I want to share my few days experience with ROON so far and also share my knowledge for the ones who wish to run the ROON Core on a Synology NAS.
Background; I own a Blusound Node 2i streamer / DAC and upgraded to a Cambridge Audio CNX v2. What an upgrade! Over the years, I upgraded many audio components except my vintage REVOX stack consisting of an B261 tuner, B251 integrated and B215 tape deck. They are my proud and joy but the B251 is fancy to deal with and will let you know if the source material is crap. You are now warned!
My music collection, about 3500 songs, is coming mostly from iTunes ripped CDs lossless and purchased Apple music stored onto my NAS. I also subscribed to Tidal HIFI Plus for the trial period but will downgrade to HIFI only if the cost doesn’t weights the benefits.
I’m still under the trial period with ROON and considering it seriously because I want to keep the NODE 2i and send it to the basement and having one steaming software, easy to use, for the whole family, especially the wife is a must. So far ROON ticks all boxes… when it works!!!
I love the fact that ROON is flexible enough to fit your own ecosystem and I’m raising my hat to the developers for making it happen. Let’s be honest it is a complex piece of software reuniting a bunch of hardware, software, protocol, name it; producing quality music and user experience.
Let’s get to the subject:
ROON Server Core:
- Synology DS720+ NAS
- Celeron Quad Core 2.0Ghz, burst to 2.7Ghz
- 8Gb of RAM (upgraded from the base 2Gb)
- 3Tb WD RED NAS, Will upgrade to Seagate IronWolf with cache
- No NMVe cache used for the moment
- RoonServer shared folder running from the spinning disks for now. Will move it to an external SSD storage only if I’m facing performance issues. Time will tell.
- Remote devices are mostly Apple
ROON recommends Intel Core i CPU for the server but the Roon Core is running perfectly fine on my NAS consuming about 10% CPU and 1Gb of RAM using two remotes but no DSP. Roon also recommends running the database from an SSD. I have not experienced any lags; everything seems pretty smooth and fast. Consider that I’m also running other services on that NAS for TV and networking totalling 20% CPU and 20% of RAM running 24/7. Your milage may vary but I would not recommend any lower hardware specifications.
- Create your shared folder RoonServer on your NAS
- Download the appropriate package for your Synology (DSM 6 or 7) from the roononnas.org and please donate.
- Follow the instructions of the website.
- From your NAS, install the package manually and follow the instructions. When installing the package, you will need to specify the targets for the Roon server and music folder.
- Complete the install and you should now have the Roon core running.
- i’m recommending Installing Roon remote on a computer first to configure the server for the ease of use.
Problems / Solutions:
RoonServer shared folder permission: When I first ran Roon remote from my computer, I was first pointed to the Core correctly and then the Roon icon was just spinning endlessly. I wasn’t able to connect with the Core. The problem came from an error into the instructions when installing the Roon DSM package where it was instructing to set the permission of the shared folder RoonServer to READ where it should have been READ / WRITE. Once changed I was able to connect to the Roon Core.
AAC encoded music: Second problem was that some albums from my collection were not playing and also crashing the streamer. Found out that those were AAC encoded music files not supported by my Synology DSM 7 OS natively. Found out I had to install the ffmpeg codec manually into the /RoonServer/RoonOnNas/Bin folder and voila!. I downloaded the package from johnvansickle.com/ffmpeg/ choosing the one for my Intel based Synology (i686). Donate to John please.
iOS phone disconnecting: Symptoms were that after initiating the playback from an iPhone (6 and SE), music was stopping after about 5 mins and the Roon Remote app crashed. Doing the same from other devices did not exhibit this problem. That seems a wide spread issue with Roon and iOS and I haven’t seen any decent solutions provided by Roon so far. Given the number of iOS devices around the world, this is a major turn down and should be taken more seriously by Roon IMO. If I wasn’t a computer Geek and liked so much the Roon experience, I would have turned Roon offering down still. I invested time into this problem and I might have fixed it but I’m unsure what did it and how long it’s going to work. First, you must have a clean network. All my devices on the network supplying “services” have a fixed static IP address (NAS, Network TV tuner, streamers, server, etc…) all other devices like mobile phones, tablets and computers have IPs assigned by the router. However I investigated into the wifi access point configurations and found that it could serve as a DNS / DCHP lan server as well. While the Access Point did not lease any IPs to any devices and passed the IP leases to the router, I decided still to turn off the LAN part of the Access Point. Then, I stopped Roon server, restarted both router and access point and restarted Roon server. So far so good. Roon as been running perfectly since from any devices, including the iOS ones. This is just my personal opinion but the Access Point was, maybe, hosting a phantom network within my network and this was annoying iOS devices only. Go figure but I will certainly monitor this problem before going with a long term commitment with Roon.
Itunes Playlists: Roon does not recognize my exported .m3u playlist from iTunes located into the music folder and there is not way to import them inside Roon. I’m recommending Roon to add a manual import function of playlists.
I think Roon is a very nice product bringing your favorite music to your finger tips. It is intuitive, easy to use, has the wife acceptance factor and this a most important
But if you want Roon and thinking to run it on the cheap side, like me, then you will face issues and you will have to invest time resolving them. If you don’t want to bother with problems then go and buy a Roon supported product and enjoy your music listening sessions.
Before posting in here, I’ve read over hundreds of posts looking for solutions to my problems. Trust me, I’read a lot of rant as well. Roon is a great product and supported by a great community. Without that, I would have chose something else. For the ones who think that Roon is an expensive product, I don’t think so. Guys, Girls and non genre, you’re spending thousands of dollars into audio gears and find Roon subscription expensive? Yes it does have its quirks but if you balance everything intelligently, Roon is great and affordable for audiophiles.
- User experience
- Ease of use
- Sound quality
- At worst, iOS issues should have been resolved a long time ago. When I read from Roon support that they were able to find an iPhone and resolved a possible VPN conflict, with that one Apple device only, that was funny honestly…
For now, it’s a keeper