Innous Zenith MKII and Roon DSP


I purchased an Innous Zenith MKII about 6 months and configured it to use Logitech Media Server.  I had used LMS for whole house stereo for many, many years.  I finally decided to use Roon instead, and while Roon doesn't meet all of my whole house stereo needs, the interface and music management capabilities are far superior to LMS, IMHO. 

Before enabling Roon, I reached out to Innuos tech support about the fact that Roon does not list the MKII as a recommend device.  From Innous tech support, " The MkII can run Roon very well, the only reason they suggest such a high system spec is for performing DSD upsampling which is by far the most intensive process Roon has. For normal usage and bitperfect playback, the MkII can easily run Roon, no problems there."

I'm not doing any DSD upsampling.  I am trying to use Roon's DSP capabilities, but I've experienced dropouts when I do.  Other than this problem, I'm quite OK using Room with the MKII when playing DSD, FLAC, and WAV files through a MyTek Liberty DAC, as well as, streaming Tidal MQA directly to my NAD M12 BluOS module.

I want to take advantage of Roon DSP capabilities and keep the MKII.  I leaning towards buying an Intel i7 NUC to run Roon Core and strictly use the MKII as my network media player/NAS.  Thoughts anyone?
oldschool1948
Consider the Small Green Computer SonicTransporter i7 for Roon DSP.

https://www.smallgreencomputer.com/collections/audio-server/products/sonictransporter-i7-for-roon-ds...

This is what I use. It has the horsepower to run Roon DSP and is optimized for Roon. It also offers an internal Ethernet Bridge, which in my case eliminates the network switch.

This way you can utilize your Innuos Zenith II for Roon Rendering/Endpoint (Player) duties and remove the Roon Core load.

Since you have two LAN inputs on the Innuos you can use the other input as needed.

All the best.
I’m trying to decide between selling my MKII and buying a MKIII, or keeping the MKII and buying a NUC to host Roon Core.  I’m looking at this NUC that I found on Amazon:

Intel NUC NUC7i7BNH Mini PC/HTPC, Intel Dual-Core i7-7567U Upto 4.0GHz, 16GB DDR4, 256GB SSD, WiFi, Bluetooth, Thunderbolt 3, 4k Support, Dual Monitor Capable, Windows 10 Pro (16GB RAM + 256GB SSD)

This is more of a does it make sense question than a money concern.  I’m trying to avoid going through the trouble of selling the MKII and moving my music library to a new device.  And the MKIII’s processor is no where near the NUC’s in terms of processing power.  So that’s a concern.

Does anyone see a downside of adding a NUC to the signal path to only host Roon Core? 
@david_ten. I’ll take look.  Thanks.
@oldschool1948  You are welcome.

I chose not to add memory to my SGC unit. You do not need to as well, since you have memory capability/capacity on the Innuos. 

For superior results, as an example, Antipodes separates Roon Core from Roon Rendering/Endpoint (Player) functionality. You will get much better results by separating the Core and Player functionality, whichever product you choose to go with.
FWIW:

I'm using a Zen MK III and the new firmware has a beta feature where you can use the Zen as an LMS within the Roon interface (Squeezelite emulation). 

This is not a supported configuration, but I have been able to run the Zen in this configuration and upsample to DSD 64 using Roon DSP with few issues. Typically the processing speed is between 2-3x. 

The few issues are stuttering/crashing if I skip ahead a track on a song without first stopping the song I'm listening to. I'm ok to live with that as the SQ is quite an improvement to my ears, but it could be a dealbreaker for some.

I can run the LMS within Roon/SqueezeLite WITHOUT DSD upsampling (disabling DSP) and have no issues whatsoever on the MK III. 

I'm not sure what you are using DSP for if you are not doing upsampling, but it is true that DSD upsampling is the most memory-intensive operation. EQ and headroom probably would not cause as many issues as the upsampling to DSD 64.
@david_ten Thanks for the advice.  My MKII has a 2TB SSD, so I ordered a unit without music storage.   I'll keep you posted.


@oldschool1948  That's terrific. Looking forward to hearing how it works out for you and within your system.

Should it meet or exceed your expectations and you decide to keep the unit, reach out. Happy to suggest ways to enhance additional performance gains.
Thanks for the offer.  I will certainly do that.  Did you experience any loss of SQ running Core on the sonicTransporter?
I will gladly pay you cash for it if you at some point want to move it. I have been thinking of trying one. 
Thanks 
@jsqt.   I'm not sure what you are using DSP for if you are not doing upsampling, but it is true that DSD upsampling is the most memory-intensive operation. EQ and headroom probably would not cause as many issues as the upsampling to DSD 64.
I want to experiment with DSP, in general, to see where it can take me.  With the Zenith alone, I was unable to do that.  With the sonicTransporter, I will certainly try upsampling. 

I've spent a lot of time reading Roon documentation and blog posts.  I realize I have A LOT to learn about the software, and with so many capabilities and options, I'll have to invest a fair amount time tweaking and comparing setting changes.  I'm kinda sorta retired so I have much more time on my hands these days to play with Roon and, hopefully, take my overall system SQ up a notch or two :-).


@oldschool48 "Did you experience any loss of SQ running Core on the sonicTransporter?" 

Not at all, with my i7 unit. Same with my previous gen i5 and i7 sonictransporters. Also, no hiccups running Roon Core on my current unit.
Running it (or any similar device) off of a linear power supply will reap benefits. The LPS can be a basic one. DC cabling from the LPS to the SGC will also improve SQ, as will basic isolation solutions.
I did looked at the power supplies on the SGC site.  The only one I saw for the  i7 sonictransporter was the 200W version, which seems like overkill for only one device.  Do you know of any other options?
Check with Andrew at SGC to find out what he recommends for minimum power needs.

I use the HDPlex 100W unit, which is no longer made. I have no issues running the i7 unit out of the 19V output. I am also using two other power outputs, simultaneously.

The advantage of a multiple output LPS is that once you realize the upside from it with one unit, it makes sense to power your other computer related peripherals from it. The extra spend on the higher Wattage units with multiple outputs is worth considering.

If you want to be a stickler, then a single output LPS would be the way to go. Downsides are that it gets expensive if you want to power more than one unit and means more power cables to the extra LPS units you have, as well as the extra rack space.

The 200W unit that SGC sells is the HDPlex 200. There are other options for a LPS if you want to save a bit. I have found HDPlex very responsive as a company. They swapped out a unit for me. Andrew is terrific with customer support as well.

There are higher performing units out there, but they come at much higher costs.
@david_ten   200W PS on the way.  Andrew assured me the unit came with a cord compatible with my Liberty DAC.  I was about to buy the Sbooster PS for the Liberty.  Boy, am I happy I waited.

Still waiting for the sonicTransporter to ship.  Once I get everything setup, I'll reach out to via PM.

Thanks for you help with all of this.
Why aren't your running the Zenith direct USB (roon endpoint) into the NAD? and then have your Nuc Roon server feeding it.  That should sound better than feeding the Mytek and then analog cables into the Nad
USB to the NAD bypasses the Mytec DAC. It sounds great either way.

My plan is to replace the NAD with a tube preamp that has tape in/out so I can connect my Teac X-10R reel-to-reel. 
Let me add that I’m using Roon DSP, which unfolds MQA; the Mytek converts it to PCM; and Roon upsamples it to DSD 128.  I’m quite happy with the SQ.  

When I buy the tube preamp, I plan to upgrade the DAC - probably a Chord Qutest and upgrade my phono stage to something better.  
An update to my original post.  I purchased the Small Green Computer SonicTransporter i7 for Roon DSP (thanks david_ten!) to solve my Zenith MKII Roon DSP issues. And just recently, I purchased a tube preamp, a used Herron VTSP-3A (r02).  It pairs well with my NAD M22 v2 poweramp and Tannoy DC8Ti speakers.  Adding the Herron made a huge difference to my system and I am very happy with it.   

My MyTek Liberty DAC works well with my system - but, I want a better one.  I'm considering the newly released Audio Mirror Tubadour III Statement tube DAC.  It's gotten excellent reviews, and with their 30-day return policy I figure I have nothing to loose. 
@oldschool1948  Great to hear things are working out well! Looking forward to your impressions of the Audio Mirror DAC.
Hello all. Finally got my usb DAC worked out and looking for a streamer to use with my SGC AP I7 Roon Core. Would love to hear feedback on the SGC Signature Rendu SE (optical) and/vs the Innous Zenith SE MKIII paired with the new Innuos Phoenix reclocker. I believe Innuos will be debuting the Phoenix this weekend.  Im open to suggestions on what to feed my USB based DAC (lampi GG v2 balanced).
@redphu72  As you know the Innuos reclocker is brand new, so there are (likely) no comparisons at this point in time.

I was able to compare my SGC i7 + Sonore Signature Rendu SE (non-optical) combination to the Innuos Zenith Mk 3 in my own system thanks to Audio Philosophy (Innuos dealer out of Baton Rouge). 

Both 'approaches' are very good.

The Innuos did best on it's own (as server / player) i.e. not being fed by the SGC.

I imagine adding the Innuos Reclocker in the chain will move sound quality even further, however at a cost. What I like about the Reclocker is the ability to use it with other brands, similar to what the dCS Network Bridge brought to the table.
I ordered the Audio Mirror Tubadour III Statement DAC yesterday.  It will be here next week.  
@david_ten 
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, you've made it easier for me to make a decision on a streamer.