Configuring Roon Core and Client - system output [Solved]

I have 2 Mac minis one of which I run as a client and the other the core. I presume I should set the core to System output. I then select the client also to system output and in this way whatever the core is running, this is reflected on the client. However, I can’t get it to output sound on my client. If I choose my usual audio device on the client which is a firewire to a Weiss device or via Amarra SQ+, I loose the system output from the Core. I can however use these outputs to play from my client Mac, just not able to get the core to play through to the client. What am I doing wrong? Thanks

Roon uses the terminology remote, instead of client, but the server/client analogy is apt. The core can be configured directly or via the remote. The core will have it’s usual outputs, including system out. The remote will show the core outputs plus additional outputs from the remote marked with an eye and termed “private zones”.

If you select a zone on the core (including system output) then you should hear output on the relevant endpoint connected to the core for that zone. The play bar on the remote should show that connection in the same way as if you had selected core system out using the remote.

If you select the private system out zone on the remote then you should hear output on a relevant endpoint connected to the remote, not the core.

If it’s not working for you as described above, then there may be some other issue.

Edit: how are the Mini’s connected ? I have assumed by Ethernet on the same network. If, however, you are also connecting USB from the core to the remote, then that might account for what you are seeing.



I have two Macs connected only by Ethernet. So using the terminology remote and core. I have done the following

  1. Select on the Core system output
  2. Select on the Remote also system output - Music bar shows what the Core is playing. No sound
  3. Select on the Remote private zones, I loose the music bar showing what the core is playing, again no sound
  4. Select on the Remote private zone and play files from the remote, sound appears but this is no longer using the core.

I have also set up another Remote on a PC and again same thing. Select system output on the PC remote, I can see what the core is playing but no sound. Select output to private zone, no sound from what the core is playing.

I don’t seem to be able to select both. Thanks again

In this print screen which is from my PC remote, when I select system output (named central) it shows the music playing on the core. But no sound (in this case) from my headphones. If I select my DAC which is the theorem, I loose the system output from the core.
Same situation as my Mac remote.

If your headphones are connected to the core and your system output from the operating system on the core (“Central”) is directed to the headphones, then selecting Central either from core or remote should result in output to the headphones.

Your DAC is also connected directly to the core (“Theorem”). Theorem and Central are alternative outputs from your core; you can’t select both at the same time.

If you want to send one output stream to the DAC and another to your headphones, then you could attach your headphones to the remote. Select Theorem on the core and control it from the core. Select the private zone on the remote to which the headphones are connected and control it from the remote.

Sound is always processed in the core; never by a remote.

Sorry i wasn’t clearer. That screenshot was from my remote PC. My remote PC connects to my headphone amp/dac which is the theorem. So the theorem is attached to the remote and not the core. If i select system ouput on both core (its a Mac Mini) and my PC remote, what music i play on my core is reflected on the remote but there is no sound output to my headphones.
In a similar vein, my remote mac faces the same issue. I have no dac attached to my Mac core computer. Is it correct i select system output on my core. There is no alternative on my core to select any of my remotes aside from internal speakers Thanks again.

Additional. I realise that my system output on my core is out through the internal MAC speakers. But i dont have a choice as i have no other output on my core MAC. so i am back to the problem of outputing via my remotes. If i choose system output on my remote it outputs to the cire MAC’s internal speakers. Choose my attached DAC on either my PC remite or MAC remote, i no longer output what my core MAC is playing

Oh yes, I see. Theorem is marked as a private zone. I missed that sorry.

The way I understand your setup:

  • if you select Central (either from core or remote) then output should go to the system output on the Core. Selecting Central from both core and remote is redundant, either will send output to the system output on the Core. If you don’t have anything connected to the system output on the Core then you won’t hear anything ! Selecting “This PC” with the remote will send output to the system output on the remote;

  • if you select the Theorem as a private zone on the remote then you should hear output to the headphones through the Theorem. The audio path is still processed by the core and sent to the remote.

  • I think it is possible to send different output to Central (using the core) and to Theorem (using the remote), but I haven’t checked this. I will check it out on my system tonight and let you know.

Hope that helps, us 'bobs gotta stick together :smile:

Really appreciate your help.
Yes, you are right on my setup.
When I select the private zone output (theorem on remote PC or soundstream (using amarra SQ+) on remote MAC) I get no sound when playing music on the Core. The Instead it only works when I select files locally but this defeats the use of a core system.
So eg in my screenshot, you can see the central selected on my remote PC, it reflects below what is played on the core. But the music is playing out to the Core’s internal MAC speakers.
Once I tick the Theorem, I loose the music bar below and have no sound output at all to my headphone connected to my remote PC.

Just to check, as I understand it you have:

  • Mac mini Core
  • PC Remote > Theorem > Headphones
  • Mac mini Remote > Soundstream (Amarra SQ+) > ?

These three are all connected by Ethernet on the same network.

Can you explain what the Soundstream is and how you are connecting to it ?

This is working as intended. Whenever you select Central as an output, whether from the Core or either of your remotes, then output will go to the system output on your Core.

At the moment you cannot use the Core to send music to a private zone connected to a remote. Private zones are seen only by the remote to which they are connected. This may change with RoonSpeakers.

I think it may be possible to send output to Central (using the core) and another output to Theorem and/or Soundstream (using the remotes), but I haven’t checked this. I will check it out on my system tonight and let you know.

I’m not sure what you mean by defeats the use of a core system. The Core does all of the music processing, Remotes just route the audio stream to endpoints. The audio stream doesn’t necessarily go through the Remote (eg: iOS devices).

When using a private zone as output however, then the audio stream will go through the Remote. Where the private zone is the system out of a mini Mac I’m not sure if Amarra SQ+ running on the mini Mac will affect the output. @REShaman may be able to clarify this.

I don’t understand this part. I thought you were hearing through headphones attached to the Theorem OK. Do you perhaps mean some other headphones connected to your remote Mac mini ?

Edit: Further information about private zones can be found in this post:

Sorry maybe I am the one confused.
My system made of 3 computers is correct ie
Mac mini core > PC remote > Theorem > Headphone
Mac mini core > Mac mini remote > Soundstream amarra SQ+ > Weiss DAC via firewire
The soundstream is simply a virtual output device that lets the amarra stream music from various apps such as youtube, Netflix, tidal etc.

On my remote system, I am able to play whatever I like when I select the appropriate output eg Theorem or Sonicstream. When I do this, does it mean that the core is doing the processing?
What confuses me is the use of the Roon app on my android. Since only the core is visible to the Roon app and not the remotes, I am now unable to use it to control the flow of music from the Core to the remotes. So if I want to play music, I need to get onto my keyboard/mouse and select music directly from the remotes.
I presumed this meant that playing and selecting music via this way (and not via the Roon app on my android) I am not no longer involving the core. Is this my mistake?

Yes, in my experience, I can play one album, track etc on my Mac Mini Core, and a different album, tracks etc on my iMac Remote Client. If I may add my experience to the discussion.


Thanks for the input. I find that is exactly what is happening right now. What I play on my Mac mini core isn’t played through my remote client. If this is the way its designed, it becomes a problem as you cannot play and select music from the ipad or android app as it only connects to the core. Am I right? Thanks


Yes, that all sounds like it is working as intended.

The audio streams always go through the Core and the Core machine always does all the processing in Roon. It sounds like you can do additional processing using Soundstream and Amarra SQ+ on the Remote Mac mini which is quite cool.

At the moment a Remote cannot see or control a private zone connected to another Remote. That is coming with RoonSpeakers.

Just to be clear, at the moment you can direct output:

  • to an endpoint connected to the Core and recognised by the OS on the Core, using any Roon device;
  • to a network endpoint (currently only AirPlay and Meridian) using any Roon device;
  • to a private zone using the Roon device connected to that zone.

Thanks Richard, I thought that was the case.

I don’t think you’re seeing anything unexpected Jimbob. You will have more flexibility after RoonSpeakers, but for the moment the only devices that can control your DACs are the remotes to which they are connected. If you preferred, you could connect one of them to the Core and control it with your Android tablet.



Edit: Can confirm Richard’s experience. I can control a stream from my Core (Gigabyte BRIX) to the Vega DAC connected to it by USB and at the same time control a separate stream from my PC (running as a remote) to USB headphones on the PC (a private zone).

Thanks again. You are absolutely right.
I have confirmed with my MAC activity monitor. When my remotes are playing music, the Core activity CPU usage goes up from 1-2% to an average of 4% and peaks of 14%.
Yes the amarra SQ+ is a bonus as it also integrates DiRC, a digital room correction system for rooms with sub-optimal acoustic treatments.