Help! Choosing a Roon core/streamer/server! (Roon vs Innuos vs Wyred4Sound)

I have gone down the rabbit hole, changed my thinking many times, and have arrived at 3 choices: Roon Nucleus, Innuos Zen MkIII, or Wyred4Sound MS. I was once all set on an Aurender N100, but have decided I want Roon as an option.

I use Tidal and Amazon HD music, and want to rip my 800 CD collection.

I once didn't want Roon because I had/have ZERO interest in running the Core on a PC. Now, with these 3 choices, they run as both the Core and a server--a one box solution, which is what I really want. I've watched the Darko videos on the Innuos and Wyred units and he likes both.

ROON Nucleus ($1400) (Nucleus+ is much more $$, but has SSD I think)
Advantages: Price ($1400), and I can add either an HDD or SSD drive.
Disadvantages: It is Roon only and I am locked in to that app/OS. Can add ripper drive but it's not built in and not sure if ripping is easy.

INNUOS Zen MkIII ($2700, or so)
Advantages: Has the ripper built in (huge, for me) and ripping is easy. Their software is good and they're coming out with a new killer version, is the rumor, so if you don't want Roon you have an alternative. I'm reading that it sounds better than the Nucleus.
Disadvantages: Over $1000 more expensive than the Nucleus. HDD internal drive is standard, no option for SSD.

Advantages: Can get it with 1 or 2TD SSD drive. Can run using it as a non-Roon server. Also has ripper built in. Made in US, with 3 year warranty!
Disadvantages: Most expensive. $3350 w/2TB SSD.

Thanks... any input is appreciated. PD


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I just added a digital source (other than my really old Linn CD player) and bought a Innuos ZEN for use with a Line Magnetic DAC. This made for a good and easy solution with no computer pain.

Easy to set up and no issues.
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+1 to Erik squires
If you don't know Ubuntu or Linux you can try gentoo player and manage it through web and menusF or the hardware if you can build your own great if not you could get a prebuild pc

Folks, I don't want to build my own box and I don't want to be an IT guy and I don't want to run a Roon core on a computer! Thanks, though. 

I was of the same mind as you in terms of a digital setup. I wanted to have streaming, and the ability to rip my CD library, but no setup or maintenance hassle. I had a Sonos setup for a while a few years ago, with music stored on a PC, supposedly simple, but it was a pain, so I stopped using it.

With my new setup I was up and running in 30 - 60 minutes. Unbox, hook up wires, go through some setup on an ipad, then listen to music. You need an ethernet connection for the Innuos. I used a tp-link AV600 powerline, but if you already have a ethernet connection in your listening room you will not need this. 

Also, I tried the Roon core and Zen mini with built in DAC, but the Zen III with an outboard DAC was a significant step-up in sound quality. The price for additional storage is not much higher and I opted for more than 1 TB.

Good luck with your new setup whatever you decide

Jim Perry
That's understandable, I just suggested the DIY because offers more flexibility for the future and it doesn't lock you down to Roon which SQ is debatable, great interface but not so good player. I missed some posts which were deleted now I understand you don't want something complex to execute or maintain.
I have no direct experience with what you listed but friends who do they all speak good about the Innuos.

Thanks. I too have concerns about being locked into Roon. BluOS (Bluesound Node) would be the budget one box solution, maybe, but not sure of the SQ. 
Pat, as an alternative to roon nucleus, have you considered small green computer products.I am a satisfied SGC I5 owner
Hello Patrick!

I’ve been using a Roon Nucleus I3 as a Server/Streamer since November. I have it hooked up to a Chord Qutest via Curious USB Cable. In April I replaced the stock Nucleus power supply with an Sbooster 19V Linear Power Supply, and then upgraded my ethernet cable to a Wireworld Starlight Cat 8. Together, these changes upped the SQ to whole other level. Prior to that, a Bluesound Node 2i was my principal streaming source, again with the Chord Qutest as DAC.
I have nothing but good things to say about the Bluesound products and BluOS. Have been a Bluesound user since 2014 and have 4 pieces of Bluesound kit in the house. But Roon interface is simply superior integrating Tidal and/or Qobuz. But what I find most valuable with Roon is the music discovery piece. Once you begin really using Roon, there is no going back. You can see my system here:
(note that the Node 2i can now be found on my desktop, having exchanged places with my original Node N100).
As far as ripping, I use dBpoweramp to rip CDs as uncompressed Flac files to my PC, and then copy them over to my NAS (in my case a Melco N1A). This method would work equally well copying over content to an SSD or HDD installed in the Nucleus (or for that matter any other storage hardware installed on your network).  And as I understand it, Roon now provides ripping support, but to date I haven’t used it. If you have any questions I’d be happy to try to answer them.

+1 tubertist

I am using SmallGreenComputer sonicTransporter i5 as Roon core, and Sonore opticalRendu as Roon-ready streamer and network player. In my system, it was a significant jump in SQ going from BlueNode 2i to this setup.
Cross Innuos off the list if Amazon music is a requirement, only Tidal, Spotify and Qobuz at the moment.
Apparently Amazon doesn't play well with others... I've been told that they require devices to work with Alexa if they want Amazon Music HD integrated. Frustrating. 
We have a better solution an 432 evo aeon hi is a better sounding server then aninnouus and the aeon has a super clock ultra low jirtter usb output built in for 6k rhis setup is similar to an innous statement but way cheaper

432 evo is the hottest server company in euope europe and are quickley outpacing innou
it’s also the best USB source I’ve tested to now…”

The summary of the review:
It’s hard not to admire the dedication shown in the design of the Aeon to do something different and to do it as well as it can be reasonably done.

What makes it for me as a package is that 432 EVO hasn’t lost sight of all the basics that a network storage device needs to perform in the pursuit
of making its brainchild work. This is a stable, silent and very flexible music server that is more than up to the task of supporting a household

Infact wewere s. Imprespressed wilh the432 evo servers we ditched innous and became 432 evos us distributor

Here are the reasons we picked up the server line and dropped innous

Fsntastic sound quality

Upgradable models with better sound quality

Different plug ins and filters to tune the sound

2tb hd standard vs most others use a 1tb standard

Us based service and support

Competitive pricing.

Dave and troy
Audio intellect Nj
Us importer 432 evo servers
@audiotroy I am curious, why would adding the 432 evo necessitate  you dropping Innuos? Wouldn't it be advantageous for your store to provide more options for your customers? 
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Roon nucleus is the way I decided to go.  It's just too slick, easy and intuitive.  With the nucleus I don't have to depend on the iMac, but can pull everything together on the network and streaming.  I like it, completely new experience.
Ripping on a Roon Core/Nucleus is simple.  Insert the CD into any external drive and the disc automatically rips to the internal SSD.  Roon finds the metadata and you do nothing. That’s it. 
I rip all my cds now using mediacenter on my win10 pc and then just transfer them over the network direct to the 2tb ssd connected to my Roon Core. Easy peasy.

Prior to my present setup I used a Bluesound Vault2 where I ripped the majority of my cds to its internal 2tb hdd and then duplicated that as  a backup on an external 2tb ssd. That lot I then copied over to a 4tb ssd.

That is now connected to my Roon core so I can access anything from it instantly or Qobuz.
I do really like the way Roon library is set up and its music discovery and bio information is unsurpassed imho.
Good luck and even better listening!
tuberist     I just order an SGC box with Microrendu!

I learned a lot while researching (ie, torturing myself) for this project: Items 1-6 are what I considered and eliminated. Obviously if you have $3000-10,000 to spend, there are other choices.

  1. Bluesound Node 2i: Many owners are reporting hardware and software problems and frustrations. I wanted both a Roon core and endpoint, and it isn't.
  2. I originally thought I'd get an Aurender until I decided I want Roon, which it doesn't do. Then I read about problems with Aurenders after power losses and other issues. Nope.
  3. Then I settled on the Innuos Zen III, but it's made in Portugal and they don't have a US service facility. In addition, in reading the fine print they don't guarantee that with the Zen you can run it well as both a core and streamer, and it only has an i3 processor, which some claim isn't powerful enough. They don't offer an SSD drive until the Zenith, which is $4k+. It's out.
  4. Roon Nucleus. Meh. i3 processor, expensive for what it is.
  5. Salk Streamplayer. Looks nice, has an i5 processor, and the maker is very nice on the phone. Only available in the mid-level with an HDD drive, and I wanted SSD. So no.

  6. >> The one I would buy if I had 2x the money to spend: Wyred4Sound's MS music server. One box solution, runs as core/streamer, has great connection options incl SPDIF, USD, and I2S and my preamp/DAC has I2S. Built-in ripper. Runs Squeezebox and UPnP apps. REALLY nice unit, but $3k with 2tb SSD. Could but don't want to spend $3k to $4500! Darn it. EJ Sarmento, the designer, was super helpful discussing it, and I regret not giving him the order. Next time.

  7. THE ONE: Small Green Computer Sonictransporter with 2tb onboard SSD and a Microrendu streamer. About $1500. No, not a one box solution but that's okay. Has an i5 processor, comparable to the Roon Nucleus+ which is 2x the price. Should work great with Roon using DSP if I want to. No onboard ripper drive, but just plug one in and works the same.