The Best End Point?

What’s the best End Point?

I want something as simple, stable and easy to update, like the ROCK/Nucleus. It seems like the Raspberry Pi is the popular solution, but I’m open to options. It would be nice if it could have a USB and I2S interface option, but I’ll be thrilled with a high quality SPDIF (coaxial and/or Toslink).

I am considering using a ROCK as an End Point, but I’m verifying in a different thread of this is possible and what the limitations might be.

Is Roon going to have their own End Point, like what they did with Nucleus?

Best is matter of opinion and how much you want to spend.

Check out this post -

I’m currently using my NUC running ROCK in a fanless case powered by Sbooster LPS. I use the SOtM tx-USBultra between the NUC and my DAC. I am happy with this set up. I’m effectively using the NUC running ROCK as “endpoint.” It’s been a breeze. I had been using an SOtM sMS-200 endpoint (which is brilliant), but didn’t think it improved the sound in any noticeable way. I benefit from having the fanless NUC in close proximity to my DAC(s). Otherwise, I would wholeheartedly recommend using the sMS-200 (SOtM just announced a new Neo version)…or the sMS-200ultra. I have also used a Raspberry Pi as endpoint for a time, which served me well.

PS Audio DSJ has the built in bridge, and a very good quality DAC with multiple inputs including USB and I2S inputs.

The Sonore microRendu is USB output only, but can be converted into I2s or SPDIF.

Do you have a budget in mind?


Thank you!

I think you are doing what I want to do: to use a ROCK/NUC as an End Point. I started another thread about it, and it seems to be an option, but there might be some auto-updates that may not work…?

I’ve been reading through some of your posts about this issue and the power supply. I’m eager to learn about your system and experience with the setup.

I want to run one ROCK/NUC as a Core and three-four more ROCK/NUCs as End Points. I want to use the same ROCK/NUC (i7) configuration for the Core and End Points. The price difference isn’t worth any compromise and I want to have the ability to expand if/when Roon offers more updates and DSP features, as well as add more rooms/zones of the future.

Thanks for sharing your time, I appreciate your recommendations and suggestions.

NAD 758 V3 AV receiver is highly capable and reasonably priced option. Does Dirac Live, BluOS, MQA, and Now Playing video. Sounds great, looks great, plenty of power for most applications, and very simple to configure. If only it was smaller…


I need to be able to use the Nagra Classic DAC with USB or coaxial and the Nagra HD DAC with USB or I2S.

I’ve been looking at the Sonore microRendu as an option, but I would like to use a ROCK/NUC, if possible. I like the idea of using the same ROCK/NUC for both Core and End Point, but I’m not sure this is best.

No it’s not the best. A NUC isn’t a endpoint. Keep your Roon far away from your DAC if possible. And the switch as well.

UltraRendu is better than MicroRendu. The Sonore Signature SE even better.

Other good endpoints exists. Even an old iPhone with CCK will be excellent as a start.

Plug the Rendu direct to your DAC using the uspcb from Uptone and maybe use their LPS-1.2 power supply.

I’m not a ROCK/NUC user, so I can’t comment from experience. A lot of this comes down to budget. I use a Sonore microRendu to Sonore Ultradigital as one end point. The UltraRednu is more refined than the microrendu, but the difference between the two units using the UltraDigital is pretty slim from what I’ve read.

Will you be using these DACs simultaneously…? The UltraDigital splits USB output signal to I2s and SPDIF. Both can be run at the same time.

If a Raspberry Pi is used as an End Point into a USB DAC, what’s the best Roon Bridge software to use?

Just USB, I don’t need SPDIF. I assume that I don’t need an extra board, just the correct software on the Pi, correct?

The DACs are in different rooms. Both use USB, but the HD DAC has an i2s interface that I would like to implement in the future.

There’s only one version of Roon Bridge for the Pi so makes it pretty simple. Best bet is using dietpi or ropieee as the OS.

Yes, a standard Pi is the simplest setup, should be OK unless you do heavy up-sampling.

Allo USBridge is a great usb endpoint for under 200 notes.

Don’t use usb on the pi it sucks you need an extra board ( hat) for decent audio output. I have 2 but the recently acquired Allo USBridge blows them away.


It sucks as a starting point for someone wanting to get USB data into a DAC? I’d imagine this really depends on a lot of factors - easy enough for people to see whether a stock pi meets their needs/expectations…

My $0.02 – Pi works to DAC, but USBridge does sound noticeably better. Depends on what @In-Tone is looking to do.

I have also plugged a NUC (Rock) directly into a DAC, and I was just happy it worked. I haven’t done a comparison of that v. USBridge. You’d expect the latter to be better, but again, depends on what the definition of “best” is.


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Can the Intel NUC7i3DNKE running Linux/Roon Bridge be used as a high quality, headless Roon Bridge (End Point)?

Probably more horsepower than you need with an i3. I have an older Celeron that is idle. I’ll put Ubuntu + Roon Bridge on it, and do a comparison v. the USBridge.

System I will test on is not high end (Rotel RC-1590 pre and on board DAC, Marantz SM-17SA, and Elac UF5s), but I could hear a difference in it, USBridge relative to the Pi USB, so should be sufficient to answer the question.

Will be back to you in a day or so.

I spent an hour going back and forth.

  1. I thought perhaps the USBridge sounded perhaps a little better than the NUC; a bit cleaner and tauter (bass). But I could also have imagined the difference; I wasn’t doing a true blind test. It certainly wasn’t night and day, if at all. Whereas when I went from Pi USB to USBridge, my wife commented on it straightaway (I got immediate approval to buy a 2nd unit :)). So on what is probably a USD5k set up, you could call the NUC high quality. If you were spending $50k of your customer’s money on a system, maybe you would want to try for yourself.

  2. NUC v. Pi – NUC clearly better (i.e. roughly on par with USBridge). Separation, imaging, bass response (I’ll stop there, before I sound like too much of a pretender).

  3. Transparent / auto updates – I installed Ubuntu server, and then Roon Bridge. Ubuntu server is rock solid, and Roon Bridge updates cleanly when Roon pushes updates. You could probably leave it in a corner and never have to touch it. That said, I am an Ubuntu tinkerer, not an IT professional – I would defer to others with more knowledge; you would be trading off security implications of not patching the OS v. risk of a bad update and it breaking.

Supplemental to system description provided in previous post – source material was either DSD64 or Tidal MQA, all upsampled to DSD128 by core. Listened to Miles Davis (So What), first few tracks from Daft Punk’s Tron soundtrack, and Mogwai (Remurdered).

Hope this is helpful.


This is wonderful! I greatly appreciate your feedback and evaluation!

I have so many questions, but I need to let this soak in and follow-up once I have a better understanding of what a NUC Bridge can offer and how Ubuntu works.

Your level of testing and communication is remarkable. You deserve a dinner and drinks, and if I’m ever in Australia, it will be my treat.

Much appreciated!!!