Roon recommend connecting the machine ruining the Core to your router via a wired ethernet connection. But if your WiFi network is solid and has decent throughput and it’s all currently working without issue for you, then there’s no need to change anything. Optical out from the MBP is fine.
It won’t bring about any improvements in sound quality quality, but in terms of convenience you might want to look at getting a dedicated Intel NUC (a older/used NUC 7 or 8 is ideal) and install ROCK on it — that will allow you to have Roon Core running 24/7 without your MBP needing to be switched on. Think of this as a DIY Nucleus.
Likewise you could also look connecting a small Raspberry Pi with a DigiHat running Ropieee XL directly to your Onkyo — to act as a standalone ‘Roon Endpoint’ (the DigiHat provides an optical output to the RPi). Think of this as a small network bridge/dongle that you can attach to your Onkyo in order to add Roon RAAT support to it. That would allow you to place the machine running your Core (MBP or NUC/ROCK) in another room, away from your main HiFi setup and remove the need to connect your Onkyo to it directly. Ropieee XL also adds support for Spotify Connect and AirPlay which might both be useful as fallback protocols. But again this is purely about convenience, it won’t improve sound quality.
If you haven’t done so already you might want to have a read though Roon’s Networking Best Practices.
Thanks a lot for your feedback Jamie much appreciated!
The NUC setup sounds just perfect for my needs. I have an old Synology DS213+ but it won’t run Roon Core so a NUC would be perfect or a newer Synology maybe.
Unless you have imminent plans to upgrade your Synology I’d go with a NUC.
You can pick up a used NUC 7 or 8 fairly cheaply on eBay (check the recommend models on this page).
Not only will the NUC be more powerful than most NAS servers (even the high end NASs tend to have fairly low spec CPUs) but by running ROCK you’ll be getting an OS that is optimally designed to run the Roon Core.
Yes, that will work fine too — I assume that is what your doing now.
I was just pointing out other recommended Roon setups, if you didn’t want to keep your MacBook open and running in order to use Roon, or if you didn’t want to directly connect your MacBook to your Onkyo.