I’ve started using Roon on my Mac. But am very interested in building a Rock. Big question is how it would be positioned in with existing equipment. Besides traditional analog stereo (preamp, power amp, speakers) I’m using a Node 2i with it’s internal DAC and eventually upgrade to external higher end one eventually. I also use an automatic audio switch into the Node which feeds the stereo. Where would the Rock be located/positioned and using what connections? Appreciate any feedback as I try to figure out how to put this all together, thanks
ROCK (= Roon Optimized Core Kit) is, as the name suggests, a solution for setting up an appliance-like Roon Core device. As such, it will administer the Roon database and will have access to your audio files. It should simply be connected via Ethernet to your home network.
You will use Roon endpoints (Roon Ready devices or devices which run Roon Bridge software) to connect your DACs. A Node 2i can operate as a Roon endpoint.
ROCK is a Roon software/operating sytem that runs on a NUC computer. It is where you would run the Roon core program. It connects to your router by ethernet. It then sends your music, local, Tidal, or Qobuz, by ethernet to your sound system(s). It can also connect directly to your sound system using USB, HDMI, coax, etc. instead of ethernet or in addition to ethernet.
IMHO, and how I have it setup.
Rock would sit connected to your network switch not in the room you are playing music. In my basement network rack. I have the Node 2i connected via ethernet.
ROCK (Roon Core) is Media Storage + the Media itself + Catalog + Carousel to load that media into something that can play it + a handful more things I’ll ignore for now (like Parametric EQ).
Zone is Transport
Remote is how you interact with ROCK (or any other Ronn Core)
There is a good chance you don’t have anything like ROCK in your network today but you certainly have the other parts. Thinking about this… What do you, as a user, do when you walk up to a Jukebox? You flip through the catalog, select something or somethings to play, and those get loaded to be played. That’s what ROCK does. Except, instead of standing in front of it you use Remote to interact with it and tell it what to do.
After interacting with ROCK and telling it to play something it will then send that to your transport. In your case the Node 2i using the network. The Node 2i then does its thing with the rest of your components.
Where does ROCK physically sit? It doesn’t matter but its preferred to be hidden away in a closet away from the rest of your system since you don’t need to, and don’t want to, hear or see it.
Going back to the Jukebox analogy… ROCK is everything right up to the point the record player takes the record, drops the tone arm, and starting spinning. Except, instead of needing to keep a nice looking Jukebox in your listening room you stash it away and interact with it via Remote.
Hope that perspective helps.
Nice to see you around again IP.
The simplest way to think about it is that it wants to be as close to the “center” of your network (not physically, but “topologically”) as you can get it. Not everyone has multiple layers of switches, but if you’re the kind of person who has a NAS with a bunch of ripped music on it and a network share, you might. If you can plug your ROCK into your “core” switch (the same one into which your router plugs), and ideally with a short cable run (not because the speed of light is really going to effect things at the length of an Ethernet run, but more because less stuff can go wrong in a short run.
In other words, ideally plug it into the same switch that your router/internet plugs into with a short patch cable. However, it can really plug in anywhere - you can plug it into your network with long network cable and nothing should be in theory worse. You could plug it into a different switch “further from the core” and little is likely to go wrong. But since you are running it headless you’ve built it, no reason not to put it in a network cabinet with other stuff.
[Unless you want to feed a DAC directly from the ROCK by USB. But then you’d lose all the Roon benefits of separating core from endpoint.]
Want to thank all the folks who responded to my question. It was extremely helpful. I get it; this is a Network Device, In a former lifetime I was a Networking Engineer (CNE). I understand network services. The ROCK is essentially a server on the network that can be communicated with and to other devices providing services, in this case organizing and delivering digital music. Very good!!
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