Roon with NDS

I have become very fond of Roon, particularly of the way it approaches random play of Classical music. I started it with Schubert Trout Quintet on Friday, and it took me on quite an odyssey via the 'Radio' function, each time playing a complete work, whether a concerto, a symphony or even an opera. I am running Roon Core on a Mini PC (eggsnow fanless), pointing to my music on a Melco, and I have directed the Mini Pc sound output to one of the USB ports, to which I have connected a cheap USB DAC which has a digital output and which then feeds a digital input on the NDS (renamed 'Roon'!). 

The sound quality, while excellent, is not as good as playing the same music from the Melco dedicated network connection to the NDS (using Nstream). My question is whether I can improve the result by replacing the USB DAC with something more sophisticated (dedicated power supply, etc.), and if so, what? 

Original Post

David - Expensive, but maybe worth looking at something like the Mutec MC-3 which will convert USB to S/PDIF to feed the NDS. Given the isolation / reclocking ability of the Mutec this should help level the playing field between your two music sources (Melco / Roon)

David, there is a software called Sonore UPnP bridge, which runs on a few products, the most useful in your scenario is the Sonic transporter (from small Green Computer). 

It basically sits on your network and allows the NDS to see Roon as a UPnP source. 

The Sonic transporter would take the place of your egg and DAC. 

AFAIK the NDS shows in the Roon app as an "endpoint" and receives the signal through Ethernet just as it would normally. 

.sjb

james n posted:

David - Expensive, but maybe worth looking at something like the Mutec MC-3 which will convert USB to S/PDIF to feed the NDS. Given the isolation / reclocking ability of the Mutec this should help level the playing field between your two music sources (Melco / Roon)

 

I don't know how much expensive is here, but Gustard U12 is excellent and can do similar conversion, costing under £150. And not just my experience - at one time Richard Dane was testing one, though I haven't seen anything from him on it recently (but searching the forum should find).

Limiting factors in the described setup are obviously the DAC, but also possibly RF output from the mini PC affecting the DC. A convertor that is also an isolator like these will block the RF - though I don't know if that is necessary feeding NDX's DAC.

David O'Higgins posted:

No it can't. Hence my question. The only way I can use Roon with an NDS is to feed the NDS with a direct digital input, as described.

Ok thanks. I don't know much about Roon but I've ALWAYS wanted to randomize String quartets but have never found software that will play all movements together. (Why is it so hard?)

SC posted:

Should imagine the NDS will appreciate a much better input from your mini PC. I have no experience, but BADA Alpha seem to get good reviews for USB > SPDIF convertors.......

Yeah that's my vote. Does it do BNC? I think so but I looked at it for the AES output. Probably the best solution to your problem.

Yep – a simple selector at the rear switches between BNC and AES:

Not the prettiest of boxes, though a few less lights (!) than the Mutec also suggested....

Seems it can auto-switch sample rates too, though this would be dependent on the PC and software also....

Kevin Richardson posted:
David O'Higgins posted:

No it can't. Hence my question. The only way I can use Roon with an NDS is to feed the NDS with a direct digital input, as described.

Ok thanks. I don't know much about Roon but I've ALWAYS wanted to randomize String quartets but have never found software that will play all movements together. (Why is it so hard?)

Roon is the only one I have seen  to do it. It's all about database design and indexing. It really is impressive.

Innocent Bystander posted:

Out of interest, how does Roon becahve if metadata is incomplete or inaccurate - does it still allow browsing of albums using , perhaps, the filing system on Melco?

I really don't know, because I've never spent enough time trying to find its limitations. I don't know how it builds its indexes, but it is certainly impressive.

Look at https://www.smallgreencomputer...?variant=32991451407 which provides a small unit to run the UPnP Bridge, assuming you have Roon Core running elsewhere (NUC, MacMini, NAS etc.)

The metadata enrichment Roon provides is very good, plus the way they sort and group Artists, Albums, tracks, movements etc. I also like the Album merge feature on multi-disk sets.
Now I sync'ed the way Roon displays my Library to the way that Asset indexes my Library from the files on the NAS, but I currently run Roon on my Laptop, as a Metadata Editing tool, rather than part of the playback chain. Playback is via Asset running on a dedicated headless RaspberryPi serving the NDS. All power supplies for the Pi and dedicated network switch are Linear.

I am waiting for ROCK, the optimised RoonOS for NUC, to run the Roon Core on a headless server, and will be looking at the UPnP Bridge, with iOS devices becoming Room Remotes for playback control, with the same interface as Windows.
Plus this paves the way for MQA playback with software decoding in the Roon Core and delivered over the Roon Endpoint, bridged to UPnP for the NDS.


Hope this helps, Simon.

 

 

David O'Higgins posted:

I have become very fond of Roon, particularly of the way it approaches random play of Classical music. I started it with Schubert Trout Quintet on Friday, and it took me on quite an odyssey via the 'Radio' function, each time playing a complete work, whether a concerto, a symphony or even an opera. I am running Roon Core on a Mini PC (eggsnow fanless), pointing to my music on a Melco, and I have directed the Mini Pc sound output to one of the USB ports, to which I have connected a cheap USB DAC which has a digital output and which then feeds a digital input on the NDS (renamed 'Roon'!). 

The sound quality, while excellent, is not as good as playing the same music from the Melco dedicated network connection to the NDS (using Nstream). My question is whether I can improve the result by replacing the USB DAC with something more sophisticated (dedicated power supply, etc.), and if so, what? 

Hi David,

Your thread caught my eye as i've been down a similar road to you, albeit with a 272. Like you having discovered Roon and being frustrated with Naims lack of support,  I looked for options.

1 - I connected my iMac (where the Roon Core resides) to the 272 with a very long (12m) Toslink cable. This worked fine but SQ wise, it wasn't on par with the 272.

2 - I borrowed a SONORE microRendu* (using the Roon Ready App) from a friend and a Chord 2Qute DAC from a dealer. Again not ideal as this option bypassed the 272 DAC rendering it a pre amp only. However, the SQ jump compared to using the 272 with files stored on a NAS, was eye opening to say the least.

3 - In the meantime the SONORE UPnP Bridge was released for the microRendu*. After some initial issues with the beta it worked perfectly with the 272 and sounded great. On par with files on a NAS but with all the benefits of Roon.

Note* In options 2 & 3 the SONORE Sonicorbiter SE could be used as a cheaper option, although I understand at the expense of SQ

Based on my experiences, the above are all viable ways to get Roon into a Naim streamer although I'm sure there are others. However, option 2 was my first exposure to a Chord DAC and despite trying I just couldn't go back to the 272 without the 2Qute, good though the 272 is. This ultimately led me to sadly move away from Naim and I now have the following set-up.

iMac (Roon Core) > SONORE microRendu (bridged ethernet port connection) + LPS-1 Ultracap LPS > Chord Hugo TT > ATC SCM40A.

I know Naim are talking about Roon coming to the new streamers, but they should seriously consider those with classic streamers as Roon is for me game changing.  

 

Thanks to all who have replied here. I must confess that some of this stuff goes over (wrecks?) my head! It will take me a bit of time to think it through. The last thing I want to do is to buy more boxes if I can avoid it, especially if the result is a serious compromise in sound quality.

Thanks to all who have replied here. I must confess that some of this stuff goes over (wrecks?) my head! It will take me a bit of time to think it through. The last thing I want to do is to buy more boxes if I can avoid it, especially if the result is a serious compromise in sound quality.

james n posted:

David - Expensive, but maybe worth looking at something like the Mutec MC-3 which will convert USB to S/PDIF to feed the NDS. Given the isolation / reclocking ability of the Mutec this should help level the playing field between your two music sources (Melco / Roon)

James, I took a look at the back of this unit, but I can't see a USB input. Can you elaborate please?

Sloop John B posted:

David, there is a software called Sonore UPnP bridge, which runs on a few products, the most useful in your scenario is the Sonic transporter (from small Green Computer). 

It basically sits on your network and allows the NDS to see Roon as a UPnP source. 

The Sonic transporter would take the place of your egg and DAC. 

AFAIK the NDS shows in the Roon app as an "endpoint" and receives the signal through Ethernet just as it would normally. 

.sjb

Thanks John. I am confused because you refer to Sonore UPnP bridge as 'software' but when I google it, I seem to be looking at another piece of hardware. Can you elaborate a bit please?

 

David O'Higgins posted:
Sloop John B posted:

David, there is a software called Sonore UPnP bridge, which runs on a few products, the most useful in your scenario is the Sonic transporter (from small Green Computer). 

It basically sits on your network and allows the NDS to see Roon as a UPnP source. 

The Sonic transporter would take the place of your egg and DAC. 

AFAIK the NDS shows in the Roon app as an "endpoint" and receives the signal through Ethernet just as it would normally. 

.sjb

Thanks John. I am confused because you refer to Sonore UPnP bridge as 'software' but when I google it, I seem to be looking at another piece of hardware. Can you elaborate a bit please?

 

The Sonore UPnP Bridge is software, however it is only available on the Sonore hardware products.

The cheapest and dedicated to the UPnP Bridge is https://www.smallgreencomputer...?variant=32991451407
The rest that can also run your Roon Core are here https://www.smallgreencomputer...ections/audio-server

Does this help? Thanks, Simon.

No - the UPnP Bridge unit is dedicated just as the UPnP Bridge, if your Roon Core was running elsewhere, on a NUC say, with the library running on USB disks or a NAS.

If you have a Sonic Transporter, this provides the platform to run the Roon Core, plus storage for your library, plus it can run the UPnP Bridge. Effectively equivalent to your Melco unit.

David O'Higgins posted:

I have become very fond of Roon, particularly of the way it approaches random play of Classical music. I started it with Schubert Trout Quintet on Friday, and it took me on quite an odyssey via the 'Radio' function, each time playing a complete work, whether a concerto, a symphony or even an opera. I am running Roon Core on a Mini PC (eggsnow fanless), pointing to my music on a Melco, and I have directed the Mini Pc sound output to one of the USB ports, to which I have connected a cheap USB DAC which has a digital output and which then feeds a digital input on the NDS (renamed 'Roon'!). 

The sound quality, while excellent, is not as good as playing the same music from the Melco dedicated network connection to the NDS (using Nstream). My question is whether I can improve the result by replacing the USB DAC with something more sophisticated (dedicated power supply, etc.), and if so, what? 

I do not know the NDS but the electrical SPDIF input of the Naim DAC is quite sensitive to the quality of the incoming signal.

Thus, as already suggested, a good USB -> SPDIF reclocker and isolator with BNC connectors might improve on your current setup. The Mutec MC-3+USB is certainly a good option but I have not tried it in my system already. For the connection between the USB -> SPDIF and the Naim DAC I use Naim's DC1.

The CA thread on the Mutec (https://www.computeraudiophile...ic/16801-mutec-mc-3/) has been very active recently and there are rumors that Mutec will announce a lightweight version of the MC-3+USB at the Munich High end show in about two weeks.

David O'Higgins posted:
james n posted:

David - Expensive, but maybe worth looking at something like the Mutec MC-3 which will convert USB to S/PDIF to feed the NDS. Given the isolation / reclocking ability of the Mutec this should help level the playing field between your two music sources (Melco / Roon)

...

James, I took a look at the back of this unit, but I can't see a USB input. Can you elaborate please?

The one with USB input is called MC-3+ Smart Clock USB, see https://www.mutec-net.com/produkte.php

Reflecting on the Mutec vs much cheaper Gustard, I note that a primary function of the Mutec is re-clocking, which the Gustard doesn't do. Given that, I assume, NDS's DAC input doesn't re-clock because the unit is primarily designed to run from its own internal renderer, reclocking may well be crucial with the roon diverted source, unlike feeding a DAC that reclocks, whereas my earlier suggestion was addressing conversion from USB, while also isolating, but not the timing aspect.

Innocent Bystander posted:

Reflecting on the Mutec vs much cheaper Gustard, I note that a primary function of the Mutec is re-clocking, which the Gustard doesn't do. Given that, I assume, NDS's DAC input doesn't re-clock because the unit is primarily designed to run from its own internal renderer, reclocking may well be crucial with the roon diverted source, unlike feeding a DAC that reclocks, whereas my earlier suggestion was addressing conversion from USB, while also isolating, but not the timing aspect.

Very interesting remarks IB, thanks!

Innocent Bystander posted:

 Given that, I assume, NDS's DAC input doesn't re-clock because the unit is primarily designed to run from its own internal renderer, reclocking may well be crucial with the roon diverted source, unlike feeding a DAC that reclocks, whereas my earlier suggestion was addressing conversion from USB, while also isolating, but not the timing aspect.

The S/PDIF input still follows the usual Naim strategy since the Naim DAC of a RAM buffer (within the SHARC processor rather than external RAM in the NDS variant). Data from the buffer is re clocked by the NDS master clock before the DAC section so in theory it should be (mostly) isolated from incoming clock variations. This applies to the digital inputs and the Streamer section.

My advice on the Mutec was more based on the isolation than the re-clocking ability but it is a Swiss army knife of a converter !

Interesting comment NBPF on a more lightweight version of the Mutec as i'm quite interested in trying one of these between my Melco and Devialet, mainly to give the AES/EBU input on the Devialet a go. 

James

james n posted:
Innocent Bystander posted:

 Given that, I assume, NDS's DAC input doesn't re-clock because the unit is primarily designed to run from its own internal renderer, reclocking may well be crucial with the roon diverted source, unlike feeding a DAC that reclocks, whereas my earlier suggestion was addressing conversion from USB, while also isolating, but not the timing aspect.

The S/PDIF input still follows the usual Naim strategy since the Naim DAC of a RAM buffer (within the SHARC processor rather than external RAM in the NDS variant). Data from the buffer is re clocked by the NDS master clock before the DAC section so in theory it should be (mostly) isolated from incoming clock variations. This applies to the digital inputs and the Streamer section.

My advice on the Mutec was more based on the isolation than the re-clocking ability but it is a Swiss army knife of a converter !

Interesting comment NBPF on a more lightweight version of the Mutec as i'm quite interested in trying one of these between my Melco and Devialet, mainly to give the AES/EBU input on the Devialet a go. 

James

In that case Gustard might suffice. I don't know if Richard Dane is monitoring this thread -if so maybe he could feed back on any conclusions from his testing of the Gustard, and his knowledge of NDS compared to (I think it was) NDAC that he was testing it with.

james n posted:
Innocent Bystander posted:

 Given that, ...

...

Interesting comment NBPF on a more lightweight version of the Mutec as i'm quite interested in trying one of these between my Melco and Devialet, mainly to give the AES/EBU input on the Devialet a go. 

James

If you are interested in AES/EBU outputs, the Hydra Z (http://audiobyte.net/products/hydra-z) also seems an interesting device. As with the Mutec, I was planning to test it against my old M2Tech but I never managed to do so ... Best, nbpf

Sloop John B posted:

David, there is a software called Sonore UPnP bridge, which runs on a few products, the most useful in your scenario is the Sonic transporter (from small Green Computer). 

It basically sits on your network and allows the NDS to see Roon as a UPnP source. 

The Sonic transporter would take the place of your egg and DAC. 

AFAIK the NDS shows in the Roon app as an "endpoint" and receives the signal through Ethernet just as it would normally. 

.sjb

Very cool! Thanks, nbpf

simes_pep posted:
David O'Higgins posted:
Sloop John B posted:

David, there is a software called Sonore UPnP bridge, which runs on a few products, the most useful in your scenario is the Sonic transporter (from small Green Computer). 

It basically sits on your network and allows the NDS to see Roon as a UPnP source. 

The Sonic transporter would take the place of your egg and DAC. 

AFAIK the NDS shows in the Roon app as an "endpoint" and receives the signal through Ethernet just as it would normally. 

.sjb

Thanks John. I am confused because you refer to Sonore UPnP bridge as 'software' but when I google it, I seem to be looking at another piece of hardware. Can you elaborate a bit please?

 

The Sonore UPnP Bridge is software, however it is only available on the Sonore hardware products.

The cheapest and dedicated to the UPnP Bridge is https://www.smallgreencomputer...?variant=32991451407
The rest that can also run your Roon Core are here https://www.smallgreencomputer...ections/audio-server

Does this help? Thanks, Simon.

So, Roon Core and UPnP bridge run on the smallgreencomputer? Are they both preloaded? I have a Roon subscription, do I need to buy UPnP bridge too? 

Thanks for your help,

David

mackb3 posted:

Your license for Roon Core plus the Bridge is all you need. As I understand the bridge does not contain Roon just the Core PC. It te DNLA handshake yo the Naim streamer.

Every time I think I am about to understand this, it recedes into the distance. Can anyone set out in simple steps what I need to do / buy?

Thanks,

David

This is my inquiry on the Roon Forum and answer from Jesus founder of Sonore. Hope this helps David.

So I would need a core for Roon (Mac mini, appropriately powered NAS or the like), Roon license and the Sonore Bridge on the network and I'm good to go to run Roon via the NDX?

M

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