Roon server versus Aurender N10

Because dcs DACs work extremely well with Roon I got a subscription and run the Roon core from a Nucleus: a dedicated device made by Roon especially for running the Roon core.

I have te Nucleus Powered with a linear power supply and connected to the dCS upsampler/streamer via an audio grade Ethernet switch.
Roon has a fantastic User experience and has quickly become my favorite. However…
I also use an Aurender N10 server.

And I must say that the Aurender easily outperformes the (granted: much cheaper) Nucleus soundwise.
Roon on the nucleus sounds great over the dCS and the user experience is unequaled. But the Aurender puts down a soundstage with much more depth. You can hear instruments in front and behind each other. The nucleus over Ethernet can’t manage that.
Compared to Roon the Aurender user interface (conductor app) is way behind but soundwise it still wins in my system.

I just thought it was fun to share my experience so far.


The Upsampler is capable of functioning as a Roon End Point but to run as a Roon Core in itself would require a very different hardware platform and would introduce several orders of magnitude more electrical noise into the enclosure which would then need to be managed.

Roon Core itself will run very happily on quite low powered hardware (when looked at from a purely “computing” perspective) and I’m personally running Roon Core on hardware from an i3 “U” series processor upwards but in the world of embedded platforms that kind of horsepower isn’t generally available and the embedded platforms that are used also don’t run what would be conventionally regarded as an operating system to allow the running of such.

Best regards

Phil Harris

Rene, is SPDIFF the only way to clock the N10?

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Hello Rene,

Thinking of the N10 as well. How are you connecting the digital out to the DAC?


Hello Warren,
I have the N10 connected over USB and SPdif. Over SPdif I use a Dcs master clock with USB the N10 is master. To be honest I don’t hear the slightest difference between the two.

Hello Rene,
Many thanks,

Interesting. Went from a MacMini to an N10 years ago. I’ve no clue how it would perform in my system today. I would suggest that much has to do with the network implementation, especially but not just the cabling. I’ve had a base level Nucleus with a USB attached WD 8TB drive wired into an Uptone EtherREGEN switch then connected to my dCS Upsampler for over 6 months now. Using Shunyata Sigma Ethernet cables. Quite a fine sounding setup.

But I’ve made many other changes over time (Wilson Alexia 2’s, Spectral pre-amp/mono blocks at the top of their line, Spectral/MIT cabling as required by Spectral, etc) that I’d be curious to hear an N10 or other Aurender now. However, I’m quite invested in using Roon. I’ve three other systems that rely on Roon (audio/video with UltraRendu/Yggdrasil/Berkeley D-D), MacMini/microRendu, and Audio Alchemy DDP/DMP to iMac). So, any other approach for my local library or streaming of international radio or Qobuz would be a non-starter.

Hi, stevebythebay,

I’ve just moved to Spectral pre-amp, Spectral DMA400 amps, and MIT cabling. Avalon Isis Speakers. Good to find another Spectral owner.

Lee Wilkins