Install Roon ROCK on a mac mini?

Is this possible? Possible to do dual boot via Bootcamp?


Boot Camp is targeted specifically at allowing dual booting of macOS and Windows, so kind of a non-starter for your application.

If you want to run Roon Server on a Mac mini, you could just do it directly under MacOS (what I do currently — works fine), or you could install some standard-ish Linux distro on the mini and then install Roon Server on top of that. I’ve never done this, but you could probably partition a hard drive so that you could boot into either macOS or Linux, which would be pretty close to what you’re looking for with Boot Camp, no? (I have installed Ubuntu on a Mac, and that was pretty straightforward.)

I’m not especially adventurous by nature, so I’d be inclined to stick to the recommended hardware if I wanted to run ROCK.

I tried briefly previously, but i think the Intel Macs only can do UEFI boot. Perhaps it is possible through some form of boot loader, but i didn’t manage.

I currently run macOS and Roon server on the mini, works great and I get to run a few other things: Audirvana, HQPlayer, Airfoil Speakers (which allows me to airplay to my main system).

I am just intrigued about ROCK and running a minimal linux install + Roon server. I might just buy a NUC to play around.

I’m waiting until my Mac mini dies. I’d have no problem sticking with a Mac mini as a Roon server, but a new i7-based mini is just way more expensive than a new i7-based NUC, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t perceive much of a difference in SQ between the two.

Nope. Look into rEFInd. My macbook pro can boot into macOS, Windows 10, and Ubuntu (I use Ubuntu for work).

Having sold my 2012 Mac mini w i5 16gb Ram (note nothing inside just for Roon) and now back to using a 2017 mbp 15” i7 16gb Ram the difference is sq is very far. I don’t understand why everyone keeps saying they don’t hear a difference.

I’ve run both mini/mbp to qutest to amp and it’s opened up by a lot. Staging is better, width and air in between, decay of notes is also much better, and layering!!! All along I thought I needed some upgrade to fix this issue apparently it was the mini holding the sq back. Dynamics is so much better too, you can feel the swing of the rhythm is more palpable.

From the mini, I had to push the volume up to -35 but on the mbp I had to lower down to -45 thereabouts to make them sound similar but in no way are they similar at all. Dynamics held up even in lower volume.

I was toying with the idea of getting a nuc but with this experience in mind, I doubt having a low spec’s nuc would be better. Especially hearing the difference between both mini and mbp.

Now I still want to replace my mbp w a headless core as it’s just ghastly having a laptop sitting there but I don’t want to hear mac mini 2012 quality again…

Having said all these though I do want recommendations for something similar to what the mbp is able to put out.

Rock on nuc? What specs? Or is a dedicated streamer better? Would a newer Mac mini w maybe more cores do a better job than the 2017mbp?

I’ve seen NUC prices and I can’t wholeheartedly agree with the prices especially doubtful if it’d be comparable to the mbp.

I’m not as updated now as I’d like to be and in need of advise as to what I can replace my laptop for a Roon core

Because there isn’t?

Assuming the mini and the mbp were conected to the same DAC in the same way.
Please explain, what is the cause for the difference (despite you believe to hear there is a difference).


I hope you’re not just trolling as I’ve tried to list down what differences I’ve heard and even the equipment involved.
Clearly what I said, only the mbp was changed from the Mac mini.
I just described each difference from dynamics to layering?

Both being connected to the same dac and amp without any change in cables or interconnects as well. Everything the same except for the source.

Have you tried it yourself?
I wonder what set up you’re using?

I think he was asking what you thought was responsible for the difference you hear. i5 versus i7? Having a screen on the laptop versus none on the mini? Or was there a screen and keyboard on the Mini? What are you thinking? It would help answer your questions about the NUC, I’d think.

Yeah, or maybe it is the motherboard or the RAM or anoisy power supply which introduce dirt into the system?
Very complex.

There are some interesting differences. A mini is essentially a laptop motherboard, but with no battery, screen, or keyboard. So it really might make a difference as to what screen was attached, what keyboard, and how well the internal power supply was regulated.

Actually that’s what I wanted to figure out. If I’m going to hunt for a new headless pc to run Roon what do I specifically look for? Does NUC have internal audio chips?

the mini was running headless and accessed remotely.
Mbp is currently hooked next to the power supply as I couldn’t find any space on the rack. But that didn’t deter it from outperforming the mini.

I was thinking it’s the chipset that made a huge difference? Between the 2012 mini and 2017 mbp, chipset performance is very far. Or could it be it’s got a better audio chip inside as it does sound better from my previous mbp as well.

The mini was dual core
and the mbp is quad core.

Sq wise and Even song selections were faster. No waiting for the song to load where the mini took about a second.

Things do improve over time, mostly. I don’t think the NUC has a sound card, it’s digital out only. I think any new computer would be an improvement over one 10 years old, so don’t spend too much time thinking about this.

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Thanks I am considering this as I do need to replace that mini with something similar to the mbp performance. My theory is maybe a m1 mini could outperform the mbp since looking at the benchmarks for the cpu it’s way beyond the mbp.

I could be wrong though if I need to factor in the audio chip from the mbp as not sure what they have for the mini. As from experience switching from an iPad Pro 1st gen (same set up w dac and amp) to 2012 mini to 2017 mbp the differences are from 1 veil to another being lifted…

If a MacMini makes a clearly audible difference to a MacBook Pro as a Core/Endpoint i’d claim there was something funky with the setup.
If anything, a Mini should sound better with less interference from screen psu’s, charging mechanics and the extremely tight spacing that the MBP suffers from.
There are to many variables to add in here, installed software, location, power outlets on different fuses/phase etc.
Not saying you heard wrong, just think you are drawing the wrong conclusions.

They do, Realtek, among other variations. :slight_smile: And some sport optical out in a combined 3.5mm optical/headphone jack.

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I was thinking the same thing prior to hearing the difference. But clearly the mini was inferior. It could be due to age as well.

Looking at different chipsets they seem to sound better the better their benchmarks are pegged to.

So I suggest you guys try it out for yourselves as I am here to learn more as well. This is the only reason I’m sharing, but whatever interferences you guys are worried about, it doesn’t seem to be the case here.

If ever I would suggest that those could be at play as well, I’m not discounting it. But the effects are far too minimal to be concerned with than choosing a better core hardware/equipment to begin with. My MBP is also running with my full office set up which includes parallel and windows plus fewer hard drive space as the Mac mini has 500gb to play with, where my mbp is only left w a measly 100gb after all the office stuff inside.

So this is why I want to hear other’s experience with maybe a better chipset or more cores? I don’t have any answers.

Yes, now that your mention it, I also felt that the sound out of mbp was cramped and thight, no wide soundstage and layering was completly flat. But when I removed the casing, the sound got more room to breath and was much more airy, wider soundstage and much nicer 3D layering.
Will try that with my MacMini, too!

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Also just to add, both set ups are beside my linear power filter as well and beside the tv. I don’t have such a big space and sharing my media rack w the living room adjoined to the dining area. So set up wise there’s a lot of things that should be very wrong to begin with. But all of those can be discounted as the only thing I replaced was the core plugged into the same usb to my dac.