Large Library...Slow

Here it is Evan


Under Background Audio Analysis Speed, you have it set to ‘throttled’. Tell it to use more cores to speed up the process. Please note that more cores you devote to the process, the slower the machine might be doing other things and that playback of music might be impacted.

I would, set it to use all the cores when you are done listening for the day or night, and then throttle it back or turn it off when you want to listen. It can take days even using all cores on a large library depending on environment. That process is not just looking at your tags and matching up the metadata, but actually, evaluating the waveform and determining Dynamic Range for every track. If Waveforms and DR and not important to you, especially if all you are doing is an evaluation, then turn it off.

For me when I first tried out the new analysis process, with 10k tracks, using 8 cores of an i7 and my music on a local SSD, it took somewhere around 6 - 8 hours. To give you a baseline of comparison.

Thanks Daniel

I am just beginning to be concerned about Roon sucking up resources. I still have it on ‘throttled’ (not my choice, I guess its the default?) - but this is the activity monitor screenshot…

Other basic functions are a bit ‘laggy’

CPU usage is high because it’s doing audio analysis. Once that’s done it won’t be.

Your hard drive SSD or mechanical, I don’t know Mac and couldn’t tell from the screenshot? If it’s mechanical, that would be the most significant performance gain you’ll get in the existing rig.

Hi Tim

Your Fusion drive is essentially working as a spinning disk; the SSD part is unlikely to hold the Roon database, and with a fusion drive, you cannot choose what goes where. (The MacOS will decide which parts to keep in the SSD portion, and switch them around according to what it thinks will give the best performance)

Hopefully you will find that when the audio analysis is complete the system will speed up, but I rather suspect that trying to run the Roon database on a spinning disk will leave you with a disappointing experience.

Roon does not need the analysis to function, it only uses it for waveform, DR values and volumn leveling. Plus, it would be much faster for you, to run the analysis when you are not using the machine for anything else.

And as @evand pointed out, the audio analysis is a one time process for the whole library. Once it is done, it only runs it for any new music added.

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Hmm, interesting thanks zappyroon

Does that mean people don’t tend to use Macs?

I would not say that - it is the question of SSD vs spinning disk. At various points in the forum and knowledge base, you will find the recommendation that the database should be on SSD, to speed up the access when searching etc. I also have a Mac with Fusion drive (not used for Roon) and the Fusion drive is great at doing what is was designed to do, namely, speeding up access to frequently-used files such as parts of the OS. However, the bulk of the storage is still spinning disk. Whether that is fast enough to give you a decent response with your library, only you can say. What I can tell you is that using an SSD-based system (in my case, a ROCK) then access to the library for searching, selecting tracks and so on is just about instantaneous - even when using an iPad as the remote controller over WiFi - so even the smallest latency would be very obvious. Note that the music files themselves (AIFF, FLAC or whatever) can still reside on spinners - it is the Roon database that matters the most. I am quite sure that Roon on a Windows machine would perform at about the same speed as on a Mac if using the same hardware (although I understand that for really huge libraries, the Mac does run into limitations, but neither you or I are in that situation right now)

Really interesting thanks

So I could have an SSD connected to the mac where the Roon database resides and my tunes remain on the Fusion drive? How can i find out what the size would be of the database when fully formed?

Hey Tim

I’m not really qualified to go into the nitty-gritty details. I just migrated my system (around 20,000 tracks + 2 years of history) from Win10 to ROCK, and the database that I backed-up & restored amounted to over 20Gb, but maybe some of that was redundant. Either way, the migration worked beautifully, and I lost nothing in the process. Bear in mind that the database grows with time.

You might want to take a look at this post for more details about recommended hardware

Again, I am no expert, but I believe that Roon always installs to the boot drive, so adding an SSD to your Mac would require you to re-install MacOS and boot from that SSD in order to get Roon to use it for the database. Most likely you don’t want to be doing that, but maybe someone will come along with a better suggestion.

@zappyroon is right — If you go for an external SSD, it would need to be the boot drive. If you elect to go this route, I’d recommend going with a Thunderbolt SSD. Meanwhile, though, I’d let Roon complete the audio analysis on the fusion drive — as @Rugby pointed out, you can turn off analysis when you want to listen to music. Once analysis is complete, you’ll know what typical performance is like with the fusion drive, and you’ll be able to determine the size of your Roon database.

I’ve got nearly 300K tracks and the response from Roon is instantaneous. If you’re experiencing slow response, it’s not because of any issue with Roon, which means the problem can be resolved.

It did take days for Roon to analyze all of the music. Be sure to back up your Roon database - especially once the analysis of all of your music files is complete.

Hey @Tim_Ricketts – lots of good information in this thread, and I suspect this is about the spinning disk in your Mac.

This is a pretty quick machine, but SSDs are pretty much the most important factor for Roon’s performance. Lots of information about why on our Knowledge Base, particularly here.

With a 130k track library, you’ll be fine with an SSD, and things should be nice and snappy. Unfortunately, as mentioned above Roon runs from your system drive, so you’ll want to either:

  • Switch the drive in your Mac over to an SSD
  • Run the Core elsewhere – ROCK is a very cost-effective option if you’re willing to set things up yourself. Most people find the setup process pretty quick and easy, and the added bonus is that Roon will run as a Remote on your laptop, which should be really light on resource usage

Thanks Mike

Hmm - so my options are a)put up with it as is (not my strong point typically) or b) make fundamental changes

Moving the Mac boot drive to SSD seems complicated (very)

The ROCK set-up is either a ‘project’ or one buys the Nucleus - but that doesn’t seem available??

For the project I would need to run ROCK on a separate PC and move my library to that or use a NAS?

Am i right those are my options?

Also I do want to keep using iTunes

Hi Tim,

My advice, for what it’s worth, is to leave your Mac as-is, and buy a NUC on which you can install ROCK. The set-up is pretty painless, and is well-documented in the Roon knowledge-base. Then, you will have an impeccably fast response from Roon, with no interference from other processes, and you can still keep your music on the Mac, along with iTunes. The NUC is small enough that you can hide it where you want, and after the original set-up you don’t even need a display/mouse/keyboard. All the software is supplied ‘free’ by Roon, and you no longer have to worry about future OS updates or bug-fixes breaking your system. Plus, you get to use your Mac as a Roon remote if you want. Apart from the (modest) outlay for the NUC, what’s not to like?

I used a NUC with Win10 for 2 years with great results, but switched to ROCK to get away from the daily Windows updates. Right now, I could not be happier!

Update: Just for grins, a few minutes ago, I decided to install Roon on my late 2015 iMac with 4GHz cpu and 3TB Fusion Drive. I used a backup of my database from the ROCK, so all the music analysis was already performed. The music files are still on the NAS.

To my surprise, the speed and responsiveness of Roon was barely any different to ROCK, so I believe that once your system has finished analysing your library, then the performance will be perfectly fine. If not, then it suggests that some other service or device is hogging your system and slowing it down, but Roon performance is simply outstanding.

Awesome - thanks for the update! Fingers crossed then!

Not adding anything new, just surprised that your iTunes copes OK with 130k tracks. I stopped using iTunes to listen to my music (about 115k tracks, about 4Tb, of which about 1.5Tb in Hi-Rez). Just way too slow. Roon? Instantaneous, running from a spinning disk (well, two, internal for system, external for music) on a 2012 Mac Mini. In fact, I stopped using iTunes because of Roon. Add my experience to the statistical results you are getting here, draw your conclusions, and best of luck with fixing the problem and enjoying the superior experience delivered by Roon.

Thanks for everyone’s input

The ‘Audio Analysis’ has now completed and the result is…

Variable - sometimes it is wizzy…other times a long lag where nothing happens

I am liking the software more as I play with it. I do they need the iTunes underpinning, for device sync and years of playlists

What could my dream set-up be? Keeping iTunes but letting Roon perform to its max??

Any thoughts experts? or is there a thread that has already covered this - cheers

SSD, at present your Roon is competing with the OS for drive access.