Checking if I understand how to set up a Roon Core on a Mac Mini

I’ve currently got Roon running as core on my 2018 MBP and I’ve a 2015 iMac running as a remote. It works just fine but necessitates having the MBP up and running in order to play music on the iMac. I’d like a dedicated ‘on all the time’ solution so I’m looking to add a 2012 Mac Mini as the Roon core. First thing I’ll do, once I’ve purchased a MM, is deactivate the MBP as core and reassign it to the MM which will have Roon installed. The MM will be wired by Ethernet to an Apple Time Machine which is connected by Ethernet to my Modem. I’ll connect the MM via USB to my Oppo 205’s USB DAC input. The MBP and the iMac will run remotely off the MM.
If all that’s correct then my only questions are in regards to system preferences and how they should be set up. In system preferences>sharing do any services need to be activated and is it necessary to do so the same way on all three computers? Will the Firewall need to be deactivated on all three computers for this to work? I currently have the Firewall On for the MBP and the iMac and enabled the Firewall to Allow All Incoming Connections from Roon on both computers. The MBP is networking via wifi and the iMac is by ethernet cable. Finally, do I need to install Roon Bridge on the MM? I’ve not enabled any services in Sharing with my current MBP/iMac setup and it’s working fine.

Depending on how big your library is, if you want to do other stuff than Roon with it, and how much you’d be paying for the 2012 mini, you might want to look into getting a NUC and installing ROCK instead.

A 2012 mini is long on the tooth, only the “late 2012” still gets OS updates, and you want an SSD for the database, so once you add it all up, well…

The rest of the setup looks about right from here. You’re going to have to allow media keys, and there might be some other stuff to allow (including allowing Roon connections), so you might want to have a screen + keyboard handy until you’re up and running.

You may want to set up system audio to use the built-in speaker as well (system preferences / sound / play sound effects through internal speaker).

Nope, should come with the Roon app.

My library is pretty small about 100GB. I’m looking at a 2012 MM with 2.3 quad core i7 and 16gb of ram and a 2Tb SSD for about $300 so more than enough horse power. Not too concerned about OS updates. I plan on staying put with Mojave for as long as possible even though Catalina will run on a 2012 late MM. Will hookup the MM to my LG tv and use a keyboard and track pad to get up and running. Thanks for the input Xekomi, I’m tempted by the NUC and ROCK but have no experience with ROCK so I’m trying to keep it simple by sticking with a Mac OS.

You ‘should’ be ok on the 2012 mm but only just for the best roon baseline. See minimum specs for roon the knowledge base. Also Apple airport network is a known area of concern also in the KB under networking. A core on WiFi also not recommended

I would make sure your Roon core device is connected via ethernet cable. Since it is the computer that is streaming from the internet, I think it will be the only one that might have a firewall issue you will need to deal with. I’m not sure about that, but that makes sense to me.

I’ve got a 2012 i7 Mac Mini and Roon runs absolutely fine on it. I’ve even still got a spinning disk HD. I can even do video editing/compression on it while Roon is running and it still works fine. Roon only uses around 3% system resources on mine, 1 zone DSD or about 6%, 2 zone DSD as examples.

Since you’re gonna control Roon from your MBP and iMac I would recommend running Roon Server rather than full Roon on the mini.

If you need to control from the actual mini anytime, you can fire up full Roon and it will talk to the ‘server’ version on the same machine.

Most of the time mine runs headless, but it is connected to my AV amp via HDMI, so I can watch videos on it. I use it as a multimedia player playing videos off my network occasionally, but most of the time it’s just running Roon. I leave it on 24/7.

As a test I’ve just tried playing six different DSD 64s to six zones and total system resources were 10-13%. This is with the DSDs stored on the internal spinning disk alongside Roon Server.

Hi Dan,
Any advice regarding different system preferences and firewall implementation than what I’m currently employing? Firewall is currently on with no Sharing.

It sounds like a Mac Mini, in the configuration I’m looking at, or something similar, should be fine for my size library.
I’ll go with your recommendation and install Roon Server with full Roon available on the MM if I need to control the server version.

James and WOZ, I’ll be connecting the MM via Ethernet so I should be fine in that regard especially with wifi providing my MBP with around 475mbps, the same as my iMac connected by Ethernet. My Apple Airport Base Station is connected via Ethernet cable and the MM will be connected to it by Ethernet cable.

Hi Brian. I don’t remember having to do anything special with the firewall when I installed RoonServer. I think I remember saying “allow incoming connections” or something like that.

I’ll check if it’s whitelisted in the Firewall when I get home.

Hi Dan,
I decided to get a base model 2018 MM and a 10.2" iPad as a remote.
Everything is up and running and working seamlessly.
You’re right about the Firewall, it being on is not an issue and
Roon & RAAT are setup in the Firewalls advanced settings to allow incoming connections.

The one thing that threw me was trying to get the MM to connect via USB to the Oppo’s
DAC input. I got no audio! I found out from Oppo Tech Support that the connection from the player to the avr, when using the USB DAC, can’t be HDMI as it won’t pass audio.
The connection must be an analog, such as RCA.

Thanks all for the help everyone. Much appreciated!

1 Like

You want analog from your Oppo to your receiver and then to your speakers so that you are actually using the Oppo DAC. If you use HDMI from the Oppo, you will be using the DAC in your receiver.