Mac Mini for Roon?

(A Brewer) #42

2011 Mac Mini 2.3 GHz i5 chip with 8GB RAM and recent self-installed SSD 500 GB here. Run Roon with upsampling everything to DSD in exclusive mode, music is all on a WD RAID 8TB external drive connected via Thunderbolt. I also use the HDMI cable trick and control with the Roon app from my iPhone . . . . no problemo


Now it starts as predicted here -


I mean around $100 - $150. For around $500 — the price of a Mac mini — I think I would prefer a Mac mini, because IMO it’s much more versatile (unless I’m missing something, which would be very well possible :wink:).


I have the ‘Late 2012’ i7 (quad core) Mac Mini running as a headless Roon+HQP (DSD256 upconvert) and DLNA server (among otherr things as needs arise). It works great and I’ve never found it lacking in any way. I did replace the 1TB HDD with a 500GB SSD and upgraded the memory to 16GB (IIRC). That being said, I’m not sure I would buy a used ‘Late 2012’ model over a NIB Mac Mini though since I expect that the current models would be more than adequate and include a warranty.

(Roland Papp) #46

Thanks for this! I am using a headless Mac Mini for Roon (and other things), and I can confirm that indeed, the GPU switching off is a problem. Even if I start the Mac Mini with a display connected, if I switch it off the GPU will shut down after a while, and remote services will not be available (I use the built-in back to my mac feature, and teamviewer). Once the GPU is off, all I get is a blank screen with remote connections. I just did not know what the solution to this problem was, until now! I have ordered the gizmo from Amazon. Thanks again for this!

(Bob Fairbairn) #47

I started out using a Mac Mini with an SSD for boot and roon library. I had that machine setup in the system with a display and with keyboard and mouse. I actually had the Mac on WiFi for a while. As part of my testing I first removed the display/keyboard/mouse and found that getting that noisy display out of the stereo improved the sound and gave me back a lot of space! I then put the Mac on wired network and that again improved the sound. NOTE I was using the USB on the Mac an IRDAC at the time. Overall the Mac Mini worked very well. I decided I did it what to manage the OS on the stereo and started looking further.

I have moved on to a completely different system since then but the Mini is simple and works. You can improve sound quality by spending more money if you want.

One of the side benefits of running the mini is you can play with other Mac sound apps pretty simply.!!

(Wouter Kolkman) #48

That is the model I use: great sound through Holo Spring DAC (using Singxer SU1) - Roon app on iPad for everyday use. I have connected the MacMini to a TV for the occasional video, and operate through Logitech wireless keyboard with integrated trackpad. I am not convinced yet of oversampling, so no opinion here.

(Mikael Ollars) #49

Yep, such as Spotify Connect if you have the Mac connected directly to your DAC, works great! Just remember to stop playback before switching sources.


I use an HDMI “Display Emulator” w/ my Mac Mini and I’ve never had any issues.

(Marc Mable) #51

I had been using my desktop PC for Roon operating system, which was very much not ideal - slow and glitchy. Upon recommendation of a knowledgeable friend, I purchased a vintage Mac Mini and loaded Roon on that device. HUGE difference in speed and smoothness of operation - plus the face that it runs 24/7 means no interruption in connection to service or re-syncing to music library. I recommend this option highly!

(Abe Collins) #52

Yes, the 2012 quad-core i7 is the one to get not only because it is easily upgraded with more memory and SSDs but it performs better on applications that can take advantage of the cores. Latest Mac Mini’s are dual-core only. You can find used 2012 i7 quad-core Minis sometimes on Audiogon or locally via Craigslist.

I’ve been running my Mac Mini i7 quad-core 2.6GHz, 16GB RAM, dual-SSD with Roon for about a year now with no issues. I also removed the internal switching power supply module and run it on an external linear power supply - or a 12v battery.

I run the Mac Mini direct attached to my USB DAC in my office -and- I stream from the Mac Mini to my networked microRendu to the main system down in the basement. It’s all controlled with the Roon App on my iPad.

True, you can run a NUC but if you prefer MacOS the Mini is a good choice. If I went with a NUC I would run Linux on it rather than Windows. Just my personal preference.

(Kim Jensen) #53

It is the perfect combination. I have a Mac Mini (i5 server edition), that has been running since 2011, only restarted for software updates. For the past year it has been my Roon server. I have had no problems at all. I used to use the USB output to my main Hifi. For this I now use a Magna Mano, but the server is still on the Mac.
I have used a Samsung 2012 ultra book to listen to with headset and DAC. On that I had frequent problems, so now that has been replaced with another 2011 Mac Mini (standard i5) I had in the house, and this is perfect as well.

(Bryan Stewart) #54

I have using a Mac Mini for about 6 months now. Works great. This is what I have :

Apple Mac mini, 2.8GHz Intel Core i5 Dual Core, 8GB RAM, 1TB Fusion Drive, Mac OS, Silver, MGEQ2LL/A (Newest Version)

Mine was an open box unit I got off Amazon. The unit was practically brand new. If it was an open box someone sealed it back to look brand new.

(Jeremy) #55

lI have same setup as Bryan Stewart above. I5 2.8 GHz latest mac mini with 1 TB SSD and 8 GB RAM. Runs great headless. No problems for over a month and it runs 24/7. The procesor is dual core but supports hyperthreading so it is actually very fast and the SSD is like lightning. Music is stored on a USB 6 TB harddrive

I had problems with the 2012 quad core mac mini i7 with random crashes that gradually increased in frequencies after a year of ownership. I think the quad core mac mini ran way too hot and easily got damaged and mine eventually developed permanent hardware problems with daily crashes and is now relegated to trash. Based on my experience, I would avoid the 2012 Quad Core Mac Mini like the plague.

I do not upsample. I have a Benchmark DAC 3 and it works fine with native bit perfect files at the original sample rate. Absolutely No benefit from upsampling with such a powerful and accurate DAC. The DAC does its own upsampling and has the best jitter elimination algorithm I am aware of. Weiss make great DACs also. I cant say about other DACs but the horror stores abut a change in sound with sample rate or with just a different USB cable are out there and this indicates most DACs are piss poor.

(Henry) #56

It would be good if Apple came up to date with their line of processors though surely? The newest you can buy is a gen 4 processor. To put that into perspective an i5 7300U and i7 5557U measure virtually identically. With the latest i7 I am pretty sure the difference between the 2 and 4 core machines is more than made up while being thermally much more efficient.

(Rene Bouwmeester) #57

The current mini line-up is over three (!) years old. While earlier this year Schiller has stated that Apple remained committed to the mini – no update has since materialised. One day, one day…


My stubborn OCD compels me to ask Tom - do you already have an investment in the Apple eco-system?

(Tom Williams) #59

Not particularly, Slim. And certainly not for music. I do have an iPhon/iPas but would happily use alternate hardware.

I currently stream music via Roon on a QNAP TS-251+, onto two Micorendu which feed two separate hifi systems.

The TS-251+ processor maxes out at DSD64, so I’d like to try and go higher, although whether my ears will notice the difference is another question.

For reasons that are probably too dull to go into, I’d like to test some software I use professionally on an alternate Mac to the one I already use, so thought about getting a Mac Mini to do so, whilst also being able to try greater up sampling from Roon at the same time. Hence the original question.

Thanks for all the input from people, its been very informative.


I like your stubborn OCD, Slim :wink:

(Daniel Lehr) #61

yes ! DB system build one special one : perfect!