When do I need a DAC vs a NUC or a NAS

OK, new to roon and trying to design my system.

I have unpowed speakers in 5 rooms with local amplification. I distribute signal to all 5 zones via airplay. I currently use iTunes as my player UT I started my trial 10 days back. I attach a phono to the system using a Nexum 196/24 airplay transmitter. I want to move to a dedicated roon core and I am thinking it should be a NUC but I am unclear if I also need a DAC or is this part of the NUC? Assuming you need a DAC then what is the best media to connect the NUC to the DAC? Again, assuming I need a DAC should I be considering something like a DAC/network player like a Cambridge Audio or is there a roon certified DAC/network player or is there a dedicated DAC I should be considering?

If you’re distributing your audio using Airplay, then you don’t need a DAC (airplay is a digital transmission medium).

You do, however, want to store your music somewhere, so figure on equiping your NUC with both an SSD (for the OS and Roon Core) and a large-capacity spinning hard drive (for your music). The SSD can be quite small (128GB is more than enough), but should be as fast as you can afford.

Tell us more about your system. Separates, AVR, Type of streamer, etc.

N.B.: In addition to Airplay, Roon has its own proprietary transmission protocol, called RAAT. If your endpoints already speak RAAT, they will show up twice in the Settings->Audio panel, once for RAAT and once for Airplay.

Depending on the nature of your endpoints, if they do not currently support RAAT, it may be possible to install RoonBridge on them, endowing them with RAAT support.

But, unless you are having issues with Airplay, I probably wouldn’t bother.

Play room - Marantz 6011 9.1 > in wall Polk speakers
Living room - Nils 2100 > Bose 301 in wall speakers
Kitchen - Bose Lifestyle 28 > Polk MC 80 Ceiling speakers
Pool - Crown 1002 > Definitive outdoor speakers cannot remember the model
I have a Denon 300F Turntable connected to Nexum TB 21 196/24 WiFi Airplay DAC endpoint which transmits to Nexum TB20 Airplay endpoints connected one to each amp.
I control everything today from iTunes on my Dell in the office but I am trying to change over to roon.
I am thinking I should get a NUC but having a hard time figuring out what I need to avoid buying many new components. I believe I can get a NUC with roon core and it will broadcast via TCP/IP to my airplay devices exactly as iTunes does today?

I actually am having issues with airplay. My Nexum devices do not play from roon. So I have the Nexum devices for my phono and I am using August WB320s for my room endpoint. I am not clear what the DAC specs for the August are but no way are they 196/24 like the Nexum. The benefit of the Nexum is it will broadcast input, phono in this case, to other linked Nexum devices at high audio quality. Sadly I cannot get Nexum TuneBox2s to work with roon. I am at a loss how to trouble shoot. Roon thinks it is playing but no sound comes out. If I simply take the same mini jack male to male cable and plug it into my August device it works and then paths in roon are identical. If you have any ideas how to trouble shoot Airplay with roon I would love the help!

Roon will work in Airplay, but RAAT is the transmission standard. I’m not a ROCK NUC user, so I can’t give you reliable advice on that. I suggest you check out the Knowledge Base to get a feel for the architecture.


Some additional NUC folks are likely to weigh in to guide you.

I’d open a separate request under support for help with the nexum.