My options for running roon

Wondering about the best way to set up roon in my mac-centric environment. Currently, I have a 2.6GHz dual-core i5 mac mini running Yosemite, with a 1 TB drive and 8GB ram. its sole purpose is to run LMS 7.9 and serve music to 6 squeezeboxen scattered about the house. music is stored on a 3TB external drive, connected to the mini via USB 3.0.

the mini is in the basement, directly connected to my switch via ethernet. I have two primary systems, with a Transporter in each system. in the living room system the TP is connected to the network via ethernet, and I use the analog out to connect to an integrated amp. the only other source in that room is a turntable.

in the upstairs system the TP is connected to an airport extreme via ethernet- with the extreme acting as a bridge to another APE that runs the wireless network- and to a Meridian G61 via coax. this system also includes an AppleTV, connected to the APE via ethernet and to the G61 via optical. in this room I’m assuming i can use the ATV as an end point.

I also have an unused Airport Express, and another mac mini that could be repurposed. so, my question is really what’s the best way to run roon for the primary system? I could use the basement mini as a roon server, with either the Airport Express or 2nd mini as an endpoint, and the transporter as a dac. or just run roon on the 2nd mini directly, keeping the roon and squeezebox systems separate. in all cases, control would be via a laptop, at least until iOS is ready.

is one or the other option preferred? an advantage of the current setup is no computer in the listening room, but it sounds like I may have to reintroduce on to run roon, at least until we have a better sense of what other HW endpoints might be supported.

I would run the Mac Mini in the basement, and use the AppleTV + AirPlay support for now to get the audio upstairs. See how it performs with the wireless bridges between the server/remote. I think it will be OK. If it’s not, it might be worth re-evaluating. I’d not like Roon to be the reason why you pollute your listening room with a computer :smile:

AirPlay is a compromise, but it will make the music come out. Obviously as soon as it was practical, you’d want to switch to something better for network streaming.

We have things in the works to solve your problem better. One of the more inexpensive + DIY friendly solutions will be a Raspberry-Pi based endpoint. A Raspberry Pi with a digital out might be a great fit for your setup since you already have a DAC that you like, and you really just have a network streaming problem. This isn’t ready --yet-- but it’s coming.


Problem is that the Apple TV will resample everything to 16/48…i.e. 16/44 CD, High Res and future MQA will be resampled to 16/48…thereby eliminating the benefits of those formats

The Meridian MS200 would offer an immediate solution, including Apodizing… As well as the options outlined by Brian above

Wow, you’re right. I didn’t realize they chose to resample 44.1 to 48…then I went over to my rig and tested. It happily takes the 44.1/16 from us, but out the other end comes 48k s/pdif. Lame!

Yes, Meridian hardware provides the highest quality network streaming option for Roon today for those willing to stomach the cost.

True, but Meridian’s particular flavour of Apodizing to eliminate Pre-Ringing is something that makes the extra cost worthwhile for many

thanks all- i think the short term answer is to move the spare mini into the LR, run the server there, and stream to the ATV upstairs. would look at other hardware at somepoint once we know what’s actually supported. my (potential) problem with the MS200 is MQA support, although perhaps that would be addressed in the DAC.

ultimately what i’d like is a Tidal/MQA/Roon front end. an MS200–>Prime (as preamp) would work, but might be more than the budget allows right now.

another stopgap possibility is a Blue Sound Vault, which i also have lying around- could it act as a roon endpoint?

i should add that one of the reasons to use the mini directly into the TP is support for higher res music. the TP dac is limited to 24/96 however. ime, the transporter sounds best via ethernet, and better via coax than optical, even tho all three inputs use the same dac.