Roon OS and Gustard X 16 DAC?

I do the research about Roon and got interested in NUC implementation.
I will get above DAC and I’m wandering if I can connect it directly via usb to the NUC running Roon OS.
Also if yes, will I need to install any driver and if yes, will I need to do this every time the OS is updated ?

Ignore that. I decided on Rpi4 as bridge and my 24/7 running Ubuntu 20.04 as core server.


Still, most DAC’s that support USBAudio 2 will be compatible when connected to a Linux or Mac endpoint/server. And no extra drivers will be necessary. In most cases this puts a limit on resolution to PCM384 and DSD DoP128, though.

Thank you Mikael. Are you saying that RPi4 coupled with Gustard X16 will not deliver the full benefit of the DAC ? Sorry it is not clear to me.

The problem is that this DAC does not have Ethernet and I try to assemble something to be the best option.
I have also (it is in transfer) Bluesound Node 2i I can use as well. This but has its own complication as the Node doesn’t have the USB output and Gustard is only a renderer for TOSLINK inputs. I’m not sure how the Node will behave with DSD streams.

I can’t say with certainty, but it will work fine with the majority of your files. Up to PCM384 and DSD128 will surely work together with a Pi running Roon Bridge. Anything over that is a bonus, and requires drivers for your USB reciever built into the Linux core of you pi’s operating system.

The Node however, does not do DSD. Your Roon setup will play fine to it, but it’s stream will be automatically transcoded into PCM176.4 for standard DSD. (Both to it’s internal DAC and through its digital outputs)

You can connect the X16 directly to your Roon Core, should you desire. Usually the best audible results are had from separate Core/Bridgedevices, but sometimes you can get very pleasing results with a low noise Core also. (connecting the DAC directly over USB)

Thanks again. The Node just arrived… I will probably gift it to my son :slight_smile:
It seems that RPi4 will be most desirable solution at this stage. Just ordered one.

Unfortunately my Linux PC is few rooms away from my HT room so usb direct will not work.
Of course there still is NUC possibility running Roon OS or Windows. Hmmmm

Dont worry about it, a Pi is an excellent streamer (which can be bettered, but at many times it price in cost) which is stable and good sounding.
Are you planning to run Ropieee or DietPi or perhaps VitOS?

As I’m quite new to all of this I wander what is the function of the bridge? Does it do any signal processing or just an Ethernet/usb interface?
From what you write it looks like the first is an answer.

I googled for Roon and my DAC and find out that the Ropieee has been successfully utilised with it. I don’t know about the other ones.

The Roon Bridge is a DDC (A Digital To Digital converter) that accepts RAAT input over the network and outputs an audio signal, either digital or analog. It does not process audio, only manages flow and buffers.

Thats one of the key points with Roon, all the “dirty hard work” (incl any signal processing/transcoding) is done in the Core part of the setup, which then sends the unmolested RAAT data to the Bridge. (Which may be a logical module within the same physical unit, but preferably is a Roon Ready device connected on the network).


Thanks for in detail explanation.
I should get the x16 and RPi4 after incoming weekend so all the fun will start then.
Also, is there any advantages/disadvantages between the OS’S you mentioned earlier to consider in my my circumstances?

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No probs!
The OS’s i mentioned are all a bit different in function and management. The VitOS is a low latency kernel implementation, installing Roon Bridge on it requires an app on your tablet/smartphone.
Ropiee is a dedicated Roon Bridge, easily managed by its web interface. Also possible to utilise for Spotify etc if you choose the XL-version.
Dietpi is the slimmest of them all, but requires SSH configuration. Since you are running Ubuntu i doubt this will be an issue, and the SSH shell is largely menu driven. So easy to maintain for Linux-noobs like me!


You don’t have to have the app, there is a thread on the site, where someone talks about downloading the Bridge and enabling WiFi from the shell prompt, all looks very straightforward for Michal if he already runnning Ubuntu as you said.
Any of the DietPi/Ropieee/VitOS is good, but I have heard from other members that have higher end equipment that VitOS sounds the best. I don’t have high end equipment but I run one of each (for different reasons) and happy with them all to be honest and I hear no difference (midFi and old ears)


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Great! I really appreciate your input :slight_smile:
I think I will go for dedicated OS for now, I can experiment with other OS’s after I get all up and running first.
As I mentioned earlier I’m new to external DACs used with HiFi equipment. I do have external DAC hooked to my gaming PC but it is just for that - gaming! So your input makes it much easier to understand and implement the desired outcome.
Thanks !

Hi @Michal_Borkowski. Yes you can go roon Core NUC to DAC via USB. IMHO SQ will be better with a DDC (digital to digital converter) before the DAC… I have seen SQ improvements right there. If you have a DDC try it and see. Have not heard the Gustard X16 yet do use a Gustard U16 (DDC) in a Bedroom Headphone setup. NUC to Gustard U16 (DDC) to Topping DX7Pro (DAC HPA) to Topping A90 (HPA) to AKG K812 headphones IMHO the DDC had a clear (not giant) differance with AKG K812 headphones ( I know… the A90 sounded better using DAC only from the DX7Pro). BTW: The Gustard DDC with roon = no volume control via tablet of phone. XMOS based DDC is needed here I think not 100% sure on that? ie. Singxer SU2 or SU6 (I have the SU6 and IMHO its a go no further DDC).

Thanks Derek. So to be clear, is DDC an additional component in the chain or it replace the bridge?

The DDC they are referring to is the RPi, . It just takes the network signal and outputs as USB

Use Ropieee XL ., it has Roon Bridge built in, it’s dead simple, there is a “Noddy guide”

use Etcher to burn to an SD Card, put in Pi, connect Ethernet to your network , plug in , simple as that, when done plug USB from RPi to your DAC

20 minutes tops …

@Michal_Borkowski Yes, unfortunately it is another box. The DDC is USB ‘in’ to SPDIF ‘out’ so, BNC/Coax/AES/Optical. It is in essence a USB out signal (from say computer/Raspberry Pi): cleaner, signal re-clock-er, processer to SPDIF output to DAC. A NUC is a computer with better than computer outputs, yet is still in essence a computer out. That said … Try a Raspberry Pi USB out to your DAC and see if you can hear a SQ differance as the RPi USB signal is supposed to be cleaner than a computer USB signal. Some DAC’s handle USB ‘in’ better than others and was surprised a modern DAC (i.e. DX7Pro) saw the benefit in SQ with a DDC. I see hear the benefit of streamers which in part does what a DDC does!

Thank you to both of you, the manual will be very helpful. The X32 is a full decoder (MQA) for usb and renderer for coax/optical inputs.
So I assume the usb will take any stream while the others need first unfold done outside for further processing.
From what I understand the Roon does first unfold but is it possible for Roon to pass through not processed stream (for usb)?
And does it really matter where the first unfold is done?
And just for curiosity, I read that I can add coax/optical outputs to the RPi. Does it bring any advantages apart from just adding the ports ?
I suppose it is not the same as adding DDC.

So the RPi arrived and as suggested by Mick, the Ropieee setup was a breeze :slight_smile:
Now waiting for X16 to arrive…
One more question. As I understand starting from version 19 of Ubuntu, it is possible to use native DSD playback (I run 20.04). But since I will use Ropieee(XL?), is it the Roipeee responsible for DSD compatibility? My DAC supports DSD up to 512, so I wander if native would be possible?
It seems it is kernel dependable so it might be up to what kernel the Ropieee is using? Or I’m totally wrong…

EDIT: ok did some more search and it seems that Ropieee supports Gustard DAC-X20U for native DSD. The Gustard X16 is not listed…