Managing Roon on laptop for mobile use and Mac Mini for local use


I am currently using a trial of Roon and wondering whether it can suit my purposes.

Up until now I have been using a laptop with iTunes as my main music library, which I use on the go, with all audio files stored locally on the laptop. I also use the laptop for DJing, using Traktor, and I am able to import the iTunes library to this.

I then mirror the iTunes library to the Mac Mini using Chronosync which periodically replaces the iTunes library on the Mac Mini and also updates a hard drive connected to the Mac Mini with any new audio files or changes to existing files. So each iTunes library accesses audio files on the same local machine.

In this setup, all of the editing of tags/files, ripping of CDs, etc, happens on the laptop. I am away from home a fair bit, and I pretty much always have my laptop with me when I travel, so it makes sense to set things up in this way.

So, now I am considering Roon, I have to think about a setup that would give me similar results. I am aware that I can set up the Roon Core on the Mac Mini, and still edit everything with Roon on the laptop, but only when I am at home. I wouldn’t be able to edit things or rip CDs when I am away from home, as I can with my current setup. And I also need my audio files physically on my laptop for when I travel/DJ.

But, as I don’t want to always have my laptop on to listen to music at home, it doesn’t make sense to use the laptop as the core. Unless there is a way, similar to the way in which I used iTunes before, that I can mirror the Roon library from the laptop to the Mac mini, and each can use local files for playback?

I am aware that I can create a backup of a Roon library. Would this be a way of doing something similar to my current method? Create a backup on the laptop and then restore on the Mac Mini, and copy audio files over in the way I am already doing, with the file path on the Mac Mini matching that on the laptop (such that everything should get picked up fine by Roon on the Mac Mini)? Or is there another/better way?

And could I do all of this with one core? I assume if so, it would mean de-authorising and re-authorising each time I switch, which would be a bit of a pain, meaning that I would need two cores, which would be expensive.

I hope this makes sense, and would be glad of some advice.



Hi Nick, I think the easiest solution here is to keep using Chronosync. If you were to make changes to your library on laptop, when you got home those files would sync to your Roon library location and changes would be reflected immediately. Although the Roon backup solution would work I don’t think it’s necessary for what you want to do, unless I’m missing something.

Thanks Alejandro.

So would I just get Chronosync to copy the folder ~/Library/Roon?

And would each core still show up with a unique name on my network, based on the name of the computer they are located on?


Correct, just point it where your Roon library resides. Keep in mind that membership only includes 1 active core at a time-you would need to deactivate the laptop before switching to home Mac or purchase 2 licenses.

Thanks - yes, that’s what I figured. Currently I am living on my own, so I’ll just get one licence and activate/deactivate. But if this changes and others want to use Roon whilst I am away I will have to take the plunge and buy two licences. :sweat:

If you look around remote access function has been requested many times on this forum. When/if it’s ever released that might also be a solution for you, just something to keep in mind.

OK, thanks.


I’d suggest you consider moving away from itunes as your music metadata editor and using something like Yate ( It’s 10x more powerful than itunes once you get used to it (it’s ux takes some time to learn). I use this to edit all my music on my mac pro at home and then use chronosync to sync the files to my Nucleus+ running roon so it’s really the same as you’re looking for.

You could then chose to not use itunes at all on your laptop loading the files edited by yate into Traktor, or install a second license of roon on your laptop. The files you edit on your laptop would get loaded into the laptops copy of roon and when chronsync syncs them with your home system they would get loaded there. I also do this as I have a 2nd license of roon for a traveling system but sync my music from my home mac pro to the laptop.

Once you get rid of itunes you never look back IMHO.

Good luck.

Thanks @Craig_Palmer. I am having a look at Yate now - would be happy to leave the world of iTunes/Music app.

Just to be sure, if I want to do all of the editing of my Roon library on the laptop (in terms of organising genres/playlists, etc), I would then need to mirror the files in ~/Library/Roon on the laptop to the same location on the Mac Mini using Chronosync, as well as copying the audio files over as well - that would be the only way to do it right, if I want to have a Roon core on the Mac mini that mirrors the laptop and doesn’t depend on the laptop being open/present?

Not quite. You can have your master music files anywhere local to your laptop (internal, attached drive, etc) and operate them via Yate to clean up metadata, load artwork, lyrics, BPM data, etc (yate can do all of this for you). Have a roon install that watches the directory where your music files on your laptop are stored so they get loaded into Roon on your laptop. Using Chronosync on your laptop, you’d periodically sync your music files to any disc/directory on your home system. Your home roon system would be setup to watch that directory and would then load them into to your home system. And as long as you’re doing no editing of music within Roon on your laptop or home system, the 2 systems would be 100% in sync and you don’t have to worry about ~/Library/Roon. That would only come into play if you do any edits of your music via roon on any of your systems as Roon does not actually change your music files or metadata – it stores those changes separately. If you doing what I describe you’ll stay away from this. If you do choose to do music file editing in both something like yate and also in roon, the only way you can keep 2 roon systems in sync is to sync the music files across the 2 systems, and do a roon backup on the system you’re doing editing on inside roon and restore the backup on the other system. This adds much more work and you avoid this completely but not editing within roon. Hope all this makes sense.

Yes, it makes sense Craig, but the one issue I am still grappling with is that I will be wanting to create playlists in Roon and also customise the genres - creating new genres and subgenres - on the laptop, and I would want these changes to be mirrored on the Mac Mini (home Mac). Hence my thinking that I would need to mirror ~/Library/Roon as well - this is essentially what I have been doing with iTunes - mirroring the library as well as the audio files. If it’s not possible to do this by synchronising the ~/Library/Roon folders using Chronosync, and I could only do this with a backup and restore, so be it, but I would need this functionality.

Good questions.

On Genres – assuming you only create new ones occasionally, you could do this in roon and then do a backup/restore to get it on your home system. You should only do this btw not try to chronosyn ~/Library/Roon. In between these, if you only edit in Yate, you then only have to chronosync the music files.

On Playlists – since yate is an editor, not a player it’s not the right tool IMHO for playlist creation. You’d have 2 options. Continue to use iTunes/Music just for playlist creation and playing music if you want (not editing). Roon can watch the folder where your playlists in iTunes/Music are and load them automatically. Or build playlists in Tidal (are you using tidal?) – these are automatically synced with Roon.

Thanks again Craig.

Re Genres - It wouldn’t just be genre creation, it would also be assigning genres to new music, and I would want to do a fair amount of this on a regular basis. I wouldn’t be able to add the subgenres in Yate. So if I can’t use Chronosync for synchronising the Roon library, it would have to be a periodic backup and restore. I wouldn’t need Roon on the Mac Mini to be bang up to date, so this would be OK.

Re Playlists - I wouldn’t be looking to set these up using Yate, but rather in Roon on the laptop - as I listen to music I would, from time to time, be adding music to existing playlists. As I tend to create playlists as I listen and the whole point is to listen on Roon and move away from iTunes/the Music app, it seems that again the backup/restore function is the only option, if synching ~/Library/Roon isn’t an option.

I am not using Tidal, I am using Qobuz and I wouldn’t want to create playlists there as most of my music is local (lossless ALAC files ripped from CDs).

Agree on your points.

I’d search on the forums and read about using your own genre system. You can do this and turn off the roon genre system or map your genres to roon’s and/or do some reconfiguring of roons to end up with a hybrid. It’s not brain surgery to the do the latter but it takes some learning to try to get it right. Also, one negative about roon’s genre system is it’s album level, not track level. One big positive about Roon’s is you can have a one to many relationships from an album to Genre’s so an album can be placed in more than one Genre versus file tags where you have to pick only one. If you only are focused on tracks you play locally, have hand curated genres for all albums (or better yet tracks) and want to continue to do this, you could choose to use just your own with no issues. You can easily try both changing the import settings. I actually had created track level genres for about 50K tracks, but chose to give this up moving forward as it was just too much work and went on to use Roon’s.

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