Hardware setup for Roon - Help an old guy out?

Roon Core Machine

Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 with Intel I7 Processor, 16GB Ram and 1 TB HD
QNAP TS-431P3 - 4 Bay NAS drive

Networking Gear & Setup Details

Don’t remember the name of the router off hand but I have a dedicated network for music and movies with a 1TB download connection. No VPN in use.

Connected Audio Devices

Linn DS with Organik upgrade
Analogue output: 1× Balanced XLR pair, 1× unbalanced RCA pair
Digital output: 2× RJ45

Number of Tracks in Library

70,000 tracks (FLAC)

Description of Issue

It’s not a problem, I just need a little help configuring everything properly. I need a signal chain description and someone to help me understand how it all works together. I don’t really understand it all properly, even after reading through the website.

Here is my description of what I am trying to do:
I have the QNAP TS-431P3 NAS - it is a 4 drive bay NAS
I have two Seagate Ironwolf Pro 8TB NAS drives for Raid config.
I guess I need to also buy a small SSD for the Roon software, right? Model recommendations?
I have the Linn DAC
I have a Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 laptop and a Roon subscription

I just need to know where I go from here and how it all fit together.
I’m sorry to have to ask. Before Covid I would have just called a tech support number and had a conversation to straighten me out but in today’s new world I am having lots of trouble digesting technology in between short question and answer sessions.

I’d greatly appreciate someone offering me a hand to hold here.


Not sure if you saw this or not, but there is a good video telling you how Roon works. If you haven’t already I would start there.

Basically you should be able to run Roon Core from your laptop for now until you decide whether it is for you or not and whether you want a dedicated “core” device running the Roon server (like a Nucleus or a NUC running ROCK or from your QNAP).

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I was streaming LINN on my QNAP TS-253D. If you are already using SSD as storage for the TS-431P, all you need to do next is install Roon from QNAP’s App Center and get an account on the Roon Lab homepage. However, my TS-253D is not a Roon recommended CPU. TS-431P is inferior in performance to TS-253D. So I’ll have to try it out to see if it’s a completely satisfying experience (I was happy with the TS-253D).

Hmmm. So how will I know if my TS-431P is sufficient or not without setting the whole thing up and trying it? I’d rather not waste a lot of time on that if I can just replace it.

The kind of help I was looking for was more of an instruction guide rather than an overall presentation video. I have seen the video but there are no specifics about setting it all up to work properly.

Running Roon on a NAS is not a very good solution. Since you are willing to replace your NAS if the current one is not sufficent to run Roon Core, I recommend buying an Intel NUC, installing ROCK, and running Roon there. You can still keep your music on the NAS.

BTW - your NAS is using a non-standard chip, but I don’t know if that disqualifies it to run Core or not.

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It appears that the TS-431P falls well below spec for a Roon Core though it’s fine to act as storage for the 70,000 tracks in your library. Roon Core would need 8GB of RAM or more to run smoothly with a library that size.

If your laptop has an SSD it could act as both Core and remote running the Roon app though you’d need to connect it to your audio devices either directly or using a DAC ideally via USB.

You can run Roon core on a laptop and connect via WIFI to your network. While it can sometimes be a problem, it works for me with no issues. While I normally use a Nucleus, I have a backup core on my Dell laptop. I guess it depends on the quality of your network.

But with 70,000+ tracks I can’t keep all my music on the Laptop’s SSD hard Drive. I will still have to use a NAS and if I try using the Intel NUC option to run Roon Core then I am really just adding ANOTHER box into the hardware chain. I’d like to keep all of this as simple as possible and cost isn’t a factor.

I can buy a Nucleus but, again, I think that I am maybe just adding yet another box into the signal chain.

Ideally, as Jim suggested, I’d like to just run Roon Core on my laptop and access a really good NAS to play my files. I just don’t know which NAS wins the race and I don’t know how to attach it to my DAC to make the FLAC files sound “next level”

Do I understand this correctly…

  1. Files are on NAS, all clean and meta-tagged properly, etc.
  2. Laptop accesses NAS over the network and Roon’s GUI shows them to me
  3. Laptop sends selected file to DAC
  4. Dac sends processed file to my audio system

That is my understanding of how all this works. Please correct me if I am wrong and help me to run the right hardware setup.

Yes, that is mostly correct. Roon doesn’t touch the music files. Tagging, at least the tagging you add via Roon, lives only in Roon’s library (dataset) which would be, in your example, on the laptop.

You can run Roon Core on a NAS, just not your current NAS. Do a forum search to find what NAS boxes people sucessfully run Roon

Personally, I would prefer a Nucleus or NUC versus a NAS or laptop for my main Roon core device. Keep your music files on the NAS as long as that works for you and make sure you back them up somewhere.

If you don’t want another device in the picture, install Roon on your laptop and see how well it works with your network. For some, it works well while other have dropouts over their WIFI connection. It works well for me. You can do this now with no downside. Switch your authorized core back and forth at will between laptop and NAS or laptop, NAS, and NUC. You can have multiple cores but only authorize one at a time with one Roon license.

And test Roon Core on your laptop. The music files do not need to be on the Core. The Core just needs to know where they are on the NAS.

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External USB Drive works.


@Rugby hit it on the head here.
Buy an 8tb external USB HDD and connect it directly to the laptop.
Transfer your music from old nas to new USB HDD over the network, then should be ready to rock.


Get a current fanless i7 NUC with ROCK or a Nucleus+ (much, much more than you need with 70000 tracks, but as cost is not a factor), directly attach a USB enclosure with a 4 or 8 TB SSD. Or use a second internal SSD in the NUC, depending on preference. Configure your NAS to run a scheduled backup job that pulls the data off the SSD.

You will not. There is no signal chain, it’s digital data at this point. Every day, unfathomable amounts of data are being transferred around the globe without being altered.

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You can reference the libraries located on QNAP from non-NAS cores such as NUC.

Yes, but it comes with complexity and possible issues, and Roon prefer directly attached storage.

It needs to be backed up anyway, so why not use directly attached storage and back up to the NAS. Best of both worlds, no issues.


Is the NUC only to hold the Roon Core software and run it properly? Why would someone put it on a NUC instead of just running it on a capable laptop?
My Samsung Galaxy Book2 360 has 16 GB of DDR Ram and an i7 Processor. Is that not sufficient to run Roon Core?
I also have an 8TB external SSD hard drive (Rocstor) with a very fast file transfer speed.
The idea of adding a NAS with Raid configuration was only for backing up my SSD

I feel like I still don’t have a grasp on this since there are so many different opinions and ways to do it.

Your laptop is more than enough to run Roon. Some people don’t like to use a laptop because, I think, they view it as being a clumsy solution.

Some (many people?) like a stand alone device dedicated to solely running Roon and so they choose to have an Intel NUC running ROCK or have a Roon Nucelus.

You have paralysis of analysis. Put it on your laptop, at least temporarily , and stop agonizing over it. You can always change to different hardware later.


Yes, a NUC sole purpose is to run the Roon core software. It is a headless, always on computer and works well. Many people have good success running Roon core on a laptop and that is usually a good place to start. If that works for you, then you need nothing else. I started that way buy soon decided it was a hassle for me running Roon on a laptop. I would frequently accidently shut down Roon while doing other things, so I went with a Roon Nucleus.

EDIT: If I was you, I would immediately sign up for a 14 day free trial and install Roon on your laptop. Point Roon at your music files on your NAS and give it a good trial. Before the end of December, decide if you want to go with annual or lifetime before the price increase on 1/1/23. Later, you can try to run Roon on your NAS and/or purchase a NUC or Nucleus if you want. No rush.

I’m really a fan (the most people here not) about using the NAS also as Roon core machine.
But your small NAS (ARM Cortex CPU and only 1GB RAM) hasn’t enough horse power (I’ve pimped my NAS with a i7 and 16GB RAM and changed then - because I’m using a lot of DSPs, multiple endpoints, multichannel, much bigger library,… - to a dedicated Linux server with a current i9, 32GB RAM, 1x256 GB SSD and 2x8 TB SSDs).
What I would do here:

  • get a PC (it must really not a NUC with Rock on it), which has enough power and don’t needs to much electricity.
  • put in there a small SSD for the core and enough HDDS/SSDs for your library.
  • use your NAS as backup for your files and as backup system (DLNA, LMS,…) for playing your local music (Roon needs since 2.0 a working internet connection)

Also: Try to use in every case LAN, because Roon needs also a real stable network connection.