Can This Be Simple?

I’m getting to a frustration point with Roon. I do not want to be QA nor do I want to futz around with it everytime I want to use it. What will it take to make it work all the time?

I have a Mac Mini running Roon Server connected to a Synology NAS 1812+. Everything is wired.

Playing DSD files, or in some cases just hi-res, I get audio file loading slowly or static and it skips to the next track.

Roon won’t see a zone until I screen share and click on the Headless MacMini desktop. Then all of a sudden the zones are there.

I want to play back to an iMAC with a DragonFly DAC but it’s often gone and needs to be plugged and unplugged for Roon to see it.

I have four Yamaha receivers around the house that mostly work when running from an iPad but not always.

I’m on my second year of an annual payment but not sure I see the value. It just needs to work or be less expensive.

What’s the most maintenance free way to run Roon from server to endpoint? I’m all ears.

Hi Chris, your post needs to be moved to the Support area and tagging @support will also help highlight it. There are a lot of very helpful people in the forum Chris, hopefully they can sort out your issues quickly.

Could a mod please move this to the support area. @andybob Chris is obviously very frustrated

Have a read of this as support will want to know more about your set up: I'm having a problem with Roon -- where do I report it?

Chris, does your Mac Mini go to sleep? This maybe causing issues?

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Hey @Chris_Lischy — Thanks for sharing your report with us, and apologies for the difficulties you’re experiencing.

So we can better understand what you’re experiencing, please describe your network configuration/topology, including any networking hardware currently in use, so we can have a clear understanding of how your devices are communicating.

  • Just to confirm, do other files play okay?
  • Does this behavior happen to all endpoints, or just certain ones?
  • As mentioned above, does this behavior seem to be related to the Mac Mini going into rest mode?
  • Just to confirm, is this all zones, or just certain ones.
  • Is firewall enabled on the Mac Mini? If so, does temporarily disabling this yield any positive results?
  • How is the Mac Mini connected to the network? Is it also via Ethernet?
  • When Roon is unable to play to this device, are you able to play to it outside of Roon?
  • Is firewall enabled on the this machine? If so, does temporarily disabling this yield any different results?
  • Just to clarify here, do these zones not show up when you are not using the iPad remote?


Does your nas meet these specifications?

Why would the OP care? He is running Roon server on a Mac mini, not the nas.

Sorry I missed that. Spec of the Mac mini might be relevant but is probably ok.

The most maintenance free way to run Roon is a NUC running ROCK using modern unmanaged gigabit switches for your network. That will remove any bottlenecks to do with processing performance and network capacity, as well as not suffering the issues of the machine going to sleep. You can add another layer of simplicity by making the NUC passively cooled if siting is an issue. Of course if your MacMini meets the required spec you could iron out the wrinkles with your existing setup but you intimated that you might not want that. ROCK does require a small element of tinkering to set up but not a huge amount. Most importantly it works for the vast majority and is easy to trouble shoot.

Actually the easiest way is to buy a nucleus(+) and set the network up as you say :grinning:

That is true but once running the ongoing maintenance requirements of both are pretty much the same, and of course a self build NUC is cheaper if that matters to the OP! :slightly_smiling_face:

The MAC never sleeps and only runs Roon. Other files play ok, (getting static from time to time but not when I restart the track). All endpoints are affected.

The firewall is not enabled.

Everything is wired, gig network, unmanaged switches. Asus 86U - > Netgear 24 Port Gig switch - > Cat 5 wired.

I can play every file outside of Roon.

I often get blank zones if I don’t log in to the mac mini even though the mac mini is not asleep. Hard drives (it’s and SSD) are not put to sleep when able and Wake For Network access is checked.

Using an iMAC for remote or the iPAD yields the same missing zones issue.

Thanks -

Hi Henry - Sounds like you’ve had some experience with running a NUC. I really wanted to leverage the Mac Mini and keep costs lower.

But I’m willing to put a price on just being able to relax and listen to music when I can - without issue.

What NUC do you recommend and, if I wanted to DIY it, what would you suggest? Any thoughts on why the Mac is more trouble running Roon then a NUC?

Much appreciated - Chris

If I were you I wouldn’t rush to assume that the Mac Mini is necessarily the source of your woes. As a counter-example I’ve been running Roon on a Mac Mini for some time during which it has been entirely trouble-free. (I realise that’s not much help, except insofar as it might help you avoid a wild goose chase.)

Agreed and was likely my course of action. Buying a NUC is secondary to a possible issue with the Synology specs. It’s five years old, 8 bay but with newer WD 7200RPM drives. Still might be the issue. Maybe a cheap-ish solution is a larger USB attached, music drive, to the Mac Mini.

The Synology will keep everything safe (plus it’s backed up) but the dedicated USB attached to the Mac Mini will serve my music needs. The library isn’t changing that much. Worth giving a try.

Thanks for the details, @Chris_Lischy.

I’d like to propose a test that should give us a little more information above exactly what is causing the behavior you’re experiencing.

Try temporarily using the iMac as your Core machine. Do all of the same behaviors exist when doing so? If they do, this points to networking issues that we will need to look more into. If not, there may be some settings on the Mac Mini causing issues.

Give this test a try and let me know the results, this will be a great data point for knowing what our next steps are.


Hi, an i3 generation 7 NUC is more than enough for most unless you have a massive library or are doing DSP. You can go second hand and go as far back as a gen 5 machine although I wouldn’t go lower than an i5 (which is what I use). It is supported and can do DSD X2 (128) plus a couple of other zones. You can price a new i3 with 4-8gb RAM and a 64 or 128gb M2 and you may well be presently surprised. And you can always sell the Mac. I did run Windows 10 but ROCK takes away a lot of the concerns about the OS.

I used to run Roon on a 2014 i5 Mini. I hated it for many reasons, but not being able to run Roon wasn’t one of them. The Mini, running Roon Server, and having music files on a Synology DS214 had no problem running Roon or any files’ formats. I also upsampled my music to DSD256. The Mini and the Synology probably aren’t the problem.

Although I changed to an i5 NUC and a USB attached HDD, there’s no reason to do that yet.

There are many people here who will help you figure it out.

Agreed. I’ve run Roon on my 2011 Mac Mini until a couple of months ago when I moved the core/server part and the music files to a NAS (QNAP). Never had an issue. It’s much faster loading album pictures now, but that’s all. Still using the Mini as a streamer (the NAS feeds the Mini which feeds the DAC).

Might your mini be busy doing many background tasks? If I understand right, your problems are only with high rez/DSD files?

I used the Mini as an endpoint, for a while. For whatever reason, when used as an endpoint, I couldn’t get HiRes from macOS.

That’s curious. I have no issues going up to 192/24. I can play DSD 64 over PCM too.

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I suppose this brings us back to the original question. Can this be simple? Nucleus is as simple as it gets. NUC/ROCK is more involved in setup but once past that hurdle things should be as easy as they can be. Windows and OSX add potential layers of complexity due to updates and issues around support. They do work well enough but when they don’t that is when it can become tough going.

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