Streaming Options

I used MConnect from about 2017 or 2018 for a while, and it was a bit flaky and the front end was pretty poor. Some of the poorer reviews may be from long ago. I had a look at it and it seems a lot better.

uPnP can be a bit flaky in recognising devices for no logical reason. It’s hardly surprising that people often almost default to Roon for the lack manufacturers making wit their own good control apps, like Linn Kazoo, Innuos Sense, Auralic Lightning etc.

@dschamis original problem was having a NAS drive running Roon (Core, I presume) somehow playing into a DSD Mk2 DAC by usb. Sounds like a bad idea, even though QNAP made some “quiet” servers to put by the TV or audio for using with things like Plex.

Of course it is always better to get data from a NAS over your network, as intended. You need a QNAP to run Roon Core, but there are much cheaper network storage solutions, such as the Western Digital My Cloud EX2, which have a good amount of data security.

Once that is sorted, the transport (AirLens etc.) is an entirely separate matter, except that there are some transports that double up as Roon Core hosts, like Innuos Zen range and Small Green Computer, and some have their own transport software.

I agree–bad idea, and that’s a pet peeve of mine. A NAS is supposed to have a single purpose, and that’s in its name. It was meant to store and serve files to client devices. I run as little as possible on the two NAS boxes I have; the older one, especially, is limited in “horsepower” since it’s now nine years old and could easily get bogged down with too much running on it. For any other server processes, I run them on the NUC instead. I have a library of ripped BluRay and DVDs for video, and run that media server on the NUC along with Roon Server (aka Roon Core…I guess they want us to call it Roon Server now :man_shrugging:).

Anyhow, I never got the idea of these “multimedia” NAS boxes that were meant to connect to attached audio or video devices. It’s taking the N (Network) out of NAS (Network Attached Storage) and bogging down what is already a weak processor. The processor is plenty good enough for running a NAS, and using it for mixed purposes IMHO is a recipe for failure.

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It hasn’t been reviewed all that often but even the small number of reviews in the past year are mixed. That app reminds me of others where the app is released with good intentions, but software updates are never fully thought out and persistent bugs remain. I’ve seen that more in one of my lines of work where I’m installing addons for software packages used online. Many are good, but there are always the handful that after years, still have never quite worked right.

FWIW, other DLNA apps I tried on phone or tablet easily find and use devices on my network, including AirLens. It’s mconnect that has the problem.

For using Roon over other players, you may be right. Setting up AirLens in Roon is dead simple. All I did was connect three cables to the AirLens and switch it on, and by the time I got to the computer, it was already sitting in Roon’s “Audio” settings tab waiting for me to click “Enable.” When the Bridge was still working in Junior, I remember struggling for days to figure out how to get a proper lossless stream out of JRiver; everywhere I read, everyone had their own opinion on how to set numerous parameters to do so. Got so disgusted with that, and JRiver crashing several times a day (even on different OSes in the house), that I gave Roon a trial and became a customer.

I have a list of Roon dislikes that can fill a future article, but it does a couple of core functions so well that until something similar comes along, I’m sticking with it.

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I run Roon Core on an Innuos Zen. My Lumin T3 streamer/DAC is a fail (my first mistake in years), but the Lumin streamer part sounds great. I could just keep the T3 for streaming, but I want it gone. The Lumin app is a little annoying and Lumin cannot be controlled by pushing Innuos Sense over uPnP from the Zen (it does work on some things, like SoTM).

So I have an Innuos Pulsar coming down in a few days, got a good trade-in with the T3, will use Sense, run Roon for the rest of the house on a QNAP TS-473 that was there anyway. I’m hoping the Pulsar will find my music library if I attach it to the back of the QNAP on a usb drive, but I may also get a 16TB WD network drive for QNAP backup, music library and photo library backup.

There are so many ways of doing this stuff, but at the end of the day we all want a 100% reliable app that is pleasant to use, for me it’s Sense and for the wife and the rest of the house Roon. As you say, whatever it, stick it on the network rather than a dedicated device.

I can also play music in most of the house using voice control, including my music room, because my ceiling system has built-in microphones, Alexa and Amazon HD on-board. But that’s another story.


I have not started streaming yet ( just working with my NAS, AL and Mk2 and ipad ), but based on the last four or five comments this seems like a real mess.


Streaming is dead easy, I have to use Roon as I have more zones than most, but if I was streaming on my main system alone I would just use an Innuos streamer, because I like the Sense control app (and it’s a well thought out product over some 15 years of development).

One risk is that QNAP’s, which are popular for Roon Core, do get hit by ransomware. It happened to me once and it’s quite stressful. I had backups and just wiped the drives and reinstalled. Took 3 or 4 hours. The answer is good security and proper backups. QNAP has a lot of internal protection, plus I use Bitdefender on everything and have external backup. A second protected network drive is my next plan, QNAP will do duplicate backups, and it’s a good place to put a large music library. They are cheap, the networked container is about $150 and best to use WD Red drives.

So I will have a streamer, a QNAP with Roon Core running on it and a separate music library on the network. That’s about as simple and standard as it gets and could be set up in minutes. Everything except the streamer comes from Amazon.

Steven, I have a Lumin U2 mini. If and when I get to hooking it up, I will give it a try and if it is anywhere near as complex as all of this, I will sell it and forget streaming. I was assured by the salesman that my ipad can easily handle the Twonky Server software that I use to control my NAS as well as whatever software is required to handle the U2 mini. If it gets very complicated when I install the software I will simply give up streaming. I have no plans to do Roon. I have not heard of anyone having ransomware problems with streaming and my laptop has protection.

I understand your point, and I certainly wouldn’t load up my NAS with a whole bunch of stuff running in the background. However for a number of years I have used a Synology NAS with MinimServer running on it. MinimServer doesn’t take up much in terms of resources. This has worked very well for me using first the Bridge and now the AirLens, both controlled by apps from my iPad. If I didn’t do it this way (for instance if I moved to Roon), I would have to get an additional computer.


Good to have choices - files stored on a synology NAS here too, music server running elsewhere (usually on a Raspberry Pi 4B though it moves around dependent on what I’m up to at the time) but I also run Minim server basic version on the Synology, on the off-chance that anyone else in the house wants to access the music files on some or other random device, and as a backup in case I break my main music server instance and can’t be bothered to build a new one for a few days.

We may get shunted to another thread if we stray too far from topic, but before you give up on streaming, continue to consult with us! Always glad to help. That you guys run Twonky and MinimServer, is part of the reason to get support for DSD? I had been keeping my DSD on Twonky and then one day I figured out that Plex DLNA supports DSD streaming without any transcoding, even if Plex apps themselves do not. I am not using any of them anymore in my main system. But could always reactivate items to cross check issues you might run into.

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With the U2 Mini, all you have to do is stick your music library on a usb drive and plug it into the usb socket in the back of the machine. Then just use the Lumin app on your iPad. Click on Add Music Library and you’re done.

If you want to use your server, just download minimserver, point it to your music directory and it will appear in Add Music Library.

Logging in to Qobuz or Tidal takes at least 15 seconds.

I used Serviio for nearly a decade. It’s not perfect, but it did what I needed it to.I prefer another video server, Mezzmo, which can run on the same NUC as the Roon Core as it’s Windows based but since I rarely watch video anymore, I only start up the server when I want to watch something. If I decide to go back to Serviio, it will go on the NUC instead.

The only thing I run on the NAS now that could be CPU-intensive is surveillance software, and I back up the video (motion-detected) to a cheap dedicated SSD in the NAS so that if the drive wears out, I don’t lose anything of value.

If you have business (or personal) data on a server you need passwords, 2-factor authentication, and full data recovery. Compared to outsourcing, a QNAP pays for itself quickly.

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I used Minimserver for several years when I had an Auralic Aries, perhaps around 2012 or 2013. Nothing to do with DSD. It’s not exactly complicated, just creates a uPnP index.

For AirLens and if you don’t have a server already, it’s probably just as effective and even easier to get an Innuos Zen or Zen Mini with a large hard drive and use it purely as a uPnP server. It builds the library on Asset uPnP. You can then just add to MConnect the same way.

Acting as a uPnP server is just another one of Innuos’s many tricks. The Innuos Sense app can control some streamers over uPnP

Lumin only works with native uPnP integration from Innuos, i.e. you have to use the Lumin app.

Sense uPnP integration, where you can use the Sense app, works with my ceiling audio system.

I asked ages ago if anyone at PSA had tried uPnP integration with the AirLens using their Innuos machines. It would be very useful if it worked.

I find Roon tends to work better than uPnP, which doesn’t send metadata. Just another reason to use Roon.

That’s incorrect Steven. UPnP (or more correctly, DLNA, UPnP is just one of the standards DLNA uses) does infact send metadata. For DLNA-compliant devices, metadata is not a problem. :wink:

Edit: Well, maybe a little difficult. Here’s a brief but informative one-pager from the MinimServer site. UPnP and DLNA

I’m pretty sure MinimServer (and other DLNA-compliant devices) supports ‘native’ DSD (via DoP, I believe). I needed to make a few small configuration changes in MinimServer to get it to work. I think MinimStreamer is also required? (I’ll check.) I’m using MinimServer (the paid version) to transcode DSD to 32/192 which is sent over the LAN to my renderer which, currently is just VLC, and out through my PC’s 32/384-capable on-board DAC. Long story, but my DSDAC is currently packed away :unamused: but I believe AirLens/DSDAC will handle the DoP natively from a DLNA-compliant server.

Edit: It appears MinimStreamer is not required for streaming DSD natively. (Here’s what MinimStreamer does provide.

I agree, as I’ve fussed with DLNA/UPnP for at least a dozen years now, if not more. It can work but that doesn’t always means it’s the ideal solution. We’re at least fortunate the AirLens can operate as a renderer in that way. (I successfully streamed the Qobuz app via BubbleUPnP this afternoon and while a little clumsy with the extra step, it played back the music perfectly.

Given Roon’s very modest cost (basically the cost of one CD per month), what it does for my streaming system makes it well worth it. I like that once it is set up, it just works. I have several different streaming devices in the house (primarily for background music in different rooms) and Roon automatically detected them on the network and all it took was clicking “Enable” to use them. Roon sees my NAS and catalogs all the music for me. All that leaves me to do is crack open the tablet, search, and start playing music. I’m a bit miffed that I still have to get up and make my own hot chocolate with marshmallows, but that’s a “me” problem.

Granted, Roon Server should be on a reasonably powerful computer if a library of digital files is growing but even there, given that some streamers are several hundred to thousands of dollars, what’s the cost of a little $300-$400 computer to power the music library? And what’s $15/month to make it all so simple to access, with Qobuz as icing on the cake? One need not jump in with the latest/most expensive hardware in other words. Baby steps, and upgrade if storage, memory or CPU capacity gets strained.

It’s like buying a Cadillac Fleetwood but replacing the steering wheel and vinyl bench seats with those from a 1973 Chevy Vega because I cheaped out and didn’t feel like paying for the cushy, shiny Cadillac interior parts. Cheaping out on parts of a streaming system is never going to end well either, especially if we’re sending a stream to equipment that is on the level of an AirLens and DirectStream DAC of any flavor (this is no Raspberry Pi tethered to a no-name DAC found on Amazon, in other words). Yeah, a NAS for me is a must-own part of my digital system and entire home network, but someone with more modest means can start with a 2GB or 4GB SSD to store music on and tether it to the computer running Roon Server and it will work perfectly fine. Likewise, if someone already has an older computer they can repurpose for Roon, or install on a NAS with enough horsepower to run it, go for it! Use what you have to keep the cost down while you settle in with your system. Change what you need to in the future.

I only say all this as I hate to see anyone struggle with getting streaming operational.


Just to note for several years I’ve been using the dCS Mosaic control app, which incorporates a custom version of UPnP, in conjunction with MinimServer running on a Synology NAS. The renderer is the dCS Network Bridge. This simple streaming setup gives excellent performance with virtually no hiccups: those that occur are typically due to the LAN. Sound quality is a major step up from the DSDac Mk1 with the bridge card.
I’d therefore thoroughly recommend streaming with the caveat to keep it simple.