I was one of the earliest adopters of the Roon lifetime subscription and it’s been a roony road, as it were. The arrival of Roon Core server was a godsend and getting the right hardware for it was, interesting.
Initially I installed it on a spare mini-mac using the Apple OS, and it worked, but tuning the OS to eliminate the electronic grunge and CPU intensive bloatware was a challenge; I chickened out reasoning that things always improve once the market adjusts itself to the new realities.
I had an early Antipodes DS2 server but the CPU etc were Roon unfriendly, so that put paid to upgrading that music server.
I purchased an Aurender X100L and while it sounded good, it was Roon unfriendly.
My Bryston BDP-1 (S/N 50) could be upgraded to be a Roon end point but it’s flakey and the OS tends to reset itself unpredictably.
The study runs a MacPro (2013 vintage) and I could install the Roon full monty but as I also had a virtual PC (Windows) installed, hardware issues appeared and the Mac would freeze until it sorted out the related network issues.
Roon core was then installed on a mini-mac with a brain transplant involving Ubuntu Server as a headless system. Welcome to VDU and terminal as the principal input means, which brought back memories of the Cyber-76 and terminals I had to use in 1976.
Ubuntu worked but loss of server at unpredictable times continued to irritate.
The whole system is basically simple, NAS, Roon Core feeding into switch that feeds a fibre ethernet to the listening room, where a roon appliance feeds the DAC etc. Drop outs in signal were frequent. (Internet is ADSL2 at 12 Mb per sec).
If I used the MacPro-Roon server solution drop outs and CPU freezes occurred, for obvious reasons - d’oh!.
Roon Core on Ubuntu mac-mini server.
Cheap switch replaced by smart managed switch, (Netgear 8 port unit).
Roon uninstalled off MacPro and Roon bridge installed instead.
Roon client installed on iPad - wireless of course.
Fibre feeds netgear unmanaged switch (5 ports) which feeds Roon appliance, which feeds DAC etc. Music is stored on a brain-dead Synology NAS that can run Minimserver.
As it is at present Roon sounds a little warm while Minimserver sounds leaner. Warm sound I always associated with intermodulation distortion, but in Digiworld, that explanation is incorrect. Whatever, Minimserver sounds more open and better, and dynamic range compression comes to mind. A top flight Hi Fi with abundant power sounds effortless and transparent, while worse systems end up sounding congested and warmish.
Proposed solution is to replace the Ubuntu server with a one function Roon server, probably an Antipodes Audio server, and sound effect to be reported when noticed.
I have noticed that running Roon on a workstation with grunt does not mean it will work well, since Roon competes with all the other processes the workstation is running.
Roon core is on a mac-mini running Ubuntu Server OS accessing a WD NAS (MycloudEX2-3Gb) for music. Streaming services are generally not used, (I tried Tidal but my tastes run to Ray Connif, etc, Big Band, Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, and classical).
Roon client is iPad.
MQA is a non starter despite its sonic superiority. (If the Australian ABC were to stream Classic FM in MQA…dream on man).
Ideally the server/transport unit ought to be placed at the Roon endpoint, EMF radiation minimised and short lengths of Cat 6 ethernet used.
As I can hear a difference between Roon and Minimserver through the existing system, upgrading the Roon server is top priority. I hope that Roon’s performance is not due to code bloat; I don’t use any DSP instead relying on the hardware to upsample data physically, rather than softly using code in the app.
(Roon appliance is a Lumin U1 driving an Accuphase DC-37)