Best Server To Run Roon Core

Hi Folks,

I don’t currently run ROON, but would like to begin correctly in order to give it a chance - and I understand that server (hardware) on which Roon core is installed is important for SQ (due to noise reduction and other factors).

What are the best hardware for SQ and usability where ROON core should be installed and why (be it audiophile dedicated servers or modified PCs)? Please comment on the rest of your setup for context if you could.

Thank you in advance.

Ag insider logo xs@2xjmarshak

Showing 5 responses by arafiq

@newtoncr -- I’ve heard a lot about Wolf Audio but never had the opportunity to audition their equipment. I would appreciate it if you can describe the improvements over Lumin and Innuos especially in terms of sonic abilities. Lumin is a well known and established company that has been building outstanding products. If Wolf Audio is a major upgrade, that is quite an achievement considering that it’s a family owned business. Looking forward to your comparison.
@jmarshak -- you didn’t mention how many endpoints you plan to run simultaneously, and whether you are going to use DSP (e.g. Roon’s Convolution engine or parametric EQ). If your DAC is going to upsample to high-res formats like DSD, then that matters too.

If you are just starting out, or only have one streamer, and don’t plan to use DSP or DSD conversions, then IMO you can simply use a general purpose desktop or laptop as the Roon core.

But if any of the above applies, then a dedicated Roon core makes sense. You can build your own using Intel NUC, or you can buy from a vendor. In my case, I contemplated building my own NUC in a fanless configuration. But eventually went with Small Green Computer’s sonicTransporter i5, since it came out to be almost the same cost. It is fanless, acts as a heat sink and has been rock solid so far. You can order it with an SSD hard drive pre-installed or add one yourself very easily, no tools required.

Finally, as for getting a one-box solution vs. multiple boxes, I prefer the ultimate flexibility of a multi-box solution simply due to the fact that this space is still evolving quite rapidly. It gives me the flexibility to make incremental changes, for example try a new streamer without changing the core, or swap my DAC without changing the streamer. Of course, this is purely a personal preference and might not appeal to everyone.
@newtoncr -- it was actually I who asked about the differences between Lumin U1 and Wolf Audio. Thank you for the detailed comparison. Very helpful, and sounds like you’re thrilled with the server. I was seriously considering Lumin U1 at one point but will definitely do some due diligence on Wolf Audio before making the final decision. Another product that I’ve great things about is Aurender N10/20, but I’m too committed to Roon at this point.
I was just going by what the ENO manufacturer says on their website:

"A unique (patent pending) passive filtering system which plugs in between your network switch or router, and your streaming device."

AFAIK, EtherRegen is not passive but I could be wrong. Either way, I'd go with what the creator of the product recommends before experimenting with a different setup.
It should be placed between your router and Nucleus.