Trying to decide on which product to use for the Roon Server

So many choices and so little knowledge!!

I have a music library of about 1400 albums and use Tidal. The use of Tidal has DRAMATICALLY reduced purchasing music but I do, on rare occasion, download hiHi Rez files. As a result, I would need to be able to downsample since my end point only supports 24/96. My music data sits on both a Bluesound Vault 2 AND a NAS. Primary interest is for only one room but if the incremental cost to add an additional room is small, I would do that as well.

I have been looking at a number of options for which product to purchase to run Roon Core

(1) The just announced Mac Mini (~ $680)
(2) An Intel NUC (~$500)
(3) The Roon Nucleus (~$1400)
(4) Small Green Computer i5 (not sure about price until I receive a response from them about what the bass products will do but probably priced near the Nucleus).

Price notwithstanding, what option would be the best and why? Any sonic differences?

Also does Roon support multi-channel audio if the end-point does? Specifically, I have some multi-channel DVDs and some DVD-A music currently sitting on shiny disc.

What DAC do you have and how would you expect to connect this to the Core?

No DAC other than what is built into my Trinnov processor which is Roon Ready

If you will only ever use it for Roon Server then the obvious choice is a NUC with ROCK assuming you can follow basic NUC/ROCK build - its not an off the shelf installed unit as you need to add RAM and SSD/NVMe drive. Can be made silent, but is not as designed and a new chassis would be needed…more cost. A NUC can also be redeployed with Windows (have to purchase) at a later date.

If a bit of DIY is not your thing then a Nucleus/+ is a great option - depending on your budget. This is a silent option. Only capable of Roon use.

SCG i5 is also a contender as its a fairly bare bones OS environment - its well supported too but is 3rd party operating system.

Any one of the new MacMinis would be fine - maybe grab the extra 8GB ram to get 16GB if you are happy with the MACOS environment. if its just for Roon only then 128GB would be OK but remember you can’t upgrade the SSD size ever so if you ever want it as a desktop later then spec it accordingly…gets costly at the higher end specs. Apple stores have a 14day return policy so its an option to try with no commitment.

At say around 20-30,000 tracks the i5 option will be more than adequate.

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It looks like Trinnov only support SPDIF/ AES digital input, so you may need a Roon Bridge device too (I couldn’t find anything definitive on their website.) Trinnoy are Roon Ready Network Players, but first you’ll also need the to make sure the product is up-to-date and configured for Roon.

@wizardofoz has provided a comprehensive reply re. Roon core so I have nothing to add there other than your decision made be based on your willingness to DIY.

Hi Martin,
The webpage you linked to states that they are Roon Ready Network Players … this means they support the RAAT network protocol … hence Roon can stream to them directly via the LAN, thus there is no need for any additional network bridges.

Thanks for clearing that up … seems so obvious now. :smile:

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Well…sort of. This “Roon Readiness” (a misnomer, IMO) does not mean the player can handle ALL RAAT streams; just the ones the hardware people decide to recognize. In particular, don’t presume your player will read RAAT multichannel streams just because it is, say, a multi-channel blu-ray player.

Thanks for all of your input. Based on price the NUC is the obvious choice but I was willing to pay a bit more to get “plug n play” so purchased the Sonic Transporter i5 from SGC.

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Im sure SGC will take good care of you