I guess I qualify as a Roon user so I’ll take a swing at this.
I have multiple cores running at any given time, but the primary cores are as follows:
Nucleus+ with attached USB drive for media storage. This is for production testing and always runs the current release version of Roon. This is also the core that I tend to use for personal listening as it’s a static configuration. Since the files are local to this machine and it’s running the stable Roon core I don’t need to worry about technical glitches impacting my ability to listen when I want to.
Intel NUC running ROCK with music files on a Synology NAS. This unit usually runs an unreleased version of Roon and is used for ensuring that we don’t have compatibility problems as they make changes to the core.
Intel NUC running Linux with internal storage (2TB M2.sata SSD) as well as some shares mounted from the Synology. This one primarily gets used when I need a unit for travel (hence the internal SSD with less frequently used content coming from the Synology).
Windows server with internal storage. This one honestly doesn’t get used much anymore, but it has a slightly different music library than the other two and I haven’t bothered to consolidate all of that.
Here’s what I can tell you about my experience with the above.
From the user perspective there is no difference between any of them. There’s no appreciable difference in the performance of Roon (neither in UI performance or audio performance). I cannot tell one from the other nor do I note any improvements in switching between them
I personally prefer to have the files located in a place where I can manage them. This means that I’m not really a fan of direct-attached storage to ROCK / Nucleus since all of the file management needs to be done via the network share. It’s not a big deal, but in some cases I want to do something that would be easier to do if the files were located on a NAS or other server where I have some sort of local access.
I have music files located on spinning hard drives (local), spinning hard drives (nas), and SSD (local). There is no difference in actual performance between them.
Long story short… there’s no real difference in terms of performance between any of the typical Roon core configurations as long as the hardware is up to the task of running Roon. It all comes down to the question of what is most appropriate or convenient for the user.
Are you referring to the USB-A port on the rear panel that allows connection of a USB storage device? If so then there are two comments that need to be made:
- This interface is completely independent of Roon. If you connect a storage device to this port there is no way to integrate its content with Roon.
- This interface was NOT intended to be the way that one connects his complete library to one of our devices. It has no media management functions, no search capabilities, and only allows browsing by folder. The intended purpose is to be used with flash drives that have a reasonable number of files on them. This is the interface you use when a friend brings over some tracks to play on your system. It’s not meant to be the connection used for a complete library.