Setting up a quality Hi-Fi ROON Setup for my son

Something that has been bugging me has been what will would happen to this music library and its Roon system when I moved on to another planet (at 87 you know you are ancient and that time is getting closer when your daughter retires!!)? I have spent countless hours to groom it for Roon as described in an earlier post, so the thought of it never being appreciated or used by anyone else was depressing.

Well I was recently delighted to learn my eldest son, also not far from retirement, was interested in this classical music collection. But why should he wait until I moved on? Much more satisfying to see him enjoying it now but that meant assembling a system for him. He is a bit of a luddite about electronic items and, although OK financially, he is anxious to support his son through Uni so I elected to fund any items not already here.

I’m prejudiced against extracting music via USB and accept many are having success with it but being a dyed in the wool audioholic decided to duplicate the system here as much as possible. A completely wired home network system is not possible in his home but a reliable wireless setup was possible using a displaced ASUS router from here.

I already had some other bits and pieces but not a wireless DAC/preamp so research followed to reveal the relatively inexpensive Topfield DX7 Pro was a suitable candidate. Well it duly arrived and proved to be VERY suitable. I A/B’d it against my very expensive Audio gd R8/ Master 9 combo and was shocked to hear VERY LITTLE difference in audio quality via Focal Utopia headphones. But note there is an important caveat here and that is that I am using the very impressing Auralic G1 bridge in the network. It is obviously doing an impressive timing job for the DAC making its challenge of jitter reduction less challenging.

So that posed a challenge for his Roon setup – what should I use as the bridge?. Purchasing another G1 was never seriously considered but The Lumin U1 emerged as a viable alternative and a used one was being advertised for under half RRP so was purchased. Similarly another set of Focal Utopias was not on the shopping list but a used Sennheiser 650 was purchased instead with a balanced cord from (excellent range of choices at reasonable prices here) ordered.

A schematic of the resultant system is attached.

It is not fully completed but will be moved into his home by Easter so he can listen to superb classical music on corded Sennheiser headphones (for the best sound), on Sony wireless headphones for casual around the house listening (and that could be his wife) or via AR6 (modified) speakers for more casual listening.

I already had an unused cabinet which neatly houses everything although the space in the back bottom shelf for the 3 docks and HDDs is tight and a bit inaccessible. I had to modify the docks so they were not switched and all the wiring took awhile. The photo shows the standard Sennheiser cable but the replacement high quality copper cabling from Lunashops is on its way. I find setting up wireless gear challenging so will get some help from a pro when it is all finally moved to his home.

Bottom line, all the effort into editing the music files will not be wasted after all :blush:


Pretty nice!

Doesn’t connecting with AES cable limit you to far lower resolution than what both U1 and DX7 support though?

On the contrary, the AES link allows the best possible balanced audio signal and it is balanced cable coming for the Sennheiser headphones,

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It’s DIGITAL cable, though, not analog, as per your diagram. It’s a perfectly fine way of connecting Lumin’s digital output to Topping’s digital input, as long as you are OK with being limited to 24/192 PCM and DoP DSD 64. Connecting with USB would let you use both devices to their full ability, and Topping is competently engineered so AES has no benefit over any other connection method.

Not that anyone could tell any difference between 24/192 and 32/768 anyway though, so it does not make much difference in practical terms…

My take is that hi-rez only sounds better because the re cording receives better TLC. You are right - telling the difference is impossible and very challenging even comparing to 16/44 standard CD quality.

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  1. AES is fine as long as you don’t have DSD128, DSD256 or PCM 352.8kHz files.

  2. Since you will be controlling the volume in the DX7 Pro, please disable volume control in Lumin app for the Lumin U1 Mini.

  3. If you don’t listen to Spotify Connect, and exclusively use Roon instead of Tidal app, please disable Spotify Connect and Tidal Connect in Lumin app. Likewise, disable Lumin Streaming (AirPlay) if not needed.

  4. In Asus router setting, in LAN → IPTV, you may enable Multicast Routing. Is that an AX86 ?

Pretty much yes. Some of the standard CDs I have, that were recorded really well sound better than an average “hi-rez” recordings. Theoretically, CD is good enough, but it’s close enough to capabilities of human hearing that if it wasn’t produced well enough (and most recordings weren’t) it’s easy to hit the limitations. Once you get to 24/96 there’s enough headroom to keep the sound as accurate as it could be.

I’m just not sure if I personally would limit the system to less than what it can technically reproduce…

There are very few files with those specs so I’m not worried about potential problems with them.
Thanks for hits 2 & 3 - have been set before.

There will be two ASUS routers used, The one in the pic is a AX5700 and will replace the bigpond router there while a smaller AC66U (not shown in the pic) will be the starting point of the mini network involving Roon and will be in the cabinet.

If you’re going to use two Asus routers, please do not put them in AiMesh mode.

The primary router should be used in a normal way (router mode), while the secondary router (AC66U) can be set to Access Point mode (if the two routers are connected by a network cable) or Media Bridge mode (if the two routers are connected by WiFi).

How do you plan to transfer your library? How will you duplicate all your hours of work on it?

These are more philosophical musings than any actual input, but I as well have a large offline collection of music, mostly classical but with large jazz and world components as well. These are mp3 files ripped over the last 20 years and kept in a windows file system of folders which I have grouped and classified by myself.

  1. I love Roon for listening and it has opened many new worlds for my kids as they go down different “Rock” rabbit holes - exploring musicians, influences, etc.
  2. Roon for classical is very primitive and I understand this as Roon draws its data bases from sources that are lacking in classical meta-data.
  3. I do not have the time to go through 20 years worth of my own classical meta-data sorting and create my own Roon data-base - although they give me the option to.
  4. I have learned to live with it and do my own classical searching and playing using my windows data base. If I want baroque lute music, I know where to find it even if Roon does not.
  5. I really love Roon for the flexibility it offers me in my listening modes - either through my own collection or live radio.
  6. I have not had much success with Roon Arc remotely or in the car listening but that is probably my problem more than Roons. Roon I am sure cannot test or optimize all configurations or servers, connections, etc., but neither can I, even with my own.
  7. I am on the annual payment plan and was pondering giving my son a lifetime plan, but I think the annual rate is very fair and who knows what technology advances we will see in the next 10 or 20 years. I think Roon has as good a chance as anyone keeping up but if someone offered the current Roon offering that handled classical the same way as Roon does Rock, Blues, Jazz, etc. I might look at it.

I just saw “Apple Classical” and they have the classical data base that I hope Roon would figure out how to incorporate. I have a very large collection of classical LPs and CDs and Apple has managed to include a large percentage of the esoteric ones and provide very useful meta-data presentations. If you have not seen it take a look. I am sticking with Roon for the moment because it does what I want with everything else but this is pretty nice.