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General thoughts, cost/benefit of Roon Nucleus and Nucleus+
#1
Hey team, so I'm dealing with a lot of stuff in my system right now, from the cosmetic (yellowing front button; Devialet said give the engineers a month) to the neighborly (how to avoid noise complaints) to the "practical" (new speakers or at least cable).  So glad to get help and support on this forum.

So, I was on the fence about Roon.  I first tried it with release 1.5 and wasn't thrilled with the sound as compared to the Devialet AIR app.  My listening is almost entirely Tidal.  Sacrilege, I know.  I canceled my Roon trial, and was subsequently offered an extra 30 days at any time if I wanted to return. 

A few days ago, I took them up on the offer, as I had been experiencing dropouts almost daily with AIR.  I'm in a weird spot—I like the way AIR sounds over WiFi (even with the app) both ways (computer <-> router <-> Dev), no ethernet.  My unit is new construction and actually hardwired (albeit arguably improperly) with Cat6 of uncertain quality.  It's ready to go as I had a service call dealing with it.  I use AT&T fiber and their included modem/router, which has surprisingly good software but limited antenna strength.  It allows some deep tinkering, and shows the signal strength to each device—something I can't seem to find in consumer WiFi routers.  

So, for now, I have a -60dBm avg signal to my Devialet on the 5ghz channel showing no transmission errors, sharing the radio only with my laptop, an improvement from -79dBm when I had it stowed away near the control panel in a closet.  I hear the occasional disturbance, but that's typically if I'm queuing something up.  I have some generic Cat6 on deck if I want to really try the hardwire route for a few days.  I keep the channel fixed and the 2.4ghz radio at reduced power.  All other devices besides the Dev and the laptop (Nest, iPhones, etc.) go on the 2.4ghz network. 

I went back to Roon, and I feel that 1.6 really pushed the sound quality forward.  It just sounds better.  Even with the laptop.  I'm using my (don't laugh) 2011 MacBook Air i7 as the core, connected via WiFi (don't want to use an ethernet dongle, but there's a port just by my desk), the iPhone as the remote, and WiFi for Roon AIR.  I keep the laptop running lean, and it seems speedy enough.  Not a massive library.

So here are my questions.  Trust me, I've been admonished enough for not using ethernet by my cable guy, but here's what I'd pose:

1.  Would I see a marked improvement in audio performance over the laptop if I went for a Nucleus or Nucleus+ and paired it with an excellent ethernet lead?  I was thinking going with the Nucleus+ to have some headroom and Synergistic's entry-level 1m lead.  Or would this be absolute overkill in a system at the near-10k mark?  I like Synergistic because they're down the street from me and are pretty direct about the benefits of their products, in my experience.  

2.  Is the quality of the cable in the wall a reasonable deterrent to using ethernet if I have a relatively stable WiFi signal?  Devialet suggests at least -55dBm if not -45dBm, but that has been seemingly difficult with 5ghz.   2.4ghz has too many transmission errors, but can achieve a stronger signal.  I'm also surprised Devialet doesn't display numerical signal strength in the menus.  I'd like to keep the Dev connected via WiFi if I can—one less cable.  And I don't want to snake 2 grand of cable through my unit to avoid the wall wires and perhaps see a marginal improvement.

3.  I'm willing to invest in a monster WiFi router if I can get the Devialet below -55dBm, but I need the software to show me the signal strength of connected devices.  I'd like to be able to tuck the router away again.  Any thoughts?  Haven't seen the feature on consumer routers—display of real number. 

I'm sure more questions will come up.  If I don't touch my speakers this year, I'll have plenty budgeted for the Nucleus or Nucleus+ and other less substantial upgrades. 

Thanks in advance—I know there's been some discussion of the Nucleus, so I hope these questions aren't redundant.
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#2
I used to run Roon on a laptop with variable success.  I am not particularly technical, nor did I want to spend several thousand dollars.  The Nucleus + seemed a bit more than I needed in terms of specs, while the basic Nucleus would not meet my needs as I have a large music library.  I was a bit concerned that the basic Nucleus might not have enough grunt.  

My solution was to buy a desktop Windows 10 PC with i5 8Gb of RAM with 250 Gb SSD and connected directly to the router.  I use this only for Roon and it is in a room away from my main listening room.  My music is stored on an external hard drive connected to the PC.   This computer is networked with my other PCs so that I can upload or amend music files without having to directly access this PC.  Every so often, I directly access this PC, to ensure that Windows is up to date etc.

This is not the most elegant solution and might be a bit more difficult in a small apartment.  Performance wise it has proven to be rock solid.  I am not convinced that the computer side of things makes much difference to SQ (as long as the computer itself has got enough grunt to do what needs to be done - which multi-use computers may not have) - but some people will argue differently.  The recommendation is also to connect the Devialet to your network using Ethernet. I use Ethernet connection through the power line, which has proven to be extremely stable.

 Using Roon has been the only way that I have been able to achieve a stable listening environment with my Devialet, and on that basis alone it was worth the price of the Roon lifetime subscription - apart from the many merits of Roon itself.  Quite frankly, I now consider Roon indispensable - especially since version 1.6 and Qobuz integration.

I should add, that the PC cost less than $1,000 and did not require any special knowledge on my part to implement.  Including time to purchase the computer at a nearby store, it took me no more than about three hours to get up and running and including moving my Roon Core from my laptop to the new PC.
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#3
(12-Feb-2019, 07:14)Will Wrote: I used to run Roon on a laptop with variable success.  I am not particularly technical, nor did I want to spend several thousand dollars.  The Nucleus + seemed a bit more than I needed in terms of specs, while the basic Nucleus would not meet my needs as I have a large music library.  I was a bit concerned that the basic Nucleus might not have enough grunt.  

My solution was to buy a desktop Windows 10 PC with i5 8Gb of RAM with 250 Gb SSD and connected directly to the router.  I use this only for Roon and it is in a room away from my main listening room.  My music is stored on an external hard drive connected to the PC.   This computer is networked with my other PCs so that I can upload or amend music files without having to directly access this PC.  Every so often, I directly access this PC, to ensure that Windows is up to date etc.

This is not the most elegant solution and might be a bit more difficult in a small apartment.  Performance wise it has proven to be rock solid.  I am not convinced that the computer side of things makes much difference to SQ (as long as the computer itself has got enough grunt to do what needs to be done - which multi-use computers may not have) - but some people will argue differently.  The recommendation is also to connect the Devialet to your network using Ethernet. I use Ethernet connection through the power line, which has proven to be extremely stable.

 Using Roon has been the only way that I have been able to achieve a stable listening environment with my Devialet, and on that basis alone it was worth the price of the Roon lifetime subscription - apart from the many merits of Roon itself.  Quite frankly, I now consider Roon indispensable - especially since version 1.6 and Qobuz integration.

I should add, that the PC cost less than $1,000 and did not require any special knowledge on my part to implement.  Including time to purchase the computer at a nearby store, it took me no more than about three hours to get up and running and including moving my Roon Core from my laptop to the new PC.

Thanks for the input.  I think having Ethernet at one of the ends may free up the radio a bit and take some pressure off the modem.  I really do want something headless that runs Roon.  Perhaps other options?  I’d want an i7, and fanless.  I could just stick with the laptop for now and perhaps invest in better wireless—I just need a router that shows the stats.  I just need to figure out if those dollars could be better set aside for an aftermarket outlet, better cable, isolation, so on.  Perhaps working on the power situation with my modem.
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#4
Well, the Ethernet hardwire is a stuttering mess via Roon.  Finally hooked it up as an experiment tonight.
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#5
I've never had a problem with Roon using ethernet from my server to my Devialet. That has worked flawlessly. I routinely stream DSD64 that way using Roon AIR but if I go to Devialet's site and l look at what they say about feeding DSD to the Devialet, they say that they don't recommend you use Devalet's AIR protocol for DSD because it can be unreliable. If ethernet was going to be a problem with Roon, I would expect DSD to show that problem up and it hasn't.

I have had problems with control. I control Roon from an iPad which communicates with my network over wifi. When I have problems they're wifi problem and I lose control but if I'm playing a record and there's tracks in the queue, the music keeps playing, Roon keeps streaming the data. Ethernet isn't where my problems occur, it's with the wifi connection from my iPad to the network.

You say ethernet via Roon is a "stuttering mess" but nothing else. If you want help or advice you have to tell us what's actually going wrong and saying it's a "stuttering mess" tells us nothing about what's going wrong. How are things connected (describe the wired connections and any wifi connections in the network path). When do the problems occur (during music playback, while you're performing control operations, when background operations are happening on your server and/or computer) and how do they manifest,and so on. Simply saying it's a "stuttering mess via Roon" gives us no information at all which would enable anyone to identify what the problems may be or come up with any suggestions which could help you.
Roon Nucleus+, Devilalet Expert 140 Pro CI, Focal Sopra 2, PS Audio P12, AQ Vodka ethernet, Kimber Select speaker cables, Shunyata Alpha NR and Delta EF power cables power cables, Grand Prix Audio Monaco rack, RealTRAPS acoustic treatment.

Brisbane, Qld, Australia
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#6
Like yourself, I use Roon from a MacBook Air circa 2013 vintage. Obviously, Roon communicates with my Devialet over WiFi. I believe air have WiFi off on the Devialet but can’t currently confirm as a bug which I have reported to Devialet means I have all my historical configuration files but all are empty. I only have my configured SD card at the moment which is far from ideal. The Devialet is connected into my Sky router and my internet connection speed is approximately 40 mbps. I only use Tidal but Roon has happily picked up and plays all my historical iTunes acquisitions. I got fed up with NASs because no matter what redundancy they claim to have they still break down especially if it’s the control unit which happened to me twice. 

As many of my old CDs have been remastered several times, it became more sensible to access and collate everything through Tidal or Qobuz, which I have never tried. However, if you have ripped a large number of of CDs then you can keep them on a NAS and have a Roon nucleus access everything including any streaming services you might use. At the moment I am writing this on an iPad and can access Roon only as long as it is open on the MacBook Air, which is a pain. This is where I think an instantly accessible Nucleus might be good but am still trying to justify it to myself.  

My ‘stuttering’ and dropouts are virtually nil but that may at least be due to my fast internet speed and proximity of the Devialet to the router.
Devialet 250 Pro, Chord Signature Reference speaker cables, B&W 803 D3 speakers

Roon lifetime licence, Tidal. 
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#7
(12-Feb-2019, 10:07)David A Wrote: I've never had a problem with Roon using ethernet from my server to my Devialet. That has worked flawlessly. I routinely stream DSD64 that way using Roon AIR but if I go to Devialet's site and l look at what they say about feeding DSD to the Devialet, they say that they don't recommend you use Devalet's AIR protocol for DSD because it can be unreliable. If ethernet was going to be a problem with Roon, I would expect DSD to show that problem up and it hasn't.

I have had problems with control. I control Roon from an iPad which communicates with my network over wifi. When I have problems they're wifi problem and I lose control but if I'm playing a record and there's tracks in the queue, the music keeps playing, Roon keeps streaming the data. Ethernet isn't where my problems occur, it's with the wifi connection from my iPad to the network.

You say ethernet via Roon is a "stuttering mess" but nothing else. If you want help or advice you have to tell us what's actually going wrong and saying it's a "stuttering mess" tells us nothing about what's going wrong. How are things connected (describe the wired connections and any wifi connections in the network path). When do the problems occur (during music playback, while you're performing control operations, when background operations are happening on your server and/or computer) and how do they manifest,and so on. Simply saying it's a "stuttering mess via Roon" gives us no information at all which would enable anyone to identify what the problems may be or come up with any suggestions which could help you.

Very good point about my Ethernet comment.  I had AT&T in because my unit is hardwired for CAT6.  They identified the cabling behind this metal panel, which simply hides the 5-6 leads coming from the CAT6 jacks, as well as the fiber connection point and CATV.  The installer identified the appropriate cable for the jack I wanted to use, using some sort of electronic tool.  Tonight, I plugged in that cable to Ethernet port 1 on my modem, and ran a CAT6 lead they left me to the Devialet from the wall.  I launched the configurator and made a profile disabling WiFi, loaded it up.  Roon recognized the Devialet and I was able to play tracks, but they would take ten or so seconds to load, and would cut in and out every few seconds.  I hope this all makes sense.

It was worse than any WiFi experience.  I’m not sure if it’s shoddy cabling and have no way right now of testing it out.  I could try another cable from the wall.  Ideally, I’d find a more powerful WiFi router that shows the actual strength of the connection to the Devialet.  Getting it to -45dBm would likely guarantee flawless playback, as it’s solid even up to 24/192 at -65dBm now.  I’ve been listening all day with almost flawless performance—a pop or drop here or there.
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#8
(12-Feb-2019, 11:21)Gerronwithit Wrote: Like yourself, I use Roon from a MacBook Air circa 2013 vintage. Obviously, Roon communicates with my Devialet over WiFi. I believe air have WiFi off on the Devialet but can’t currently confirm as a bug which I have reported to Devialet means I have all my historical configuration files but all are empty. I only have my configured SD card at the moment which is far from ideal. The Devialet is connected into my Sky router and my internet connection speed is approximately 40 mbps. I only use Tidal but Roon has happily picked up and plays all my historical iTunes acquisitions. I got fed up with NASs because no matter what redundancy they claim to have they still break down especially if it’s the control unit which happened to me twice. 

As many of my old CDs have been remastered several times, it became more sensible to access and collate everything through Tidal or Qobuz, which I have never tried. However, if you have ripped a large number of of CDs then you can keep them on a NAS and have a Roon nucleus access everything including any streaming services you might use. At the moment I am writing this on an iPad and can access Roon only as long as it is open on the MacBook Air, which is a pain. This is where I think an instantly accessible Nucleus might be good but am still trying to justify it to myself.  

My ‘stuttering’ and dropouts are virtually nil but that may at least be due to my fast internet speed and proximity of the Devialet to the router.

Thanks for getting back to me.  I essentially work off of my phone most of the day, but occasionally need to draft or edit a document on my laptop. It doesn’t seem taxed if music is playing.  I have 100mbps fiber, so more than enough bandwidth.  I’m more concerned about taxing the radio and having at least one end of the chain wired. And independent of my laptop with potentially better SQ.  Is it worth three grand?  *shrug*
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#9
(12-Feb-2019, 11:28)awkaplan Wrote:
(12-Feb-2019, 10:07)David A Wrote: I've never had a problem with Roon using ethernet from my server to my Devialet. That has worked flawlessly. I routinely stream DSD64 that way using Roon AIR but if I go to Devialet's site and l look at what they say about feeding DSD to the Devialet, they say that they don't recommend you use Devalet's AIR protocol for DSD because it can be unreliable. If ethernet was going to be a problem with Roon, I would expect DSD to show that problem up and it hasn't.

I have had problems with control. I control Roon from an iPad which communicates with my network over wifi. When I have problems they're wifi problem and I lose control but if I'm playing a record and there's tracks in the queue, the music keeps playing, Roon keeps streaming the data. Ethernet isn't where my problems occur, it's with the wifi connection from my iPad to the network.

You say ethernet via Roon is a "stuttering mess" but nothing else. If you want help or advice you have to tell us what's actually going wrong and saying it's a "stuttering mess" tells us nothing about what's going wrong. How are things connected (describe the wired connections and any wifi connections in the network path). When do the problems occur (during music playback, while you're performing control operations, when background operations are happening on your server and/or computer) and how do they manifest,and so on. Simply saying it's a "stuttering mess via Roon" gives us no information at all which would enable anyone to identify what the problems may be or come up with any suggestions which could help you.

Very good point about my Ethernet comment.  I had AT&T in because my unit is hardwired for CAT6.  They identified the cabling behind this metal panel, which simply hides the 5-6 leads coming from the CAT6 jacks, as well as the fiber connection point and CATV.  The installer identified the appropriate cable for the jack I wanted to use, using some sort of electronic tool.  Tonight, I plugged in that cable to Ethernet port 1 on my modem, and ran a CAT6 lead they left me to the Devialet from the wall.  I launched the configurator and made a profile disabling WiFi, loaded it up.  Roon recognized the Devialet and I was able to play tracks, but they would take ten or so seconds to load, and would cut in and out every few seconds.  I hope this all makes sense.

It was worse than any WiFi experience.  I’m not sure if it’s shoddy cabling and have no way right now of testing it out.  I could try another cable from the wall.  Ideally, I’d find a more powerful WiFi router that shows the actual strength of the connection to the Devialet.  Getting it to -45dBm would likely guarantee flawless playback, as it’s solid even up to 24/192 at -65dBm now.  I’ve been listening all day with almost flawless performance—a pop or drop here or there.

That describes the ethernet connection between your modem and the Devialet. It says nothing about the connection between Roon and your network but from your first post it seems that you're running Roon on a MacBook and that is connected to the network by wifi and you have mentioned wifi issues.


Since it seems that you're using the MacBook as your control for Roon, I'm going to suggest a different setup for you. Get a 5 port unmanaged ethernet network switch. Connect both your MacBook and your Devialet to it and connect it to your ethernet wall point. This is going to give you wired connections all the way and no need for a wifi connection. If that solves your problems then your problems aren't ethernet related, they're related to your wifi connection. Whatever the problem is, I think it's network related and using the switch to connect both Devialet and the MacBook to your network via a wired ethernet connection is the best network setup I can think of and definitely better than one which has that actual music being streamed over wifi for part of the signal path from MacBook to Devialet.
Roon Nucleus+, Devilalet Expert 140 Pro CI, Focal Sopra 2, PS Audio P12, AQ Vodka ethernet, Kimber Select speaker cables, Shunyata Alpha NR and Delta EF power cables power cables, Grand Prix Audio Monaco rack, RealTRAPS acoustic treatment.

Brisbane, Qld, Australia
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#10
@awkaplan have you considered building a Roon ROCK machine?

https://kb.roonlabs.com/Roon_Optimized_Core_Kit

I run a NUC7i5BNH in a silent Akasa S7 case and that has worked flawless since I got it. I connect it to a switch and from that switch to my endpoint.

I stream both Tidal and Qobuz.
Main system
TAD D1000mk2, TAD M2500mk2, TAD CE-1, Ansuz Mainz 8D, Ansuz Darkz D-TC
Tidal Hifi -> Roon ROCK on NUC -> Netgear GS108 -> SOtM sMS-200ultra Neo -> USB -> SOtM tX-USBultra -> USB -> DAC
HD Plex PSU (4 rail for ISP fiber, router, switch and NUC), 2x Paul Hynes SR4 PSU (for sMS-200ultra and tX-USBultra)

Second system
Tidal Hifi -> Devialet Dialog, Devialet Silver Phantom, Devialet Tree
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