Another Roon Server Puzzle

Here are my current possible Roon Server “pieces”:
A Mac Mini 5,2; i5 2.5GHz dual core, 16GB memory
A spinning C: drive
A laCie 2TB SSD hooked to said Mini via Thunderbolt cable, largely unutilized
A (pokey) WDMyCloud 4TB NAS drive connected via cable/router/cable/NAS; currently serving double duty as music storage and backup
Another (pokey) Seagate drive attached to the NAS via USB, playing the Best Supporting Role as backup of the music
Between the mini and speakers, there is a wired Gb Ethernet network with a Netgear8000P router, 75’ of Cat5e cabling, a Netgear??? extender, a Netgear 16-port switch, and my music system components attached thereto.

So, how best to assemble a Roon system with these parts? I can go in any number of directions: use this, buy new, rearrange, etc. Please feel free to opine on the suitability or needed upgrade of parts. And a specific question: the Server software defaults to the C: drive. Should I reinstall on the laCie? Should I remove the spinning drive entirely, i.e., boot, OS, and Roon on the laCie?

Closing in on a solution. BTW, a 12" iPad will be the front end.


Well, i’d change the spinning drive in the Mac Mini for a smallish SSD (128Gb) and reinstall OS and Roon Server on this. Whether you keep your library on the WD NAS or move it to the Thundebolt SSD is probably not critical, either will do fine.

If the said Mac is in the immediate vicinity of your audio gear you could use USB out, but you are also in business for an ”endpoint” of some sort, such as a Pi or similar. That will elevate your sound quality i’d say.

What size is your music library?

An i5 NUC or if your can afford it an i7.
OS and therefore Roon library on an SSD.
I use a NAS for my music files, but with the ongoing trouble of library updates when ripping a new CD, I’m considering running off a USB drive.
Most endpoints are RPi/DIetPi combos, one unnecessary SoTM SMS-200.

My library size is about 2000 titles. I will be re-ripping a goodly portion for the higher quality.
I was thinking about putting the Pi ish thing at the end of a long (75’) ethernet run, with ethernet being used for everything except the last analog stage. Make sense?

Perfect sense! :slight_smile:
That said, @xxx suggestion is not bad advice either, in the case you’d want the ROCK experience. I have been running MacMinis as both endpoints and Roon Server and they work just fine! (No need for a screen or keyboard or such)

Slim, by inference, you don’t like the idea of using a Mac with an i5. I too, like the idea of a NUC but at the margin, the NUC is more expensive. Is it worth ($600+)? Or, put it another way, why not a Mini?

Uh, Mikael, “ROCK experience”. How is that different from the Roon Server experience? Sorry, you found an obvious gap in my understanding.:sunglasses:

We are all students here! :wink:
Roon ROCK dedicates your unit for Roon Server duties, and includes operating system and basic administration of storage etc.
It is built for and around the Intel NUC units and will give you the server capabilities as well as storage if you decide upon a unit with an internal drive.
As you say, it is a more costly route and you loose the option of further use of the computer. (no entry, appliance mode)
In the Mac Mini scenario i sometimes use the Mac as Spotify Connect unit or Amarra 4 Luxe/Tidal for MQA decoding, but that demands a direct connection to the DAC.

Have a look here if your intrigued;

I used to run Roon core on a 2014 i5 Mini.

My opinion is that it isn’t up to the task. A lot of ‘music file loading slowly’ (or whatever the exact phrasing was) messages and can’t run DSP effectively.

I don’t even use it as an endpoint, only as control.

There are a lot of people that I bore with my complaints and who disagree with me about the Apple eco-system, but there it is.

IMHO, you don’t need ROCK. A WIN10 machine will let you run other programs as well, i.e. e-mail, web browsing, etc. A ROCK machine can only run Roon as it is a Roon developed fork of Linux.

The Mac Mini looks more than adequate.
Boot and run Roon from the fastest disk, if you can - in this case the 2TB SSD.
If you need more storage for music, you can add the other disks as paths in Roon - you are not tied specifying a single location for your files.


What @anon55914447 said. I have an older Mac mini (5,1) running three zones (one with DSP — upsampling to PCM 384 and DSD256), and the mini has been problem free as a Roon server.

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Others have given good advice. Just want to +1 using an SSD for the OS and Roon. However, one thing I would suggest leaving out initially is the Netgear Extender; try it first without it. If you need it, then add it back in, but when you do you would then have a baseline to identify any issues its use might create.

Good thought Daniel.

Well, I was told that good network design was to put the extender “next” to the router, then the switch, then my AV stuff. If I take the extender out of the equation, I’ll have little or no wireless access for that portion of the house.

This will be my problem, but I pls tell me an alternative setup if there is one.

BTW, I’ve said that the way the NFL gets rid of its concussions is to adopt softer headware a la rugby. Nothing like self-preservation as a motivation.

Exactly. Also, you are not allowed to leave your feet to tackle, i.e., no leaping or spearing tackles.