Mac Mini for Roon?


@Mikael_Ollars -
The OP asked about running Roon core on a Mini, I’m telling him of my experience.
Do you run Roon core on a Mini?

@koen -

  1. Can’t run Roon core and anything else simultaneously, i.e Time Machine etc., without impacting Roon core.
  2. Can’t reliably use DSP or upsampling.

A lowly i3 NUC, which is what I switched to, had no problem with either of these things.

I think people pick a Mini over a NUC because they think it looks like a media machine or they have already bought into the Apple eco-system.

(Mike Treadaway) #23

Have to disagree. I have no problem at all running DSP and upsampling - even on 3 or 4 different zones - on a 2012 Mac Mini with 8Gb RAM.

For backup I restrict Time Machine to operating system files only and it runs at 2am and only takes a few minutes each night. For backup of other files (music, roon backups) I use Carbon Copy Cloner - again run overnight at 3pm).

Did your Mac Mini have an SSD drive - I found that this made a substantial difference to performance?


I have to disagree too, Slim. When I do the “heavy” (real, concentrated) listening, I listen downstairs, so nothing else is done simultaneously on the Mac mini in my study room, where the core is.

However, when I work from home, I always have many applications open on this Mac, including Roon (full version). Not once did I experience any issues.

EDIT: For example, I am currently copying music files (8TB in total) to my backup HDD on this Mac mini, while playing music downstairs without even a minor glitch.


@Mike_Treadaway @koen -

The OP was asking should he get a Mini to run Roon core. I understand many people have satisfactory results using a Mini. I am, albeit in an abbreviated form, suggesting that not all is rainbows and unicorns.

My bottom line is, if one is not already in the Apple eco-system with other machines and macOS programs then why buy a soon to be obsolete Mini over a more capable and potentially cheaper NUC?

I stand by my observation from above -

Really, I’ve spent more time on this than is meaningful to me.


BTW - a 2012 Mini is much more of a machine than the 2014s, or so they tell me.


Hey Slim, don’t get me wrong, I’m not in any way saying your experiences aren’t valid or anything. I’m just sharing my experiences — albeit opposite to yours — to help the OP, just like you. No offense meant or taken at all! :grinning:

(Mike Treadaway) #27

Same thoughts here - just sharing experiences.

If I was starting from scratch and didn’t have other Mac hardware I would probably choose an NUC and run ROCK.

If a Mac Mini is wanted for other reasons then I think that a good secondhand 2012 model is both a better and cheaper option that the current Mac Mini.

(Will Hoddinott) #28

Running Roon headless on Mac mini is the best way to go by far, at least it was for me. I have a 2010 with 8 mg ram it runs without issue, fan very rarely comes on and I haven’t even disabled spotlighting or many of the processes . Operate from iPad or iPhone, mini is on 24/7.


P.S. I think the OP and the discussion in general only gain from differing opinions. There is no wrong or right, there are different use / user cases, so the more to compare, the better… In that respect your opinion is as valuable as mine.

P.P.S. You’re right about the “vintage” Mac minis being better than the new ones, that’s why I intentionally bought two second-hand machines myself :grin:

(Rene Bouwmeester) #30

Ran Roon on a 2011 i5 Mac mini. Later Roon Server on the same mini. Later Roon Server for Linux on a NUC. All ran without a hiccup.

Yes, children – these were the Dark Ages: no Roon Server, no Linux, let alone ROCK. We lived like animals, but what a time it was…


Mister Dark Knight :wink:, I’ve been thinking about this for some time now. Would you say ROCK on a RoPieee is an improvement over the Mac mini? If so, why? It would separate Rooning and Netflixing and perhaps is an economic future proof solution. The only thing that holds me back is my minus degree tech savyness, but if I interpret the forum threads correct it shouldn’t be a problem, even for me?

(Rene Bouwmeester) #32

No – I would say it is an impossibility. :slight_smile:

ROCK is a minimal Linux core designed for running Roon Server on a NUC (it will run on some other x86 computers at your own risk). Ropieee is a minimal Linux distribution running Roon Bridge on a Raspberry Pi (ARM architecture).


Sorry Rene (this only proves my point about my tech savyness :wink:) —I’m confusing things and mean Roon Bridge on a RoPieee, as opposed to a Mac mini. Slightly off-topic, but do you have any experience or knowledge?

(Rene Bouwmeester) #34

I’m inclined to answer both with yes. :slight_smile:

There’s a few options, depending on what DAC you have and how you’d like to connect it. Why not open a new thread about it and we’ll discuss. Don’t fret about the technical side – building/installing your own SBC with Roon Bridge is a fun and rewarding exercise – and there’s nothing we can’t talk you through. :smiley:


Mac mini mid 2010, no major issues…


@Tom_Williams -

The thing to take away from this discussion is that if you can’t buy a NUC then any Mini earlier than the latest 2014 model is OK, or at least acceptable.:wink:

I suppose that now we’ll hear from all who have a 2014 Mini.:laughing:


An alternative and dead nuts simple solution is Roon bridge using RPi and DietPi software.


Simpler than Roon Bridge on a RoPieee? Basically, perhaps, what I’m looking for is a pre-installed (turn-key?) solution, low-cost and with a clear manual about why and how it should improve on my Mac mini experience.


I think offers turnkey SBCs. Don’t know about a manual, those are pretty much extinct. Note: all SBCs, at least those without HATs, are only for Roon Bridge.

(Mikael Ollars) #40

Please define?
There are several solutions in the $500-range that will give you a plug-n-play solution, such as;
Bluesound Node/Vault
Auralic Aries Mini
SOtM sMS-200
Sonore MicroRendu
The first two are complete solutions with analog line level output. Bluesound provides full MQA playback via their own app. Auralic gives DSD playback.
The sMS and uRendu are only DDCs, for connecting to an USB based DAC.

You can accomplish what the sMS and uRendu does with almost any Single Board Computer at 1/6 (or less) of the cost. DietPi and this fora will provide any answers you might require! :slight_smile:
Any differences in audio quality will be debatable!

My experience with Bluesound has been flawless, and the built in functionality is really useful!
Both digital and analog output, useful app and more.!

(Christian Halsey Solomon) #41

Haven’t had the opportunity to read others’ replies, but in my experience, yes you can.
I do, in fact run Roon from an old headless Mac Mini from 2013 or 14 with 2 Gb of RAM, and it works beautifully. From Mini to Cambridge Audio DAC with balanced outputs going into an Audia huge amp driving B&W 802s… Or into anything else I want (six sound systems around the house + other iDevices) It sounds good, even great. II know I could do better, but it would cost me a lot more. Not to mention I can drive everything from iPhones, iPads and Android devices, natively, I don’t know whether other systems would allow me to do that so seamlessly.
If you are on a budget, I couldn’t recommend this solution more strongly. Just invest in a good DAC instead.