Basic help with server choice


I’m about to sign up for Roon. I’m not very technical at all and so I am happy to be directed to articles that may help

I have a MacBook M1 that I use as my main computer and I have a bunch of external drives both SSD and desktops that sit on that.

Can I use that as my server ? It sits in my office but my music system is in a different room so I was going to use an iPad for the Roon software


Am I better getting a dedicated say mac mini to store my CD’s ( I don’t have many ) and use as the server ?

I’m trying to weigh up the disadvantages of either

David if you are going to trial Roon then there is no reason not to use your M1 Mac for that. It will give you a taster and you can then decide what you want after the trial.

Remember that Roon recommend that Roon server is on Ethernet, so you might want plan that in as part of your testing.

Also if you only have 8GB then try not to have to much other stuff running on your Mac.

Other than that good luck

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Thanks Michael

Looks like it’s a stand alone Mac mini as y main M1 runs some heavy photography software, but will trial on the M1 I think

David Roon is not for everyone, so best not to spend money even if a 60/40 likelihood in going with Roon. The experience should be exactly the same from a user perspective.
You can shut down the software while testing Roon (especially if only 8GB and using Adobe software as that is a RAM suck) and get a feel for it.
Many run it for a long time on laptops and then go to a Nuc or a Mac Mini and that is a great way to go, and some never move away from the laptop.

Thanks, appreciate the advice

If it’s on my M1 and that sleeps can I still access it from the Roon app on my iPad? Or does the M1 have to be awake and the software open ?

The computer needs to be awake and fully functioning for your I devices to connect to it and play out through it or networked endpoints.
But that is only to test the software and make sure it meets your needs.


Roon will run best with a dedicated core machine, though many do use a single device for core and controller, typically when the computer is connected directly to and endpoint or DAC. I’m currently using an older 2012 MacMini (Catalina) as my core with an SSD as the boot drive, cabled to my router. My music is now stored on a HD attached to the Mini.

Connecting the core via ethernet is recommended as WiFi is less stable and prone to interference.

There are reported issues running Roon on Monterey but BigSur is stable. The M1 chip’s implementation of unified memory is a leap forward and means that 8GB is more than enough for the Roon core as long as other memory hungry apps are not running, so you’ll need to limit the use of Roon to those times while testing.

I think all we really need is a Core machine that isn’t overloaded. Doesn’t really matter whether it’s “dedicated” or not, as long as there’s plenty of RAM and CPU cycles available for doing the Roon stuff.

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Thank you all for your input, it’s really helped