My journey to Roon on QNAP

It all started when the foam surrounds on my 30 year old speakers crumbled apart and had played their last song.

I really liked those speakers, so I decided to repair them myself. I figured, “What could go wrong? Worst case, I’ll just have to get new speakers.”

It wasn’t the cleanest repair job, but I got it done!

Unfortunately, I made the mistake of visiting the local HiFi shop and listened to some really great sounding gear. In a roundabout way, my worst case came true and I now have new speakers.

The HiFi shop used Roon to demo all their stuff. I realized that I not only needed new speakers, but I also needed Roon. :grinning: My old QNAP wasn’t good enough to run Roon, so now I have a new QNAP too.

To test Roon out, I used my portable music player since it is both Roon Ready and the best DAC that I have. Also, it can do line out directly into the amplifier.

Lossless PCM streaming checks out.

However, DSD gets downsampled to DSD 64 which is sad because the player can play up to DSD 512, but apparently only from its local storage or MicroSD card.

There wasn’t a lot of detail in the install guides about how to set things up, so I’ll list the choices that I made. Although everything seems to be working for me, I’m sure there are probably some better choices I could have made.

The new QNAP is a TS-473A.

I wanted ZFS, so I installed the QuTS Hero version of the firmware instead of the default QTS firmware.

I upgraded the memory to 32GB of ECC memory. I’m not sure if Roon needs the extra memory, but QuTS does and I also want to run some Virtual Machines on the QNAP.

The ZFS system pool is installed on the internal M.2 SSDs which are set up in RAID 1 with 10% over provisioning and 10% reserved for snapshot storage. I have no idea if I allocated too much or too little for these system pool configs.

I created the Roon Server folder in the system pool so that it would be on SSD. This folder was thin provisioned with a 64 GB capacity and 32 KB block size. I thought I’d read somewhere that the Roon database would never need more the 64 GB. The folder is thin provisioned so I can easily increase it later, if need be.

As for block size, databases are supposed to benefit from using a smaller 4 KB block size, but block size seems to be a complicated topic especially for SSDs, so I don’t know what the right answer for block size is. In any case, Roon has already created a lot of files in the folder (eg, over 15k so far), so I don’t think Roon is a typical database application.

Folders can be automatically compressed and deduplicated. Normally, compression won’t do much since most media is already compressed. However, compression is supposedly cheap so I followed the recommendation to leave it on.

Currently, my Roon Server folder is compressed down to 7.5 GB from 9.9 GB, so compression netted about 25% in savings. Deduplication is not turned on, but would only have saved about 0.2 GB if it were.

I put my music on the conventional HDD disks. ZFS has no problem maxxing out the QNAP’s 2.5 Gb ethernet connection so I have no worries about putting the music on the “slow” disks.

AAC playback didn’t work, so I needed to follow the community guides on how to install a version of ffmpeg with AAC support in the RoonOnNAS/bin folder.

So far, everything’s working great and I’m enjoying my Roon journey! Next step is to get a better amplifier…


Excellent choice of NAS as the Ryzen is powerful enough and excellent choice of speakers as well!

I run roon an QNAP systems for years now and as far as you have a suitable CPU and are willing to handle the fiddly QTS administration it is really a great combination!

Memory consumption of roon depends on the size of your library. According to my experience with several QNAP models I would say that 8GB of RAM is sufficient for everything in the region of 100K-150K tracks in the library and 16GB is recommended for everything above that. So far I have not experienced any setup requiring more than 16GB but for running your virtual machines simultaneously it might help. Would assume that rather the AMD Ryzen would be in stress first rather than RAM.

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As we were talking about QNAP I wanted to share a little story emphasizing the position why running roon on it is actually making sense.

I recently received a replacement for one of my big Western Digital HDD. The original one suffered a fatal headcrash. WD´s RMA process was not the fastest one but in the end they replaced the defective drive so a big thanks and recommendation to WD´s customer service! Even more importantly I was positively surprised by my QNAP handling the RAID rebuild process automatically. There was literally nothing I had to do except from inserting the new drive.

So if you have a valuable digital collection and want to sleep without worrying I strongly recommend a Qnap model if you want to run roon on the very same machine.


I agree, having your important stuff stored on a RAID makes for a very easy recovery process. I like how you still can access everything while the RAID rebuilds.

There is the worry that you could get a second drive failure while the rebuild is happening, though. I didn’t go for this option, but you can dedicate a drive as a hot standby so that if one of the drives dies, the system will automatically start the rebuild using the hot standby. This will minimize the amount of time that your RAID is vulnerable.

Another thing that can fail is the NAS enclosure. I’ve had this happen to me before. Fortunately, all you need to do is take your drives, put them into a new enclosure, and you’re back in business! I was a little worried when I had to do this myself, but it actually worked! Well, mostly… all of the data was still there, but because I had to upgrade to a newer QNAP model with a newer OS version (my particular model was no longer being made), the apps and some configs had to be re-installed or re-configured.

I think it’s pretty cool that when a hardware failure happens, these QNAP/Synology NAS units really do work and that they’re designed to make it easy to get back up and running.

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I absolutely agree, thank you for making that point about upgrading and migrating discs from one Qnap to the other. Did the same and the process was absolutely flawless.

A lot of people recommend Synology NAS for the same reason emphasizing that administrating them is even easier than with Qnap´s fiddly admin tool. While that might be true I experienced some unpleasant downsides when running roon on their entry-level systems: RAM is limited with some models, most CPUs are underpowered, no USB oder HDMI output option, pretty noisy in combination with Pro-HDDs and the lack of a completely silent option. I would not recommend anyone to go below a DS723+ model when Synology is the preferred system.

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OP I just wanted to mention that I love your Tototo :heart_eyes:

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