M1 Mac Mini + Roon server = awesome

I have nothing negative at all to say about any other platform, I just wanted to chime in with my thumbs up for running an entry-level Mac mini with the M1 processor as a dedicated Roon server.

I have been running Roon on my laptop from downstairs but the stereo is upstairs, plus, that laptop is a multipurpose machine and I wanted one that was dedicated to my music library.

I was going to buy an Intel NUC and install ROCK, but I decided to go with the Mac mini for the power and for the ability to back up the music files with time machine. Not much more money.

It has been amazing. It’s utterly silent, blazingly fast (near as I can tell as fast or faster than an i7) and it was a breeze to set up as a headless single purpose server. It’s handled all the DSP I can throw at it.

I’m also able to rip CDs to it which is another advantage.

Anyway, Nucleus would be amazing, and while an i3 or i5 NUC with ROCK would be a lighter install and work great, overall I can definitely recommend this to anybody who is on the fence over a NUC or a Mac Mini.

At $699 it was so worth it to me.

25 Likes

Everything u said! Working splendidly for me as well…

5 Likes

I’m also using the base M1 Mac Mini as a roon server and it has been great so far.

3 Likes

And how you use it? Just headless? Or can you use it like a normal Mac mini? The amount of power and memory used buy the server is not too much?

Perhaps more important to ask is when will Roon release a native version of Roon core for the M1?
M1 iMacs have just been introduced and it is obvious that the entire line will be M1 extremely soon.

Why are they waiting so long to release a native M1 version? Possibly they have something they are afraid of i.e. compromising Nucleus sales

3 Likes

I use it strictly for running Roon Server. I set it up to automatically log in and just leave it running. It has no other purpose. Roon Server uses relatively little CPU and RAM.

1 Like

I will repeat my comment here about RAM - Roon Server with a LARGE library (mine was over 250K tracks) frequently was using more than 8GB and swapping out to SSD so if to have a large <150K tracks I highly recommend 16GB RAM, but the 256GB SSD model is fine if your music is on external media or NAS.

Fair enough. I should have prefaced “in my use case” Roon Server uses relatively little CPU and RAM.

Does the swapping to SSD result in anything audible? Just curious.

Not that I have heard but I returned the M1 (in the 14 day window) as its was clearly struggling at 8GB and I also had issues with getting multichannel audio on the HDMI port to an AVR. Might revisit with the new mini when its announced.

1 Like

I don’t reckon I’ll ever have a library that large, so likely won’t experience it. I had thought with “unified” memory swapping on M1s was a whole lot less problematic than other computers, but I’m nowhere near an expert.

I do have a large enough library to require an external drive for it though. So I was glad to get away with the $699 Mac.

Hi, I a have also very highend results with a Mac mini 2010 (upgraded SSD+16Go RAM) and Roon server. The sound is far better than with my Lenovo Labtop X1 Carbon, no comparison in sound quality.

I’m happy to know it is the same with the new Mac Mini M1 :slight_smile:

1 Like

How much RAM did you get? I have a 2013 Mac Mini w/ an I7 proc and it’s a tank. I have 16 Gb RAM Solid state drive and no real reason to upgrade other than the speed factor. Thanks!

1 Like

Just the base configuration, 8 GB. Thus far, it’s been more than sufficient.

Thank you! I’ll have to verify the new Mac has enough USB ports for me. Presently I have 3 and like to keep my primary external drive connected via Thunderbolt.

Couldn’t agree more. I love my base M1 Mac mini. It has been an amazing Roon server. Very nice upgrade from my 2014 Mac mini.

1 Like

It’s got 2 USB 4/Thunderbolt and 2 USB-A ports

Cool. Thanks!

1 Like

I also had this problem on an old Mac laptop. Intermittent dropouts, which I simply could not solve. No issues at all on Windows laptop or NUC. A Mac HDMI failing, I wonder…?

As soon as the Mac mini M1 starts swapping to the SSD, this is a disadvantage for the lifespan of the SSD. Unfortunately, you cannot replace this SSD. Therefore, it is better to run the M1 with 16Gb ram to avoid swapping. My music library is now 45,000 songs and the M1 mini (8Gb ram) is starting to swap.
It doesn’t matter for the audio quality.

1 Like

Considering Adobe only yesterday released the M1 version of Lightroom Classic, the biggest desktop photo editing software in the world, I don’t think there’s much to fault Roon with here. Not even sure it’s that necessary - I doubt a native version would give that much more of a performance boost. I’d rather hope they have all hands on deck to fix scrolling issues!