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austinpop

A novel way to massively improve the SQ of computer audio streaming

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7 hours ago, Dev said:

 

.NET and Linux ? Is there a RoonReady available for the NUC ? Or are you suggesting to run the Roonserver instead of the RoonBridge ?

I don’t think so. Yes, you could just run Roonserver. However, I prefer to off load playback to RoonReady over the network.

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1 minute ago, austinpop said:

What this means is that if there is a more creative option, there may be further SQ to be gained. I like @Dev's idea of running ramsave on a timer. Kind of like a syncd, except not every 30 seconds! But this still puts responsibility on the (super)user to ramsave before a reboot. And of course, you're always vulnerable to a data loss due to a crash.

Its also benefitial to clear the RAM once in a while and for huge databases it takes forever to boot. If there was an option in Roon to choose a location for the database files the could be kept anywhere on the network, it can be done.

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Update from my side: My roonserver (upsampling everything to dsd256) runs on an i7 fanless server that is configured with Audiolinux ramroot mode. So far I was using an Intel 4-port server adapter in bridged mode and the NUC was directly connected to it. Last week I received a JCAT NET femto card which replaced the Intel NIC. The JCAT is still burning but I already find the improvements worthwhile - the SQ is more relaxed. Assuming that the JCAT is powered with a good LPS, it will be worthwhile to see if this setup will make an audio grade switch redundant in the middle.

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6 hours ago, lmitche said:

Jesus R,

 

You seem to be suggesting we run software other than Roon. That's cool. I am sure Audiolinux can run anything you can think of. What would your recommendation be for best SQ?

 

Larry

No. I’m not a fan of RoonBridge because it’s not certified. With RoonReady you have much tighter integration and Roon certifies it’s done correctly. It’s a lot more work for us, but we actually want them to sign off on it. Also, our customers expect this because we not sell DIY products. 

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5 minutes ago, LTG2010 said:

Its also benefitial to clear the RAM once in a while and for huge databases it takes forever to boot. If there was an option in Roon to choose a location for the database files the could be kept anywhere on the network, it can be done.

 

There seem to be some kludges to make that possible:

https://community.roonlabs.com/t/howto-customising-roon-database-location-in-easy-installer-scripts/9713

https://community.roonlabs.com/t/moving-roon-database-to-ssd/12906/17

 

Perhaps a network attached SSD?

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6 hours ago, rickca said:

I don't see .NET core runtime in the dependencies for Roon Bridge on Linux in the Roon documentation.  I guess you're saying it won't perform like a Roon Ready certified network player from a partner like Sonore.

I wouldn’t think so. It’s probably something like Mono what they use on Linux. 

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2 minutes ago, austinpop said:

Perhaps a network attached SSD?

Thanks for the links, yes something like that, its simply library management.

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6 hours ago, austinpop said:

 

Actually, Jesus @vortecjr is raising a very interesting point. I have always wondered what the difference was between "Roon Bridge" and "Roon Ready." It seems Jesus is saying that Roon Bridge is a containerized version of the code, meant to run in a .Net runtime, while Roon Ready can be directly compiled to match the HW of the device.

 

The question then is - do non-licensees of Roon Ready have access to the code? I know endpoint vendors like Sonore and SOtM run Roon Ready, but can hobbyists like us - really, like Larry! - get access to Roon Ready modules?

I don’t think you can. 

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2 minutes ago, vortecjr said:

No. I’m not a fan of RoonBridge because it’s not certified. With RoonReady you have much tighter integration and Roon certifies it’s done correctly. It’s a lot more work for us, but we actually want them to sign off on it. Also, our customers expect this because we not sell DIY products. 

 

AFAIK, we are discussing DIY products on this thread. See Brian reply that I linked earlier. There should be no difference in the code per say between RoonBridge and RoonReady, let alone .NET. What's most important is how one appliance sounds better than another and for many of us here, the NUC/Audiolinux route is.

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1 minute ago, vortecjr said:

I don’t think you can. 

 

Yes, the whole Roon Bridge .Net scare was a red herring, wasn't it?

 

As a vendor, I can see why Roon Ready certification is important, but a DIYer can achieve the same functionality with Roon Bridge. So what if it's not certified? It's DIY!

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3 minutes ago, austinpop said:

 

Yes, the whole Roon Bridge .Net scare was a red herring, wasn't it?

 

As a vendor, I can see why Roon Ready certification is important, but a DIYer can achieve the same functionality with Roon Bridge. So what if it's not certified? It's DIY!

Roon wants to have an ecosystem and certify implementation on their partner Roon Ready devices.  Sounds a bit like MQA in that respect, but I'm not saying Roon has the same evil intent.

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33 minutes ago, agillis said:

A DIY NUC player solution is a no way competition for products we sell to the high end audiophile market. These guys have no interest in build PCs .

Hmmm, and where does the high end market start? Everyone here with a NUC is certainly running a high end system by any measure.

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7 minutes ago, greenleo said:

@Roy,

 

Do you still use the txUSBUltra and connect it to the HMS or do you connect the NUC directly to the HMS?

 

Not at the present time, GL.  Properly powered, the HMS makes the much bigger impact making the tX-USBultra almost superfluous.  However, since my free clocks are in the tX-USBultra, it would make sense to use it but only when my new SR7 arrives.

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2 minutes ago, vortecjr said:

You are not guaranteed those things with a DIY solution. Also, I'm surprised you would recommend a solution that above you said did not sounds good. Also, Roon does not recommend that people run their server on a Celeron processor.    

 

You're spreading FUD, and you need to knock it off. If you have something to contribute, do so.

 

But coming here and minimizing others' findings is not OK. Be constructive, or leave.

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4 hours ago, romaz said:

 

Yes, but we have no skin in this game except to find what sounds best.

 

Of course not, but others selling Roon ready products do have skin in the game. 

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3 hours ago, austinpop said:

 

If, as we suspect, the audio benefit comes from reducing latency, then it would seem beneficial to load the Roon DB into RAM as well, as part of the ramroot configuration.

 

I did a quick check on my W10 Roon Core, to see how big the Roon DB really is. My Roon library has ~1500 albums for a total of ~14000 tracks. I estimated DB size by looking at the size of the following directory: %localappdata%\Roon\Database, and it is 1.27GB. Indeed the whole %localappdata%\Roon directory is 1.75GB.

 

Assuming a machine with a generous amount of RAM (16GB?), is there any reason why it wouldn't make sense to just load this into RAM at boot? Obviously, it does take discipline to make non-volatile changes, like booting in non-ramroot mode before making any changes.

 

3 hours ago, romaz said:

 

Larry and I discussed this and it is possible to do it, however, we both question whether the Roon database (and it's access) has any impact on SQ.  As far as we know, the database is there for administrative reasons.  The challenge of placing it in RAM and going completely diskless with the RoonServer is that you won't have knowledge of available Roon updates unless you reboot the machine and given the stability of this setup, I may never have a reason to reboot the machine.  Furthermore, a 64GB Optane drive only costs about $50 and you'd never have to worry about data loss in the event of a power outage.  

 

With that said, if it turns out the Optane drive results in SQ detriment, perhaps it would be worth doing.

 

As has already been mentioned the Roon DB can be loaded in RAM without issue.  My DB is quite large but I've got 16GB of ram in my server.

 

You can update Roon and other Linux packages in ram but they are lost upon reboot. Just update the image on the stick or SSD. I have my image on an SSD which I separately power. After the image loads to ram I unplug it. It makes updates fairly simple. 

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4 hours ago, austinpop said:

What this means is that if there is a more creative option, there may be further SQ to be gained. I like @Dev's idea of running ramsave on a timer. Kind of like a syncd, except not every 30 seconds! But this still puts responsibility on the (super)user to ramsave before a reboot. And of course, you're always vulnerable to a data loss due to a crash.

 

I think we can still get away from manually syncing during reboot/poweroff. I have to do some diligence but I guess systemd has reboot/poweroff hooks that a script can be attached to which will be fired before reboot/poweroff is done. If not, a shutdown systemd service can also make this feasible. These are for graceful reboot/shutdown but for abrupt power outage, there is no guarantee - not even with a persistent storage, like a ssd/disk. I have been using the NUC for almost couple of weeks now but I have hardly lost valuable information during the process if the ram is not saved to the storage - most of the time you would just loose Roon history/indexing/current playlist queue data.

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27 minutes ago, rickca said:

@romaz and @lmitche what do you think of NUC8i3BEK?  It's still an SOC (i3-8109U) but 28W.  Best introduction is

https://www.anandtech.com/show/13113/intel-officially-launches-bean-canyon-nucs-with-coffee-lake-u-processors

Price is $295.

 

For a Roon Server NUC, the more power the better and so this NUC looks like it would be better than the i7 NUC I have.  The following NUC with an i7 that has a TDP of 100w may be better still but it costs more money:

 

https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/products/boards-kits/nuc/kits/nuc8i7hvk.html

 

If a small form factor isn't crucial, it may be better to go with an i7 or Xeon on a mini-ITX board and place it in a fanless Streacom case.  You could then power it with HDPlex's latest 400w DC-ATX converter:

 

https://www.hdplex.com/hdplex-400w-hi-fi-dc-atx-power-supply-16v-24v-wide-range-voltage-input.html

 

I'm still not sure I know where the sweet spot is.

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