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Computer as roon core- ROCK or Audiolinux?

Discussion in 'audio' started by Koobre, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. Koobre

    Koobre pfm Member

    I'm planning on using a barebones Intel NUC i7 computer with an SSD to serve as a Roon server. I predominantly stream via tidal but have a collection of about 500 digital albums on a separate hard drive. I have already got a Roon lifetime membership. I'm considering using the Roon OS (Roon optimised computer kit-ROCK) but have heard that Audiolinux may have an edge in terms of sound quality. I was wondering if anyone has any experience in comparing both? I have no experience with Linux but comfortable with general Mac computer use and was also wondering if it is a tricky software to manage. Many thanks.
  2. BB Wan

    BB Wan You're gonna do what?!

    Hope someone can help with this question as I would be interested too!
  3. Guest432

    Guest432 Guest

    The OS (audiolinux vs RoonOS) won't have any impact on the sound, I'm running ROCK on an i5 Intel NUC and it works absolutely fine. You just create a bootable USB from the image and that is pretty much it. No faff or foo involved just a good interface.
  4. mikechadwick

    mikechadwick pfm Member

    I haven’t used Audiolinux but i’m Running ROCK on an i7 Intel NUC. I’m no tech wiz but just followed the instructions on the Roon website - it was pretty straightforward to source the components, build and get up and running. I’m really happy with it and it works without any issues (and it was a lot cheaper to build than buying a Nucleus).
  5. chris shorter

    chris shorter pfm Member

    I’m using ROCK on a NUC i7 and AudioLinux on another NUC i7 as a RoonBridge endpoint. Both are in Akasa x7d fanless cases. I’m still using basic PSU’s but I’m very pleased with the results.

  6. Koobre

    Koobre pfm Member

    Yes compared to the Nucleus, the NUC basic computer seems to be much better value. Thanks everyone for there views. I'll probably go with ROCK as it seems more straightforward and it is free :).
  7. Knipester

    Knipester pfm Member

    I’m running my NUC i7 as a headless roon core but bottled putting rock onto it due to my lack of experience with windows/Linux. If you are using it as a player then rock is worth doing but I was advised running the windows program us fune if it’s just as a server.
  8. Ponkbutler

    Ponkbutler pfm Member

    If running Windows shut down or uninstall all unnecessary Apps and services, which can improve SQ. It certainly did on my Linux NAS, thought it’s still behind the Nucleus.
  9. Koobre

    Koobre pfm Member

    I will be using it as a player with likely a flash drive as storage so moving towards the ROCK as os. It seems pretty straight forward on the Roon community web page.
  10. Koobre

    Koobre pfm Member

    Thanks for the suggestion. May I ask why do you think the Nucleus is better. Is it the power supply? I've been thinking about getting a Paul Hynes SR4 psu but the costs starts to add up...
  11. Jeff Young

    Jeff Young pfm Member

    I use ArchLinux (which AudioLinux is a pre-packaged version of), but I set mine up before ROCK was released. If I was starting over I'd probably go with ROCK, but ArchLinux was pretty painless too.

    Mine is running as a server and an endpoint. Sometime I'll upgrade to a separate endpoint (probably a Metrum), but I'm in no hurry.
  12. wiresandmore

    wiresandmore pfm Member

    Just installed ROCK (on an i5 NUC) over the weekend and it's fantastic - just works, no issues. Highly recommended. I have all my music separately on a NAS and the ROCK feeds my Devialets via AIR/RAAT.
  13. Guest432

    Guest432 Guest

    It isn't better, it is just an Intel NUC in a fancy case.

    Beyond the case it is exactly the same as buying a NUC and installing ROCK yourself.
  14. claire.foxx

    claire.foxx Trans lives matter more than cis feelings

    I built my own passive cooled Silent PC. I chose Ubuntu Server out of familiarity, it runs Kodi as well as some other stuff and is my only Roon PC. It’s 8th Generation i3 with no issues with DSP and multi room, if it ever becomes an issue I can pop in a i5 or i7 which is more than you can do with a NUC but am not convinced about i7. Even less convinced about special ‘music’ builds for Linux.

    I don’t bother with RAID either, boot from SSD store media on 2 x 4TB platters (space for 2 x more internal). Just rsync drive changes to an internal backup every night and send that rsync update file off to an offsite backup too.

    The build thread is here:
  15. Jeff Young

    Jeff Young pfm Member

    I'm using the same HDPlex fanless case as Claire, but with a Gigabit motherboard, an i5, and SSD storage.
    claire.foxx likes this.
  16. Ponkbutler

    Ponkbutler pfm Member

    Quite possible. I’ve never done the comparison.

    Getting back to the original question, I think the Nucleus sounds better than the NAS because there’s less going on in the box: a cut down OS, no Wi-Fi, no disk drives etc. I’m sure one could build something similar as TBL suggests, but I’ve never tried that or done a comparison. All I do know is that the sound of media servers is more mysterious than bits in and bits out.
  17. Jeff Young

    Jeff Young pfm Member

    This is only true of renderers (end-points). If you separate the server and the renderer, the server can have any amount of nonsense going on and it won't matter.

    In my case I'm currently running the end-point on the same box, so it does matter.
  18. Ponkbutler

    Ponkbutler pfm Member

    Perfectly logical but untrue. My end point is a Naim ND555 and it’s quite separate from either the QNap or Nucleus.
  19. Koobre

    Koobre pfm Member

    I've just seen your system on the link provided. Looks very impressive but likely way beyond my skills level at the moment. I'm considering the NUC but unsure to go 8th gen i3/i5 or i7. I noticed you have chosen the i3. Is the i5 or i7 overkill for the computer processing that is required for the ROCK? I will be doing minimal DSP with a modest 500 albums in a flash drive and streaming Tidal. I know that noone has a crystal ball but I'm hoping for a robust system that will last at least 5 years.
  20. johnhunt

    johnhunt pfm Member

    I’ve only been running for a few weeks, just streaming. First using an old levenco laptop usb into a dac and an iPad for control. It was pretty unstable, was always losing ‘ control of audio device ‘ and other random drop outs. Then I used an sbt as the end point and it’s much better. Getting it to see the sbt was a bit of a faff

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