SGCD with Roon Nucleus

Need some sound advice…

Thinking of building this system using a SGCD connected to a Roon Nucleus via a USB cable.
I am not sure if the SGCD Roon Ready or if that matters.

In this system I would be using an Alienware X51 for the Roon remote connected through WiFi to a NETGEAR Orbi satellite.

Taking all comments on advise …thanks!

Hi @THT_Jr

What you would need to do in order to achieve your end goal is this…

  1. You will control your Roon with software residing on the Alienware. This computer will be connected to your home network via your Netgear Orbi. Ok, control software is network connected…check!

  2. Your Roon Nucleus is your endpoint which will be your Roon Core. That must also be connected to the same network as your Alienware either wirelessly, or via ethernet (hardwired). Nucleus is on the same network as your control software…check!

  3. You will then connect your Roon Nucleus to your SGCD via USB. That is all you need. You SGCD has nothing to do with Roon and doesn’t care so as long as you have everything connected as I have described, you will be A-OK.

Thank you! This is what I was looking for!
Thinking the best way to connect the Nucleus to the Orbi satellite will be a hard wire connection to the network.
Any thoughts on what brand USB cable from the SGCD to the Nucleus and ethernet cable from the Orbi to the Nucleus?
Wiil keep the Ailenware wirelessly and not connected to the Orbi because of possible noise issues.

How long for each and how much do you want to spend?

I literally just posted on this very topic with regard to the USB cable. You can read here: Any Experience with Curious Cables

USB 1.5 to 2 ft
Ethernet 2 to 3 ft
$500 or so

For Ethernet cables I like the Supra Cat 8 cables from Sweden.

For USB Curious Cable seems to be a popular choice though I am quite satisfied with my Oyaide USB cable.

Do you know if the SGCD supports Linux platforms?

The SGCD doesn’t care what type of software based streamer is on the other side of the cable it is going to play what it is presented.

Atlas Element SC USB works very good with my SGCD, 5 m (15 ft) no problem.
https://www.atlascables.com/usb-element-solid-core.html
I think I paid EUR 129 for the 5m.

Regarding USB driver for Linux:

I know macOS supports external USB DAC’s standard, for Windows you need a driver you can download from the PS Audio site.

The Roon nucleus should be ready to go, since it is a dedicated audio device, Roon claims USB DAC’s can be readily connected, but When you click the supported devices link on their WEB-site:
https://kb.roonlabs.com/Nucleus_Media_Storage_And_Audio_Devices#Audio_Devices
it says Roon will accept any device the OS accepts, whatever that OS of the Nucleus may be. Not really much of an answer by Roon I am afraid.
For Linux and the Nucleus I recommend to consult the PS Audio team or search this forum, there must be users using a Raspberry PI with Linux. PS Audio engineers will certainly be able to help you.

Thanks for the feedback. Have you heard of Small Green Computer music servers as an alternative to the Roon Nucleus?

They are a far better deal and you get more in terms of hardware for your money. There are also multiple video how to guides on You Tube on how to build your own NUC along with parts lists. I had a friend that built two of them in one afternoon just following the videos.

I did not know them. I had just coincidentally looked at the Roon Nucleus myself, as my iMac ventilator started kicking in playing DSD from iTunes through BitPerfect, I guess generating DoP 24/192 kHz DSD128 packages does require serious processor power.

So if you contemplate playing DSD choose a server with sufficient processor power as the Stellar accepts DoP only through USB.
Best is PinkFaun, they provide a PS Audio I2S interface, which takes DSD without the DoP packaging. But that comes at 6 times the Stellar Gain Cell DAC cost at least, ie not my budget.

Jack is right if you DIY you might be even better and cheaper of, but I have left the build my own PC scene a long while ago, working with Mac‘s and I love them and don’t feel the need to learn yet another operating system next to all MS editions at work and the MAC at home, so my take would be a macmini as server or the nucleus, it comes Roon pre installed and no fuzz (I expect) ready to play.

I have been researching the Roon Nucleus and sonic Transport i5.
Roon will be coming out with 2nd version of the Nucleus.
Small Green Computer suggests the sonic Transport i5 needs a ultraRendu to turn the SGDC into Roon Ready player.

Just looking for basics here with the best bang form the buck with a SGDC or should I wait until the octive is ready.

??? What are they talking about? The SGCD is a DAC with pre amp, it accepts DSD over PCM (DoP, same quality as DSD up to DSD 128), PCM up to 24 bit 384 kHz, red book CD (16 bit 44.1 kHz).

The Nucleus and Transport i5 run the Roon Server which is all you need as long as those units output the right audio formats through the USB port. A USB DAC does not need to be Roon ready.

In case the transport i5 requires or Small Green Computer advises you need to add another box (potential connection issues, extra cables, potential noise etc.) don’t buy it. The transport i5 has USB interfaces. Either Small Green Computer does a poor job or none at all outputting sound through USB or their personnel doesn’t seem to know what they are saying.

Keep it simple, as few components as possible. Roon provides / developes the hardware with software, I believe it’s the most reliable path to go.

I use my iMac myself, USB straight into the Stellar Gain Cell DAC which simply sounds very good.

I understood the Octave comes in the signature range (BHK, DSD Sr.) so will certainly not be Stellar Gain Cell DAC / Small Green Computer budget.
Even if Octave would be Stellar range, and the new Stellar Phono Preamp price will set the example for any new Stellar series component that Stellar Octave streamer (if it will ever see the market) it will not be Stellar Gain Cell DAC budget either.
Streamers, unlike DAC’s, must be Roon ready certified in order to work with Roon, it remains to be seen if the Octave will be Roon ready registered, at least I have not read a confirmation about that.

Don’t worry too much, the next day you bought an electronic device something new or better pops up, it’s a fact of life. Buy what is available, as simple as possible within a reasonable budget and enjoy the music.

In figures, the simpelest and easiest to use(remote controlled) Roon configuration published by Roon:

The computer (iMac as example) runs Roon Core, the smart devices are your remote and you can connect that computer (iMac as example) with an USB cable to the Stellar Gain Cell DAC. Now the iMac in this picture could be replaced by the Roon Nucleus, same thing, only has no screen (doesn’t need it as you can utilise the remotes) which you can connect also with an USB cable to the Stellar Gain Cell DAC.

Now if the iMac already sounds good, the Roon Nucleus dedicated Audio server should sound even better.

I went through all this earlier this year, mainly because my streamer/DAC became Roon Ready. (The best thing that is at close to the GCD price is the new Auralic Altair G1).

The Sonictransporter is a good price. The Nucleus is popular but a premium price and Roon-only. Innuos is better value and my preferred option. The Zen MK3 is the cheapest unit that has a dedicated internal linear power supply feeding the usb output, and it makes a big difference.

I use the Ethernet direct output, but when I tried the usb output I used a Chord C cable, costs about $60, the sound was terrific.

If the GCD is not Roon Ready, set the Roon volume to Fixed and use your GCD volume remote control. Part of Roon Ready is that the app volume slider controls your Roon Ready device.

Personally I don’t see the point of getting a Roon server without a Roon Ready usb DAC or streamer.

Thanks Steven. Did not know the Roon ready was about the volume setting. I prefer the Gain Cell Volume control above digital software volume anyway. It’s one of the reasons I bought the Stellar Gain Cell DAC, so for SGCD owners that should not be a big deal.

My audiophile Atlas Element USB SC cost EUR 129 for 5 m and it also sounds very good.

Hadn’t thought about the Innuos. Watched the Beekhuizen Nucleus Video and agree that it comes at a premium the way the intel NUC is built into the Aluminium cast enclosure.

I am not a big fan of Aluminum cast material, Roon claims it’s chosen for the unibody design, I am afraid it’s chosen from a cost perspective.

The point about Roon is that when your audio components are Roon Ready you can control everything from the Roon app. As my system is all-in-one Roon Ready device, when I open the Roon app and select the device (they call it an endpoint), it switches the system on, selects Roon as the source and plays music. When the music stops, 20 minutes later the system goes into standby. I can pause the music in the app, go up to my office where I have another Roon Ready all-in-one, switch endpoint, press play and the music continues where I left off.

The volume control in Roon is a 24-bit digital thing and Roon suggest that most people’s systems will have better attenuation, so not to use it if possible.

Here is a little video showing why the point about Roon is using it with a Roon Ready device. In fact two Roon ready devices and switching between the two. You can see the Roon app controlling everything, from turning the device on when clicking play. (The audio system takes about 15 seconds to boot up from standby.) If my audio system was not Roon Ready I might use a streamer like the Auralic G1, popular here, which is Roon Ready and has an excellent usb output.

I also use Roon to send audio to a wireless speaker via Airplay, so my system has 4 endpoints, only two of them live in this demo.

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Very useful information I will grind through this and your system block diagram (other thread).

Although I am happy using my Apple system, iMac, Apple TV, connected by Ethernet, Wifi for Phone, iPod, iPad etc.
Apple has announced to change the iTunes topology in the next macOS release. I am afraid that Apple will wreck the setup I put together, in which I play DSD from iTunes thru BitPerfect. If they do that disabling me to play, sync and stream the BitPerfect hybrid DSD files, I will invest in a dedicated separate audio server / storage system leaving the iMac for other tasks. Apple has been dragging their feet too long to support hi res or even allow purchase of lossless files anyway. The BitPerfect apps, the convenient CD ripping and transfer of ripped library and files with CD cover images are what keeps me with iTunes for now.

Just in case you wonder about my sudden interest in Roon.