Can I use an Mac mini as a core?

Dear support…

It seems like a waste to buy a new Mac as my core… I’m using a MacBook Pro now, but it is noisy so I am getting a ssd version… no spinning disc.

Is it possible to use a Mac mini and perhaps an iPad as my core. I know that core has to plug into my DAC somehow… but can I use the iPad to act as a blue tooth monitor of sorts?



Hey @miyagi1218,

As long as the Mac Mini meets our requirements you can use it as your Core machine with no problem! The iPad cannot be used as a Core, but it can be used as a remote device to control the Core machine.

I definitely recommend checking out the articles below for more information:

FAQ: How do I move my library over to RoonServer? How do I run headless?

FAQ: Can I control Roon remotely?

If you have any other questions about this please let me know!

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Well an SSD would suit Roon min requirements better, but its not to difficult to get done.

Been running core on a headless Mac mini for a year or more. Rarely any issues. Sometimes need to VNC to restart core but it’s fairly rare.

Just to say I swapped the SSD thanks to some internet guides. Was a bit fiddly - there are some tiny fragile connectors in there that are probably only designed to be connected once or twice - but all went without a hitch.

From the FAQ, Mac OS X 10.12 is ‘recommended’. Is there a reason for this, or does the document just need updating? We’re at 10.14 now.

new Mac mini about to be announced so older models will likely drop in price if the new specs are great

Edit well at least the rumor is that one will be announced 30th oct

I’ve been using 2015 Mac Mini (3 GHz, Intel iCore 7) with 16 GB RAM and 512 GB Flash Drive. The machine is dedicated to Roon and also attached is my Brooklyn DAC. That’s all it does and has done it very well for 3+ years without a hitch. I run it headless, using Mac Screen Sharing to access it if I need to (e.g. occasional OS update).

With the flash drive there are no moving parts so it is dead silent. I highly recommend the Mini. One of the better products Apple has made.


I’d like to use your method, but I have no idea how to begin. Its all a foreign language to me. I don’t even know how to begin… especially without a screen.

I have other MacBook pros. So if I can use screen sharing and no monitor that would be great. Will most likely buy a new mini if announced in an hour or so by Apple.

Is there a way to contact you directly?

Hey @miyagi1218,

If you have any questions about what you see in our documentation please let us know! Our knowledge base is definitely a good place to start but if you have any questions you can always ask here on Community.

We typically handle our support right here in the forums, but if you need to contact me directly you can always send me a private message here on the site.


new macmini announced today on apple…i7-8th gen 6 cores!!!

Might want to wait till we find out how loud that new blower cooling system turns out to be.

They seem overpriced compared to a comparable NUC, but I guess if you’re in the Apple eco-system it isn’t a show stopper.

Bought a 2014 Mac Mini, i5 4GB 500 GB HD, for $370 open box from BestBuy. Works like a champ. 10% CPU utilization with DSD hi-res.

Of course I like to screw with things so added a PCIe for the OS and swapped the 2.5 with an SSD.

So you can get a good box and a great OS for not much money. Shop around and find a deal.

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Hi Miyagi

maybe if I share how I did it that helps you:

  1. Connected the Mac Mini to power supply and a keyboard as well as a mouse. I used the HDMI connection to connect a TV screen
  2. With that I could set-up the Mac Mini from scratch, going through all the set-up screens including the WiFi set-up which you will need. Important that you set up a user with admin rights to connect later (e.g. Admin-User). If you are careful, set-up another user without admin rights, e.g. “Media-User”. Note down the passwords.
  3. In system settings click on sharing. Allow sharing of the MacMini and mMake sure you set the hook for screen sharing for your admin and your media user.
  4. I used another Mac, in this case my desktop iMac to connect to the MacMini by using Screen Share functionality. For this you open a new window on finder. Left hand side you should see your MacMini under network. If not assure you are in the same Wifi network as the MacMini
  5. Click and the menu offers you a choice on how to connect. Choose screen sharing here. MacOSX will ask you for user and password. Use the media user. If all is set-up correctly you should see the screen of your MacMini on the desktop of your other Mac. Try out to create a new folder or so. If all works you can take the keyboard and the connection to the TV away. From now on you can log on remotely with your other Mac.
  6. Log in on your MacMini with MediaUser. Start iTunes. Import all the music files respectively add to the library.
  7. Install Roon Server resp. Roon Core according to instructions. Roon will now use your iTunes library.
  8. Install Roon on your iPad or iPhone. If in the same wifi network and Roon running on the Mac Mini the Roon client on your iPad should now recognize the Roon Core. Log-in and start having fun. Use the admin user for admin functions and the media user to connect to the user which has the iTunes / Roon functionality.

I have used 2 different Mac mini’s for Roon Core, 1st was using a hard drive for the OS and Roon, and I migrated to another Mac mini using a 1TB SSD for the Os and Roon application. The music files are on a pair of 5TB hard disks that I implemented a RAID 1 from disk utility. No difference in performance between the 2 Mac mini’s running Roon, each mini is a late 2012 model running Mojave, 16G RAM, with multi-cores. I have 2500 cd’s ripped along with many purchased DSD/hires files, and streaming Roon with MQA.

I don’t hook the mini to the dac. I use the network to connect the mini to the network/bridge inside my ps audio ds dac. Much better than using USB, used to use USB years ago when using Audirvana and Pure Music.

Gary did you noticed any difference in performance or sound by swapping to a SSD. I´m always about to do it, but never seem to be ready to jump the wagon…

I cant say if I heard a sound difference. Could be subtle and I’m not refined enugh to hear it. The performance was another thing. Mac Mini really increased in performance. I mean exponential. Feels like it is 5x faster Boot time and any beach balling was eleviated.

First swapped a 2.5" SSD for OS and Data. Really enjoyed the perfarmance change.

Later I install a M.2 for OS only. This Mod also increased perfromance and is probably the best one for someone who is hesitant about tearing apart their Mini. Many M.2 are large enough for most peoples library also.

Just need a few cheap parts and a M.2 Pcie Nvme. These are on Amazon.

Willhom 821-00010-A PCIe SSD Flex Cable Connector Adapter Replacement for Mac Mini Unibody A1347 (Late 2014)

Sintech NGFF M.2 nVME SSD Adapter Card Upgrade 2013-2015 MacBook

Also, a M.2 screw

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Hi Norman,

thanks a lot for your good instruction. With your help I managed it. I have an „old“ iMac for normal use and I have bought a very new mac mini to use it as my Roon core.

It works fine.

But one thing is not fine for me: to hear music in my office I have used the iMac with installed Roon and with connected speaker as my small music player. The big player is in my living room and is still connected to Roon.
But now, because of moving Roon from iMac to mac mini it is not possible to listen music via Roon and iMac.

Any idea for a good solution?

On the iMac, you just need to download roon bridge and set to launch on start. Then the Mac mini core will see the iMac as an end Point.


Yes, it works, thank you very much!

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