New Roon user, looking for tips on setup

I’m currently waiting for my Pi4 and IQ Audio DAC Pro (HAT) to arrive as I plan to set up a Roon server for my living room.

I currently run a Hackingtosh as my main PC and I am hoping to run this as my Roon core.

4.2 Ghz Intel Core i7
16gb 2400 MHz DDR4
Nvidia Geforce 1080 Ti 11263 MB
500 GB SSD PCI Express Drive.

My SSD is used for my operating system and all current programs, I only have around 100GB spare so I will be looking to add storage to store my music library.

I will be using an iPad Pro for the remote control and my Pi dac for the output into my stereo.

My Pi and my Mac are connected via CAT5 direct to the router.

I have a few simple questions if you dont mind helping me with guys?

  1. Is it ok to connect to the DAC via the network cat5? or should I connect direct with USB straight from my Mac? or does it not matter? The DAC will connect to my hifi via RCA.

  2. Storage wise, I will see if I can connect a second SSD inside my mac, if not is it ok just to add external storage via usb externally? will this effect the quality at all?

Im hoping to stream HD audio as high quality as my hardware will allow.

Sorry for the really newb questions, Im sure Ill have more once I start setting up.

I appreciate your time guys.

Welcome to the forum, @Chris_Nice!

Yes, this is how the Pi-DAC works. The Raspberry Pi is a network bridge that uses i2s to pass audio data to the DAC hat. You’ll need to install Roon Bridge software; I recommend you use Ropieee.

Make sure Roon runs of the system SSD; you can put your library on a spinning disk if needed. Internal and external drives are both fine.


If you are running Catalina…which I doubt as it’s a hackintosh, external usb storage is not yet supported, internal is fine and other than Catalina OS you should be fine.

Ropieee is highly recommended, and I use it with the same dac setup in my systems.

And yes welcome to the forums

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Awesome thanks, it really is as easy as that huh?

I need to find a workaround to have Roon “always on” as I don’t want my PC on 24/7, I guess ill cross that bridge later.

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Thanks Wizard, yes Im still on High Sierra due to my Nvidia card not having the required web driver to go any higher. Its good to know Catalina is not ideal yet though.

Ill look into installing Ropieee.

My Pi DAC hasnt arrived yet, Im dying to get started.

Best way is to get a NuC and install ROCK Roons Os it then becomes more like a dedicated device running Roon and and uses very little power when idle, and will be always accessible if left on. Then you can free up you pc.

There is absolutely no need to spend hundreds on a nuc while you have a perfectly capable machine allready.

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Thats a good idea for the future, I didnt know anything about ROCK, I’ve just been reading up now. If I ended up building the NuC, would be easy to transfer the data across from my Mac to the NuC?

I will eventually do this, as i like the idea of keeping it switched on, so I can come home grab my ipad and play music without having to boot up my home PC.

Every time you shut down and then restart your PC Roon will also be shut down and restarted. Roon restarting does depend on the size of your music library. The larger the library the longer it takes for Roon to restart. However Roon does restart in two distinct steps - the first step reloads the Roon database, after which you can start streaming aka “playing” music. The second step is Roon rescanning the music files for any changes, however you can listen to music while this second step is running.

Yes as long as your backing up your database, you can move the music to the Nuc and then restore you databas ande it will all link up and keep all your play history etc. It’s easy to do.

Can ROCK play all the same formats and quality that roon core can? Or is there somethings that I wont be able to do?

It is a Roon core running the same software but on their own operating system designed to be the best Roon experience outside of Roons own Nucleus Roon Server (which runs a version of the same OS), its not limited to anything. The limiting factor is your endpoints, they decide what can or cannot be played not the server. The only thing dependant on server is the size of library and DSP functions which are all scalable based on the processor you choose to run the core on.

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Ok, Im all setup.

It was dead easy and I was surprised how everything just worked first time.

For now, I am just using my internal HD for storage and I have connected to Qubuz through Roon.

My next purchase will be a linear power supply, which I will connect to the DAC Pro direct (Ive seen a few tutorials online)

I wanted to ask about DSP. Im struggling to work out if I need extra kit to set this up and if its worth it?

I would like to set up my speaker locations properly and if any part of using DSP will improve my sound I would love to use it.

Do I need extra kit, like a reference microphone?

I read through the Roon guide, but Im a bit lost to be honest.

What do you mean when you say ‘roon guide’? Was it this post? Admittedly it is a lot of information, but I think @Magnus spells things out pretty well.

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No, I meant the official guide in the Roon FAQs. However, I have since read the guide that you also posted and it makes a lot more sense now.
Thanks buddy.

Ive been setup and using Roon for a few weeks now and I love it, such a great piece of software thar works very well in all it does.

Im currently subbed to both Qobuz and Tidal Masters.

I have a question. As I dont have a MQA supported DAC is it better for me to listen to a Tidal MQA stream at a higher bitrate then a Qobuz stream at a slightly lower bitrate, even though my MQA stream needs to be converted?

For example

Tidal HQ: Foals - Moonlight (TIDAL FLAC 44.1kHz 24bit 2ch, MQA 44.1kHz)
Qobuz: Foals - Moonlight (Qobuz FLAC 44.1kHz 24 bit 2ch)

Roon seems to pick the Tidal HQ version as the preferred, but to me it the Qobuz version would be the cleanest path?

Sorry if this is a dumb question.

Personally, I’d go with the Qobuz 24 bit version. No hocus-pocus there.
Best way to determine the answer is to pick a well-recorded album that comes in all versions. I use Keith Richards - Talk is Cheap (2019-Remastered), but there are lots of choices. Key is a good recording from the same master. Listen to both versions. If one is way better, that’s your answer. If you can’t hear a difference (I really can’t even with the full decode) that’s an answer too.

So the difference would be negligible anyway, even though my DAC isnt MQA compatible?

Thats fine, because Roon seems to be picking the Tidal version over the Qobuz one.

The Foals album is one MQA album I could not stand. Sounded better as standard PCM from Qobuz. Without an MQA dac adding its last filtering layer it sounded too harsh. Admittedly when using my Headphone setup that has an MQA dac is was ok, but without MQA DAC yuck.

That’s just my experience. I think some of this is DAC dependent, and it is certainly human dependent.
Either way, it doesn’t pay to get preachy on this subject. There are plenty of others on the forum who can do that.

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