Core on Mac Mini M1 vs Asus I5 Windows 10 ca 2017

Hi, I’m completely new to Roon. Having used JRiver MC for a long time, and used asio to transfer audio to a IFI IDSD
The time is now to add more multi-room capacity.
I have a choice between installing Roon Core on the PC which holds most of my music files or a brand new Mac mini.

I can’t have two cores running without a new subscription.
I can off course use the pc as a bridge and let the Mac do the number crunching.
The files that need the most processing power are DSD. I’m having problems in sending DSD over the wired network. Not so with files stored in the local library.

Should the core be where the music is stored or should the music be on the endpoint?

I will also upgrade my network cable to Cat 7 or 8 to maximise speed.

If DSD is your thing, you might want to go with Windows. Macs don’t do “native” DSD - you’d need to run it DoP, which is actually not a big deal but some people care.

I am using an M1 Mac Mini with an endpoint and I can send native DSD to my DAC all day long. The OP is using an endpoint so the Mac Mini’s OS limitations are not in play here.

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The music always go through the core. If you stored it on the endpoint it would be pulled to the core and then back to the endpoint again.

You are absolutely right about Mac OS not doing DSD natively.
For that you have to bypass Kernel audio. Which is limited for file support that Apple somehow don’t approve of. And make an integer connection with DA using USB. ASIO driver is not needed.
Various software like Amarra, Audirvāna, Pure Music and the like have been able to do so for quite some time.

If Roon can do the same thing, ie integer mode we are about to find out.

When I used a Mac Mini as my core I do not recall DSD being an option in roon, (only DoP or Convert to PCM) when connected over USB. (I’m now using a Nucleus, and I am an old man whose memory is poor)

So my sorta educated guess is that there is nothing about Roon that gets around this limitation. Will be happy to be called wrong. Nicely.

I hearken back to this comment on a post from days of yore:

This is dumb…it is easy to use DSD with Roon if you run an endpoint that supports DSD…

I appreciate the comment!

Please see this FAQ direct from Roon!

Have a terrific night!

From my M1 Mac Mini Roon server to an ultraRendu…

Now how is that possible???

Under DSP → Sample Rate Conversion, select:

Look, I was simply trying to help the OP who said he has a lot of DSD files who asked about choosing a Mac or Windows as a core, and eventually you burst in and called my reply “dumb”. Based on what others with more knowledge have already posted, I said something that (apparently) wasn’t iron clad full 100% right for every instance and every user and posted it on a free internet forum in an attempt to help someone else.

Enjoy your ultraRendu.

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I said “this is dumb” with “this” being the idea that only a Windows system can do native DSD.

A Mac running Roon can support native DSD too as long as an endpoint is being used that supports DSD. So, if the OP wants to use the M1 Mac Mini as the Roon server and a Windows PC as an endpoint, talking to his DAC, he can certainly use native DSD if the Windows PC is configured appropriately.

I am trying to stop the spread of misinformation here…that is all.

Nothing that was quoted stated that. It is the endpoint that determines if native DSD is possible, not the core. In the above 2020 quote from me, the context was in terms of plugging a DAC directly into a ROCK NUC or Nucleus via USB.

Linux and native DSD playback can be complicated. Linux, like MacOS, defaults to DoP for DSD playback. For native DSD, the Linux kernel on the endpoint needs to be patched for the specific DAC. That means that if a user cares about native DSD, he/she should do research to verify that the Linux kernel that their particular device is running has been patched for the DAC they want to use to avoid unpleasant surprises.

For example, you are using an UltraRendu, there was a page on another website that detailed what DACs the Rendus had been patched to work with. Certainly not every DAC made.

Windows is “easier” since most manufacturer’s include ASIO drivers which are easily loaded, as compared to trying to get a manufacturer to patch a Linux kernel.

For example: See this post by Spockfish, RoPieee’s author on the subject

He was willing to work with an user to get RoPieee patched for a specific DAC. Not all manufacturer’s are so open and generous. Hence, the need to do research.

That is not what certain people were saying…they made generic statements without consideration for the server/endpoint model…I was pointing out that if you use an endpoint, the limitations of the Mac in regards to DSD no longer apply.

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raspberry pi 4 works just fine for DSD as well. let the Mac do the number crunching and use a pi as endpoint. works without issues with my SMSL D300 (and that’s a cheap dac)

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Thank you for your input. It is greatly appreciated. This is getting complicated. I have set up my M1 without Roon.
I’m now listening to Roon PC core and a MacBook Air with USB out to iFi Zen signature. It sounds wonderful. Tonal palette is rich.
The Kernel that Apple call Core Audio not to be confused with the Core is not possible to bypass in my current setup of Roon. Core audio is my only output from USB to Zen. It seems from todays work in progress. Not yet possible. :grinning:

I have the Roon Core on a m1 mini, some months I did use core audio USB to Zen Dac v2. Best upgrade ever was a Zen Stream (and you bypass the apple core audio)

As for m1 vs others, before m1 my roon core was on an old iMac it was the same (if not using convolution or upsampling). If I would not need horse power I would keep the roon core on the comp that is best for your setup and work and so…

Yes indeed. The only route is where streamer begins. You have to get a dedicated streamer recognized by Roon. I have a Denon DNP 730AE. It is only recognized as a AirPlay device.

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Yes I have in living room a Yamaha. It can do tidal nicely but if using roon, only airplay. If there were unlimited founds I would get a Zen Stream for that Yamaha :slight_smile:

Why a zen stream? Does it do anything better than a raspberry pi would do? :slight_smile: