Replacement for Roon Nucleus+

Sadly, my years old Roon Nucelus+ seems to have died. Lots of troubleshooting and nothing is resolving the problem - it simply won’t show up on the network via ethernet, and it won’t display on a connected monitor to collect data.

While I primarily use an Aurender transport with the Bartok via AES/EBU, I occasionally played native DSD from Roon via ethernet. I also do a lot of streaming around the house from Roon and use ARC remotely.

I’m not sure I want another Nucleus (and they seem to be out of stock anyway). Do you have any recommendations for other Roon Ready devices that can host Roon Server?

I only need the streaming capabilities since the Bartok is the DAC. On the Roon website that lists Roon Ready partners, they seem to call these Bridges. I assume any Roon Ready bridge can serve as the Room Server.

Or might it be possible to install Roon Server on a Mac? It would need to be always on so Roon can be accessed at anytime.

All of my music files are on a USB drive.

Thanks.

As you mention using Roon only for playing DSD occasionally I wonder why you need Roon? It is primarily a music library management tool the functions of which which you do not mention as being of importance. You can replay locally stored DSD files without using Roon at all and I wonder if following that path may prove better aligned with your needs?

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Yes, I’m open to a fresh start. TBH I was using Roon primarily to access my music files remotely through ARC or to AirPlay at home.

I just started using Apple Music and I’m wondering if I can connect the music files USB drive and play audio through Apple Music? I have not looked into this.

The Aurender + Bartok is my sit down and listen to music via speakers or headphones system. Roon was for AirPlay and ARC streaming (and the rare DSD album).

It does not have to be Roon, it’s just that Roon was what I was using.

Or even just move entirely to streaming from services: Tidal, Qobuz, Bandcamp, Apple Music.

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You can install the Core version of Roon as an App on your Mac for free, it’ll do what you need and get you up and running quickly.

Roon for Mac

https://roon.app/en/downloads

I use the dedicated app version called Rock (Roon Optimised Core Kit - download via same link above) installed on an Intel mini computer called a NUC, self built version of your Nucleus, popular as way more cost effective and customisable, low spec for basic needs or go all out and max out the RAM, SSD disks, i7 for big library databases/dsp eq/upsampling etc.

It works well for multi-room using various makes of streamer, works with my Cloud music services and accesses my rips/downloads/drops held on a QNAP NAS.

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Check this out, looks interesting!

Would be super cool is dCS would make a Roon Core Server!

Also, now that Roon is owned by Harman Kardon (which is owned by Samsung), it would interesting to see a Mark Levinson Roon Core Server.

Hello,

I recently purchased this, and so far, I’m quite happy with it: https://www.bleujour.com/shop/en/mini-pc-kubb/119-mini-pc-kubb-fanless.html

It’s a passive cooling, totally Fanless gen 13 Intel NUC Mini PC.
I installed ROON Rock on it, and it works like a charm.

I’m a long time ROON user, and wasn’t totally satisfied by the user experience having the ROON Core (server) installed on a Mac mini: constant OS update, need for a display, lesser sound quality…

All of this is now resolved with this little “Kubb” for a price tag much more affordable than a Nucleus (other NUC propositions, even more affordable, also exist. But either they come with active cooling systems or they are not so well finished…)

BTW, I would give a try to another power supply for your Nucleus before doing anything else if I were you :wink:.

Hope this can help,

Erwan

The subject of computer storage and replay of local files provides so many choices it becomes too complex to discuss here without excessive length.

I think that one way of approaching this is to be clear on exactly what you want to do. I know that you want to play a limited number of DSD files. I also know that your files ( DSD or are there others?) are stored on USB HDD drives. However not much more.

Reversing the order of things what would be the best input for your Bartok? Preferably you need network connection as this provides the best sound quality. USB can be used if your source provides DoP so that you can use DSD via this method.

These requirements will eliminate some choices. I have much experience using USB HDDs and learned that there are two areas that need attention if the best sound quality is wanted; the type of device and the interconnect from drive to computer. The latter is where you need your media player installed. Using something like Roon just as a player seems unnecessarily expensive for your purposes as do not seem interested in its capabilities with metadata or organisation. So I cannot see any need fro a monthly subscription. For a one off payment you could use e.g. JRiver MC or Audirvana.

The best sound quality would be to replace your HDDs with a NAS using MinimServer UPnP software and connect to Bartok. I guess that is what most people here do.

Airplay is not good for DSD. Unless I am told otherwise Apple devices or software are not DSD compatible. Here is quite a useful article:

Going over to using streaming services only is an option but none offers DSD streaming. In fact I am unsure if the latter is even technically feasible. You need a lossless streaming service offering high resolution replay of PCM. Qobuz is the simplest solution at present as Tidal is currently in flux. Of course you may not live a territory served by Qobuz so check this.

I am unsure how the Aurender fits in with this. It may prove to be redundant as it duplicates options fond otherwise. You are, after all, feeding a streamer with another streamer.

  • Innuos Zen…
  • Grimm MU1
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Agree 100%, why the Roon? Music streaming direct from the Bartok with the Mosaic app sounds better than with the Roon…

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The Roon Nucleus and Nucleus+ are Intel NUC computers with the ROCK OS and a nice case.

I suggest getting a computer tech who is familiar with Linux installs / system recovery to check it over, and if it is faulty source a replacement NUC motherboard for it, then reinstall the operating system.

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Well, “sound better” can be arguable depending on the Roon Core quality and nature, its power supply, and how the core is connected to the dCS streamer…

Regarding browse-ability, musician/album/opus retrieval, ability to manage listening queue, multi-room, etc… Mosaic just can’t compete today.

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But it may depend on usage as well.
I’m always seeking for something else to listen, to discover, using both a NAS and Streaming with Qobuz, and I don’t want to make the distinction between my ripped CDs and the streaming service.
Here Roon is a perfect match to me, and sound quality has greatly improved through years.

For people only listening to one record at a time, not greedy after constant new discovery, then Mosaic can be quite good!

Appreciate all of the replies and information. A bit more context.

My two channel and headphone system consists of the Bartok APEX fed by the Aurender N20 via AES/EBU (which does not carry DSD files, it converts them - USB is required for DSD). Most of the time I listen to local music files stored on a drive in the Aurender. I still buy music, download and move the files to various drives (Aurender, Roon, backups).

I also stream via Qobuz (longtime), Tidal (new’ish) and Apple Music (very new) plus Bandcamp and Hearts of Space. Bandcamp is streamed through an app as is HoS. With the two channel system I tend to stream from Qobuz and Tidal through the Aurender because I’m already in the app. I often forget to stream through Mosaic.

This is my main system and it’s fantastic (Luxman integrated, Harbeth speakers)!

Now to Roon: I had originally fed the Bartok through Roon and the Nucleus+, but the Aurender, purchased mid 2023, was a very clear improvement in SQ. I then relegated Roon to a second headphone system (now sold), but it also served as a source for other devices around the house, as the source for ARC (I could stream my own files) and as a backup of all the audio files.

I have a couple of Apple HomePods around the house and a pair of KEF LSX2 speakers in the living room. I would stream from Roon to them, but naturally that’s not required.

Again, I had been using Roon less and less, since I can stream from several services through several apps and devices. But when the Nucleus+ apparently died I thought Roon might still have use. But now I’m not so sure.

I do have a NAS for photography use / backup and career portfolio backup. Coincidentally, I turned it back on yesterday after 2 years (it was in storage during a home remodel) and thankfully it works fine; updated the OS. I’m not very technically inclined when it comes to NAS and never considered it for music playback.

About those DSD files: I don’t have many, but they do sound good. In my case, I’m not sure I need to optimize for them. If I really wanted to, I could play them natively via USB from the Aurender.

To wrap up: I was frustrated that the Nucleus+ had died (maybe it can be resuscitated) and I defaulted to the path of replacing the Roon Server device and made this post, but after feedback and more thought I don’t know that I need to. I have a fantastic two channel system without it and I can stream to all other devices around the house using apps on hand.

And no, the file management and metadata is less useful to me (I just love the music!), and anyway a lot of the streaming services are fairly robust with metadata and pivoting from one song / artist to another for discovery.

I have a Roon lifetime membership, I can easily go back anytime.

I do appreciate the thoughtful comments and feedback here. Thank you.

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Yes that would be my option. As they say “dont throw the baby out with the bathwater”.

These two quotes illustrate why I am hesitant to use Roon (I finally let my subscription lapse).

For a company which claims bit perfect sound there are too many users stating this is not the case

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Roon software IS bit perfect.
Now the hardware it depends on may not be: e.g. USB port on a cheap PC, highly polluted by a switching power supply…

BTW, one of the best awarded streamer as of today is the Grimm MU1.
Guess what software runs on it ?

ROON!!!

I actually have a Ferrum Hypsos power supply on hand I could try.