Library from a Network Location or a Network Drive?

Roon Core Machine

Windows 10 PC Intel Xeon E3-1270v5 with 64GB ECC RAM

Networking Gear & Setup Details

Netgear 6300 router and 16 port unmanaged switch

all audio based network connections are wired via. Cat.6

Connected Audio Devices

Ethernet connected dedicated CAPS music server> FLAC files on Samsung SATA SSD’s > SoTM soundcard > dCS Debussy USB DAC

Library Size

1000 albums all local to music server on multiple SATA SSD’s

Description of Issue

I can’t ignore the praise this program has garnered in computer audio circles. Because of this, I finally decided to give it a try with the caveat that it would have to work in my existing system and provide an interface and sound quality at least equivalent to what I already have. I’m running J River MC version 23. All of my albums are organized as Playlists (Genre; then alphabetical by artist last name). I prefer using the Tree to select music as opposed to an endless mass of album cover artwork. I’ve tried to keep things fairly organized, but would be open to any improvement Roon could offer. My music server is rather limited in terms of processing power (it’s a CAPSv3 with 4GB RAM running Windows 8). I understood from the tutorials that Roon can be fairly demanding of resources, so I installed the Core on my desktop (64bit OS, 64GB RAM, Xeon 1270 processor). I wanted to use the Roon app on my phone to play music, have the desktop do the processing if (I decide to go with a streaming service), and use Roon Bridge on the CAPS to stream to the Debussy. I was also considering a streaming subscription, but I don’t think I’m set up properly to get the most from MQA files at present.
After downloading the Roon software on the appropriate devices, I went about the business of setting up the Library. Selecting the DAC as an Output Device was easy enough, but I’ve encountered a major problem loading music. Unless I’m missing something, the way to accomplish that is to point to a network folder that has been mapped as a drive. I have all of my Music folders shared on the Network. They are readily accessible from the Core computer, but they are not mapped as network drives. When I mapped one of the drives, it came up in Roon as “unknown network folder; K”. There are 16 folders that would have to be loaded. Obviously, memorizing the drive letter isn’t going to work for me! I thought I could simply point to a location on the Network, and Roon would do the rest, in fact, I’m sure I read that somewhere. Even if I could get Roon to display the correct names of each of the Shares, that’s not an acceptable way for me to browse music. The source folders reflect where the music came from (ex. HD Tracks vs. CD Rips), and the approximate time period. This is why I spent so much time creating Playlists in J River. I do have a single NAS folder mapped as a Network Drive: where all my music is stored as a back up. The problem is, I don’t want the files bouncing from the NAS to the desktop, back to the CAPS, then to the Debussy. There’s no way to convince me that would provide better sound quality. My CAPS doesn’t meet the requirements for a Roon Core, and would not be easy to upgrade. If I can’t play my files from the local machine, I’m thinking I’ll just delete Roon and stick with J River. Since I have 13 days remaining on my trial, I wanted post here and see if there’s any way to accomplish what I want with Roon.

First off welcome to the forum. I am sorry to say you cannot browse Roon via a folder tree structure. So if you really want this Roon may not be for you. Roon is a flat system with a graphical representation of your library. It doesnt care where they live and will show all of them in one view it does not have a folder view like jriver.

It uses metadata really for sorting and organising your library this can be added to you files before importing or by use of its additional tags in Roon.

For you to achieve some of what you want there is a workaround but your need each folder you have for each source to be added as a source folder separstely. None of these can be a subfolder of another as it scans down through the top location you give it and will treat it as one. I separate mine into lossy and losslelss from the root of my shared music folder and Roon treats these as two locations.

Once added you can use Roons Focus tool to only show specific storage locations if you don’t follow adding them individually then you can’t do this as it’s just seen as one lump of storage but that’s the extent of it for location use in Roons eye where files live is not important or the angle they are coming from.

To expand on this you can use Roons.additional metadata features such as tags. You can add Roon file tags before or after adding music via a metadata editor, Roon doesnt modify any files at all. Or you can just use library tags in the app and then use bookmarks to segregate and save these for a quick return and they auto update.

If your music shares are all samba shares then you should be able to add them directly to Roon without using a mapped drive. You need to make sure your using the correct method for the os your using.

Windows is ike this I believe just give it the correct path , username and password.

\\MyNASDrive\Multimedia\Music or \\\Multimedia\Music

Here is a link to the knowledge base you might find useful.

If you using the CAPs to play the music then you can’t avoid a double hop network wise. I suggest using Roon bridge on a light device such as Raspberry pi to avoid this or the music needs to live on the core itself. Roon has to access all the files and push them to the playback devices as it’s designed to apply DSP if needed and to feedback exactly what is happening in the signal chain. So having your files on a separate server that is also the player is not the ideal scenario it will work but it’s going back and forth to the same device.

Hope this helps.


Thanks for your detailed and thorough response, Simon.

1 Like

Your welcome, hopefully it will help you try it out , dont let the two hops get in the way, try it and then make a call.