Sound Quality You Can Expect

Thank you all for your feedback so far.
As I thought, the protocols used do have an influence. I read that Airplay is offering CD quality (which can become insufficient if I start using hi-res music files) while Chromecast is said to offer bandwith for 96KHz/24bit lossless audio. I expect that the Roon protocol RAAT will offer at least the same as Chromecast and additionally will cope better with transmission problems and resulting timing problems.
As RAAT will give me also the possibility to better control my playing device, I will wait for affordable Roon ready receivers to become available (should not take long). I’ll have to consider well which receiver to buy, but currently this market is developping rather fast. Going for something like HifiBerry probably is a good choice if you intend to integrate a classical Hifi equipment that does not have a DAC built in.
Thanks for pointing out some positions the developers have about NAS and protocols, the information confirmed me in trying to run Roon on the NAS. One component less to care about (operating system updates, …).
The quality and reliability of a solution is a result of all components that have to work together for it. That is why I think that reducing components and connections (software, server, client, network, USB, etc.) reduces potential problems or incompatibilities and usually is less work in the long run; more time to listen to music…
Next test will be to move Roon to my NAS and then to have a closer look into the usability of Roon itself. I still have to clear out some issues I encountered when trying to do more with Roon than I can do now (areas are file tagging, tags, playlists, multi-user), but these are different topics.
Thanks again!
Cheers Al

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Hi,
I installed Roon now on my DS918+ (INTEL Celeron J3455 [4 cores] 1.5 GHz, 4096 MB RAM).
When idle, Roon takes between 7 and 9 percent CPU and about 1 GB of RAM. Playing a CD quality FLAC to my Android phone raises the CPU usage by about 2 percent.
A rescan of my music library (180 GB, 9000 files on SSD) currently needs only 30 seconds (15 seconds reading the files) using about 30 percent CPU.
Sound quality has not changed significantly, surely did not get worse.

One thing you have to take care about when moving Roon server to the NAS is that Roon server runs as root (as it does on the NUC). This means that any file access restrictions will be ignored by Roon with the consequence that any Roon user can delete music files and playlists on the NAS. A fact you have to take into account with your deployment and backup strategy. This fact might change, though, as DSM 7 won’t allow applications to run as root any more. There is ongoing development in this area and I suppose that also NUC versions will benefit from this.
Cheers Al

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Hi,
a short update to this story:
I tried HiFiBerry with Digi+ (optical output) and plugged it into the optical input of my receiver.
HiFiBerry Digi+ is certified as Roon ready, so I was curious.
Unfortunately this setup had a lower sound quality than the current setup (Roon Chromecast to receiver via Gb-Ethernet).
The only explanation I have is that the sound processor of the Digi+ card has its limitations.
Are there better HiFiBerry soundcards certified to be Roon ready?
Cheers Al

The Digi+ converts RAAT to SP/DIF, it is a streamer.
That it sound different/worse can have a plethora of reasons.

PeterD,
thanks for this information.
I always had excellent sound quality when listening to a CD player that was plugged in there…

FWIW
I use a Digi+ Pro connected to my H190 with coax and without using DSP.
It sounds very good and i have nothing against it.
I have no experience with Chromecast and have not tested the Digi+ Pro with optics.