Can I use an Mac mini as a core?

I used a Mac mini for a while with no issues, but I never have a server in my dedicated audio room. My server running Roon is in a completely different room from any stereo equipment and I connect to my ps audio DS dac through Ethernet. Ethernet is the only way to go and you don’t want a server in your audio room.
I have many endpoints and when I looked at my Mac mini stats running multiple endpoints, the server wasn’t running very hard, so I moved Roon over to a new bigger non-dedicated iMac. I only use a ssd for Roons index, you did not need. SSD for music files is way overkill and really doesn’t buy you anything

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An SSD is silent, which is great if you’re building a fanless core machine, otherwise I agree there’s no real advantage for music files.

I used a Mac mini core while assessing Roon, but quickly realized a dedicated NUC with Rock was probably the way to go (for me!). One big advantage of using the Mac at first was it built the database, took it a couple of days too. When I put the NUC together, it was very quick to just restore a backup (from the Mac core) and carry on.

Mike-agreed. But why have a music server in the audio room? When the server is in another room, the only time you need an ssd for Roon is for its index. Get rid f your USB connection to the dac and SQ will improve

I’m considering a Mac mini M1 as a Roon Core to connect via USB to my Hegel H120. My iMac contains all my music. Is it possible to tell the Mac mini Roon Core to look for the music on my iMac 2019?

Is 8 Gb enough (base configuration) or should I opt for 16 Gb?

You can definitely network share the drives. And 8GB is more than enough with those new M1 chips.

Unless you have 100k track plus library you should be ok with 8.

I just bought a Mac mini M1 with 16 Gb RAM and 256 Gb SSD. The Mac mini is connected via USB to my Hegel H120 amplifier. My music collection is on my iMac. I use the iMac to control the headless Mac mini.

Now I can’t figure out if I should I install Roon Server or Roon Core on the Mac mini? The Mac mini will have to look for the shared iMac to find the music collection. Thanks for the help!

If you run headless use Roon Server - you can access the core over ethernet (core should be on ethernet) remotes can be wifi and if you did also want to use a remote on the mini you can - just connect as remote to the core listed.

Maybe enable screen sharing on the settings on the mini if you want to Remote Desktop from another Mac.

You will also need to share the music folder on the iMac so that the mini can access it vis SMB ← important!

I think you’d be better off buying external storage (SSD based) to attach to the Mac mini and host all your music there. Use the space on your iMac to keep a back up of your music collection.
If your iMac is restarted or down, you’re out of music. An iMac is more likely used as a desktop and so is often in different power states compared to a headless Mac mini that you’ll leave on and mostly leave alone. In addition, the browsing speed of your library is inversely proportional to the access speed to your files.

Should be sweet setup.


I would also suggest a hard disk drive in USB connected to the mini to store your music on the mini, rather than keeping it on your iMac.

Also if you have an iPhone or an iPad they can be used as remotes to control your music, in case you didn’t know.

Note that you could face some interferences with the USB type-A as it is not properly shielded. It’s a well known issue of the mini, unfortunately. To remedy this, use a dongle and a USB type-C for your external storage.

For external storage, a classic HDD should be enoughrsther than a more expensive SSD, you can buy a second one for backup, just in case. It’s pretty cheap.

Something you can consider also if you want to get music but not using streaming services is to use qBittorent and a site like and use the mini just for that. You can extend it as a media server if you want in the future by simply connecting it to your TV and download movies or TV shows.

I believe it’s bringing more value to use a mini for Roon + media server than just Roon only.