NUC ROCK iTunes multi-user integration

Hi everyone, first message here. Just subscribed to lifetime, I’m running Roon Core on iMac with Mojave pointing (watching) to HI-RES FOLDER + iTunes FOLDER on external Thunderbolt drive attached to iMac.
Added 2nd (watched) iTunes library over the network from my wife’s MacBookPro, and so far managed to filter the two libraries in Roon with bookmarks based on locations (my and my wife’s mac).
Everything is working over our 5 zones via 2 Airport Express and 1 Apple TV connected each to a audio system (i’m aware of the cap in definition) with a library of total of 200 GB (but fastly growing) and love it.

Wanting to get away from having the respective Macs turned on in order to access the libraries, I’m looking into setting up a boxNUC 7i3BNH (is i3 enough?) with internal storage (found a good deal on Amazon Warehouse but only 1 left).

Unless I am overlooking something obvious, I don’t know how to keep the respective and growing iTunes libraries working when needed (for iPhones sync etc) on each of the two computers and having the same media files automatically synced on the internal hard disk in the NUC to work in Roon (when new albums are added to iTunes lib.).

Any help/suggestion/user experience on this? TIA

Marco, from Italy

You can use external hds hooked up to the nuc for your library. They will be accessible from your other computers over your network.

You can have your cake and have the icing too. I have a NUC like you are pondering (although I’d suggest an i5). I have two external drives to it which house my library and Roon backups. I moved (physically) my iTunes folder to the Library hard drive. Then, I added that drive to Roon as a Watch Folder (see below)

Now both Roon and iTunes ‘see’ the same library.

thank you @Derek_Wyman and @John_V for your replies and the i5 suggestion (i’ll see what’s available).

It seems the external drives is the way to go.
But my setup includes 2 iTunes folders and my wife’s one is in a MacBook and moving it to the NUC would mean loose portability when the laptop is out of the house, and this is a nono.

I wonder if copying/syncing (i.e. with Chronosync) the two iTunes libraries form the respective locations to the NUC external drive is the solution (in separate folders for each user).

Also, @John_V, is your NUC backup drive for the media or the Roon_catalog ?
In case it’s the media, is the backup of actual music files manageable from within the ROCK software ?


No, its the catalog only. And “probably not” is the answer for the ROCK software backup. I use carbon copy cloner (Mac), leave it running in the background, and every so often it backs the library up to a cheap NAS.

Maybe your wife’s library will work in Roon via WIFI while at the house. Keep hers local to the drive, but network connected to Roon. Haven’t tried that.

I don’t quite follow…
Now the iTunes folder on my wife’s MacBook is watched by Roon (Core on my iMac) over wifi and works ok.
My question is if it can be initially copied and then kept synced over wifi to the HD attached to NUC, where all the media will reside, this way all the music will be there and there’s no need to have any of the computer on and Roon running in order to access it.

I understand and recommend moving all of your files to the NUC’s HDD. From there, the Roon core, when “on”, will stream any content to any “Roon ready” endpoint, which includes Macs and IOS devices. As long as you are networked (wifi or wired) to the Roon Core, a.k.a. NUC, it will work. The NUC is designed to be always on, and the Core must be on for any Roon streaming to work.

"What if I want to continue using iTunes? , iTunes can still see, via your network, the files sitting on the NUC, and iTunes can play and display them directly. But the NUC will still have to be running to provide power to the HDD.

If I am describing your dream, then these things are possible (with obvious constraints about file types).

If, when you say “sync”, you mean creating multiple clones of your files, that too is possible, but not with the Roon system. You would need a backup or sync app for that process.

Finally, if you intend to tote your library around on an iOS device, there are workarounds (e.g. convert your library to iTunes-compatible files) that we can talk further about. Roon v1.6 might make this process easier; dunno.

Within the scope of a local area network, there is no technical need to keep multiple copies of your tunes library “in sync”. You just need the one off of your NUC, with proper backups of course.

Hope I didn’t confuse.

thank you @John_V , you made some valid points.
I think I got how Roon works (although I’m pretty useless at networking…)
But my dream would be if my wife could take the MacBook with her (out of Roon Core reach), being able to play her music files from her iTunes library, import or buy more tracks from iTunes Store, and also being able to make and modify her iTunes Playlist, and also to sync them to her iPhone in a totally transparent way from Roon. And the same I’d like to do myself with my iTunes library, residing on my iMac (that doesn’t go anywhere, but it’s where I sync and transfer music to my iPhone from).
Then Roon should be able to pick the changes and play the whole of the iTunes lib (plus its dedicated hi-res music folder) when back home.

That’s why I figured to have each iTunes lib residing in each respective computer, copied (the first time only) and then updated whenever changes occurred in the iTunes folders to the NUC hard disk.
This NUC disk (external USB3, I don’t know yet if 4500 or 7200 RPM makes any difference in performance/power consumption=heat) in this way would contain all the music for Roon Core in one single location, divided mainly in 3 folders: 2 iTunes folders (one for each user) + 1 Hi_Res files folder.

What I don’t know is:

  1. how to sync the changes from the users’ iTunes libs on respective computers to the NUC hard disk

  2. schedule a backup of the NUC hard disk for safety (even to another USB3 HD attached to the NUC)

Also, could such a setup work, and also be transparent to the user? (I mean one can buy/add more music to the local iTunes lib and this would be reflected into the NUC library and playable by Roon, without further user intervention?)

Any help/hints much appreciated

I hope I managed to be clear :slight_smile:

BTW, I’ve just ordered a NUC7i5BNH + 64GB SSD + 8 GB RAM + 1TB USB external HD.
On Thu everything will be delivered and I’ll start testing … :slight_smile:

quick update:
received NUC7i5BNH this morning (with a day in advance, thanks Amazon) and did set up everything.
Not without a few hitches: namely at first unreliable response of Apple USB keyboard (the only i have) : I couldn’t understand if it was being seen by RUC, as it took several reboots before F2 key worked to perform BIOS update (after so many years I’m still amazed to see how computers respond like new mechanical machinery, when it feels like they need several starts before they manage to start working, like they need to lubricate or adjust their parts…).
Then hooking it to the network (for a newbie as I am in networking) took several trial and error. Finally managed by connecting a CAT5 ethernet cable to one of my Apple AirportExpress, so to activate NUC wireless from the web interface.
Tonight after work I’ll carry out Core migration and catalogue (already copied to USB external HD to connect to NUC), hoping to be flawless process, and then enjoy some music!!
Then it remains to figure how to manage the sync of the 2 iTunes libraries…

well, I think I have managed to sync my 2 iTunes libraries + HI-Res Fofder (FLAC, DSD etc not playable by iTunes) to the NUC external drive over the network. This with Chronosync (Mac) and the help of Tom from their tech support.
Back to ripping more CD, now, and listening to some old gems while at it !

Hi, If I put my extensive itunes library and data on a HD within my NUC roon rock server is it much of a problem burning new discs to it? I know I will need an external cd/dvd drive usb to the NUC. Or just business as usual? Will I see my usual itunes desktop so to speak? Thanks!

You can’t use an external CD/DVD drive connected to a NUC running ROCK. The ROCK operating system is designed and built solely for the purpose of running a Roon Core, and nothing else.

At the moment, you’ll have to use a PC or Mac with a drive to rip CDs. @Jan_Koudijs is working on a CD Ripper extension for Roon, but at the moment ROCK does not host extensions, they need to be hosted elsewhere, e.g. on a RPi running Linux.