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
@mikelavigne  - Thanks.  Agreed with your point - except in case of good Scotch - where there simply is no diminishing returns. At least not after you are done with it :)

@lalitk - thanks for your pointers.  

Basically, If possible, I am trying to see a viable way by which to TEST out roon, get an accurate representation of sound quality and functionality, and not have to drop a fortune in the evaluation process.
@jmarshak  - If you are only looking for a Roon Core, probably the most simple and cost effective solution is an Intel NUC server. Last week John Darko released a YouTube video of the complete purchase spec and detailed build. Check it out via the link below. It's a great video that shows how you can simply and cost effectively build a dedicated Roon Core. 

If you really want a Roon Core, and you don't want a major investment, the NUC build, as outlined by John, should get you where you need to go.

Good Luck and Enjoy the process........
A Roon server is just that, it is only a Server and its job is solely to handle your music library and communicate with either Qobuz or Tidal.  

A Roon player/renderer processes either the track served to it by server off of your local drive or from Tidal/Qobuz.  That track is then sent by the player to your DAC for decoding.  

If you have a DAC that is a Roon Endpoint and is "Roon Ready" then you only require a server potentially.  

The best case scenario is to have these two things separate and running off of separate "computers".  This is where you will get best performance and generally, the computer for the Server needs to be a bit more powerful than the player/renderer as it is dealing with a volatile internet.  

And then of course there is the outside issue of clocking to ensure minimal jitter.  This is a separate issue and requires understanding what DAC you are using and how you intend to connect.  

Regarding good scotch...I can't recall the last time I had a scotch that wasn't old enough to drink itself.  I am a little spoiled.... 
@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.
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