The forum is great and many thanks for all of the help. I’ve finally been able to figure out a few issues and enjoy the music.
The 2011 Mac Mini as a core was not the issue. The 1812+ Synology was. Moving the library to a 4TB WD USB drive eliminated the skips and slow file loading error (which drove me nuts). I use ChronoSync between the USB and Synology to keep things up to date.
Diving into headphones I went with the Sennheiser HD800S. Open box on Crutchfield was a $350 savings and they were brand new. The closed back HD820’s didn’t seem to have enough for the cost. And maybe someday, I’ll get to hear the LCD-4X. Someday.
I’m using a Raspberry Pi 3 with Digi board and an optical connection to the new Klipsch Heritage AMP/DAC combo. It’s a very compact setup and with a wired Ethernet connection, very reliable. The AMP is warm and clean and a tremendous value. I looked at Schitt and others but have liked Klipsch gear in the past. It’s a great unit. I might even look into the HP-3 headphones they make.
So far, I don’t hear a real difference between the balanced and unbalanced headphone connection. And considering the E.A.R. HP4 is still unbalanced and considered top shelf, maybe that’s a myth.
All in all, I’m in really loving Roon again. I think it takes a bit longer to get the right setup but it’s working well. Plus the Yamaha House and Family room receivers sound great even with Airplay.
Thanks and good listening.