Linux is a bit of a minefield, it seems. Perhaps your DAC will be added eventually, but for $200 - $300, you can get up and running Roon Bridge and Fidelizer on Windows 10.

The Amanero Usb interface itself does support native DSD up to 512, but not (yet) in combination windows. (Either Linux hzs technical issues, either Windows).
It is a matter if the firmware of the usb module is easily upgradable in this Dac.
But the manufacturer should be able to tell / support you

Thanks for all the answers.

Yes, what I wanted was to find a solution (better if cheap) to replace the Stream Box as a bridge and I think that the Quantum Byte is just what I was looking for … If for the use as a bridge the Byte is enough, I don’t think it is useful spend more on Byte3.

Next, I need to find a more stable solution for the ROON core:
for now i’m using my pc, a little dated (cpu i5-3230M @ 2.60 GHz, ram 4 GB, ssd Hd 512 GB) and sometimes the playback stops with the message '“a file is loading slowly”, even if I use fidelizer … I don’t know if it depends on the cpu, from the ram, from the network … perhaps from the whole
Surely the optimal solution will be a Nuc with ROCK, but I would first try to install the core on a disk ssd (which I can then move to the Nuc) in the nas Qnap (I still have 2 free bays), maybe it would be better than now…

Another step to try will be to use the second network port on the Qnap to put the audio system on a network independent of the main one …

Yeah. SSD storage (for the Roon database) and a wired Ethernet connection will give you the best chance of eliminating that “a file is loading slowly” messages. Fidelizer can improve performance on a system that’s running Roon Bridge, but probably not Roon Server.

If you decide to go the ROCK route, I bought one of these:

Yes, it’s an i3, but for the 8th gen NUCs, the clock speed is significantly faster with the i3, so it’s actually faster than my 7th gen i5 NUC for these kinds of workloads.

Probably overkill, but I bought this memory and storage for it:

My library only has about 25k files, but I don’t think a library double that size would present any challenge for this NUC. Hope this helps.