I apologize for what might be two silly Nucleus questions for those in the know… I recently set up Roon and a Nucleus. Working well I believe, but I have two questions regarding next steps with Roon/Nucleus.
I know Nucleus is a basic streamer. I’ve never owned a standalone streamer aside from “Apple TV” if you can call that a streamer. Is there any benefit to a Roon ready separate standalone streamer (CXN v2 or Node 2i, etc) in addition to the Nucleus if they both will ultimately be connected to the same Anthem AVM60 preamp?
Second silly question. If I subscribe to Tidal Hi-Fi, and that is connected to Roon, is there any benefit in my installing an internal SSD drive and ripping all my CD’s to Flac files. Obviously for CD’s not available online, but aside from that - I assume no benefit?
It isn’t a silly question, and it’s debatable. The idea is that by separating the server and the “endpoint”, you isolate your (fragile) audio chain from electrical interference in the server. Whether that makes a difference or not is something you’ll have to figure out for yourself, but most people here would say “yes”, and will go to different lengths, some of them more extreme than others, to achieve that.
First you don’t need to store your music on an SSD (depending on how many albums we’re talking about, that can be… expensive).
Second, the short answer is that, if that’s OK with you, you should consider ripping your CDs as you go.
The longer answer, and this is where I’m going to have to put my flamesuit on, Tidal appears to currently be moving to a format called MQA. This has two consequences. One is that you’re likely going to be dealing with remasters, with everything that can mean dynamic range wise, the second is that, without getting into the controversy too much, there appear to be compromises in terms of sound quality, sometimes, with MQA. This include music that wasn’t originally made in HiDef, and the result is that in these very specific cases, MQA can apparently be lower quality than CD.
I reckon in the first twenty answers you will get ten different answers and be none the wiser. Do you want to spend more money? Does it sound great to you as it is?
In relation to adding another streamer, personally I wouldn’t.
In relation to ripping your cd’s, try one and see if you hear a difference, if not save yourself a load of time.
If I had my time again I would get a pair of active speakers, tidal and Roon, put my feet up and giggle at all the arguments here but unfortunately I have collected too much vinyl to part with and already down the rabbit hole of passive speakers.
Having my CD’s ripped was the best part of Roon for me, initially anyway. My 300 CD library was really small but it was still a pain to find something I wanted to listen too. With the CD’s ripped they are displayed in Roon, easily select-able with all the metadata there for browsing with interconnecting links to additional information. I also have Tidal and Qobuz integrated in Roon
I usually queue up numerous albums and let it run all day without having to search for CD’s and swap them out in the player.
Guess it depends on what you want to get out of it.
In my opinion, you can put your Nucleus anywhere in your house that you have an ethernet connection and it will not affect SQ. You can also use USB and/or HDMI connections to your Roon end-point. Some people think this might effect SQ, but I can tell no difference.
I use Tidal and Qobuz and the SQ is great with both. Tidal MQA sounds every bit as good or better than Qobuz high resolution. It just depends on the masters used for any given album.
If I had a bunch of CD’s, which I don’t, I would purchase a CD drive and use a 3rd party software and burn the CD’s to my computer. I would keep the files on my computer and copy them over to a SSD drive installed in my Nucleus. If I didn’t want to fool with doing that, I would only burn the one’s I couldn’t find on Tidal or Qobuz.
Just remember, for copyright purposes, keep the CD’s you burn to your computer. I know some people burn their CD’s then sell them. That is not legal, at least in the US.
I just learned of the feature of connecting a CD drive directly to the Nucleus, and it automatically ripping any CD inserted directly to the internal drive using FLAC, I did 4 CD’s last night, worked seamlessly… Based on that I’ll likely rip most of my collection.
I don’t have a Nucleus, but I assume you can access the contents of the internal drive from a computer elsewhere on your network, just like with a NAS.
That way, you would be able to make a backup of your music.
And don’t forget to make a regular backup of the Roon database aswell.
While you can do it that way. I would still recommend ripping on a PC using a software like dbPoweramp. And, after you have them ripped, copy them TO the Nucleus.
When Roon saves the files to the Nucleus, it is not actually naming the files or putting the metadata into the ripped files. In order to get them out of Roon in any usable state, you will then need to Export to a new file location. Assuming, of course, Roon actually can identify the CD. If not, it will be left in the unindentified state.
I second the ripping with dbpoweramp on a different computer. Good metadata, flexible naming scheme, and rips are compared to the AccurateRip database, the best way to insure a bitperfect rip. As someone that has ripped over 6,000 CDs to FLAC (probably 4,000 of these twice as the first time I didn’t know what I was doing and ripped to mp3), I can only emphasize that if you are ripping CDs, do it right and do it once.
One of the real benefits of Roon, and subsequently my Nucleus, is access to all my music all the time. I have ripped nearly 3000 CDs that are on an internal SSD. Works just as well with an external drive, but it eliminates one black box in my setup. I now use that drive as a backup, one of three.
No longer is it necessary to get up and physically change the spinning disc for the next one I want to play. And creating a playlist is super easy. I kept my CDs as well as my ripped SACDs, though I am not sure why.
The conveniencel of Roon coupled with the bit perfect playback and the metadata make this the best available way to enjoy your music, imo.