Want a Roon server (core) with spdif output, a one box solution to my DAC

USB and ethernet into my DAC is not an option, I want to use spdif or AES into my DAC from a one box Roon server. I don’t want a Roon endpoint, I don’t want some kind of ethernet or USB to digital bridge… want a one box solution.

All I can come up with is a Windows computer with an spdif card but not in love with Windows either, and a SOTM sMS-1000SQ Eunhasu… is that it ?

I believe many modern Mac headphone output jacks are also optical spdif jacks. The quality will depend on how your DAC handles toslink, assuming it has that kind of input.

Best of luck

An older macmini should be ok not sure about the current 2018+ option

Not for a some time.

Why? This limits your choices and isn’t the recommended approach. Also, what DAC to you have? Is the only input S/PDIF or AES?

Doesn’t support Roon :grinning:

Of course it limits my choices, that’s why I’m asking if any others exist, and why is it not recommended to have a a one box solution? There are numerous one box solutions that have USB and/or ethernet outputs including the Roon Nucleus.

from the SOTM website page for the sMS-1000SQ Eunhasu Multi-player

" Audio player
Roon Ready
Roon Server
MinimServer "

limited to toslink, should have stated that is not what I’m looking for

Hi Bruce, I too wanted just that and came up with my self-assembled Roon server doing just this. If you feel comfortable assembling a PC from its parts (motherboard, RAM, processor, power supply, etc.) this could be a very viable solution. Or maybe you have a friend or relative to give you a hand with this, should you feel that you’re not up to the task.

First, have a look at the HDPlex cases. For my Roon server I selected the H3V3 case, together with the 200W ACDC and 200W DCATX components for the power supply. These cases are nice, very well made and perform exceedingly well maintaining everything cool without a fan. Why fanless? Because if you wish to connect the Roon server to the DAC it means that your server will be close to your HiFi equipment and you’ll want it to be as quiet as possible.

Next, you have to decide upon a motherboard. As you want S/PDIF output (Toslink and Coax), you want a board able to output S/PDIF digital signal, so it should have S/PDIF output pins on the board. Looking for an adequate board I came up with the Asus Prime H310i-Plus R2.0/CSM which is a mini-ITX board with S/PDIF output pins and which is offered as ‘Corporate Stable Model’ which I preferred vastly over the many gamer boards offered today.

I used an Intel Core i5-8600K processor, I think now it’s easier to get an i5-9400.

I’ll skip RAM and disks, as those are the easy parts. The board connects up to four SATA devices, which can be spinning hard disk drives or SSD. It also has a M.2 connector for a NVMe SSD which is recommended for installing the operating system and Roon server.

I’ll show you though how to output S/PDIF from this custom-built computer. For this you need a S/PDIF output bracket like this one on Amazon. You connect the cable on one end to the S/PDIF output pins of the board, and on the other end to the bracket. It is actually quite easy. The bracket is equipped with a Toshiba DLT1151 fibre port for Toslink output and a gold-plated RCA port for coaxial S/PDIF output.

Roon will present this device to you as Intel HDA digital output, and you can connect your Roon server directly to your DAC using any one of the two interfaces. I am using Toslink out to my DAC which is a NOS DAC. I don’t do high res or DSD, so no problem. It seems you prefer coaxial output, which works quite as well and is very stable.


Why not run a raspberry pi endpoint with a spdif/aes output? It is less than $200 done right. Otherwise your falling into this bucket of users who ignore best practices and try to do things with roon that may be “supported” but simply are not what is recommended. Look at the support forum and you see the majority of issues with this common denominator.

Running core in your listening room is so not ideal. Roon is the centerpiece of a modern audio system, treat it like that. Separate endpoint and core!

I’m not a proponent of a one box solution. I want the best solution for running the Roon core and the best Roon end-point solution. I think a one box solution might not be either.

My Salksteam III has an optical connection I use to connect to my older Anthem pre/pro (no network or HDMI). It works and sounds great!

You might want to confirm with Salk about the connections you want (it was optional when I bought mine in 2016).


On the forum a vastly greater share of problems are related to network setup, not to DACs directly connected to Roon core.


The point is that it is people not following best practices.


Andreas, thanks for the ideas. I have no qualms about building a server, but I really want to stay away from Windows.

As for the idea a one box solution is not “best practices” I see no reasons presented other than somewhere there is evidently a discussion about people having problems.

I don’t see why investing in an endpoint is so crucial. The server is a computer. The endpoint is a computer. Why in the world introduce a second computer when the first computer can output spdif which eliminates the conversions inside and in between the 2 computers.

BTW the whole idea that one must “get the computer out of the audio rack” is really rather ridiculous since the streaming DAC/endpoint is nothing more than a specialized dedicated computer. If you are going to use Roon you are going to have a computer in the rack.

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I am running Ubuntu on my Roon server box. I haven’t touched Windows since Windows 95. I agree with your stance as to the ‘one box’ solution. It is simple and it works.

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Innuos ZEN Mini MK3

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Then, you should purchase that one :grinning:
Seems you also get one year free Roon included.

I’d build a m-ITX build to keep it small, maybe in one of the smaller HDPlex enclosures. I’d pick a semi decent sound card with an SPDiF option and at least try to run it on ROCK. If that failed I’d user a Linux server based OS.
For the people who insist a one box solution is not optimal, a core and endpoint has one function. To isolate the output to you audio gear from the core. That can easily be done in a one box solution. The isolation is the key. Two boxes is just a very simplistic way of achieving it.



I only looked at their more expensive models, which strangely have less capability than this one. Not interested in the analog out but this model has spdif out and their more expensive models do not

Isolated in what way? Electrical noise?

The issues are thermal, acoustic and electrical! Thermal and acoustic have easily obtainable fixes in passive cooling and no moving parts. And any well designed PCIe sound card will go a long way to minimising electrical interference compared to on board sound cards.

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