Help Setting Up Roon Correctly for my Use Case

Greetings all!

New Roon user here. I’m trying to understand how to properly set up Roon (which binaries, etc) given my situation. Hopefully it’s not totally unusual…

Hardware/Music Locations

  • I’ve a Mac Pro workstation, which is my main computer, which has physical attached access to some of my music.
  • The other half of my music is on a NAS, accessed by all computers in my house via Wifi, and GigE
  • I have a mac mini I’m using as an HTPC, which is connected via HDMI to my Anthem AVM 60 (pre/pro).

My Ideal Scenario

  • I want to manage my Roon via my Mac Pro (It’s currently running “Roon”)
  • I want my mac mini HTPC to ‘see’ the library that is maintained by the Mac Pro
  • I want the mac mini to bitstream PCM to the AVM60 at full resolution (24/192, and below)
  • I would love to control what is played via the mac mini via my iPhone/iPad
  • I want to also occasionally play music via the USB speakers connected to the Mac Pro
  • I want to also send audio via Airplay to my stereo on the main floor (I know Airplay is limited to 16/44.1)

What’s the best way to achieve this? I’m totally willing to change things around to make it work, although do note managing the library via the mac mini is basically impossible as it’s often sleeping, or shut down. Would bridging in this way force a lower quality audio to the AVM60?

Any insight on this would be appreciated.

Thanks much!

You’re pretty much set here. Roon or Roon Server on the MacPro. Roon Remote on your iDevices, Roon on your Mini. Go into Audio Setup and enable the outputs on the Pro and Mini. Your AirPlay zone should be automatically detected, then enable it. After that, you should be good to go.

Have a read of this Roon Architecture KB page which will help clarify the various components.

The main choice you need to make is which machine should run the Core. You could use either the Mac Pro (Roon) or the Mac Mini (Roon Server) as Core. Depending on the processor and memory you might also run a Core on your NAS (Roon Server).

I would be inclined to use the Mac Pro as your Core. It is probably a faster machine and has some of your library as local storage. Generally speaking the Core works best when the Roon database is on a fast SSD and the music library is on local storage. Many people happily use a NAS for music storage with Roon, but there can be increased analysis time compared with local storage.

So keep Roon on the Pro. Under the Storage tab in Settings, make your local music on the Pro and the music directory on your NAS watched folders (don’t use organised folders). The Core will start analysing your library.

Then instal Roon Bridge on the Mac Mini so you can direct output to it.

Then instal the Roon Remote app on your tablets and phone.

You should see the Mac Mini, Pro speakers (local audio device) and AirPlay device as available Zones which you can control from the Pro and tablet/phone.

Have a read of this Roon Architecture KB page which will help clarify the various components

That’s where I started to get confused :wink:

Server seemed like it didn’t have a UI, so I wasn’t sure that’s what I needed if I needed to manipulate my libraries. Bridge seemed like the right thing for the Mini, but I wasn’t sure if there would be complications (bandwidth/latency) by using it as a target. Seems like it’s actually exactly what I’m after.

I suppose I was making some mental equivalence between Roon (app) and having a single Core, so I didn’t quite understand if I needed to use Server/Bridge/Remote if I already set up everything in Roon.

Thanks for the clarification!

Yes, Roon Server is designed to run headless and can be configured by any Control that points at it. You could probably run Roon Server on your Mac Mini, but for the reasons above and below I think the Mac Pro is the better choice for locating the Core, in which case you can keep the HTPC Mac Mini nice and thin with Roon Bridge.

One thing to keep in mind which can help understand the architecture, is that the audio path in Roon comes from storage, through the Core and then to Outputs (endpoints). You woudl always want to have any storage communicating with the Core by Ethernet (not WiFi). You can send audio from the Core by WiFi to an Output, but Ethernet is the best bet. Control is better with WiFi so you can roam around with it.

So if you are using the Mac Pro as a Core and playing music from your NAS to the Mac Mini Zone then the audio path would be NAS - Router - Pro - Router - Mini - Anthem.

So I got that config up and running (Core on Pro, Bridge on mini), and while I had a minor glitch where I was controlling it on the Pro just fine, things broke when I attempted to take over control via my phone. I chalked it up to the OS, as other apps were becoming unresponsive as well (“application not responding” in Activity Monitor). I rebooted the system, and now things are just fine, although I haven’t tried to repro the aforementioned bug.

Now, I’m too busy listening to my 24/96 tracks losslessly to want to tempt fate for now =)

I did notice on the setup though, that no matter which options I ticked off, I couldn’t get some of the formats to become not red (the UI seemed to imply that depending on which options I chose, different formats would be sent losslessly). I believe my AVM60 can do over 24/192 (although it doesn’t do DSD at all). Any ideas?

First suggestion would be to check you have latest firmware and drivers for the AVM60. I couldn’t find the resolutions supported by the HDMI input online. The HDMI spec includes up to 198 KHz.

If you can upload a screenshot of your settings for the HDMI zone that could assist in checking things.

Interesting. I didn’t realise the HDMI spec would actually spec a max sample frequency. I kinda looked at it as a pipe that had X bandwidth, and any encoding was done on the TX side, decoded by the RX side.

The Anthem has a 32/768 capable DAC, but it’s also possible the mini can’t send that out.

I don’t actually have files that big, but it’s good to know.


So I wound up changing my setup, as I was getting some audio dropouts, and I didn’t realise that Server was also an output, and that you can actually change settings on Server with any remote.

Now I have Server running on the mini, and Roon (as remote), on the Mac Pro. The mini is GigE to the NAS, and it’s ostensibly a single-tasking machine (HTPC), unlike my Mac Pro, which is my main workstation.

I was able to search and find out how to migrate from Roon to Server (hosted on a different machine), and it worked out pretty well. I’ve not tried to output to the AVM60 yet, but it’s a little late to wake the neighbours :wink:

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Dropouts can have multiple causes. If your system works better with the Core on the mini then great.

One thing I like about my current set up is that I don’t have to have my main computer on in order to listen to music. If you wanted to do that then shifting the music files stored on the Pro to storage on the mini or the NAS and altering the watched folders accordingly would give you that option.

3 posts were split to a new topic: Allo Digiplayer vs HDMI