Mac Mini as a Roon Endpoint

Would these work well as an endpoint? Roon Core will be in another machine.

I figured I can get one used from 6-7 years ago at a good price, just to serve as an endpoint to connect to my headphones DAC via USB. I have Ethernet available to “feed” it.

If yes, are there any minimum requirements in terms of processor and memory?

To use it as an endpoint, you would only need to run RoonBridge on it, which is very lightweight. I’d guess that basically any mini running sporting an Intel CPU and running OSX 10.8 or higher will do just fine.

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You might like to consider DietPi on a Raspberry Pi 3B that would be a much cheaper and I think more than adequate solution. Unless you wanted to also run Tidal desktop on it or maybe some other Apple App (iTunes :persevere:) but might depend on the bitrates you need to support on the USB/LAN combo.

Personally I run 3 x MacMini Mac OS installed as Roon Bridges and no issues for sure - 2 of them are 2010 Server minis with SSD 120GB boot and a 1TB drive for fun as it was there and I can’t be bothered to remove it right now.

I also run several RPi’s with RB installed - one is using IQAudIO DigiAMP+ as a headphone/speaker setup.

@wizardofoz except for I am not very handy with DIY computer stuff. Cheap is good if you know how to it. Otherwise is just a waste of money.

I may very well buy a Sonic Orbiter when back in stock, and call it a day.

The DietPi is not that hard to get setup…for under US$50 its a no brainer to have a play with.

Don’t I need a Pi, HiFiBerry Digi+, case, power supply, etc. etc?

Just plug the headphone DAC into the USB on the Pi … ok maybe a few $ for a case and power supply. Unless you want to abandon your DAC in which case you could get something like the Allo Piano Hi-Fi DAC or IQAudIO Pi Dac + or Pro and get rid of your headphone DAC (you don’t say what that is) but all 3 options should work.

@wizardofoz My DAC/Amp is a TEAC UD-503. It is nice, and would be difficult parting with it.
Plus most of those are shipped from overseas, which cost more money and takes a long time.

a nice DAC for sure…maybe then the pi might not cope with higher rate DSD etc so the Mac mini is a better bet.

The little linux based computers sound like good solutions, but a turnkey solution with product support sounds a LOT less expensive to me. I figure by the time I research, say, a Raspberry Pi and and a hifi dongle thingie, and a HAT, and a compatible power supply and a case, and buy “Linux for Dummies” and spend, say, 4-5 hours figuring out how to plug it all in and IMAGE the software (whatever that means) and spend an hour or two troubleshooting it every time it stops working, I will have at least $100.00 in it and 10-20 hours. That gives me a budget of around $600.00 to $1100.00 to buy something that just works. Any suggestions?

NUC with Windows is a Macmini alternative. NUC can be a bit diy however but there are plenty of smaller size SFF windows (yuk) setups available too.

Macmini would still be my go for an off the shelf machine if you are ok with macOS use…while I hate windows it does have better asio driver support for some DACs that need it for high rate DSD use

I have a spare (2009) Mac Mini lying around here somewhere. Install Roon Bridge and plug it into my network? Wireless ok? I will be running Toslink to older DACMagic (the USB input is compromised on this DAC).
Or would it be better to install the Roon core on the older mini (taking it off my late 2012 Mac Mini), and installing Roon Bridge on my 2012 Mini for casual desktop listening (assuming there is way to control the remote Roon Core from my desktop Mac). Another option is that I could press a 2016 MacBook Pro into service as Core, but I would need to invest in a S/PDIF converter to output to DAC (or invest in a new DAC with a decent USB input).
Or just continue to use an assortment of Apple TVs and Airport Expresses as endpoints (maybe invest in Remedy re-clocker for main system), iPad and iPhone as remotes, and forget about hi-res until they get it sorted out and more user friendly. Half my critical listening is vinyl anyhow, 35% Tidal through Roon (or just Tidal), and 10% ripped CDs and downloads through Roon, and maybe 5% CDs.
Maybe I don’t have to worry about this at all! I have a handful of hi-res downloads which I can listen to though my desktop Audioengines or headphones. I can’t tell the difference in sound quality between those downloads and those same downloads re-sampled to 44,100/16 (I ran a little experiment w/ and w/out AEX using several DACS and Senn 650s and Grado 325s - the AEX made a slight difference, but not the sample rate). Who knows how the results would pan out on my bigger system (it would be a pain to try it, but I may someday).

Use the older mac for bridge. your SPDIF/Toslink output is limited to 48K i think as is any airplay. roon core needs the faster/fastest option you have available ideally. the 2012 mini should be fine if you are not upsampling to DSD etc…but you will want to make sure its SSD boot drive for the core

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