Could anyone advise me about moving Roon Core to an iMac?

I’m currently running Roon on a little laptop connected to my hifi. It’s great. I am thinking of moving my music and Roon to a top spec iMac in another room and using my Squeezebox Touch to feed my stereo. I have a thousand or so of my own albums ripped, but now most of my listening is from Qobuz. Here’s my questions:

  1. How much hassle is it to move Roon Core from a Windows machine to a Mac?
  2. How much hassle is it to move back if it doesn’t work out?
  3. There are two users on the iMac. Will Roon Core still run when the other user is using the machine?
  4. I will copy my own music files to the iMac, with the same folder structure, but obviously the base folder will be different. Will this cause any issues?
  5. Any problems/pitfalls/warnings you have or advice?


  1. Depending on several factors, your music or your second user will likely suffer when both are using the Mac at the same time. You have the size of library that would benefit from a single-purpose server, either a NUC ROCK or a Nucleus.

Really easy. Make a backup of the Roon Core you are using and deactivate that core. Install Roon on the Mac and restore the backup to the Mac. OS doesn’t matter.

Even easier. Just deactivate the Mac core and turn on the Windows core.

It might be most noticeable when Roon is just getting set up. If you are using DSP in Roon and the users are doing resource intensive stuff, it could cause slow downs. But just playing music and doing e-mail, net-surfing, or even Word stuff shouldn’t be an issue.

It’s a good idea to move the music first. Then Roon will find it when it runs the first time. You could move the music later, but it’s best to have Roon turned off when you move music over. It’s not good to have Roon scanning the music as it comes in.

Just the music moving part. You may also need to deactivate the old music location on the new core. If the old music is visible, Roon will likely see it and you’ll have duplicates. They will be gone if you deactivate that music location and reboot Roon on the Mac.

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And, you’re not really moving the Roon core, you’re installing a new Roon core on a new device so that you have two Roon cores. You can switch back and forth if you ever need to.

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It is a fine point that might not mean anything to you, but if you simply switch between cores, I don’t believe your history will be intact. My understanding is the history will be fragmented such that plays on one core will not be added to plays on the other core, and vice versa. Likewise, things like playlists made on one core will not carry over to the other core if you simply ‘switch cores’.
That information is in the database. So if you save the database on one core and restore it to the other core, the database will be contiguous and cumulative. Thus, frequent Roon database backups would be important.

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Correct. You would need to do backups from your main core and restore to the other core if you want to keep them in sync. Since I bought and use a Nucleus, I restore to my Dell laptop ocassionally so I can take it with me when I travel.

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Just to add, Roon core on a laptop with a Dragonfly plugged into the USB port and headphones works great when away from home, even over cellular if you have a huge data plan.

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I will suggest keeping your music on an external drive. You can get a dedicated portable USB hard drive like WD My Passport up to 4TB nowadays for decent prices that barely makes any noise (2.5" 5400 RPM - practically silent after a few feet) and can be transferred from rig to rig. Anytime you need a Roon Core to detect your music, you simply point to that hard drive and the music will appear identical on every system.


Another thing that you may or may not know. Under Library -> Background Audio Analysis Speed.

Either keep it off (which is what I do on most devices) or run it at all cores at max and let the computer do its thing for a few hours/day. Only have Roon running at the time. It will get hot and loud, totally normal. Throttled may keep your computer and hard drive running for a long, long time depending on its specs along with the library size. I dislike throttled which is what’s selected as default.

(In general, I hate running things like Roon on a laptop as a Core, especially if it’s your primary laptop. Having to worry about battery life and charge/discharge cycles and battery ‘health’ annoys me. I use my Macbook Pro only as a remote or a core, but only when it’s needed for itself. I retain the iMac as the primary Core to serve for itself or for other devices. You don’t have to worry about batteries. It’s stress free in that regard.)

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Thanks. As it happens I have it turned off as I’m not interested in anything it offers. I know how loud the music is, and I listen to classical music so the last thing I want is volume levelling. Turning it off made Roon zippier on my little laptop when I first installed Roon, and I’ve left it off since.

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I used to have my Roon Core on my iMac i7 32GB Ram, and the cooling fan started running about 15 minutes in and never stopped. A regular computer has WAY too much other stuff going on that has noting to do with serving music. I got a Nucleus and “BAM”, problems solved. Now I feed my Primare USB from the Nucleus and it sounds wonderful. No hiccups or any problems at all.


Forgot to say. With the Nucleus, I use the iMac for control only, or my iPad.


I agree with Zoom25. Most trouble free approach that allows Roon core to work best is to have (a) an SSD for your operating system and the Roon software and (b) a separate, external HD for your music files. I have a MacMini that I use as a dedicated Roon core/music server and have not had any problems. I’ve tried doing other things on the MacMini while Roon was running and generally did not have issues, although I did notice occasional glitches if I was streaming music from Qobuz while also using the internet for some other activity that required a lot of bandwidth (e.g. downloading a large file). If you use the iMac for a lot of other things and prefer the MacOS (vs Windows, which I certainly do), I would suggest purchasing a used MacMini from OWC for your Roon core and running it headless. Even with an external hard drive, you can purchase an i5 processor MacMini with 8gb memory, a 256 gb SSD, and an external hard drive for under $500. See the link below. If you need more processing power for a large library and DSP, a quad-core i7 machine is only about $200 more. (I am not in any way affiliated with OWC. I am simply a satisfied customer.)


I’m not looking to spend any more money, just looking to simplify my system. My iMac is a big, top spec machine in a different room from my hifi. I couldn’t possibly be using it and listening to music at the same time so it surely must have enough grunt as I currently use a very low powered Windows laptop quite successfully. My iMac has also got plenty storage, ie a 2TB fusion drive, plenty space for my ripped music, all backed up to a Time Capsule and the cloud so I can’t imagine why I would need any external drives. Mostly my music comes from Qobuz nowadays in any case.

I’m glad the Nucleus fixed the issue for you. However, something seems off. Even my Late 2009 iMac Core 2 Duo runs Roon Core perfectly. The fans are all silent on all my 15" Macbook Pros w/i7s. The fans do not run at all. How big is your library and what kind of DSP do you apply? Were you running other heavy applications at the same time? If the answer is ‘no’ to these questions, either something went wrong somewhere or it could have been the Background Audio Analysis.

It’s simple enough to install the Roon core software on your iMac and see how it goes. You will have the core on 2 computers and can easily switch from one to the other. The only drawback is there is no way to sync the two cores other than doing a backup of one and a restore to the other. Since I purchased a Nucleus, I do that occasionally to keep my laptop core in sync. That’s not really necessary, but I want all the same Tidal and Qobuz albums linked on both.

Be aware the Time Capsule is notorious for doing bad backups of the Roon Database. I think it is really bad when the backups are done in snapshots via the Time Capsule. But if you are properly backing up the Roon database via Roon to the Time Capsule you are probably ok.
It isn’t a question of if you’ll need to restore the Roon backup, unfortunately it will inevitably happen one day. :frowning_face:

If the iMac is not being used simultaneously for other things, you should be fine.

You might ask other forum members if they’ve had any problems with the Roon core and music files on the same fusion drive. It may not be optimal. The Roon Nucleus, for example, has a small SSD for the Roon core and you need a separate internal or external drive for the music files. I don’t know which iMac you have, but some fusion drives come with only 16 gb of flash memory. Again, a Roon forum moderator or other forum member could address this issue. The point is that ideally you don’t want the Roon software operating, particularly if you’re using DSP functions, and sharing the same hard drive from which music files are being retrieved at the same time.

If the fan keeps running, as zoom25 pointed out, it may be the Roon software analyzing all of the music files in your library. In Roon Settings, Library, Background Audio Analysis, you can select the Throttled option to slow the analysis of your music files and devote more computer resources to playing the music.

Or if you want all the files analyzed initially after setting up the Roon core, which is a good idea, it will use more computer resources, but once the analysis of the files is complete, you should be fine. Using the Throttled setting, as zoom25 pointed out, will require much more time to analyze the files, and keep the computer running longer. The purpose of the default Throttled setting is to devote more computer resources to playing the music, which is particularly important if you use a lot of DSP functions.

If the core is in another room noise isnt an issue

How about a cheap and cheerful i7 desktop tower with a 4tb hdd