While we wait for an official headless Linux version of RoonServer I wanted to try this out, mainly to check performance given that a lot has been said about how resource (esp. CPU) intensive Roon is.
What you will need:
A recent x86 (Intel) QNAP NAS running latest firmware (4.2) and >4GB RAM. Mine is a TS-451 with 8GB RAM, and WD Red drives. Notice that this NAS is only running a Celeron CPU.
Virtualisation Station installed from the QNAP App Center
A spare Windows license - I used Windows 7, mainly because I find creating Win10 VMs on the QNAP to be rather hit and miss.
Have your RoonServer installer available somewhere on the network.
What I did:
Create a Win7 VM. I assigned both CPU cores, 4GB RAM and 120GB of HD space.
Install RoonServer as per the various guides available. I imported a database from a previous OSX RoonCore install that I started off with. Again, guides available to do this here and here
I am surprised at how fast and responsive it is. My Library is around 5800 albums/73000 tracks. How much of the heavy lifting is being done by the Remotes which are on decent clients I don’t know, but library navigation is very snappy and images load up promptly, including album view panes. If you have an i3 or better QNAP, I can’t imagine you’d see any performance drop whatsoever. It looks like RoonServer gets a nice performance bump from not having GPU duties.
Possibly the only time you’ll see a hit is if you create a large library from scratch, but from what I’ve seen I think an initial scan on my sort of size library would be completed overnight.
tl;dr This makes a great stopgap until we get a headless Linux option
Cudos on getting this up and running! And many thanks for sharing the details of your excellent effort!
I’d be trying this myself, were it not for the lack of spare Windows licenses laying around. But that’s a personal problem IMO. Thank you for documenting/sharing what CAN be done while we wait for the possibility of a QNAP Linux build.
Last weekend I did something similar. I received my new Qnap 671 i3. I upgraded it to 16GB and setup a VM for roon.
First I have tried Windows 2012 Server R2. I have learened that is not officially supported. Streaming needs to be installed, which requires OS add-ons, that requires a domain controller, … I gave up and installed Windows 10.
This works just great. The performance is excellent. I think running the VM and the music files on a SSD helps.
Last night I made some tweaks for even better performance. I did some reading into QNAP’s implementation of Virtualisation Station and some counter-intuitive changes have increased performance. The VM is now:
Windows 10 32bit (Installs with much less hassle than the 64bit version) + RoonServer 32bit
2 GB RAM (RoonServer just isn’t RAM hungry at all)
1 Core of the CPU (this seems most counter-intuitive but the VM is more efficient on a single core)
Installed the VirtIO SCSI driver for better disk I/O between the VM and the outside world.
The result is that the install is now super snappy. Everything is now running on Build99.
I have an automated daily backup job on my QNAP that copies the Roon DB folders to another NAS on my network and also to some spare Cloud storage that I have.
In summary, you do not need crazy specs to run Roon really nicely on a medium sized collection.
Sure, various flavours of Squeezebox (Modwright Transporter, Touch and occasionally a Boom) and various Remotes (PC Desktop, laptop and Macbook) all used as local playback devices through on-board sound cards - i.e. nothing fancy.
QNAP hardwired to router. All clients fed wirelessly.
If you open the VM in a console tab, you should be able to press ENTER and the Lubuntu login prompt will pop up. Proceed with the user you configured at install then follow the RoonServer install instructions on Roon’s page.
Once installed, you will not need to login again as the server will auto restart whenver the VM is rebooted.
I am an Ubuntu novice, but on my qnap 453 I installed Linux station from the App Store. Then tried a few things without success. For others it is best if you install the two required drivers first cifs.utils and the audio driver (not ffmpeg, the other one). Then install roon server using the auto script and set up the remotes and it is working great. Performance is excellent.
Bob, thanks for your Information regarding Linux Station. I have done this too, this works, but After about 20 minutes Roon Stops playing, looses connection and reconnects after a minute or so, then i can Start playing again. SQ is good, i Play via a 8 m quality USB cable 16GB RAM). Responsiveness is very good with a 1000 album Collection on a iPad Pro or a Mac mini 2,8GHz i5.
I too tryd a lubuntu minimal install in Virtualisation Station, which works too, but connecting my usbdac there gets me distortion, so this is not an option, also, the Connection Problem is the Same als in Linux Station: After 20 - 30 minutes Roon loses Connection.
@roonlabs: any Information on what could be the cause for the Connection Problem?
So, i switched from Ubuntu 16.04 in Linux Station to Ubuntu 14.04 and Roon don’t lose the connection anymore, runs absolutely stable. Small glitches/dropaouts i could repair with setting Buffer Size to 250 ms instead of the standard 100ms.
The QNAP TS-x53A Series is really cool, since it has a somewhat capable Analog-Output which is able to play up to 24/192. Unfortunately, the 2 HDMI Ports are only able to deliver 16/44 out (at least this is what my DELL 2415Q gives me via the build-in Audio-Out). Best of all, my DENON PMA-50 DAC is recognized via USB in Linux-Station. Add to this the ability to add a few Raspberry Pi with RAAT/RoonBridge and you have a House full of Sound. Not that bad.
That’s good news Bernd, I am running Ubuntu 14_04 and no problems either. Ordered an IQAudio DAC to go with a raspberry pi and also using Veetop air music boxes in locations like my workshop where quality isn’t paramount. These boxes are cheap (£35) and have a Wolfson DAC but low res (24 bit). They also support AirPlay over wifi so work well in a system with an iPad as the remote. So far all good.