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Upgrade from Mac as Roon Core? Why? and What?


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Hello -

For my desktop solution, I have a 2017 IMAC running Roon going into a Cambridge Audio DacMagic-Woff Ear Kitoki tube amp driving Omega CAM speakers.

(this amp/speaker combo is a major upgrade from my previous $300 Emotiva powered monitors)

 

I've never quite gotten why one might need a separate streamer - but reading around here, it seems that the iMac is possibly introducing unwanted noise into the signal path?

SO  - my first question is - why should I upgrade my server to a separate server from my work computer? Or - am I okay just keeping things as they are.

What can I expect in terms of SQ and performance if I take the server function of my work computer?

 

If so - and needing something will run as Roon Core (as well as perhaps a Plex server?) - am I better off with a NUC,a NAS,  or are other options 

like this: https://www.smallgreencomputer.com/collections/recommended-solutions/products/premier-server-player-combo-sonictransporter-i5-ultrarendu-7v-linear-power-supply?variant=12400215719970 a better option?  

 

Budget - no more than $2000

 

Many thanks!

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Just a note - you don't need to replace your Mac Roon Core - but a great many of us find that replacing the Mac > USB > DAC chain to be a great way to improve sound quality.

 

When you switch to a Network device such as a SoTM SMS200 Ultra, or a Sonore Rendu or other network streamer your Mac stays as your Roon Core, but instead of it serving files to your DAC via a USB cable, the Mac sends those files to your Network. And then, your network device, a device created expressly for doing the one job of providing the best audio, provides the output via USB to your DAC.

 

Why? Because your Mac is doing dozens (hundreds) of tasks behind the scenes. But, a SoTM or Sonore or such has only the one task. It's a small simple Linux computer optimized to accept files from the network for audio output via a USB out that's also optimized for audio output.

 

Your Mac can continue to run Roon and Plex and what ever - but it sends the stream out to your network and some other device takes the network stream and delivers it to your DAC.

 

Analog: Rega P8 > Ortofon Cadenza Black > Bob's Devices 20:1 SUT > EAR 834P Deluxe MM/MC tube phono stage

Digial: SoTM SMS200 Ultra > SPS500 > Chord Qutest

Sound: Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum II > Harbeth P3ESR

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hmm - hadn’t  thought of the ISOregen.

 

i am now pretty clear that I would like to get my Roon Core of my main (and busy) iMac.

 

Then - am looking at a network device - (thanks for the suggestions)


This will be for my desktop system, as well as a few other endpoints in the house over WiFi.

 

 

So - debating the following options for running Roon Core:

 

•a Nuc

•A nas ( not sure how well that will do dsd in Roon

An INNUOUS Zen Mini

A SGC Sonic Transporter- probably the I9 for DSD

 

and then the following options for a network connection for my DAC:

 

•the whole Optical suite from Sonore

•an Ultra Rendu with LPS

•the SoTM s200 Neo or Ultra Neo

with LPS

 

Finally - strongly considering upgrading my dac (currently a Cambridge Audio DacMagic +)!- either to a Chord Qutest or an RME Adi2.

 

So -  now my budget has expanded...

altjough I’d still like to keep things as low as possible, while still getting good SQ/Value.

 

Any helpful suggestions appreciated.

Thanks.

 

 

 

 

 

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11 hours ago, R1200CL said:


If so, I would use top quality on endpoint. So that would be opticalRendu powered by a Paul Hynes SR4T

Or if you’re going for an etherRegen, maybe the JS-2, so you have good power to both.

 

 

 

The Sonore Linear Power Supply that Barrows builds are very good as well (and little to no wait time compared to PH). Currently a demo one from Sonore on Audiogon for $450. I put an SR black fuse in mine and a Shunyata Venom NR V-10 cable on mine with the opticalrendu and man does it sound good. 

SERVER CLOSET (in office directly below living room stereo):NUC 7i5BNH with Roon ROCK (ZeroZone 12V on the NUC)>Cisco 2690L-16PS switch>Sonore opticalModule (Uptone LPS 1.2)>

LIVING ROOM: Sonore opticalRendu Roon version (Sonore Power Supply)> Shunyata Venom USB>Naim DAC V1>Witchhat DIN>Naim NAP 160 Bolt Down>Chord Rumor 2>Audio Physic Compact Classics. OFFICE: opticalModule> Sonore microRendu 1.4> Matrix Mini-i Pro 3> Naim NAP 110>NACA5>KEF Ls50's. BJC 6a and Ghent Catsnake 6a JSSG ethernet; AC cables: Shunyata Venom NR V-10; Audience Forte F3; Ice Age copper/copper; Sean Jacobs CHC PowerBlack, Moon Audio DIN>RCA, USB A>C. Isolation: Herbie's Audio Lab. 

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7 minutes ago, charlesphoto said:

 

The Sonore Linear Power Supply that Barrows builds are very good as well (and little to no wait time compared to PH). Currently a demo one from Sonore on Audiogon for $450. I put an SR black fuse in mine and a Shunyata Venom NR V-10 cable on mine with the opticalrendu and man does it sound good. 

There’s one on here right now in the classifieds with a Synergistic Orange fuse 😉

 

Colin

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21 hours ago, flyingelephant said:

So - debating the following options for running Roon Core:

 

•a Nuc

•A nas ( not sure how well that will do dsd in Roon

The CPU is the rate limiting point for DSD in either device, assuming both have enough RAM.  With the same processor and RAM, there’s little to choose from between them. SQ should be identical, if everything else is the same.

 

A NAS powerful enough to do everything Roon core will do is going to cost more than the equivalent NUC.

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3 hours ago, bluesman said:

The CPU is the rate limiting point for DSD in either device, assuming both have enough RAM.  With the same processor and RAM, there’s little to choose from between them. SQ should be identical, if everything else is the same.

 

A NAS powerful enough to do everything Roon core will do is going to cost more than the equivalent NUC.

Very helpful. Thanks @bluesman

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I used to have my Room Core on an iMac and then iMac Pro. Moving to a SonicTransporter i5 improved sound quality significantly. Well worth it. I’ve recently swapped it for an i9. Useful for playing my ripped BluRays with Plex too.

SonicTransporter i9 > EtherRegen > opticalRendu > Ayre QX-5 DAC > Ayre KX-R Twenty Preamp > Ayre MX-R Twenty mono amps > YG Kipod Signature Passive speakers.

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19 hours ago, Ultrarunner said:

I used to have my Room Core on an iMac and then iMac Pro. Moving to a SonicTransporter i5 improved sound quality significantly. Well worth it. I’ve recently swapped it for an i9. Useful for playing my ripped BluRays with Plex too.

 

@Ultrarunner - Thank you. I'm seriously considering a Sonictransporter I9 as well. Why did you choose that solution over, say, a high powered NUC - running Windows or Linux? Also  - I notice in your system you don't have a Sonore Optical Module - any reason?

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After reading Chris's review of his new system, I am starting to be attracted to

 

A: a Roon Core that is separate from my iMac - Like a NUC, or SonicTransporter or Innuos Zen MK III + + some rendu or soTm sms +dac 

plus all the various lpsu's...

And/or NUC or other Roon Core + a streaming dac - Mytek Brooklyn Bridge is looking very nice.

In Chris' setup - he doesn't have any power supply upgrades, or Rendus. The simplicity of this is attractive to me,

 

There are a lot of choices - don't want to drive myself crazy.

 

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1 hour ago, flyingelephant said:

 

 

@Ultrarunner - Thank you. I'm seriously considering a Sonictransporter I9 as well. Why did you choose that solution over, say, a high powered NUC - running Windows or Linux? Also  - I notice in your system you don't have a Sonore Optical Module - any reason?


It’s my third server from Small Green Computer. I started before the NUC was an option. It seemed easier to stick with a system I’m used to and had such good experience with.

 

I did have an opticalModule. I replaced that with the EtherRegen with excellent results. 

SonicTransporter i9 > EtherRegen > opticalRendu > Ayre QX-5 DAC > Ayre KX-R Twenty Preamp > Ayre MX-R Twenty mono amps > YG Kipod Signature Passive speakers.

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1 hour ago, Ultrarunner said:


It’s my third server from Small Green Computer. I started before the NUC was an option. It seemed easier to stick with a system I’m used to and had such good experience with.

 

I did have an opticalModule. I replaced that with the EtherRegen with excellent results. 

Are you using the 1st JS-2 to power both the SonicTransporter and the Etherregen, and a 2nd JS-2 to power the Optical Rendu?

 

What/how is the Sonic Transporter connected to source material and your network? Are you using SFPs, optical cable etc.? Thanks! Steep learning curve here...

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41 minutes ago, flyingelephant said:

Are you using the 1st JS-2 to power both the SonicTransporter and the Etherregen, and a 2nd JS-2 to power the Optical Rendu?

 

What/how is the Sonic Transporter connected to source material and your network? Are you using SFPs, optical cable etc.? Thanks! Steep learning curve here...

The first JS-2 powers the EtherRegen. The second JS-2 (in another room), the opticalRendu. I actually have a spare, third JS-2 (previously powering my STi5), which I’d planned to use for the STi9. Andrew had said it should work when I ordered the i9, but it doesn’t have enough juice. I’m toying with buying an HDPlex 300W. Overkill perhaps. But the JS-2’s were certainly a notable improvement for the ER and OR.  

SonicTransporter i9 > EtherRegen > opticalRendu > Ayre QX-5 DAC > Ayre KX-R Twenty Preamp > Ayre MX-R Twenty mono amps > YG Kipod Signature Passive speakers.

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2 hours ago, flyingelephant said:

What/how is the Sonic Transporter connected to source material and your network? Are you using SFPs, optical cable etc.? Thanks! Steep learning curve here...

The SonicTransporter is connected to the router by a single Ethernet cable. I might try optical Ethernet instead, but Andrew hasn’t verified if this will work. My STi9 has 4TB SSD, so I don’t need to worry about external storage.

 

I have tried a few SFPs, based on the reports of others. It turns out single mode SFPs sound better than multimode. As long as both ends have the same SFP this is an easy one to try. 

SonicTransporter i9 > EtherRegen > opticalRendu > Ayre QX-5 DAC > Ayre KX-R Twenty Preamp > Ayre MX-R Twenty mono amps > YG Kipod Signature Passive speakers.

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