Help! What sort of Core to buy? (Meridian 218 and 5200SE 2CH system)

I’m new to Roon, I see it as ideal to use with my new Meridian 218 and Meridian DSP5200SE Speakers.

I’ve installed core on my 2015 Mac Book Pro and it seems to work well, using the 218 as an endpoint. (2.8GHz and 8GB Ram and 512 SSD)

Library size is currently just over 1000 Albums and is stored on an old Qnap TS210 NAS. The Nas actually is a backup of my Naim HDX, which I still use for it’s convenient CD ripping.

However, i can’t get to grips with using the macbook for the core, I think I need to get another computer or NAS to be left permanently on. Using the macbook is just not practical as I cart it about the hose and it gets switched on and off, battery etc etc.

What is the best option? and or indeed are these the right things to consider?

  1. Mac Mini 2.6GH 8GB Ram (£680) and 1TB Hard disk (NO SSD though? it’s an extra £180 for apple to supply with a 256mb flash memory!) Thats £860 in total…

Then I would need to plug in external hard disks? or use my existing NAS (which seems to drop out and time out)

  1. A Qnap Nas 471 or 473 - between £900 and £1000 with no disks!!

  2. This weird thing called a NUC that look ok but a bit too DIY for me, I’m not full of time… How much assembly and setup is there for a NUC?

At the moment I’m leaning towards MAc mini and some form of external drives!?

In my view a SSD is pretty important to the Roon user experience. It is a toss up between the Mac Mini and a NUC to me. I am pretty sure you can buy a NUC pre-assembled and pre-loaded for less than a Mac Mini with SSD.

Whatever you use, you’re going to get some great sounds out of that set up !

Check the link I posted regarding roon servers @:

Thanks, Yes, I’ve read that already, helped to point me in the right direction.

Yup, sounds great already! I’ve been using my HDX as source which is nice and simple, but can’t argue with the extra features of roon.

Still leaning towards Mac mini at the moment. But it’ll be £1059 for the spec I want (2.6ghz, 16GB ram, 256 flash memory, and then £400 or so for something like a lacie thunderbolt external drive (2x3tb).

This is not a cheap hobby!

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You have made it this expensive by choosing an overpriced (IMHO) option from Apple. :slight_smile:

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What processing would you be doing with a Meridian setup? If you take a step back and stop looking at the very highest spec and actually look at what your system needs I am pretty sure a 6th or 7th gen i3 will get the job done without breaking into a sweat. Your 218 will do the hard work.

I bought a secondhand Mac mini for my core. You can get some bargains. Adding an SSD was a bit fiddly so may not be up your street if you’re time-poor, but if you’re comfortable with Macs and a bit of poking about inside doesn’t bother you it’s a good way to go. Providing they’re backed up, you could just use USB external drives in caddies. I do this too, and since you’re connecting over a network there shouldn’t be any downside (will still most likely be faster than your NAS).

Total was more like £500-600, all in.

If I were doing it over, I might consider a NUC but I know Macs and am predominantly Mac household, so that’s a factor - it could be repurposed or dual purpose at a later date.

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Or you could try one of these :slight_smile:

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Job done. Someone just saved themselves £900!
(Ok maybe not £900 if they want 6tb storage, but good deal none the less).

What are you using now Nick?

Hi Angus, I use an Antipodes DS Base which has HDDs of various sizes and a CD ripper.
Bought 2nd hand, mine has a 4 terabytes HDD. SSD is also available.

It is controlled from my desktop HP atm until I buy an ipad or similar as the remote. It is plugged into the back of my modem (wifi is built in but cable avoids drop out) so that the desktop sees and controls it.

I was using an iMac with Audivana previous to this and could not believe how much improvement the Antipodes brought to the table.

Antipodes support is second to none too.
Check 'em out.


I won’t be doing any processing, at least I don’t think so anyway, I Like to keep things pure and uncorrected etc. The DSP speakers have some inbuilt configuration options in any case.

I was liking the antipodes until I saw the prices!

I will look at either a new NUC or 2nd hand Mac mini then I think :slight_smile:

With the 218 I will get to play with MQA at some stage, whether or not it’s worth it is another question.

Also in the process of upgrading to satellite broadband as I can’t stream Tidal Hi-Fi reliably!

I’ve bought a Mac mini for £370 with this spec:

2.5Ghz Intel Core i5 Dual Core
8GB 1333Mhz DDR3 RAM
256GB SSD (Solid State Hard Disk Drive)
256MB AMD Radeon HD 6630M Graphics

Then plan to buy a thunderbolt external drive etc

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That sounds pretty decent without overspending

Hopefully :slight_smile: I can also upgrade the ram further still if needed as it’s a pre 2014 model.

Don’t think you’ll need any more than you have right now, but having the option is good

Very good specs, Nice buy!

I agree with @jobseeker. It’s easy and relatively inexpensive to upgrade the RAM in the older Mac mini’s, but if you’re going to use it strictly as your Roon core, you really don’t need to. I have a mid-2011 Mac mini with similar specs to yours and 8 GB RAM, I upsample everything in Roon to DSD256 (no EQ or convolution at this time), and it’s problem free (knock on wood).

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The basic sonicTransporter i5 is around £500 with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD for the Roon database.

It’s easier to manage then a Mac or Windows. It’s totally headless (no screen or keyboard required)

It’s also fanless (and noiseless). Great for a listening room.

We also have a version with a full quad core i7 if you want to use a lot of Roon DSP filters and upsampling.

I have a Mac Mini. I absolutely hate it and the whole Apple desktop ecosystem. Look at a Skull Canyon NUC. on Amazon, with i7, 16 GB RAM, 512 SSD. for $950.