Taking the next step: Roon Core Server - advice needed

Hi all,

I’m new-ish to Roon but absolutely love it. At present I just use it on my 2014 5K iMac, which acts as my Core. It has some very old digital files that need re-ripping from CD (I got my first iPod in 2003) and I link to my Tidal subscription.

However in the last few months, thanks to Cambridge Audio making my 851N Roon Ready, and our moving house leading to the purchase of a few Sonos speakers, I’m looking to potentially set-up a Roon Core Server independent of my iMac. I have also realised that I never ripped about 70% of my CD collection, and would like to find a system that lets me do that direct to a server.

For info my system is:

iMac connected to Project Pre Box S2 Digital to Ruark Mr1 Mk2

Living Room/Kitchen:
Cambridge Audio 851N (Roon Ready) connected by ethernet (plus 851A, Aeromax 6 speakers)
Sony Bravia TV Chromecast enabled
Sonos Beam

Bedrooms: Sonos 1 speakers

The question:
What’s the best way for me to have a server to access Roon and all my music that’s always on? Ideally I’d like to rip my whole CD collection (4-500 CDs) to act as my new enhanced Core library. I’ve been looking at the Innuos Zen Mk3, and it seems to be perfect, but would this be overkill for what I’m looking for? Or would it be better to rip via my iMac and then move the files to a central server that’s cheaper? Due to a newborn I don’t have much capacity to build something from scratch, and I’ve had bad experiences with NAS drives failing in the past.

Any advice would be appreciated!

I can only suggest what I have experience with. Nuc/Rock server with an internal Sata drive for your music library. Thinking the total cost was around $800.00. But it is DYI build. Need to purchase Intel Nuc, ram, m.2 drive for Roon OS/Databast and the Sata drive. The instruction are available and it is fairly easy to do. You can add a USB drive and the Roon OS will rip the CD’s but I only use it for recent additions. I used dbpoweramp to rip my small 300 CD collections then used drag and drop to copy the files to the nuc.

Then you have the Roon Nucleus or Nucleus Plus. Cost more than the Nuc/Rock but classier. I’m not familiar with other platforms but other members will be along to offer suggestions.

The Nuc/Rock combination is a good one, but if you really want to save money, you could pick up an old Mac Mini. I use one from 2009 that still has a CD-Rom drive that I use to rip my CDs. If you went later than that, you would need to pick up an external CD drive, which looks like they currently run c$30 on Amazon.

Thanks both, appreciate it. I’ve started using dbpoweramp to rip my CDs via the mac, and am going to get one of these to act as the core - https://www.inside-tech.co.uk/fanless-roon-rock-music-server-intel-i7-7th-gen-nuc7i7?gclid=Cj0KCQjwxNT8BRD9ARIsAJ8S5xYPnVm49VewnG51yBeAAYEC04l_Ld1QYs6LMQiABo54EJFN3V7VEhsaAmHBEALw_wcB

I don’t think a fast processor is needed, but will upgrade the RAM as it’s so cheap, and will go for a 500gb hard drive.

The RAM upgrade may not really be necessary if you’re going to keep the ROCK OS as your Roon Core operating system software. However, if you’re going to be doing any DSD or Room Correction convolutions via Roon in the future, or will potentially have a lot of zones that you might be playing to simultaneously, then the i7 processor may be your best choice. The Akasa case is nice and will serve well. I was considering it for quite some time, but in the end, I opted for the fanless HDPlex case (have the NUC7i7DNHE processor as core). … BUT, :flushed: I haven’t had the time to transfer the board, etc from my stock NUC Kit to the HDPlex yet :slightly_frowning_face: :wink:.

If you don’t want a DIY solution, the unit you’ve selected looks like a pretty nice choice.