Need suggestions for running Roon core on beefed up Qnap NAS

I’m new here and I’m planning on setting up first Roon core on a Qnap NAS.

I would love to hear the community’s views on my setup

There have been many concerns about mixing storage with core. From what I have read and seen (on youtube), recommendations have been to use NAS just for storage and a separate NUC / Nucleus / Sonicorbiter / etc to host Roon Core. However, like many people opting to use the NAS for both tasks, I want to keep my setup minimal i.e. I would like to maintain fewer boxes.

My proposed setup:

Qnap TVS-672N comes with Intel Core i3 -> which I will upgrade to a Intel Core i7 processor
RAM will be upgraded to 16 GB
Roon Core will be installed on high-speed NVMe drive
Music collection of < 500 GB will also live on NVMe drive
Music (along with other data) will be backed-up on 8TB spinning disks
The fan will be upgraded to the lowest-available-noise fan

Signal Path:
NAS storage >> Roon Core on NAS >> Ethernet (need suggestions) >> RME ADI-2 DAC

Cost:
Qnap TVS-672N = $1300
Intel Core i7 = $400
16GB RAM = $70
1TB NVMe Drive = $130

Total = $1900

My Questions

  1. With the above setup, am I likely to experience any slowness? Will there be any sound quality compromises?

  2. What’s a good category of Intel Core i7 processor that runs relatively cool and will cause the fan to come on less frequently? i7s are produced in various categories: E, F, K, etc. Is a specific model better suited than others?

  3. Since HQPlayer can be installed on Linux, can Roon output be piped into a HQPlayer instance running on a linux virtual machine on the NAS?

  4. How should music be routed via ethernet from the NAS to the DAC? What are the possible options here?

  5. What compromises should I expect by not running Roon Core on a NAS and not on a separate PC?

Thanks for taking the time to read this and thanks in advance for your help

Hi. That machine is ok as it is. With a 500gb collection you do not need anything more powerful than a gen 8 i3. It will work very well. I would up the memory to 8gb to give you a little headroom but you really don’t need to do more. Install Roon on the NVME, your music can stay in the normal RAID storage locations. So a smaller NVME drive is OK. That will give you a good experience with Roon so long as the other unrelated gremlins the last update seemed to introduce to Qnap users have been ironed out.

The issues discussed regarding how Roon is used are mostly semantics. There is an issue where people are able to put Roon on machines running old Celeron processors with 2gb RAM and some being disappointed with performance. But yours is in the right window with regards to supported specifications in Roon so I think you will be happy with it as I’ve suggested.

You need a bridging device to deliver Roon to your DAC. You can use a Raspberry Pi 3 or 4 with something like Ropieee on it, or you can go to more esoteric solutions from Sonore, SOtM and others. Simply connect them into your network and you will then be able to access and enable them in Roon.

I would not go the NAS route, get an 8th gen NUC an i3 would be sufficient for your library although if you want an i5 or i7 they will work just fine, install an M.2 SSD for the Rock os and Roon db, 8gb of memory and a sata SSD in the NUC for library storage, you can fit one of up to 4tb

I run a much larger library on my QNAP 253Be (celeron specs with 8Gb ram) and as long as i’m not using upsampling to DSD or loads of zones with DSP the thing doesn’t even break a sweat (keeps my 2 a 3 zones running under 20-25% cpu).

If you want a nice minimal single box solution, that NAS will do just perfect. You could even decide the upgrade to i7 at a later moment.
The only ‘slowness’ I notice, is when the NAS needs to wake up (first use of the day).
Then the browsing in the GUI needs to warm up. after that, i don’t experience any kind of slow response. (i did run on my laptop I7 gen 7 with 32GB ram before, and thtat’s the only difference: first use of the day)
Sound qual wise I don’t notice any difference running the Roon core on my laptop or on the QNAP.
I prefer the QNAP setup, because the NAS is online the whole time. whereas i didn’t like the idea of powering up a pc / laptop to enjoy music.
If at some point in the future i would experience slowness on the NAS then i still can add a NUC with ROCK. But at this point I don’t see any need for that.

However i would suggest to put the NAS not in your listening area, even the low noise fans are too loud.
My NAS is located near my router / switch in the storage.

Hi Warner-Das, welcome to the forums.
In my opinion, taking into account your less-than-1TB collection :

Choosing a “one box solution” may look attractive as an idea, but it puts your setup in an “unsafe” situation : if this box has any kind of problem, you will have no access to anything (neither music nor backups) until you solve it. It’s not the solution that I chose myself. I have a NAS for backups and sensitive data and a server with Core (with a locally replicated music collection).

The key questions you’ll need to address before you choose are :
A: Where does your Core computer physically should be ? In the listening room or not ?
B: Where is you music collection located ?

If you live in a small-to-medium-sized flat, then the core computer should be in the listening room, thus you should go the NUC route. In that case, your music collection is on this same NUC and you will need a separate backup solution.
In the case of the NUC, you need to keep Core on an SSD (256Gb is more than enough) keeping the collection on an SSD is kinda overkill. The only reason I can think of for buying an SSD is perhaps additional noise, but your Core won’t access to your collection often, so … no noise. Also, 4-8GB of RAM is more than enough, no need for more. Processor-wise, a good i3 is more than enough. Better use the money saved for buying music, imho. :blush:
The music collection has to be located on the Core machine, because Roon can’t be notified of updates on a NAS and keeps scanning the remote folders. So, if the collection is on a NAS, you will need a replication task.

In my case, I live in a house, so the server running Core is in the garage, and is linked to my LAN with a powerline adaptor. Ethernet connection is stable and fast. I use an old Dell server (with Windows Server) because… that’s what I had already, so I felt no need for upgrading.
I also have a QNAP NAS for my music/photo/book collection and the various backups. Because I prefer having my collections on the NAS, I have on the Qnap an HBS task which does real-time replication of my music collection to the Core server.

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Hey Warner,

I’m definitely not the expert…however, I have just learnt (from another thread) that ROON & NAS are not recommended by the developers in any way shape or form (although reading above that doesn’t mean it can’t work), let alone with your Core running on your NAS.

NUC w/ROCK seems the preferred method, plus SSD drive (from what’s been suggested to me).

Cheers

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More of an expert than you were 2 days ago :slight_smile:
That’s how we all got started, read, ask questions, pass the knowledge on.

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Lmfao Ged…was it two days ago now. Gosh time flies!

I cannot disagree more strongly with those who say that running the Roon Core on a NAS is a bad idea. I have been running my Roon Core on a QNAP TVS-471 almost since day one. It’s been almost four years now and besides a hardware memory issue that I diagnosed and fixed I have not had any issues. The HW issue was not a Roon issue. It was a third party memory part that failed and was quickly replaced. The notion that if you lose the NAS you lose everything is a bit overblown. I could very easily get myself up and running on a desktop or laptop if something were to happen to my QNAP. My NAS stores my music files in a RAID-5 configuration so my music is pretty safe. I also back it up nightly to a USB device. The real benefit here besides the fact that I don’t need to keep a computer running 24/7 is that the music files and the Core are hosted on the same device thereby reducing network traffic. So count me in the very happy NAS camp.

Thanks @goat
I’m really happy to hear you’re able to manage with a larger collection on a celeron-based NAS. What’s your approximate music library size?

What is your signal path from NAS to DAC / music setup?

Thanks @John_Aiello for sharing your NAS-based Roon core experience. My suspicion is most people who recommend not running roon core on a NAS are imagining some of the most popular NAS models that come with low-powered processors. Or, maybe they’re also running HQPlayer that requires some serious processors like the intel i7

Would you mind sharing what your signal path from NAS to DAC / sound system is? Is it wired or wireless?

Thanks @Henry_McLeod

I appreciate your very well considered response. So, as far as the bridging device goes, does the signal path look like this?

NAS -> (ethernet cable) -> router -> (ethernet cable) -> sonore (for example) -> (usb cable) -> DAC

Why include the Router in the chain, mine looks like this:

NAS -> (ethernet cable) -> SWITCH -> (ethernet cable) -> sonore (for example) -> (usb cable) -> DAC

The Router also connected to the Switch.

Why bother?
A NUC with 1 TB internal disk is $409 at Amazon, last I looked.
If you look at this forum, there are a lot of people discussing the problems they have running Roon on a NAS, and a lot of good suggestions for solving them.
But you see much fewer problems of people with an internal disk in a NUC.

Sure, you need backup as well, but you need backup in any case.

I have a NAS, since years ago.
Wouldn’t dream of running Roon on it.
Wouldn’t dream of getting a NAS today at all.

For the really small collection, there isn’t a need for a big NAS.
But: I’m using an older QNAP TS-670 Pro (with i7 and 16 GB RAM a small NVMe SSD for the roon database and over 24 TB spinning disks for the data) without any problems (also for transcoding to DSD256 the CPU runs only to 10%),
You don’t need a large SSD for your collection and also roon core itself must not be installed on a SSD. Only the database should be installed there.
You can also use the QNAP NAS as an endpoint (via HDMI and USB), so you don’t need a additional one.
The advantage to use the NAS with roon core is:

  • always running
  • shortest way between data (music files) and database
  • I’m using also LMS and some DLNA-Server (installed on the NAS) with the same music files

Fans: Yes, you’ll hear them (my NAS is not installed in the living room), but it’s hard to get more silent fans than installed already on the NAS.

HQPlayer: Yes it’s possible ( this is also a big advantage against using a PC with rock installed) to install it in a docker

Routing music over ethernet: You can use a PI (two endpoints are Raspberry Pis) , a small PC (I’m using for example some small Zotac Nanos with Linux and Windows and Roon Bridge), special devices (I’ve also a Sotm SMS-200 Neo)…

Why? Lots of people install the core on an SSD.

Hi @Warner_Das
my library is about 10K albums / 49000 tracks big.
specs of the QNAP 253be https://www.qnap.com/en/product/ts-253be/specs/hardware
its a quad core celeron and i upgraded to 8gb ram.
Roon database is on a USB3 SSD disk
Music on the NAS in RAID 1
Music is also synched to another laptop disk and to a USB drive now and then
FLAC music is also in synch with onedrive.
NAS is connected through a dual ethernet port LACP trunk on my cisco switch.
I run a dedicated supra cat8 ethernet cable directly from the cisco to my Naim Atom

Just to clarify, the core must be on the SSD.
Just a typo I think :slight_smile:

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This is a setup fo r a much larger library an more intense use conditions, but you may get some tips here:

TL:DR: its great, but has issues, and needs a daily scheduled reboot.

I couldn’t recommend that!