Core and Output on Same Machine? [Answered]

A newb question: I plan on running Roon on a Mac Mini directly connected by USB to the DAC in my Peachtree Nova 125 amp. For control, I will use the Roon app on an iPad Pro. Does this configuration mean that Core and Output are both hosted by the Mini? Or is the DAC considered the Output? I understand that, from a sound quality standpoint, the Core and Output functions should be separated.

Yes your envisaged set up of Core and output on the Mac mini is perfectly functional. When setting up your audio devices you’ll be able to select the Peachtree as an output.

I think the only considerations on running core and output together would be if your core is physically noisy or running out of CPU power. The Mac mini may have some fan nice if you’re doing heavy upsampling to DSD128 for example. Otherwise you’re going to love how it all works.

Thanks! That puts my mind at ease. I’ve ordered a new (well, 2014😉 vintage) Mini with Core i5 and SSD, which I think will be sufficient for a library containing ~40,000 tracks.

You should be fine with that

Hi Douglas,

Connecting your Mac Mini directly to the Peachtree should work fine. In this case Roon running on the Mac Mini is operating as a Core and Output, which is entirely usual.

The advice about separating Core and Output that you refer to arose from the devs experience of electrically noisy general purpose computers. As an alternative to the open ended task of trying to quieten a computer, the devs created RoonBridge, which is an Output only. Manufacturers can also incorporate RoonReady within their equipment, which is an internal Roon Output.

Sending audio by RAAT over Ethernet to a RoonBridge or RoonReady device isolates the Output from the noisy computer.

Until Peachtree go RoonReady (And I don’t know what they have plans to do so) you could separate Core and Output using a device like the Allo DigiOne (192 kHz 24 bit Spdif) or various rendu models from Sonore (384 kHz, DSD 512, USB).

But it is not necessary to separate Core and Output, simply an option. The extent of any improvement depends on how noisy the computer is, which can be affected by local power line conditions etc.

Did this set-up work? I am attempting to do what you propose, except that my DAC is an MSB. I am able to control Roon remotely, but the audio output goes to the Mini. The audio setup on both Roon and the app are identical.

Yes because they both point to the core settings so show the same thing. The upshot - it’s probably set wrong - i.e. You’ve setup the Mac as an output and selected it for playback, rather than the USB device.

Thanks! I have a Raspberry Pi Model 3 with the HiFiBerry Digi+ HAT installed. I suppose I could press this into service as a USB to S/PDIF converter if I install Roon Bridge on it. I’ll listen with and without the Pi/Digi+ installed and report back on the SQ.

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That sounds like an excellent idea Douglas. You may find DietPi a useful menu driven lightweight Raspbian branch that includes provision to install Roon Bridge. Alternatively Ropieee is a purpose built Archlinux image that runs Roon Bridge.

If you are in a position to try different power supplies to the Pi that might also be interesting.