Will I benefit from Roon in my situation?

If this is the wrong forum for a pre-sales question, I apologize, and ask the moderator to move my post to the correct forum.

I have two Auralic Aries systems, hard-wired to my router and QNAP NAS, which is where my music library sits.
In the living room, I have an Aries femto streaming to a Schitt Audio Gungnir multibit which drives my McIntosh tube amp, a pair of Wilson Benesch speakers and a Rel sub.

In the kitchen, I have an Aries mini (also hard wired) driving a pair of KEF LS50 wireless speakers up high on the wall. (I also have an Aries mini and a Schitt DAC in my car, which works amazingly well, but is not part of this question.)

The only real issue I am having is that the Aries femto cannot stream music to both systems at once, as a zone, especially at high native resolution. I get drop outs, static etc. I have lots of bandwidth in the wired network, so I think it must be limitations with the Aries.

I control my devices using Auralic’s Lightning DS app, which is OK, except that it occasionally can’t find one of my devices.

If I were to go with Roon, I would need to end up with some form of headless server, because the CPU in my QNAP NAS is too old for good Roon performance, and I would also want to run headless.
Buying a new dedicated is a sizeable investment without a really good trial first.

Question 1: Would I be able to address my zone streaming issue with Roon? - bit-perfect streaming to two Roon-ready streamers?

Question 2: What would be a viable path be to trying Roon before plunking down money for a headless server? And is a week trial enough to get things working and tested?

Question 3: I am not a metadata guy, so Roon’s amazing handling of metadata will not likely sell me. Are there other sound/DSP aspects of Roon that I will find myself unable to live without?

Many thanks for tolerating this long post. Thank you for your thoughts.

Separate zones are easy with Roon and they can all play different things if you like.

I have Roon playing to my AURALiC VEGA G2 streamer/DAC. I love Roon - if you are willing to spend a little bit of money and effort to set it up, I believe it to be a game changer.

Q1: I don’t use zones, but I am confident that you can if the players in each zone are Roon ready.

Q2: I did the trial installing Roon core to my somewhat underpowered Synology NAS. While searching, loading the Discover page, etc., tended to be slow, all played fine. I was able to get a feel for it and bought a lifetime after a couple of days. Now about six months in and buying a headless server, I still believe it to be a worthwhile investment and have no regrets.

My NAS is the Synology DS1513+, so you can compare specs with yours. You could also install the core on a computer and figure how to play on your system. Or just play on the computer to get a feel for the app. Sound quality will vary obviously. If you decide to purchase Roon, you can optimize that.

I first bought a SonicTransporter i5. Things were snappier, but still not up to expectations. I experimented with DSD upsample and liked the improvement upsampling to DSD256. DSD512 would fail though because the i5 wasn’t up to it. So I traded up to the STi7 and love it. Everything is almost instant and upsampling to DSD512 works great.

Q3: You can turn off all digital stuff that alters the original file and just use Roon to pass through. I, however, found volume leveling to be invaluable without any noticeable hit to SQ. No more rushing to the remote to turn down an overly loud track or up on a softer one.

I also use upsampling, as mentioned. I am still surprised that upsampling to DSD512 before feeding to the VEGA G2 is better than no upsampling, but it is to my ears. My system is obviously on the good end of things with the Auralic equipment (VEGA G2/LEO GX), Inspire single ended tube pre and amp, Omega Super Alnico speakers with Rythmik powered 8" woofers and 12" subs, fiber connections for eithernet, linear power supplies, room treatment, etc. I say all this to let you know that I don’t take digital massaging lightly and am very focused on SQ.

I don’t use other Roon DSP functions, but they are there (R/L speaker delays based on distance, equalizer, etc).

Roon Radio is worth mentioning. It plays tracks based on the last track you chose to play. It does a surprisingly good job. It will integrate Tidal (and Qobuz I assume) in the choices, but you can choose not to. It is really nice to have play automatic when it really work like this does.

If a short trial isn’t enough after a few days, just subscribe for a month and unsub if you decide against it.

Regarding the server for the core, about $600 for the STi5, $1500 for the STi7. Add a couple hundred if you want a linear PS. Roon Nucleus tends to be more expensive for the equivalent, I think. There’s lot’s of info here for building a server. It seems you could probably do so for as little as a couple of hundred, but closer to $1000 if you want to get the power and future proofing of something like the i7.

Thanks so much. This is really helpful. I, too, am all about SQ.
So you think that I could get a good idea of the functionality if I were to install Roon as a trial on my PC )on the same wired network)?
I could still control the system via iOS app, correct, and let the CPU of my PC handle the hard work of pulling music from the NAS and streaming it?
Many thanks

Setups can be pretty varied. If I follow, you are talking about core on your computer, files on the nas and ios for the remote. As long as you have a way to play from the computer to your system, it should work fine. If not, you can just play the music on your computer in order to play with with remote app.

And, unless you never sit to listen, I will bet that you would change your mind about metadata! Everything is linked to everything else (familiar with IMDB.com?). You could be playing Kind of Blue, wonder who is playing bass, look at the credits and find Paul Chambers, click on his name, and go to his page with bio, his albums, and other albums he has appeared on. That’s scratching the surface. Very cool.

I’m going to link the Auralic thread to over here since it seems this is where the action is at the moment!

1 Like

thanks so much! I do sit to listen, so i might come to appreciate metadata.
The final set up would be headless server pulling music from the NAS and streaming over ethernet to my two auralic aries.
For the trial, I think I would install Roon core on the PC, build a database from the NAS, and push music through the same wired connections. I hadn’t thought through how an iOS app on a portable device will talk to the core on the PC. Is that do-able?

You need to study the Knowledge Base as all is explained there. I pad app works wireless on the network

What Chris said! All these elements communicate with each other over the network. The iOS app will see the core whether on your computer, NAS, or dedicated server.

I was pleasantly surprised last night when installing the remote on my wife’s iPad. It picked up everything automatically - storage locations, etc. It just tapped into the core and picked up the info I had already configured with my Android tablet.

Question 1: Would I be able to address my zone streaming issue with Roon? - bit-perfect streaming to two Roon-ready streamers?

Yes. But download Roon and see if it can group the two Aries endpoints. As long as they are the same this shouldnt be an issue, but I’d test it with a trial Roon control point.

Question 2: What would be a viable path be to trying Roon before plunking down money for a headless server? And is a week trial enough to get things working?

Yes a week is enough. For now just run it off the QNAP or a pc just to test it out. You can always back it up and move it to a permenant installation once you are comfortable it suits your needs. I started with it on a Synology, then decided to buy lifetime and a Nucleus.

Question 3: I am not a metadata guy, so Roon’s amazing handling of metadata will not likely sell me. Are there other sound/DSP aspects of Roon that I will find myself unable to live with?

I prefer the sound of Lightning DS to Roon, but I use Roon primarily because its flexibility is unbeatable in this current market. I’m unaware of any app/service that seamlessly allows you to manage multiple network speakers with the same ease Roon does. It even manages to do things like connect to my Sonos Speakers, when the Sonos App itself decides I don’t have any Sonos’s in the house. Overall I am very happy with it. I also enjoy the Radio function, and the fact that I can augment my library with both Qobuz and Tidal more seamlessly than Lightning DS does.

Yes this is one of the best things about the Roon. All your remotes connect to your core. So you just install the app, press connect, and you’re good to go with all the information and settings you need, and no additional work. Just last week we had to install more speakers across the house that were rented for a party, I connected them all to old laptops, installed Roon on each, identified them as endpoints in the app, and then controlled everything with my phone from there. The whole software side of that post-installation takes no more than a minute or two at most after you install the app.

Making things even better, I designated a few people in the party responsible for the music, they just installed Roon on their phones, and were good to go queuing music as they walked around.

1 Like