What hardware are y'all using for Roon?

Ive reached that point in my audiophile life where I needs to ditch my ND5&NDX and replace them with Roon bridges(? Correct term?)

What are the best options for a budget around 5,000 USD? (I figure that is about what I can get for my ND5/X) Certainly I am willing to spend much less or a bit more. 

My plan is to run the "core" on an iMac with 2 Ethernet endpoints (bridges?)

Any information regarding your experiences is appreciated.

Original Post

Before I bought my Core,I was seriously looking at Antipodes DX servers,which support Roon,and my local dealer carries them.There are different levels(cheaper) ones you can buy,but I decided to go with Naim in the end,Mainly because of price.He has since got one for another customer,and told me the guy loves it,but I never got to hear one...might be worth a look for you.

I’ve been running a Roon Core on my Macbook, just because that’s what I’ve got. It works very well with an Atom as an ‘Endpoint’ and also into my NDX over Airplay. This means that the NDX will play 16/44, but not Hi-res, as it’s via Airport Express/optical. When the Classic streamers are replaced by models with the new streaming platform, they should make good Roon Endpoints, but nobody knows when this will happen. 

Kevin, I currently have an NDX + XP5 combination and my thinking is along similar lines regarding future plans. I don’t care much about a server ripper so Antipodes DX is not something I am looking at but I would like to have a high quality server with Roon Core and the Antipodes Core product seems to fit the bill. The dealer I talk to suggested I wait a couple of months as some form of update is under way.

The other main choice will be the DAC. There I would consider the current leaders (Chord is very popular in this forum but I would also like to hear NOS DACs -the Yggdrrassil was for example slightly better than the NDX in my set up despite the lower price- ; additionally, I would also like to check e.g. Metrum, but also other non mainstream solutions like the Playback Designs Merlot.

However said combinations would imply a significant additional investment on top of what you can get from your current producers trade off.

Kevin Richardson posted:

Ive reached that point in my audiophile life where I needs to ditch my ND5&NDX and replace them with Roon bridges(? Correct term?)

What are the best options for a budget around 5,000 USD? (I figure that is about what I can get for my ND5/X) Certainly I am willing to spend much less or a bit more. 

My plan is to run the "core" on an iMac with 2 Ethernet endpoints (bridges?)

Any information regarding your experiences is appreciated.

You're looking for Roon_Ready network end points (Roon Bridge is something else). The next decision is are you looking for just an end-point which will feed into a DAC (and by what means), one that includes the DAC, one that includes the DAC plus good Preamp facilities, one that is a fully integrated amplifier? Do you need DSD compatibility in the DAC? Is MQA compatibility a requirement (Roon will shortly deliver the first MQA unfold in software, so you could leave it at that or choose something that will perform the second rendering stage)? You have quite a lot of options out there, with more to come. Your budget really opens up the choices.

Kevin, Roon is quite resource-greedy because of the database size. The Roon Core ideally needs to sit on an SSD disk. So you could use your iMac if it has one. It should be kept well away from your audio equipment and is best connected via an Ethernet switch. I replaced my iMac with a sonicTransporter, which sits on the network and comes with an internal SSD with Roon Server pre-installed and a USB drive connection for music. Optionally also available with a large internal SSD for Roon & music.

There are many endpoints that run the Roon bridge, the microRendu being a popular choice with low noise floor. I have achieved good results with a Raspberry Pi / Hifiberry and even better results with Allo DigiOne and especially USBridge. These are good low-cost Roon-based streamers that leave you with plenty of budget over for a top-notch DAC.

Once you have your Roon bridge up and running, your Core will find it plus any Airplay devices on your network.

Have you checked out the Roon Community yet? You’ll find plenty of info on Roon-compatible hardware over there.

ATB, William

Kevin Richardson posted:

Ive reached that point in my audiophile life where I needs to ditch my ND5&NDX and replace them with Roon bridges(? Correct term?)

What are the best options for a budget around 5,000 USD? .

Hi Kevin -

While you search longer term, pricier options for Roon endpoints (and DACs?) to replace your NDX+, it might be useful to buy an Allo DigiOne, which is an all-in-one Raspberry Pi and high-quality digital output board, providing highly rated SPDIF performance over BNC or coax (no TosLink). It’s under 200 ($ or €). I looked at this (and may still try as a cool experiment), but have opted to upgrade SU to Nova instead, to upgrade overall streaming capability (happens when I get home). 

Check out the Darko review, which is one of many glowing reports...

Regards alan

Kevin Richardson posted:
T38.45 posted:

Macmin runs roon, microrendu is the endpoint, ipad controlls. Would love to test Innuos and Aries G2 in future. 

Ralf

Are you using a "special" power supply with the Rendu?

yes, Sbooster power supply...fantastic improvement, had ifi before.

William posted:

I have achieved good results with a Raspberry Pi / Hifiberry and even better results with Allo DigiOne and especially USBridge. These are good low-cost Roon-based streamers that leave you with plenty of budget over for a top-notch DAC.

William,

Hi, do I understand correctly that the Allo USBridge can be used alone to feed a DAC?  I note, with interest, that you have the Metrum Pavane DAC, as do I. Could you describe the improvements that you've found moving from Allo DigiOne to USBridge?

Thanks!

Jan

William posted:

Kevin, Roon is quite resource-greedy because of the database size. The Roon Core ideally needs to sit on an SSD disk. So you could use your iMac if it has one. It should be kept well away from your audio equipment and is best connected via an Ethernet switch. I replaced my iMac with a sonicTransporter, which sits on the network and comes with an internal SSD with Roon Server pre-installed and a USB drive connection for music. Optionally also available with a large internal SSD for Roon & music.

There are many endpoints that run the Roon bridge, the microRendu being a popular choice with low noise floor. I have achieved good results with a Raspberry Pi / Hifiberry and even better results with Allo DigiOne and especially USBridge. These are good low-cost Roon-based streamers that leave you with plenty of budget over for a top-notch DAC.

Once you have your Roon bridge up and running, your Core will find it plus any Airplay devices on your network.

Have you checked out the Roon Community yet? You’ll find plenty of info on Roon-compatible hardware over there.

ATB, William

Thanks for the info re Allo. I didn't see it on the "Roon ready" list. After reading your post I found it listed under a different category. I'm going to buy one to see if Roon really is what I need.

Crazy that our ND5/Xs can now be replaced by a $125 device. 😨

alan33 posted:
Kevin Richardson posted:

Ive reached that point in my audiophile life where I needs to ditch my ND5&NDX and replace them with Roon bridges(? Correct term?)

What are the best options for a budget around 5,000 USD? .

Hi Kevin -

While you search longer term, pricier options for Roon endpoints (and DACs?) to replace your NDX+, it might be useful to buy an Allo DigiOne, which is an all-in-one Raspberry Pi and high-quality digital output board, providing highly rated SPDIF performance over BNC or coax (no TosLink). It’s under 200 ($ or €). I looked at this (and may still try as a cool experiment), but have opted to upgrade SU to Nova instead, to upgrade overall streaming capability (happens when I get home). 

Check out the Darko review, which is one of many glowing reports...

Regards alan

Done. Thanks!

Synology 918+ and 128Gb memory stick for the Roon Core database attached to the Synology. Nova connected via Switch and Ethernet cable. Works nicely and easy to use. Synology is a great home network backup system too - both my PC and Mac back up to it.

Kevin Richardson posted
 

 

Crazy that our ND5/Xs can now be replaced by a $125 device. 😨

To be fair strictly speaking only the streamer section can be replaced by a $125 device; however to my ears the Chord Mojo was a good match for the DAC section.

Look forward to hearing how you get on with the DigiOne.

Jan-Erik Nordoen posted:
William posted:

I have achieved good results with a Raspberry Pi / Hifiberry and even better results with Allo DigiOne and especially USBridge. These are good low-cost Roon-based streamers that leave you with plenty of budget over for a top-notch DAC.

William,

Hi, do I understand correctly that the Allo USBridge can be used alone to feed a DAC?  I note, with interest, that you have the Metrum Pavane DAC, as do I. Could you describe the improvements that you've found moving from Allo DigiOne to USBridge?

Thanks!

Jan

Hey Jan, I have the USBridge connected to hardwired Ethernet so the Roon Server on my sonicTransporter sees it and streams to it via the RAAT protocol. The USBridge is connected to the USB input on my Pavane.

The DigiOne didn’t have a fair chance, I suspect there was a problem with my SPDIF cable, but that’s the beauty of the USBridge: it works well using the supplied USB cable. There are people who achieved better results with the DigiOne but I am happy as it is. I power the USBridge and Sparky boards separately with two iFis. That improves SQ further.

I have just the Level 1 Pavane. Have you experienced Level 2/3 yet?

Cheers, William

DrPo posted:

Kevin, I currently have an NDX + XP5 combination and my thinking is along similar lines regarding future plans. I don’t care much about a server ripper so Antipodes DX is not something I am looking at but I would like to have a high quality server with Roon Core and the Antipodes Core product seems to fit the bill. The dealer I talk to suggested I wait a couple of months as some form of update is under way.

The other main choice will be the DAC. There I would consider the current leaders (Chord is very popular in this forum but I would also like to hear NOS DACs -the Yggdrrassil was for example slightly better than the NDX in my set up despite the lower price- ; additionally, I would also like to check e.g. Metrum, but also other non mainstream solutions like the Playback Designs Merlot.

However said combinations would imply a significant additional investment on top of what you can get from your current producers trade off.

I think I'm set on my choice of DACs: Dave for living room, Hugo for my desk, and my trusted V1 for the bedroom.

My local dealer has the PBD so I think I'll give that a listen.

Kevin Richardson posted:

I think I'm set on my choice of DACs: Dave for living room, Hugo for my desk, and my trusted V1 for the bedroom.

Hi Kevin -- great choices. Here's my system: a Hugo 2 DAC with an ultraRendu and sonicTransporter i5 (from Small Green Computer; the latter is the Roon server) and an Uptone Audio LPS-1 to power the 'Rendu, along with a NAS from Synology, which seems to be a popular choice on here. The network stuff is connected to "Simon's Choice" of network switches -- the Cisco 2960 -- via ethernet cables from Blue Jeans Audio. Works great. Hope this is helpful!

William posted:
Jan-Erik Nordoen posted:
William posted:
I have just the Level 1 Pavane. Have you experienced Level 2/3 yet?

I haven't got to the end of level 1 yet

Are you using the balanced outputs ?

 

No, just RCA (Audioquest Yukon).

Jan, Have you compared the outputs on the Pavane?

Hi William, 

Yes, listening via the balanced outputs is more engaging, holding my interest longer in the music. Via the single-ended outputs, the Pavane can, at times, seem slightly mechanical. 

The single-ended outputs use Lundahl output transformers to convert dual-differential into a single-ended signal, whereas the balanced outputs are driven directly from the Pavane's converters (the Transient modules in the photo below). As pointed out in the Six Moons review, "the Pavane's converters and I/V stage are potent enough to not require a conventional output stage. Hence there isn't one." (photo from Six Moons review).

So, one less thing in the signal path !

Jan

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I have a  homemade i5 pc running vortexbox os which can rip my CDs automatically and this runs Roon core and Bliss sorts out the metadata. I did have several pi endpoints and Squeezeboxes about the house. Just bought an Naim Atom for my main system for convenience. Works well with Roon but it's proving problematic for other things.

Jan-Erik Nordoen posted:

Hi William, 

Yes, listening via the balanced outputs is more engaging, holding my interest longer in the music. Via the single-ended outputs, the Pavane can, at times, seem slightly mechanical. 

The single-ended outputs use Lundahl output transformers to convert dual-differential into a single-ended signal, whereas the balanced outputs are driven directly from the Pavane's converters (the Transient modules in the photo below). As pointed out in the Six Moons review, "the Pavane's converters and I/V stage are potent enough to not require a conventional output stage. Hence there isn't one." (photo from Six Moons review).

So, one less thing in the signal path !

Jan

Jan, I opened a new thread here:

http://forums.naimaudio.com/to...25#73793444751782425

In case you haven’t being following it, I have another question for you over there.

Cheers, William

P.S. Will keep you posted on the Pavane upgrade. They are currently waiting for a delivery of MQA boards....

NUC7i5BNH with ROCK installed powered by 12v/5A linear supply to microRendu/DAC V1. Music on an external OWC powered 2.5” USB drive. Sounds superb. Might get a fanless case for the NUC someday as that’s supposed to increase sq. As well. Screaming deal on a new one with 256gb SSD and 8gb of RAM for $340 off the bay. Cheap drive and ram of course, but it gets the job done. Couldn’t be happier. 

Roon Core on a NUC5i3 running ROCK and my music library on the same NAS that Asset UPnP server on the RPi can index also.

Roon Endpoints are the SonicorbiterSE running the UPnP Bridge directly into my NDS, and also through a USB->S/PDIF converter into the BNC input of the NDS.

I also have a RPi Model B running Squeezelite into the Speakers on a B&O TV in the bedroom, and a Bluetooth speaker in the Bathroom connected to the USB dongle in the NUC.

Simon

You have 5k and you live in the US???

 

(2) Micro Rendu - $1,300

(2) PSU - $600

(1) Schiit Yggy - $2,400

(1) Schiit Bimba or Chord Mojo

The MR + Yggy should give you NDX Performance. The other should be about a ND5XS. 

Possibly a DAC V1 instead of a Yggy if you want the Naim Sound. 

 

I use a MR with upgraded PSU, Schiit Eitr and Gumby, but with LUMIN control app. 

Jan-Erik Nordoen posted:
William posted:

P.S. Will keep you posted on the Pavane upgrade. They are currently waiting for a delivery of MQA boards....

I look forward to that. Thank-you

Jan-Erik, my upgraded Pavane arrived back from Holland yesterday. My gear had been switched off for over a week but, even with a cold amp, the L3 version of the Pavane is stunning. I will endeavour to elaborate in due course as I get used to the new presentation, but for now my initial impression is more composure, more emotion. more involvement. I wasn’t really expecting the difference to be so big.

Would like to try Raspberry Pi 3 + HiFiBerry Digi+ Pro into original Naim DAC, just for curiosity's sake; none of this was around, of course, when the DAC first came out, and much has changed on the software and embedded hardware front since.

I'm not looking for volume control (bitperfect >>> software volume in that scenario), but am curious to see what the performance level is with hardware oscillator clocks in the DAC (vs DSP-generated ones in the other stuff).

William posted:
Jan-Erik, my upgraded Pavane arrived back from Holland yesterday. My gear had been switched off for over a week but, even with a cold amp, the L3 version of the Pavane is stunning. I will endeavour to elaborate in due course as I get used to the new presentation, but for now my initial impression is more composure, more emotion. more involvement. I wasn’t really expecting the difference to be so big.

Thanks William, ... more emotion, more involvement.... I’ll investigate getting mine upgraded

Jan

 

The new Naim streamers all promise to be Roon Ready, meaning they will fully function as endpoints, so you might just want to wait; rumor has it the NDX 2 will be released around August and be in the $6-7K price range.  Basically that's my plan, with the NDX 2 replacing my current ND5xs.  I already have a XPS level power supply but will eventually go for the real deal.

In the meantime I recently bought a Lenovo compact desktop for around $650 which I've dedicated to being a Roon Core.  It came with a 240 GB SSD, 7400 i5 CPU, 8 GBs of RAM and Win10 Pro.  Setup was a cinch following Roon's instructions for migrating the Core from my general purpose / gaming desktop.  The little Lenovo has a fan but it's almost completely silent; network connection is via Ethernet.  So Roon now outputs 24/7 to all my devices like iPhone and iPad, all the Mac and Windows computers on the network, and via Airplay to MuSo and a linked Aries Mini system in my TV area; so far so good and the Core's performance on the Lenovo seems on a par with the previous much more powerful system. 

Still working on how to go direct to my Naim gear; I have a much older Mac Mini which may have optical out which I could input to my nDAC; failing that I could use the headphone out to RCA inputs on my 282 preamp.  In either case as the Mini will function as an endpoint, not the Core, its spinning drive and dated i5 CPU should be more than sufficient, the question will be if there is no optical output how good the Mac's built-in DAC + headphone amp output sounds. 

Still it's just a temporary solution until the new NDX 2 is released at which point I'll retire the the Mini, the nDAC + PS, and reduce my box count by 3.  As Thoreau says, "Simplify, simplify!"

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