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Using Mac Mini as streamer plus music server
#51
(31-Dec-2018, 11:56)alaw Wrote: A Roon Nucleus is a standard Intel NUC board in a nice case, no magic. A DIY NUC build with ROCK, and perhaps a fan-less case, *should* give all the same benefits, save the "home automation" functions. https://kb.roonlabs.com/ROCK:_Getting_Started


True! However Intel seems to be doing something very right with their NUC’s. Smile See https://devialetchat.com/Thread-%C2%A320...o-%C2%A35K for some pointers and NUC recipes that are quite the ‘hype’ (in a positive sense) now on computeraudiophile.com.
PS Audio P3, Shunyata ΞTRON Alpha Digital and HC/Furutech power cables, Paul Hynes SR7EHD-MR4, DIY Roon Server & Roon Endpoint running AudioLinux Headless, Phasure Lush^2 USB cable, Audioquest Diamond RJ/E ethernet, Mutec MC-3+ USB, Shunyata ΞTRON Anaconda Digital XLR AES/EBU, Devialet Expert 250 Pro CI, Nordost Tyr Reference LS cables, Von Schweikert VR-5 SE Anniversary Edition, Anti-Mode Dual Core 2.0, JL Audio Fathom F112. More detail here.

The Netherlands


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#52
@Antoine Have you had time to replace the LPS yet? Because now it seems the NUC does not surpass the SMS-200. I would prefer to try that route first before burning my hands on fiddling with a NUC.

In either case, I probably would still need my Mac mini and NAS wouldn't I? Would that SQ be comparable with a standalone server like the Nucleus or Melco?
I was considering selling my Mac for a dedicated server, but now I'm again distracted by considering a streamer (keeping the Mac as a Roon core and Nas as server).
Reason for focusing on a audiophile server is that sometimes the mac/nas / D200-eth air combo sounds good. So in my mind it's not the streaming part that needs upgrading.

Another option is buying the Euphony software for the Mac. It has great reviews and would turn the Mac into a dedicated audiophile sort of NUC. Anyone heard Euphony??

In general, if you have about €1000, which investment would have the best bang for the buck? A better server or a dedicated streamer (combined with NAS)? bare in mind I'd like to spend less (also secondhand) if the gain is not substantial, and I like to keep the number of boxes/cables as low as possible.
What I love about my setup right now for example, is the fact that I just need to start up Roon on my iPad and the D200 automatically starts up (if my Mac is not asleep). No need to log in or turn on multiple boxes....
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#53
(30-Dec-2018, 21:58)roestano Wrote: @Sailor4W Good news! Have you compared the 6-core to an older 4-core Mini? I would suspect the difference not to be substantial because of Roon. The Nucleus only has an i3 chip and 4Gb RAM.

@audio_engr  Can you explain SQ increase in percentages? For example: soundstage, detail, clarity etc...

Sorry, I have no comparison to an older Mac Mini, as this is the first Mac Mini I bought. Before, I was using a Mac Book Pro. As I wanted to free the Mac Book (still need it for work), I was debating whether to buy a Nucleus or another computer. I decided for the Mac Mini, since many use it as a media server. Also a Mac Mini allows a certain flexibility to use it both, as a music server and a computer at the same time. Therefore, I opted for the most powerful setup I could get (except the 2 TB internal SSD, that was hard to get).

Now this thingy is powerful, period. It gets lukewarm at best. It has an extremely quiet fan. Initially, I didn‘t realize that it went off, I was just hearing a faint noise which I couldn’t locate, till I found out that it is the fan. But 2 metres away, you wouln‘t hear a thing!

I am still keeping an eye on a Nucleus. The local Devialet dealer is now playing around with a Nucleus for his shop and he is very excited about its performance, it seems to extremely fast, even the smaller Nucleus.

I am now playing around with Audirvana plus, it‘s a fascinating player, at least concerning the filters to play with! I installed the FabFilter Pro-Q 3 as a plug-in. Something I realized with my Expert 120 and it always bothered me, was an unpleasant ringing associated with high hats and cymbals. It is particularly annoying with Roon, giving the sound a somewhat nervous and fatiguing tone. In the FabFilter Pro-Q I chose a brick filter, filtering anything away above 20 kHz with a very steep roll off. Now my Devialet sounds super smooth, a joy to listen to. I have to see if I can transfer the filter settings to Roon‘s DSP, as I vastly prefer Roon‘s GUI over Audirvana.
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#54
(30-Dec-2018, 23:29)audio_engr Wrote: @roestano

Some of my observations listed below are using the Roon Nucleus unboxed with its supplied power supply which is a typical computer laptop PSU.

1. Streaming directly from the Roon Nucleus to the Devialets, the music is a lot more quieter. You can hear more into the low level details now than you would earlier with the Macbook Air setup.

2. The tonal characteristics too have changed ... its more rounded in a nice way that is more "real sounding" ... I'm a hobbyist violinist and now the violins are sounding soooo real and accurate. It's more analog ... but there's no masking of the sound. It's more organic ! The sound is more richer and warm.

3. The soundstage is better delineated ... better soundstage width, depth & height and more of 3-dimensionality ...

Since then, I built an oversized Linear Power Supply with choke using Audioquest powercords and Cardas internal wiring and once that was incorporated into my system, all the above 1-3 went a measure (or couple of measures) higher ...

Now, from here, I did try and go back to my Macbook Air but no way ... it just sounds anemic !!

Hope this helps !

Very interesting! 
Streaming directly from the Roon Nucleus to the Devialets. Do you use AIR or USB?
Devaliet 220ProCI. Audio Physic Avanti III. Kvålsvoll Design Subwoofer 110. SmallGreenComputer with Roon core. Cables from Synergistic Reaserch, LessLoss, Wireworld and more
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#55
Meanwhile I bought a used Sotm sms-200 with a Teddy Pardo lps. But so far I could not get it to play. So testing is yet to be done....
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#56
Sorry, I couldn't read all the previous posts(I read some of them quickly). For those having experience with upgraded Mac Mini with SSD Disk(at least 8GB RAMs), LPS and Linear Fan Controller Kit, how does it sound with ROON installed on it when it is connected to Devialet PROs over a dedicated network switch using Ethernet Connection with at least Supra CAT8 cables? Do you think we need still well-known streamers like AURALiC Aries,Aurender N100H or Nucleus instead of such a configuration to improve SQ?
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#57
(16-Jan-2019, 10:20)Ibexman Wrote:
(30-Dec-2018, 23:29)audio_engr Wrote: @roestano

Some of my observations listed below are using the Roon Nucleus unboxed with its supplied power supply which is a typical computer laptop PSU.

1. Streaming directly from the Roon Nucleus to the Devialets, the music is a lot more quieter. You can hear more into the low level details now than you would earlier with the Macbook Air setup.

2. The tonal characteristics too have changed ... its more rounded in a nice way that is more "real sounding" ... I'm a hobbyist violinist and now the violins are sounding soooo real and accurate. It's more analog ... but there's no masking of the sound. It's more organic ! The sound is more richer and warm.

3. The soundstage is better delineated ... better soundstage width, depth & height and more of 3-dimensionality ...

Since then, I built an oversized Linear Power Supply with choke using Audioquest powercords and Cardas internal wiring and once that was incorporated into my system, all the above 1-3 went a measure (or couple of measures) higher ...

Now, from here, I did try and go back to my Macbook Air but no way ... it just sounds anemic !!

Hope this helps !

Very interesting! 
Streaming directly from the Roon Nucleus to the Devialets. Do you use AIR or USB?

Would love to A/B with the 8th-gen i3 NUC from Intel.  The new i3 performs (allegedly) as well as the previous i7.  I kitted mine out with the suggested 8gb max RAM and a faster m.2 drive.  Will eventually get to dealing with the power situation, but so far my router is getting clean power.  At first I missed the sound of my MacBook Air as the core, but the double-WiFi setup proved too demanding at times, although this was before RAAT was available for the Devialet as an endpoint.

Either way, the ROCK NUC project was entertaining and worked without incident.  Just make sure the m.2 and RAM are all secure, use static IPs and force the use of a more robust DNS service (sped things up a touch), and you have a great little brain for your system with plenty of headroom for DSP etc.  You can shut off most of the unnecessary hardware in the easy-to-use visual BIOS.  Everything needed arrived next-day from Amazon for under $500.

I’ve been experimenting with different Ethernet cables between my fiber gateway, router, and NUC.  The cable between the wireless router and the NUC seems to impart a certain signature, albeit slight, on the sound.  I happened to have picked a router with a relatively low power draw, which may or may not make a difference.  It does have the power to get the bits to the Devialet without incident, and I like what I’m hearing.  Perhaps as my system becomes more resolving, I’ll need to make changes, but I don’t feel as if I’ve skimped.  If anything, I may have found a “sweet spot” on the transmission end of things. I do eventually want that entire cluster of hardware on clean power, though.
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#58
I emailed Roon asking if the Roon running on NAS vs other devices, will it make sound quality difference. The answer from them is : No.
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#59
(02-Mar-2019, 08:00)CongoFather Wrote: Sorry, I couldn't read all the previous posts(I read some of them quickly). For those having experience with upgraded Mac Mini with SSD Disk(at least 8GB RAMs), LPS and Linear Fan Controller Kit, how does it sound with ROON installed on it when it is connected to Devialet PROs over a dedicated network switch using Ethernet Connection with at least Supra CAT8 cables? Do you think we need still well-known streamers like AURALiC Aries,Aurender N100H or Nucleus instead of such a configuration to improve SQ?

I will either spend more on my existing Mac Mini for the LPS, Linear Fan Controller Kit and other internal modifications(similar to uptone, mojo-audio modifications https://www.mojo-audio.com/mac-mini-packages/) or buy a new headless NUC(I7) with AudioLinux. Which one do you think perform better with Roon? I like the usability of Mac Mini. I have never tried NUCs before..
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