Linux setup, what is the best?

Core Machine (Operating system/System info/Roon build number)

Self built, Intel i5 8400 on an ASUS ITX board. All devices connected via ethernet cables.
Fanless PC in the listening room.

Network Details (Including networking gear model/manufacturer and if on WiFi/Ethernet)

Connected to SOtM Ultra and a few other SOtM devices

Audio Devices (Specify what device you’re using and its connection type - USB/HDMI/etc.)

Naim (DAC, preAmp and Power Amp) + Marten Speakers

Just built a fanless mini pc. Which Linux should I install? Any advice?


Ubuntu Server 18.04 LTS. Install details on the forum and support on hand if you need it.


You could also try ROCK if its for nothing other than Roon - while it’s not officially supported quite a few run this way. search for MOCK here in #tinkering

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I have another question for which I have not been able to get a satisfactory answer.

My enabled Roon device ( Sotm ultra) has all my music connected to it via a USB to a SSD external storage .

My Core Roon is on a Macbook Air connected via Wifi.

When I play music, what is exactly my signal path? Does the signal path (my lossless hi res music) needs to go through the Core or will the core simply direct the music to go from the external storage to the SoTM avoiding the wifi etc? Hope my question is clear

I don’t mean to be confusing. This setup is my existing, hence the built of a fanless PC. This setup gave me problems when I tried to play Hi-Res. Lots of crackling noise. So it did make me think about the exact signal path.

Thanks in advance for your help

If all you want to do is run a Roon Core on it, use ROCK. It is uncompromisingly singular in its purpose of running Roon and only contains what it needs to do this. If it doesn’t work (it should, I use an Asus board too) or you need to do more, then go with Martin’s suggested option.

As for your second question, all music regardless of source goes through the core. That means, if I understand your setup, that you have IP going back and forth. This isn’t fatal, but it can cause issues.

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Im assuming the laptop is using Wifi and this will struggle with the music on another network device then playing back on yet another device. Try to keep your core machine on wired ethernet … remotes can be wifi but ideally your endpoints want to be on wired connections too.

oh and depending on the age of the MBA you could be well under spec CPU wise too and hires files will be worse off than rebook CD

With the setup you have now everything is going via wifi twice thru the MBA…you wont be having good experience at all

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Thanks for the response. Very helpful. I will try the suggestions.

Is there anything else you would suggest to improve my signal quality? In my new setup everything as suggested is connected via ethernet. Both Core and enabled device are connected to an ethernet switch box, all in the same room.

Thanks again

Thanks. Understood. Hence the change. I wasn’t clear about the signal path.


sounds like you have reasonable handle on things then…try ROCK first…its free and dedicated so fairly painless to try. Ive run on several different platforms MSI/ASUS with no issues. SSD is a MUST 8GB is fine…

oh and use the smallest SSD your can for the ROCK install…64GB is fine - it cant be used for music storage … you need a different disk or location for that.

You have things reasonably well sorted. Plug your music into your core and you should have a pretty sweet sounding setup. No need to have it hanging off a SOTM Ultra.

Thanks for your comments Wizardofoz. Oh…I am only using a H310T motherboard. Have a
240GB PCIe NVMe M.2 2280 Internal SSD as internal memory, which I was planning to use also for my music!!! Not a gd idea?


I will. I only had my music attached to my SOtM due to my lack of correct understanding of my signal path. Didn’t realise the music HAS to go through the Core. Actually I am not sure that is the best option for people who have no need for any upsampling etc etc.
If all I am seeking from Roon is metadata, database and a LOOK, why does my signal need to go all the way round?

Anyway Thanks again

The rock install does not allow for using the boot drive as a stoarge area for music. Other Linux/windows options you can use the space.

One caviat is that any internal drive on rock you add for music will need to be formatted in the rock GUI … usb connected external drives are fine most formats will be fine, but Mac formats are read only

Because of roon’s transmission using RAAT.

Really suggest you read the architecture documentation and use the knowledge base too.

Thanks. So I will stick to Linux. From what you have said, as long as I load the core and not ROCK i can use my SSD for both?


I will do. Thx

Yes… there are Linux instructions in KB for you to follow.

If you’re going to use a Linux distro rather than ROCK I’d recommend basing it on Debian 9 rather than Ubuntu. The differences are subtle but Debian’s usually a better bet for stability and hence for always on servers/appliances. The standard install instructions work fine.

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OK, I am going to push back a little on the notion of using Linux purely to use your M2 for storage as well as the OS. Your music is on a USB drive. Moving it physically from the SOTM device to your core is a blindingly simple matter of unplugging it from one and plugging it into another. Then you simply point your core at its new location. Going with Linux in order to use a 240gb NVME drive is short sighted because my view is you don’t have a huge amount of space for your collection to grow. I know it isn’t a massive issue but it does seem counter intuitive to me to to use a Linux distro over rock to go smaller! But it is not me doing this and I know everyone has their preferences.

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Thanks for your input Henry.

Could you let me know the advantage of using Rock vs Linux + Core?

I do have the option to add a SATA 2.5" SSD to my ITX. Just that I have avoided placing more memory than I need. Hence the 250G none-volatile option.