Headless MacBook Pro - Audio devices disappear when HDMI cable is out

Core Machine
Machine: MacBook Pro (mid 2014) 2.6 GHz Core i5/8GB running macOS 11.2.3
Roon build: Version 1.8 (build 795)

Device: iPhone 11 running 14.6*
Roon build: version 1.8 (build 795)*

Network Details
Not applicable, I listen via the USB DAC through headphones

Audio Devices
USB DAC - AudioQuest DragonFly Red

Library Size
External HHD connected via USB 3 to the Mac (~1,722 albums)

Description of Issue
I have gone through the community questions from members to see if someone has resolved the exact issue but have not found a 100% match, I need to confirm if what I’m experiencing is expected behavior of Roon.

I can only use the MacBook Pro through an external monitor via HDMI, the built-n screen stopped working eons ago. Roon works just fine, the audio devices (incl. DragonFly, System Output and Build-in Output) are enabled, visible and working as expected. The issues starts whenever I take out the HDMI cable out of the machine, then all audio devices disappear.

I had the full Roon installed, then reinstalled Roon Server (followed the correct instructions) and the issue persist. I thought running Roon ‘headless’ would help but no dice. I installed Plex to see if this is an OS issue but Plex works just fine without HDMI for music.

If this is expected behavior, I will try to solve outside of Roon.


I am not sure about if the issue is a MAC OS one or not. However, if it does require a constant plug in, you might consider: https://www.amazon.com/Display-Emulator-Headless-Display(Fit-Headless-1920x1080-3840x2160/dp/B06XSZR7CG/ref=psdc_14570285011_t5_B074FT1P8M.


Thanks, this is great I will be ordering for sure. Never knew such black magic existed.