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Using Mac Mini as streamer plus music server
#21
PeppaPig,

Re the CX vs EX:

The basic job of a server is to manage your library of music files, to retrieve the files you want when you want them, and send them to your music system in a form that the music system can handle. That sounds easy and not too demanding but it's not always that simple and Roon offers you options that go above that. You can, for instance, ask it to send your 16 bit 44.1 kHz files ripped from a CD to your Devialet that way (that's the default setting for sending such a file) but you could also have it upscale that file to 24 bit 176.4 or 192 kHz format and that uses more processing power in the device running Roon. You can have Roon apply parametric EQ to the music to tailor the frequency response to your taste or to correct room problems. That takes even more processing power. You can create more complex filters for room correction using other software and have Roon apply those filters to the signal it outputs and that takes even more processing power. All of those things, and others, can be done by Roon and they're done using DSP (digital signal processing) and how much of those things you do determines how much processing power you use. The CX has more processing power than the EX and that's why it can be better for running Roon Core than the EX. You can do those things on an EX also but it may not do them as well as the CX.

You don't have to add more DSP. The code required for the DSP is there in Roon. What is required is the processing power to use it effectively and that comes down to things like the capability of the processing chip in the computer running Roon and how much RAM it has to do those things if you want to do them. Do they give you better sound quality? Some people may argue about whether some of those sorts of things deliver better sound quality or not because "better" is partly a subjective assessment based on whether or not you like the sound one way or another which is why there are so many options in audio for different DACs, different amplifiers, different speakers and so on. One person's "better" can be another person's "worse" but just as you chose your Devialet and speakers because you liked the sound they give you and other people chose different amps and speakers because they preferred the sound those amps and speakers give to the sound you're getting, different people will make different processing choices because of the differences in sound those choices deliver and the capabilities of the computer you're running Roon determines how well it can do the processing you want it to do.

When it comes to the computer other things come into play as well, especially what else you're asking it to do. A dedicated music server such as an Antipodes or Aurender or Roon Nucleus or the like just handles music. What are you asking your Mac Mini to do? Mine does things like email, I surf the internet, I process photos, and I used to do those things while I was playing music in the background using Roon. All of those things are more demand on the Mac Mini's processing power. I still do those things while using Roon to play music in the background but now doing those things doesn't impact on the music because the music is being done on a different computer and the Mac Mini can do the things I'm using it for better because it doesn't have to handle the task of running Roon as well. There's also the fact that doing other things with the computer while it's handling music tasks for Roon adds to the noise generated by the computer, both electrical noise which can affect signal to noise ratios, and physical noise from a fun running harder to keep the computer cool.

So, there's good reasons for running a music server on a different computer to the computer you use for your normal computer tasks and depending on what you want the music server to do in the way of processing the music you're playing there can be good reasons for choosing a more powerful computer like the CX than the EX to run Roon. You would be fine with the EX if you don't want to have Roon do any signal processing whatsoever and you don't have a large music library to handle. If you want to do some signal processing you're still likely to be fine with the EX but if you want to do really demanding processing then you'd be better with the CX because it's a more powerful computer. If you don't want an Antipodes then the same situation is going to apply with other servers you consider: some will be more powerful computers than others and will handle some of the things you might ask Roon to do better than other servers you might be comparing. Do you want something that can do a lot of processing or can you get the sound you want with minimal processing? You need to try it both ways to find out for yourself.

Wifi vs ethernet: lots of factors at play. How powerful your wifi router is, over what distances you are using wifi, what's between the router and your Devialet in terms of walls and other obstructions in your house, and so on all affect the quality of the wifi connection. I've got a hands free phone and i can use it outside the house all the way to my front gate before I start to lose signal but there's one place in my house where transmission and reception are bad, even though that place isn't as far from the phone's base unit as my front gate is. Other things can affect wifi such as someone else in the house streaming video from Netflix to the TV in a different room or children surfing the net in their room. If the only wifi traffic you have on your wifi network is your music signal, the distances aren't too great for the transmitter and there aren't any obstacles in the wifi path blocking the signal then wifi can be very good but even if the distances are fine for the transmitter, put a lot more traffic on the network and your wifi quality can suffer significantly. If you're living in the country and there's no one using wifi within a couple of kilometres makes a difference to living in the city in an apartment block where every apartment around you is running wifi and the wifi band is full of signals interfering with each other. A wired ethernet connection avoids some of those problems and can deliver a better result in a lot of cases but in other cases wifi may be better than ethernet.

There's also a concern at the Devialet end of things. Wifi and ethernet are 2 different inputs on the Devialet with slightly different signal paths in the Devialet. Are they equal in quality? I don't know but I have seen some people say that the ethernet input gives a better quality result than wifi. Is that due to things like signal strength (weak wifi signal strength where the Devialet is located vs good signal strength over a wired connection) or is the implementation of one of those inputs better than the implementation of the other in the Devialet? The same sort of issues arise with USB vs ethernet? Is there more noise over the USB connection than over the ethernet connection? Does the Devialet have a better implementation of USB or ethernet? There can be 2 people with the same model Devialet and one might get better results with USB and the other with ethernet, simply because they're using different source devices and/or getting different amounts of noise in the signals received at each input because of some other factor in their setup. Roon recommend ethernet connections for a network audio connection and don't include wifi in their connection options, Auralic recommend wifi but also provide an ethernet option. Is wifi better with an Auralic because they spent more time on its wifi capability because they think it has theoretical advantages and they didn't do quite as good a job with ethernet, and/or will wifi be better if you add an Auralic to your system and there are wifi reception problems where your Devialet is and you have a good quality wired ethernet connection available? Theory and manufacturer recommendations are fine as starting points but what counts in the end is what works best in practice and that may not be what theory suggests.

It's easy to say that A is better than B because A has certain advantages that B lacks and theory backs up that claim but that will be true in practice if A and B are both implemented as well as they can be implemented but if the implementation of B is really good and the implementation of A is merely average or poor, then B may actually be better than A in practice. What's best, wifi or USB or ethernet? Theory may tell you one is better than the others but it can work out differently in practice for a whole pile of reasons. What's your best option? The only way to find out is to try them in your situation and see which one works best for you in practice.

It's easy to find opinions, even strong opinions with lots of good sounding reasons for why that opinion has to be right, for anything in audio but the simple fact is that when it comes down to putting a system together in your room to meet your needs and your personal taste in sound quality, some of those opinions are going to be right, some are going to be wrong, and the only way to find out which ones are right and which ones are wrong is to try the different options for yourself. I'm happy to tell you what works for me and why I think that's best for me in my situation but that doesn't mean it will work best for you.

Look at your personal situation. If you have children in the house using wifi all the time, think about running a wired connection if you can get it done easily and cheaply and let the children use wifi and you use ethernet. If you're on your own with no wifi obstructions or problems then try wifi and see how well it works. If it works well you'll save a bit of money. If you end up with a server next to your Devialet, try whatever connections the server allows whether that be wifi or ethernet or USB. Be practical about this sort of thing. Stick with the one you prefer.

And when it comes to choices of servers and other network audio devices, they all do different things. Some will run Roon and some won't. Some will give you access to particular streaming services and some won't. They all don't do the same things. Some will do everything you want to do, some will do some of the things you want to do, and with the ones that don't do everything you want to do there will be differences in what they don't do and there will be cases when you're prepared to work around what a device won't do and cases where what it won't do just rules it out for you.


I've probably messed up your day raising all sorts of issues but my point is simple: it's OK to ask questions and get ideas but for a lot of the questions you're asking you should not expect to get a definitive answer that will be true for every person in every situation no matter what. In fact I'd say be more cautious about answers from people who say that they're giving you that kind of answer than you are about other answers. There is no one universally correct answer to what you're asking. Ask the questions, see what people say, see what helps you narrow the range of things to look at, and then look at those things for yourself. Decide what options best do the sorts of things you want to do and try to see them in use for yourself or, better still, try them for yourself, then make your decision on the gear front. When it comes to things like wifi vs USB vs ethernet and using other options the gear you get provides, just try them yourself over time to finally end up with the best you can get from that choice. Provided your gear choices get you "in the ball park" as they say, you can end up with something that makes you really happy just by working with the options you have with that gear over time.
Antipodes DS, 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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#22
PeppaPig

I started streaming to my Devialet using a Mac Mini USB and then changed to Ethernet.
I found Ethernet to be my best choice.
Then I changed to an Aurender N100H USB connection to my Devialet, I liked the change a lot
more clarity in the mids.
Next I changed to an Auralic G2 steamer, I installed a 2GB hard drive, the Auralic G2 is a Roon End Point
and not a Roon Server, so I do not use Roon. The lighting app that comes with the Auralic works fine.
Now for sound, where as the Aurender cleared up the mids, the Auralic G2 cleans up the highs and adds more bass punch.
As you have a Devialet Oda, I would suggest that you look at one of the better streaming options, rather than a Mac Mini.

Brian
Devialet 440PRO - Audioprana SP/DIF-AES/EBU cable, VPI Classic TurnTable c/w Transfiguration Phoenix Cart, Raysonic 168 CDP, 
Auralic Aires G2, Audience AU24 USB cable, B&W 803D3 (black) Auditorium 23 Cables, Carver TX11 Tuner.
                                                                                                                              Ottawa, Canada.
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#23
(07-Nov-2018, 00:58)BrianT Wrote: PeppaPig

I started streaming to my Devialet using a Mac Mini USB and then changed to Ethernet.
I found Ethernet to be my best choice.
Then I changed to an Aurender N100H USB connection to my Devialet, I liked the change a lot
more clarity in the mids.
Next I changed to an Auralic G2 steamer, I installed a 2GB hard drive, the Auralic G2 is a Roon End Point
and not a Roon Server, so I do not use Roon. The lighting app that comes with the Auralic works fine.
Now for sound, where as the Aurender cleared up the mids, the Auralic G2 cleans up the highs and adds more bass punch.
As you have a Devialet Oda, I would suggest that you look at one of the better streaming options, rather than a Mac Mini.

Brian

Congratulations with your G2. A nice streamer indeed!
Reply
#24
(06-Nov-2018, 22:09)David A Wrote: PeppaPig,

Re the CX vs EX:

The basic job of a server is to manage your library of music files, to retrieve the files you want when you want them, and send them to your music system in a form that the music system can handle. That sounds easy and not too demanding but it's not always that simple and Roon offers you options that go above that. You can, for instance, ask it to send your 16 bit 44.1 kHz files ripped from a CD to your Devialet that way (that's the default setting for sending such a file) but you could also have it upscale that file to 24 bit 176.4 or 192 kHz format and that uses more processing power in the device running Roon. You can have Roon apply parametric EQ to the music to tailor the frequency response to your taste or to correct room problems. That takes even more processing power. You can create more complex filters for room correction using other software and have Roon apply those filters to the signal it outputs and that takes even more processing power. All of those things, and others, can be done by Roon and they're done using DSP (digital signal processing) and how much of those things you do determines how much processing power you use. The CX has more processing power than the EX and that's why it can be better for running Roon Core than the EX. You can do those things on an EX also but it may not do them as well as the CX.

You don't have to add more DSP. The code required for the DSP is there in Roon. What is required is the processing power to use it effectively and that comes down to things like the capability of the processing chip in the computer running Roon and how much RAM it has to do those things if you want to do them. Do they give you better sound quality? Some people may argue about whether some of those sorts of things deliver better sound quality or not because "better" is partly a subjective assessment based on whether or not you like the sound one way or another which is why there are so many options in audio for different DACs, different amplifiers, different speakers and so on. One person's "better" can be another person's "worse" but just as you chose your Devialet and speakers because you liked the sound they give you and other people chose different amps and speakers because they preferred the sound those amps and speakers give to the sound you're getting, different people will make different processing choices because of the differences in sound those choices deliver and the capabilities of the computer you're running Roon determines how well it can do the processing you want it to do.

When it comes to the computer other things come into play as well, especially what else you're asking it to do. A dedicated music server such as an Antipodes or Aurender or Roon Nucleus or the like just handles music. What are you asking your Mac Mini to do? Mine does things like email, I surf the internet, I process photos, and I used to do those things while I was playing music in the background using Roon. All of those things are more demand on the Mac Mini's processing power. I still do those things while using Roon to play music in the background but now doing those things doesn't impact on the music because the music is being done on a different computer and the Mac Mini can do the things I'm using it for better because it doesn't have to handle the task of running Roon as well. There's also the fact that doing other things with the computer while it's handling music tasks for Roon adds to the noise generated by the computer, both electrical noise which can affect signal to noise ratios, and physical noise from a fun running harder to keep the computer cool.

So, there's good reasons for running a music server on a different computer to the computer you use for your normal computer tasks and depending on what you want the music server to do in the way of processing the music you're playing there can be good reasons for choosing a more powerful computer like the CX than the EX to run Roon. You would be fine with the EX if you don't want to have Roon do any signal processing whatsoever and you don't have a large music library to handle. If you want to do some signal processing you're still likely to be fine with the EX but if you want to do really demanding processing then you'd be better with the CX because it's a more powerful computer. If you don't want an Antipodes then the same situation is going to apply with other servers you consider: some will be more powerful computers than others and will handle some of the things you might ask Roon to do better than other servers you might be comparing. Do you want something that can do a lot of processing or can you get the sound you want with minimal processing? You need to try it both ways to find out for yourself.

Wifi vs ethernet: lots of factors at play. How powerful your wifi router is, over what distances you are using wifi, what's between the router and your Devialet in terms of walls and other obstructions in your house, and so on all affect the quality of the wifi connection. I've got a hands free phone and i can use it outside the house all the way to my front gate before I start to lose signal but there's one place in my house where transmission and reception are bad, even though that place isn't as far from the phone's base unit as my front gate is. Other things can affect wifi such as someone else in the house streaming video from Netflix to the TV in a different room or children surfing the net in their room. If the only wifi traffic you have on your wifi network is your music signal, the distances aren't too great for the transmitter and there aren't any obstacles in the wifi path blocking the signal then wifi can be very good but even if the distances are fine for the transmitter, put a lot more traffic on the network and your wifi quality can suffer significantly. If you're living in the country and there's no one using wifi within a couple of kilometres makes a difference to living in the city in an apartment block where every apartment around you is running wifi and the wifi band is full of signals interfering with each other. A wired ethernet connection avoids some of those problems and can deliver a better result in a lot of cases but in other cases wifi may be better than ethernet.

There's also a concern at the Devialet end of things. Wifi and ethernet are 2 different inputs on the Devialet with slightly different signal paths in the Devialet. Are they equal in quality? I don't know but I have seen some people say that the ethernet input gives a better quality result than wifi. Is that due to things like signal strength (weak wifi signal strength where the Devialet is located vs good signal strength over a wired connection) or is the implementation of one of those inputs better than the implementation of the other in the Devialet? The same sort of issues arise with USB vs ethernet? Is there more noise over the USB connection than over the ethernet connection? Does the Devialet have a better implementation of USB or ethernet? There can be 2 people with the same model Devialet and one might get better results with USB and the other with ethernet, simply because they're using different source devices and/or getting different amounts of noise in the signals received at each input because of some other factor in their setup. Roon recommend ethernet connections for a network audio connection and don't include wifi in their connection options, Auralic recommend wifi but also provide an ethernet option. Is wifi better with an Auralic because they spent more time on its wifi capability because they think it has theoretical advantages and they didn't do quite as good a job with ethernet, and/or will wifi be better if you add an Auralic to your system and there are wifi reception problems where your Devialet is and you have a good quality wired ethernet connection available? Theory and manufacturer recommendations are fine as starting points but what counts in the end is what works best in practice and that may not be what theory suggests.

It's easy to say that A is better than B because A has certain advantages that B lacks and theory backs up that claim but that will be true in practice if A and B are both implemented as well as they can be implemented but if the implementation of B is really good and the implementation of A is merely average or poor, then B may actually be better than A in practice. What's best, wifi or USB or ethernet? Theory may tell you one is better than the others but it can work out differently in practice for a whole pile of reasons. What's your best option? The only way to find out is to try them in your situation and see which one works best for you in practice.

It's easy to find opinions, even strong opinions with lots of good sounding reasons for why that opinion has to be right, for anything in audio but the simple fact is that when it comes down to putting a system together in your room to meet your needs and your personal taste in sound quality, some of those opinions are going to be right, some are going to be wrong, and the only way to find out which ones are right and which ones are wrong is to try the different options for yourself. I'm happy to tell you what works for me and why I think that's best for me in my situation but that doesn't mean it will work best for you.

Look at your personal situation. If you have children in the house using wifi all the time, think about running a wired connection if you can get it done easily and cheaply and let the children use wifi and you use ethernet. If you're on your own with no wifi obstructions or problems then try wifi and see how well it works. If it works well you'll save a bit of money. If you end up with a server next to your Devialet, try whatever connections the server allows whether that be wifi or ethernet or USB. Be practical about this sort of thing. Stick with the one you prefer.

And when it comes to choices of servers and other network audio devices, they all do different things. Some will run Roon and some won't. Some will give you access to particular streaming services and some won't. They all don't do the same things. Some will do everything you want to do, some will do some of the things  you want to do, and with the ones that don't do everything you want to do there will be differences in what they don't do and there will be cases when you're prepared to work around what a device won't do and cases where what it won't do just rules it out for you.


I've probably messed up your day raising all sorts of issues but my point is simple: it's OK to ask questions and get ideas but for a lot of the questions you're asking you should not expect to get a definitive answer that will be true for every person in every situation no matter what. In fact I'd say be more cautious about answers from people who say that they're giving you that kind of answer than you are about other answers. There is no one universally correct answer to what you're asking. Ask the questions, see what people say, see what helps you narrow the range of things to look at, and then look at those things for yourself. Decide what options best do the sorts of things you want to do and try to see them in use for yourself or, better still, try them for yourself, then make your decision on the gear front. When it comes to things like wifi vs USB vs ethernet and using other options the gear you get provides, just try them yourself over time to finally end up with the best you can get from that choice. Provided your gear choices get you "in the ball park" as they say, you can end up with something that makes you really happy just by working with the options you have with that gear over time.

Thanks @David A, appreciate for your long comments and it was very helpful to me. I was very busy last few days for work.

Part of the reason I want to use Mac Mini is I think mac mini has powerful CPU, and it should be easily handle ROON as well as other process in the Mac OS. I can't understand why running other application on Mac can impact sound quality, but while I can't understand it I still worry about it might impact the sound quality. A mac mini with i5 CPU, can easily process so many request with easy, I am not sure why it will generate noise. Another reason I like about mac is its relatively cheaper, it can act as server+streamer all in one.

So I want to get some idea from people who has experience with both audiophile streamer/music server and mac mini, can share their experience about sound quality difference, and how much difference. If its not a major difference , i probably just go for mac mini.
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#25
(07-Nov-2018, 00:58)BrianT Wrote: PeppaPig

I started streaming to my Devialet using a Mac Mini USB and then changed to Ethernet.
I found Ethernet to be my best choice.
Then I changed to an Aurender N100H USB connection to my Devialet, I liked the change a lot
more clarity in the mids.
Next I changed to an Auralic G2 steamer, I installed a 2GB hard drive, the Auralic G2 is a Roon End Point
and not a Roon Server, so I do not use Roon. The lighting app that comes with the Auralic works fine.
Now for sound, where as the Aurender cleared up the mids, the Auralic G2 cleans up the highs and adds more bass punch.
As you have a Devialet Oda, I would suggest that you look at one of the better streaming options, rather than a Mac Mini.

Brian

Thanks @BrianT  I like the design of G2 too, its in my list.

Would you say the G2 is so much better than mac mini in every aspect? like significantly better? Thanks!
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#26
(10-Nov-2018, 13:49)PeppaPig Wrote: Thanks @David A, appreciate for your long comments and it was very helpful to me. I was very busy last few days for work.

Part of the reason I want to use Mac Mini is I think mac mini has powerful CPU, and it should be easily handle ROON as well as other process in the Mac OS. I can't understand why running other application on Mac can impact sound quality, but while I can't understand it I still worry about it might impact the sound quality. A mac mini with i5 CPU, can easily process so many request with easy, I am not sure why it will generate noise. Another reason I like about mac is its relatively cheaper, it can act as server+streamer all in one.

So I want to get some idea from people who has experience with both audiophile streamer/music server and mac mini, can share their experience about sound quality difference, and how much difference. If its not a major difference , i probably just go for mac mini.

Peppa,

I've been using a Mac mini for years. I'm running Roon Core on it. It's got an i5 processor and 16Gb of memory. 128Gb solid state drive and the music sits on an external HDD. I use it to watch a bit of Netflix or the odd TV show repeat but it's not used for anything else.

It can't handle processing DSP in Roon very well. It doesn't take much to get it to drop out. On top of that, over tasking the processors can lead to bad sound quality as you can read about below.

https://devialetchat.com/Thread-Keep-you...uters-cool

I hope that helps.
                                                    Lifetime Roon, Mac mini, int. SSD, ext. HDD, tv as monitor, key board and track pad on bean bag as remote,Devialet 200, Od'A #097, Blue jeans speaker cable,                                     
                                                                                                                                                                            Dynaudio C1 MkII.
                                                                                                                                                                              Jim Smith's GBS.
                                                                                                                                                                        Northern NSW Australia.
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#27
Peppa,

To add to what Pim said:

You're running your Mac Mini. As well as dealing with Roon streaming music it's keeping it's video output active and processing a video signal showing what Roon is doing plus your background screen with its menu bar and dock and probably other things visible. If you have other applications visible its watching those applications for activity. If you have a mail app open the mail app is probably regularly checking for mail, downloading new messages from time to time, and writing those messages to your hard drive while accessing that drive or a different drive to stream your music. There's timers running for things like the screen saver, it's watching for regular scheduled activities, it can be updating other active apps in the background, it can be performing scheduled backups, and so on. All of those things take up processor time and can add noise, either physical noise or electrical noise, to the overall environment and the processor time devoted to those activities reduces the resources available for Roon. A lot of the time there may enough processor capability available for Roon for Roon processor performance not to be impacted but sometimes it may be impacted, and all of that extraneous activity may be adding noise to the Roon output signal which isn't added when Roon is the only thing running.

When you run Roon on a dedicated server like my Antipodes or an Innuos device or NUC or Roon Nucleus, the processor is doing none of those things. There are no other activities running besides Roon, there's no video output from the server even if you're running the Roon app on a device like an iPad for control. At most there's data being sent to the control device to enable it for its visual display so the server isn't doing any video processing at all and there's minimal background activity going on. Roon has maximum processor access at all times so its activity is not going to be impacted and there are far fewer activities going on to generate noise.

Is it possible to design a computer which can do all of the things you have your Mac Mini doing at the same time when you're running Roon and without impacting on Roon? Probably, but that would be a computer optimised for running Roon and giving it precedence over everything else while Roon is running. The Mac Mini and other general purpose desktop and laptop computers aren't such a device. They're designed for multi-tasking and the people who design them don't consider audio performance as their highest priority. How much impact do those other activities have on Roon's activity and output? I don't know. A lot of the time it may well be negligible and in any event it's going to depend on how you use your computer and what you have active. You can do things like shutting down other apps when you're using Roon but how much background activity do you want to shut down?

When you run a dedicated server you make that question irrelevant. You can leave your computer doing all of the things it normally does when it's on and not worry about the question. The computer can be optimised specifically for audio streaming performance. Will you hear a difference? I don't know but I do know that I don't get some of the non-audible problems I used to get such as audio playback dropping out for some reason or other as frequently since I moved to my server rather than running Roon on the Mac Mini. Part of that is due to moving to a network setup that doesn't use wifi in the music signal path and the only wifi traffic involved being between the iPad and the server for control purposes, not for music signal transmission, but that is still a benefit the server brought to my system.

If you move to a server rather than your Mac Mini, the move is going to change more than just what the processor is doing while you're using Roon. Other things in your network setup change as well and even if they don't impact on sound quality they can impact positively on how well your music streaming activities work. Sound quality is important but it's not the only area where using a server can make a difference and it may not be the biggest area where it makes a difference in your system.

If you can you should try borrowing a server which can run Roon and link it to wherever your music files are currently stored as well as to your Devialet and see if it does make a difference in sound quality or in some other area. If it does make a difference you may not think it makes a big enough difference to justify the cost, or you may decide that there are other alternatives which deliver better value for money such as streaming to a Roon Ready endpoint such as an Auralic Aries Mini or something else which can feed a signal to your Devialet, or you may decide to go with a server and there's always the possibility that you may decide that those options don't improve on what you're getting doing things the way you're doing them now, but you will learn something that will answer a lot of your questions for you.

We can talk about this for days and weeks and never resolve your questions to your satisfaction. Actually trying a server in your setup is going to tell you a lot more of what you want to know than anything any of us can tell you, and it will tell you those things in the only way that is really going to resolve your questions with any real certainty for you. In the end the only real way any of us have to resolve some of our questions about audio systems is for us to try the "suck it and see" test, to actually try things out in our own homes and our own systems. Hands on experience resolves questions and issues in a way that nothing else can ever resolve them.
Antipodes DS, 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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#28
I had been using my Macbook Pro and later Macbook Air with Roon as core with my Devialets. Streaming had been on Ethernet ... I compared USB vs ETH and chose ETH I way I would like to move on ...

Couple of weeks back, I replaced my Macbook Air with a Roon Nucleus / iPad for controls using Ethernet for streaming ... further added a Linear PSU that I built myself and there's absolutely no going back to Macbook Air or Pro from here ... The dedicated Roon Nucleus with LPSU just thrashes the earlier setups.

2 days back, I got a Power Regenerator .. PS Audio DirectStream PowerPlant 12 after comparing results with Shunyata Denali & Audioquest Niagara 7000 ...

It has completely transformed my listening experience ...
Roon Nucleus + LPSU + AQ PC with Roon Air | iPad  >  AQ Diamond ETH
Devialet 440-PRO CI >  AQ Wild  RCA-XLR on custom-made Maglev feet
B&W 802 D3  >  AQ Redwood Single-BiWire  |  PowerCords : SR Atmosphere for Devialet
PS Audio DirestStream PP 12 | Room Acoustics by GIK Acoustics & RPG Diffusers
Washington DC  -  United States of America
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#29
(10-Nov-2018, 13:52)PeppaPig Wrote: Thanks @BrianT  I like the design of G2 too, its in my list.

Would you say the G2 is so much better than mac mini in every aspect? like significantly better? Thanks!

YES.

I had some friends over last night, the same 2 comments came up more than once.
how musical the system is and how analog it sounds all tunes came from the G2.

As I have already mentioned the G2 is Roon End Point and NOT a Roon Core Server
if running Roon is big on what you would like to do, the Roon Nucleus is a great choice.

Brian
Devialet 440PRO - Audioprana SP/DIF-AES/EBU cable, VPI Classic TurnTable c/w Transfiguration Phoenix Cart, Raysonic 168 CDP, 
Auralic Aires G2, Audience AU24 USB cable, B&W 803D3 (black) Auditorium 23 Cables, Carver TX11 Tuner.
                                                                                                                              Ottawa, Canada.
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#30
@BrianT - It looks like you are running your G2 to the Devialet via USB? I note the G2 has AES/EBU output, out of curiosity, have you thought of trying this in comparison to USB?
1000 Pro - KEF Blade - SOtM sMS-200Ultra Neo - tX-USBultra - Mutec REF10 - MC3+USB - Pro-Ject Signature 12
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