Anyone gone from Mac go dedicated Roon core? / How to get more ‘flow’ from Network Bridge

Had a little play with CDs, and the NWB today and found some interest results. I would like to see what other’s experience is.

I retired my CD player 5 years ago. It is a modified laserdisc player, but at 20 years old at the time, it was getting really temperamental about playing discs. Some it doesn’t recognise but most it will only play from the start, after a prolonged period of scanning it. Trying to skip tracks is generally out of the question. When it does play, it sounds great. The inflexibility was enough to make me jump to Roon, hosted on a 2015 MacBook Pro, which I have been using ever since.

I started with an SOtM sms 200 into a Metrum Octave MKII and now use a Network Bridge into a Totaldac d1 Dual. I have generally been very pleased with it. A rearrange of my rack gave me space to slot the CD player back in recently. Listening to the two front ends back to back has revealed that despite its age and relative inexpense, the CD player really has something special about it, particularly the flow that it brings to music. In comparison the streaming side sounds more ‘tense’ and doesn’t allow me to feel as relaxed with the music. The cd player only has an optical output, so not ideal, but putting that into the Totaldac seems to retain most of the ease, which has me looking to the source for the ‘problem’.

It does appear that using Tidal on Mosaic has more flow than through Roon and using a USB drive in the back of the NWB is a step on again. So, is this mostly a Roon thing? If I run Roon on a dedicated server, will that close the gap and bring more flow? I don’t really want to resort to file based browsing again to get full quality. It appears that the Taiko Audio SGM is the king of streaming sources but that is well out of my league!

The reliability of the CD player is annoying, but fine for full albums, so I might just put up with it for special occasions but I am also tempted buy a cd transport into the Totaldac, if I can’t get streaming to close the gap a bit more, making disc use a more common occurrence.

May or may not be relevant, but I am using. An ASUS router with TP-Link optical isolators between the router and Network Bridge. MacBook is hardwired to the router.

What are your experiences with Roon cores?

Hi Oliver,
I jumped once from mac mini running roon core (2012 model with dedicated ssd) to Innuos Zen (core server internally). The SQ improved, less backround noise. Then, I tried a dedicated roon core server (sonic i5) with PSU and the SQ improved a very big step forward. Now, the core connects the NAS share from Melco and serves it to Rossini.
Imho if you want to go the roon way, you have to invest in a dedicated server.

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I had the Roon core on an iMac then switched to a Nucleus+ around a year ago. It has worked flawlessly. As for SQ, it’s hard to say. The Nucleus+, the iMac I use for playback and the Bartok are all hardwired to the satellite router.

I see the Roon core as essentially an audio component.

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Thanks. That is reassuring to hear, especially in regards to the Sonictransporter being a step up from the Innuos, as I was wondering if something like that was necessary, but it is so underpowered for Roon core. What PSU did you go for on the Sonictransporter?

My sonic has an i5 processor, PSU is Sbooster. Even with upsampling / roon there is no stress for the cores!

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