Migrating Mac to Nucleus, but keeping iTunes?

tl;dr: Who out there is using Nucleus as a Core and for music storage, but also using a Mac running iTunes that sees the Nucleus drive as the iTunes library? Does it work? Any limitations?

I’m currently using a Mac mini (late 2014, High Sierra 10.13.6) as my Roon Core, and also as my primary music storage (internal 2tb Fusion drive), and also use iTunes on it for syncing various iPods (yes, it’s an irrational sentimental attachment).

I’ve just acquired a Nucleus and am hoping to migrate my Roon Core + music storage to it, but also keep my Mac mini with iTunes now seeing the Nucleus network drive as the iTunes Library. Ideally, I could continue to use the Mac to rip CDs and download music from Bandcamp and rely on iTunes to put all that stuff neatly onto the Nucleus drive, where Roon would then also see it.

Will it work? Any wrinkles I should consider before I do it?

What with the deafening silence on this thread, I’m guessing no one is doing it the way I proposed above. There was also some skepticism in other forums about relying on the Nucleus as, essentially, a NAS. So…

Instead, I’m keeping the Mac as the canonical music management machine, with all the music on its internal hard drive (30k+ tracks). I’m then syncing the iTunes Music folder over the network to the Nucleus internal drive (I’m using SyncTime, but many also recommend ChronoSync). Essentially, the Nucleus internal drive is a regularly updated mirror of my iTunes Music folder.

Pros: iTunes handles all the CD ripping and tagging, Bandcamp/Qobuz/HDTracks downloading, the iPod syncing, the automatic backups via Time Machine, and is powered down when I’m not using it.

Cons: have to sync to Nucleus every time I add or change anything in the music folder.

I’m doing it the way you originally suggested and it works just fine. The only minor issue is making sure the Nucleus “Internal Storage” folder is mounted so that iTunes can access it as its home folder when ripping CDs or otherwise using iTunes (or the “Music” app as its now called in the new OS).

Thanks, Scott! Once the Nucleus is mounted as a network drive, any trouble ripping CDs directly to it? Is your Mac connected by WiFi (like mine) or Ethernet?

Oh, one other question: how do you back up your music files? The lack of a backup function for the Nucleus internal drive was putting me off (I considered using external dual-bay RAID instead of internal, but that’s just more complexity and boxes and wall warts…).

Hi Fred, my solution is pretty much the same as the one you’re using right now.

  • Mac mini used for macOS server / iTunes library management
  • ChronoSync automatically triggers whenever a change in my iTunes library is detected
  • New files and deletions are synced to my ROCK. This again syncs my Roon library file and my iTunes library to my NAS (which then again backs up to the cloud every night for added redundancy)

I am absolutely delighted with the setup!

I’ve had no trouble ripping CDs (you of course have to remember to reset the location of the home folder in iTunes to the Nucleus). I’ve done it both via Ethernet and Wifi and both work fine.

For backups, I have a NAS connected to the network which backs up the Nucleus “Internal Storage” folder daily.

Now that I’ve made the transition, I’ve encountered the “special characters in folder names” bug (acknowledged by Roon, ticket in), where Roon refuses to play any tracks contained in folders whose names include special characters (like Björk, José González, Janelle Monáe, etc.). Sigh. Bit of a downgrade from my Mac mini, and not easy to fix – I don’t know how to find every special character used in every artist or album title folder, and if I somehow fixed them, I suspect iTunes would lose track of the folder.