Moving music files from Laptop (Roon Core) to mac mini

I’ve been researching for hours. Honestly this is all pretty complicated. I had Roon working fine on my trial with my Roon Core on my laptop.

I recently picked up a Mac Mini to be the Roon Core and music storage. But as I read more and more, I learned about the Roon Server. It’s recommended to use Roon Server for a headless (without monitor) setup, ie the Mac Mini. Its apparently more efficient, less work from the GUI. Leaving the GUI work for the remote app and I guess the regular Roon app on my laptop?

I assume Roon Server will just automatically find my files that I put on the Mac Mini.

I also read that you can still have the Roon software with the GUI (Graphic User Interface) [not the remote app for phone/table] on another computer. In my case, it’ll be the laptop that I originally set up Roon Core on.

My question is, on the laptop with the Roon software on it, how do I get it to know the files are on the mac mini? In Settings>Storage, there is an option to “add folder”. The only option that seems relative is “add network”. But I have no idea what to put in those fields for a Mac Mini.

And another clarifying question, the Roon Server is the Core, correct? As in, the Roon Server is where all the heavy lifting is done. So my laptop, if I were to use it to control Roon playback, it wouldn’t be using resources like it is now on my laptop? How would it know that it’s not the core?

I’m so confused. Please help.

Install Roon Server on your Mac Mini. That will be your core (most of the time). You can also leave Roon on your laptop and use it as a Roon control device, but also switch from the Mac Mini core to the laptop core if you want to, such as away from home. You simply unauthorize one core and authorize the other. You can only have one active core at a time with one license. On your Roon control go to Settings - General - Disconnect to unauthorize one core and authorize the other.

Where are your music files? They normally belong on a USB drive attached to your core or a SSD within your core, but not the drive that is actually running Roon. You simply go into Roon - Settings - Storage on your core (using the Roon control device) and tell Roon where your music files are (watched folder). If they are in a folder on your laptop, that will work but you have to tell Roon where they are.

Personally, I would not want my music files on the laptop because it will always need to be up and running for your core (Mac Mini) to use them. I would copy them to the Mac Mini or an attached USB drive. But, again, don’t put your music files on the same drive that is running Roon.

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To see you Mac Mini drives from your Roon control device (laptop), you probably have to do some “file sharing” in MacOS, but I know nothing about this. I don’t use Apple computers.

Thank you for your post!

Why do you suggest not putting the music on the same hardrive? That was the whole point of me getting the Mac mini. The USB wouldn’t be SSD would it? Thats what they recommend.

I’ve been at this for hours. So I’ve been able to set the Mac Mini as a Roon Server. I had to de-authorize the Roon on my laptop first. Then I used my phone app to find the Roon Server (mac mini). Basically it set things up again, so all my history is gone. Not a big deal as it’s only been a couple days.

Let see how Roon on my laptop works …

O and in the phone app it allowed me to pick the folder where the music was.

I may be wrong about music on the same drive with Roon. Glad it’s working.

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Yes, your phone, tablet, or laptop can all act as a Roon control device and control your core on the Mac Mini and the core on your laptop.

Ok it’s working as it should. I have all the files transferring over now. Hopefully it’ll recognize them and work right. Wow that was some journey! I almost threw a laptop out the window. Well no, but it ran through my head lol.

After its completed I’ll be turning wifi off and connect to the router via ethernet cable. Then we should be rocking. Thanks for your quick responses.

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Your control devices (phones, tablets, and laptop) will probably be OK using WIFI. Mac Mini definitely needs ethernet, and end-points usually work better with ethernet.

What do you mean by definitely? Are you referring to occasional dropouts? It was working fine for the last couple days (laptop, and mini for the hour or so while I was working on setup)

My Nad M10 is on the other side of the room of my router. Works fine. Can’t affect sound quality. I’m pretty stoked to have it half connected via cable, I’ve never had this. I actually didn’t realize that the cable outlet in my living room was actually the same as my internet. For 12 years I’ve had the router in my bedroom where it was installed in this condo. So this is a big improvement!

Thanks again for your help

To wrap things up for anyone who reads this.

I disabled my music folder within Roon on my Laptop
Then I deactivated the Core within Roon on my Laptop.
Then I downloaded Roon Server on my Mac Mini
Then I put all the music files onto Mac Mini
Then I went to my phone app and tried playing something and it prompted me to connect things up again.

Hope this helps anyone from spending hours on this as I did.

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Glad it has been working after “only” after some hours.

One thing I’d like to add, backups, do your database (not you music files) backups using roon gui, if possible in two locations just to be safe. backing up your music files also it won’t hurt.

Disable all you can from mini. Time machine, sleep, locations, spotlight, etc

Also my mini Roon Server is happier (speed wise) if I do restart it at some couple of days maybe a week.

Wifi would not affect sound quality (people say it may benefit as there are no cables to transfer noise). If it works is all fine. If you ever need to hook them to ethernet (dropouts) you can use a switch if it is too hard to connect both to the router.

I’m brand new to Roon and also want to use a mac mini for my core and storage. Can I ask you two questions about what you’ve learn?

1: So you finally put all your files on your mac mini? Someone here was saying that the files shouldn’t be at the same place as the drive and it got me confused because I wanted to use the mac mini specifically for that.

2: what mac mini are you using? I’m not too sure about what I really need to get Roon going on it and I don’t want to buy something too performing for nothing.


I suspect you were reading about the advice for a ROCK installation on an Intel NUC. That is the situation where music files should not be placed on the same drive where the Roon operating system is. This is not the case for MacOS.


I am using a 2014 Mac mini for my Roon Server.

My music collection is stored on the internal hard drive. While the OS, Linux in my case, is stored on a USB connected SSD.

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You can use the drive for program and data

The confusion comes from if you used a NUC the SSD used for the Rock OS takes up the entire drive regardless of size

This wont apply to you with the Mac Mini the only requirement is that the Roon program and database be on an SSD not a HDD