Help needed for a new Roon user with the optimum set up

Dear Roon Community,

i have finally decided to purchase Roon and have questions regarding ideal set up with my given equipment.
I have a 2012 Mac Mini with a quad core CPU, 16GB ram, a linear power supply replacing the original Apple ps, 1TB SSD drive but also bought a 64GB SD Card, the fastest i could get in terms of transfer rates. I thinking of installing the Mac OS on the SD Card and the Roon Software on the SSD drive. I did read in a couple of threads that Mac OS on the SD Card would be the best solution, no explanations thought why this is.
The Mac Mini system will be my Roon Core, connected to an Lampizator DAC via a USB cable.
Besides this i have my music library on a Naim Uniti Serve. I´m streaming quite a lot with Tidal these days and using the wav files mostly if Tidal does not have the titles i´m looking for, i.e. not a single song from the band Tool on Tidal …then i switch to my own CD rips.

My questions are:

  1. Does this set up make sense in this way ?
  2. What exactly is the benefit in SQ to install the OS on the SD Card ?
  3. Would it make sense to copy the wav files fro the Uniti Serve to the internal SSD of the Mac Mini or is it better to stream from the Uniti Serve ? I would like to get rid of the Naim due to it´s high mechanical noise it does, and also in order to have one system less running. What would be the downsides/benefits in having the wav files moved to the Mac in terms of SQ ?

Would be great if you could give me some insights on my questions.

These is no difference in SQ using the SD card instead of the internal SSD for the host OS. Using a small memory device like an SD card is often done as a cost saving factor. OS installs don’t generally need a lot of space, so a card that costs a few dollars is WAY cheaper than a regular SSD or HDD. But this is also commonly done more in server environments, where the host OS is a virtualization system (like say a VMWare ESXi host) and the SD (or USB) device is the ONLY physical media in the system – everything else is accessed over the network. Personally, I would NOT recommend installing the OS on an SD card, unless it’s a virtualization host where there are basically no local configuration settings to speak of. SD cards are typically very low endurance (unless you specifically purchased a high-endurance card, and these are frequently 5x-10x as expensive as normal SD cards). They will fail, and fail quickly. In the virtualization case, you don’t care, you just replace it, load the stub virtualization host OS on it again and you’re done. For a headless OSX machine, that’s a lot more work to recover when the card dies in a year.

Given that you said you have a 1TB SSD drive, I would just install the OS on that and also use it for the Roon database. As to copying music to it vs streaming: again, there will be no difference in sound quality here. The difference comes in possible reliability issues, and file watch failing. To be more specific, when you stream over a network, if you have a network hickup for some reason (you reboot one of the devices, or whatever), that could screw up the network mount and require you to fiddle a bit to get it restored. Whereas if the music is stored on a local drive, you don’t have to worry about such hickups. The file watch refers to Roon noticing when you add more music to (or otherwise modify) your library. If you have a lot of tracks in your library, most network protocols do a bad job of notifying a network client if something changes. So you’d either need to force Roon to re-scan your library manually after adding/changing music on your server, or wait for Roon’s own periodic library full scan to occur (the interval of which is exposed as a config option in Roon’s settings).

Personally, I stream all my music from my NAS, and I’ve never had issues with reliability. And I’m OK with forcing a manual library scan when I add new music to the library. But I also understand how other people would prefer that just be automatic.


Thanks for the super fast response, much appreciated !
I like the idea of having the music files internally as it saves me from running my NAS every time when i listen to my locally stored music. Also i´m using Tidal quite a lot as said. The Naim Uniti Serve is only loaded with 500Gb so far, so all should fit in the MacMini´s SSD. There is also the option to have two SSD´s in the Mac Mini, i.e. a 120GB SSD for the OS and the Roon database, and the 1TB for the music files. If i got your point right, this would not bring any benefit neither in terms of SQ, is that correct ?

Correct, absolutely zero impact on sound quality.

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Ideally, you’ll want to have the Roon core running on a separate machine from the one driving your DAC. Roon does most of its heavy lifting on the core machine, so it’s recommended to use a different machine (even a $35 Sparky) to drive the DAC.

Hi Andy,

thanks for your reply. Why would you recommend this ?