What is the least expensive Roon Ready network player?

I see a long list of companies making Roon Ready network players. Can anyone point me to the least expensive option that can handle a library of roughly 1,000 albums? My media files are stored on a NAS.

The i3 NUC is one of the cheapest at $400. They even make it easy for you to buy it from Amazon.

It is simple to build and they have great how to instructions. There are videos out there showing how to do it.
This forum will also help if you get stuck.

Or if you just need an endpoint the raspberry Pi route is very inexpensive. I have few of the HiFIberry Digi+ pros that work very well and RoPieee with a touchscreen for control.


Thanks! Worth it to get the Optane memory option?



Thanks for that link. I had been assuming that Optane replaced the need for a RAM stick - and was maybe faster/better.

That’s kind of what I thought, also, until I read more about it… would have been nice.

I think this thread is about endpoints; so what is the best sound quality endpoint (analog audio output) using a raspberry Pi? There seems to be a few options available, all easy to set up so might as well get the ‘best bang for the buck’.

The Allo DigiOne.

Analog audio output?

A network player is usually a Roon endpoint, not necessarily a Core. The cheapest were explored in this thread. I think the FriendlyArm $7.99 NanoPi Neo holds the record. It’s not plug n play but there is a version of DietPi available that enables menu driven Roon Bridge installation.

Network players need an onboard DAC to output analog sound. The DigiOne doesn’t include one (listening to one atm, very clean SPDIF up to 192 kHz). There are a number of DACs available as HATs to Pi devices (not I think the Nano). Checkout HiFi Berry, IQ Audio, Pi2Design and Allo for various offerings. The Allo Piano has a 2.1/2.2 version with subwoofer channel(s) out.

The NUC units are higher powered and are able to run a Roon Core. ROCK Is offered by Roon as a stand alone operating system that just runs Roon Server and turns the NUC into an appliance.


Thanks for this @andybob. I was actually thinking the network players functioned as both core and player (endpoint). Thanks for clarifying. Aside from building my own PC/Pi/NUC, are there any sub $1,000 core/endpoint devices?

On another note, can a NUC running ROCK also be an endpoint?

RoonServer is a Core/Output lacking only the Control from a full version of Roon. So yes, a NUC running ROCK will expose it’s USB outputs to any Control under the “Connected to Core” section in Settings/Audio.

Other non-NUC Core devices exist. Roon comes in Windows (32 or 64) and MacOS versions. RoonServer adds x86(64 bit) Linux. Anything that can run those OS and offering i3 or better performance would be good (i5 for a larger library). I happily used a Gigabyte BRIX (now running ROCK). MacMinis or repurposed laptops can be used.

These are examples of ITX builds for $400 to $800 that will run a Core. You don’t need the video card either, which saves a further $100 or so. I spent a bit more to kit out the CoolerMaster ITX case which is my current Core. These all definitely count as building your own PC though.

The SonicTransporter i5 is a purpose built Roon Core for $645 that will cope with libraries up to 450,000 tracks.

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Thanks again @andybob! Two follow-ups…

If I have a NUC running ROCK, can I simply connect the NUC to my AVR via HDMI? Or, do I need some other type of device between the NUC and my AVR?

Similar question about the SonicTransporter… can this connect directly into my system, or does it need some other type of device between it and my AVR?


[quote=“Edward_Lee, post:13, topic:30947”]
If I have a NUC running ROCK, can I simply connect the NUC to my AVR via HDMI? [/quote]

Yes. It’s what I’ve done to connect to my Denon AVR. Multichannel is supported as well.


I’ve never used one but I believe the 4 USB ports on the SonicTransporter i5 can be used to directly connect audio devices. Let’s drop a flag for @agillis and see if he can confirm.

Roon reccomends network connection from the Core to a RoonReady or RoonBridge Output as giving the best SQ. This model let’s you use a fat, ugly and noisy Core server hidden in a closet and a slim, svelte and silent network Player/Output connected to your DAC. Minimises electrical interference from the Core machine and let’s you use a pristine power source for the low powered network Output device.

But direct connection works and provides good sound quality.

You can attach a USB audio device directly to the sonicTransporter i5. But you would get better sound quality using a microRendu player. This is true of an NUC running Roon Core as well.

I think this is undervalued as a solution. A direct connection from Roon Core to a DAC is a very high quality solution.

Edit: I’d love be to hear reports on what this sounds like using one of the new Schitt DACs with USB.

Library size has little to do with the player, more to do with the server. You don’t say what kind of NAS your files are stored on, it may be it is already suitable for a server. I’m running a Synology Disk Station 415+ with the Roon Server package installed, library size roughly comparable to yours, and I’m happy with it. But when it gets bogged down, as I expect it will eventually (ripping more CD’s, downloading more files, etc.) I plan on going with the NUC, as others have suggested. For an inexpensive player you can hardly do better than a Raspberry Pi with Roon Bridge installed (the cheapest player Bryston makes appears to be no more than this). If you go with the server plus Roon Bridge model you will also need something to run Roon Remote on, for the GUI experience. This can be a tablet, phone or computer that you also use for other things. You might also be able to find a last generation phone, tablet or PC you could use for a dedicated remote, but check hardware requirements for compatibility.