What is Roon?
Roon is a powerful music management software and platform developed and supported by Roon Labs. In recent years, Roon has established itself as THE multi-device and multi-room music platform. Finding and installing the optimum Roon setup with suitable hardware is not without its pitfalls. Especially when the last percent for a perfect audio experience is aimed for. The Mini-PCs from Prime Computer in combination with the expertise of our partner Audiosaul allow exactly that to be achieved.
The Roon Server and Roon Nucleus
The heart of every Roon setup is the Roon Core respectively a server or computer on which Roon Core runs. What role the Roon server plays in the Roon system, how exactly a Roon installation is set up, and how to operate it can be found in our first blogpost on this topic:
In a high-end Roon setup, Roon Core runs on a dedicated device, a Roon server. With ROCK (Roon Optimised Core Kit), Roon Labs provides a Linux-based operating system optimised for this purpose free of charge. Of course, the hardware of this Roon server must also be adapted to the intended use. Sufficient performance combined with complete silence, attractive design and compactness are essential. Roon Labs offers the Roon Nucleus directly for this purpose. A passively cooled mini server based on an Intel NUC board.
PrimeMini as Roon Nucleus Alternative
Intel NUC boards are also built into Prime Computer’s fanless Mini PCs. Thus ROCK, which is optimised for NUC boards, runs just as well on a PrimeMini as on the much more expensive Roon Nucleus. The PrimeMini has already proven itself to be a cost-effective Roon Nucleus alternative for many audiophile customers.
Is the PrimeMini the even better Roon Nucleus alternative?
In contrast to the Roon Nucleus, the PrimeMini uses a business version of the Intel NUC board. Compared to the consumer board of the Roon Nucleus, this offers improved reliability, product life, and is designed for higher operating temperatures. The PrimeMini is significantly smaller than a Roon Nucleus with the same performance. This is achieved by milling the housing from a single block of special aluminium. This process is expensive, but it noticeably improves the thermal conductivity of the housing.
Audiosaul turns the PrimeMini into the ultimate Roon server
The PrimeMini is therefore already a low-cost alternative to the Roon Nucleus for customers with a technical affinity. The installation of ROCK must be done by the customer himself. But there is an even better and more convenient solution. The Prime Computer Partner Audiosaul from Oberhausen in Germany turn the PrimeMini into a Roon Server, that is not only cheaper than the Roon Nucleus, but also raises the audio quality to a new level. The PrimeMini 4 with i3 processor as an alternative to the Roon Nucleus and the PrimeMini 4 with i7 processor as an alternative to the Roon Nucleus+ can be ordered via the Audiosaul online shop directly from Germany and thus the EU. Even with pre-installed ROCK operating system. Audiosaul delivers throughout the EU.
However, if you want the perfect sound experience, i.e. a further increase in quality compared to the Roon Nucleus, you should definitely seek personal advice from Audiosaul before buying. After all, in addition to the installation of ROCK and individual Roon setup support, Audiosaul offers other crucial extras.
Linear power supplies, USB 2 port, audiolinux and audiophile cables
- The first optional component for the perfect sound experience is an audiophile linear power supply. Wolfgang Saul has written a blog post (german) worth reading about this often neglected “audio” component. Such a power supply is not cheap and it is worth buying just the right one. Audiosaul has various linear power supplies in its portfolio, and customers receive the best possible buying advice regarding the right audiophile power supply for the PrimeMini as Roon Server and the customer’s individual requirements.
- A second elementary component is audiophile connection cables and above all a USB 2 port of the Roon Server. Suitable audiophile cables, e.g. USB cables, can be ordered directly from Audiosaul. In contrast to the Roon Nucleus, the PrimeMini 4 can be retrofitted with a USB 2 connection if you have the appropriate expert knowledge. Audiosaul carries out this exclusive retrofit on request. Audiosaul has been able to prove in its own tests (german) why a supposedly outdated USB connection makes a big difference to the sound experience and this is confirmed time and time again by our audiophile customers. In the development of the PrimeMini 5, we took these findings into account and implemented a native USB 2.0 port.
- A third optimisation, which can be ordered through Audiosaul, is the installation of Audiolinux as the operating system. Audiolinux has been THE operating system for musicians and music lovers for years. Audiosaul installs Roon on Audiolinux. In this article (german), Wolfgang Saul explains how the audio can be further optimised in this way.