Auralic Altair, Roon and Synology NAS?

History: I briefly tried the Aries mini in my system (Synology NAS 1513+ with 5x 6TB).
I have approx. 8 TB of music in various file formats (a lot of flac, HD Flac and DSD), totaling about 210,000 tracks.

The Aries mini, controlled by an Ipad, kinda choked on a library that size. I have two options so far with my current setup:
Synology via Ethernet to Gigabit Switch, then ethernet to Oppo 105 (using Oppo media control app)=> no problems in playing any files up to DSD64.
Synology via USB to Oppo 105 USB in (using Roon). => problem here is the work is being done on the NAS and I experience dropouts.

My question: is there any indication that the Altair will fare better with this size library?

Ancillary question: The Altair is listed as a Roonready device. What does that mean in the real world?
Am I still running Roonserver on my NAS?
If so, will the Altair be able to play tracks from Roon via ethernet, or will I need to use a USB cable still or will it not matter because the work will still be done on the NAS?

Thanks for any insight you may offer.

According to the specs on Auralic website the Aries mini, Aries and Altair all have the same processor running at the same speed. only difference looks to be the Mini has 512MB RAM while Aries and Altair both have 1GB

I’m using an Aries (“femto”, not mini) in Roon Ready mode, with an i7 Mac mini running Roon Server and a QNAP NAS for file storage
all three are connected to an ethernet switch and that’s how Roon Server on the Mac “talks” to the Aries
my library, though, is about just 27k tracks :blush:

re library size Auralic claims:
The maximum size of music library that Lightning DS V2.1 (current version is 3.1) can manage without running slow down is:
100,000 albums
1,000,000 tracks

Thank you, that is a good data point, for starters.

When the Altair is used “RoonReady” mode, all it’s doing is taking a single stream from your RoonServer and routing it to its internal DAC and then out to your pre/pro. The size of the library is irrelevant as far as the Altair is concerned, all that is handled on your NAS by Roon. It could be a single album or a million albums, the Altair wouldn’t know the difference.

Hope that helps

Roon Ready means the device will be recognized by a Roon Server running elsewhere on your network and that Roon will play to it. See here for the official explanation.

So yes you are still running Roon on your NAS. The 1513+ is underspecified for Roon which can be a cause of dropouts. Here are Roon’s recommendations if you want to run it on a NAS.

Given your large library I would go with more than the minimum recommendations here if you can. Rather than replacing your NAS you might find it better to get a dedicated Mac Mini or NUC to run Roon Server and just use the NAS to store you music. Make sure your core machine nd NAS devices are connected by Ethernet and not WiFi for the best performance. Too many WiFi hops can also cause dropouts.

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Thanks Philr,
I am trying to avoid adding another computer to the chain, which is why I bought a NAS in the first place. Another computer means another machine to maintain, having to look at, having to connect with keyboard and monitor in order to be able to access it, etc.

Getting a fanless NUC with enough hardware and processing power is only the first step. I know nothing about linux or how even to load a software package on Linux, so I would have to get Windows installed on the NUC. Every time windows 10 updates, I have to manage reboots and check everything still works, which again involves hooking up keyboard, mouse and monitor… All of which is a pain in the behind in my system. I need a box that can run Roon with zero ‘touch’ (web interface or remote app).

I am starting to realize that I cannot reliably run Roon without spending 4000$ plus to migrate to a top of line QNAP NAS at this stage, just to have a CPU and Memory config that can handle Roon.

Believe it or not, but installing and maintaining Linux for the purpose of running Roonserver is actually very doable – there’s ample knowledge on these forums here to talk you through it.

Alternatively, you could look at something like the Sonictransporter i5, which is basically a preinstalled NUC-like system running Linux that sells for $650 and can be controlled/updated through a web browser interface.

Play Roon to its strengths: tuck a away a powerful Core and the NAS in a cupboard somewhere (out of sight and hearing) and stream your music to a nice and quiet endpoint (like the Auralic Altair – or a different RoonReady or Roon Bridge zone of choice).

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Just use some remote software (such as TeamViewer) and it is much easier. I also would go for a well spec’d NUC and hide it away somewhere.

thanks Rene and Jumbuck. If I was considering a NUC, I would have gone with a well-specced and fanless model, assuming I could tuck it away and access/control it remotely.

The Sonictransporter however looks very promising. Going to do a bit of reading up on that, thanks again.

I use a Sonictransporter i5. It’s pretty easy to set up and dead quiet. Easier than installing Roon on a NAS I’m sure.

I use it with the microrendu to send the output to my DAC but Roon on the transporter should see the Aries on your network and send the output to that. Best if you avoid wifi and connect the transporter your NAS and the Aries to the same router or switch. However Wifi to the Aries should be ok if you have to provided the signal is strong.

See this review for more background on the sonictransporter and another alternative.

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Thank you all for your tips and feedback. I am auditioning the Auralic Altair this weekend. If I end up buying it, I will run it directly to the switch via ethernet for a bit. If Roon plays without problems, great. If not, I’ll be looking at the SomicTransporter i5 next.

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I was assuming you had the Auralic already. I guess you had the Aries and are now going to try an Altair. With Roon it’s unlikely that a different endpoint will solve your problems but I guess there is no harm in trying as it might make a difference with other programs but not sure as they are still working on the NAS and the ipad is just a control for a server of some type working on a NAS.

If you do go the Roon/SonicTransporter route also consider the microrendu which will make any USB DAC work with Roon.

Thanks Philr,
I currently use Synology NAS 1513+ => Oppo 105 via USB. I get dropouts on hi-rez files.
Other users report running roon on Synology with similar hardware (1813+) to Auralic Aries.

So either it’s an issue with

  1. Freeing up CPU and RAM on the Synology (done; I removed all other apps)
  2. bad usb in on the Oppo
  3. Bad USB out on the Synology (unlikely as I tried 3 different ports)

I wanted to go with Auralic anyway, so getting the Altair is a good next step. If the Synlogy-ethernet-Altair runs Roon OK, great. If not, I can either use something like a SonicTransport i5 to run Roon on, or I can get rid of Roon and switch to Lightning DS instead.

I had problems with streaming and control of my music with a Synology 1513+ using my Samsung TV as a control point. I also ran out of space and needed to replace with larger drives, that this did not support.

I am now using a Synology 1815+ (4x6TB HGST drives) > Wired 100BaseT > Aries Mini > Denon with an iPad Air as the controller. I have 330,000 tracks in mixed format (10TB). I don’t have any issues with Lightning DS and playing back anything from mp3 to DSD 64.

When I re-scan the library (constantly curating), I occasionally get network drops (iPad > Wireless router > switch > Aries Mini). That’s the only operational issue. My problem is that I’ve run out of space on the iPad Air for metadata storage. That many tracks + art = 119.5 GB, just about all of the space on the iPad Air.

Update: I have since switched to the Altair (instead of the Oppo). So now the chain is:
Roon Core / Roon DB running on Synology 1513+ with 5x6TB and 4GB RAM.
Via 100-base ethernet to Gigabit switch. From the Gigabit switche via ethernet to Altair.

I still get dropouts which seem to increase in frequency as the file resolution goes up.
But CPU % never goes above 50-55 and memory never goes above 65%.
How is this possible?

I am killing Roon until I can buy a headless unit to run roonserver (SonicTransporter core i5 is looking interesting), but it is frustrating not to have a clear cause for this.

Given your library size go with an i7.

Would it be possible to run RoonCore or whatever you want to call it on a Microsoft Surface Pro with a Core i5 4200, 4GB of Ram and 128Gb of storage? Has anyone tried?

Yes it can probably run the server portion. However, it would make a much better control point than server. The Roon Core really should be connected to your network via Ethernet not wireless.

I can connect the surface to my ethernet via the usb port (usb to ethernet dongle) and only use it as the server. I can still use my Ipad as the remote, I think…

I use n only mode of my WiFi Router never phased dropouts even with DSD. maybe it does a b/g fallback?