Ok to ask for hardware choice and new starter feedback here?

Context - I’ve recently taken the decision to go for the lifetime licence and so need to use the best of the hardware I have as opposed to buying anything new to run Roon - at least till next year.

What I’d like to do is share my initial thoughts with the community - that way by benefitting from the collective experience -I’d hope to avoid any frustrating false starts.

I am sure if you start listing what you have someone will chime in on what they think.
you might also check here: https://kb.roonlabs.com/Getting_Started
It might have the info you need.

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More than enough opinions to go around. Just don’t start about ‘audiophile’ cables.



Thanks Bob. Had a look at the getting started info as well. So here goes - firstly my choices;

1. Core- Macbook Pro late 2013 / 2.6GHz / 16G RAM / El Capitan 10.11.6. This runs as a desktop now and is always on during day or sleeping at night

2. Control - same Macbook Pro or Amazon HD8 tablet

3. Output - old MacBook 2007 but running Windows 10. It has optical out as well as USB.

Macos 10.7.5 Mountain Lion is highest it’ll run - I think Roon wont run on less than 10.8 even as Output? Getting started / minimum requirements section references Roon Remote here- I think thats the same as Roon Output?

An added problem is that with Windows it thinks there’s no battery installed and so runs at 1GHz rather than the 2GHz that it does on 10.7.5. I’m hoping that as its a Roon Output only, then the slow 1GHz isn’t an issue.

4. Music files - will attach an external 3.5" HDD to Core MacBook Pro

Alternate hardware available


  • Mac Pro 2008 / 2.8GHz / 8 Core & I think 18G RAM with Windows 10 & MacOS 10.9
  • HP Microserver N40 / 6G RAM / AMD processor - not sure of model
  • Dell Mini 9 NetBook that was running Windows 10, but a recent update seems to have broken something - probably fixable or could install Linux if needed. No optical output.
  • Chromecast audio - x 2 unused currently - waiting for Roon support
  • iPad 1 with IOS 5.3 and dock with digital and analogue out. Too old for Roon
  • iPhone 4s - IOS 7 iirc - no longer used a phone also works on dock & also too old
  • Android handset - OS not sure as dont have access to it right now

Network will be wired as I’ve sometimes had problems with audio over WLAN In past

Would be happy to substitute Linux on pretty much any of the above if it was recommended.

Apologies for lengthy post - any comments welcome :smile:

Slim F - No audiophile cables honest - spent all my spare money on the lifetime licence :grinning:

In that case, I bought an HD8 solely to use as a Roon control. The price was right, but the display was wrong.

Unfortunately, Roon doesn’t display correctly on HD8. It’s a problem with Android and screen resolution. Yeah, eventually you can get an unsatisfactory display and there are instructions on this forum to semi-rectify that, but I wouldn’t buy an HD8 again. Also, I think the battery life sucks.

It will semi-work, so I guess it depends on your finances. I use iOS devices.

See this -

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Oh well - I wasn’t aware that the HD8 had issues - like you it was a price is right for the finances purchase. I’ll see how I get on with it - thanks for the link.

Next year will be a time to update the hardware - assuming that is that the system works reasonably/tolerably well in the meantime. I’ll focus on the most problematic areas at that time- sounds like an up to date iPad might be high on the list.

I think the 2008 Mac Pro would work well as a machine to run the core (i.e., Roon or Roon Server), provided you can locate it outside the listening room. (The only reason to keep the Mac Pro out of the listening room is that the older Pro’s generate a fair amount of fan noise. If the fan noise doesn’t bother you, then you could use the Pro for output).

In that scenario, you could use the 2013 MacBook Pro as a control device, along with any other compatible tablet or smartphone hardware you might have. You could also install Roon Bridge on the 2013 MBPand use it for output if it’s located conveniently for that purpose.

Is there any kind of standalone/outboard DAC in the hardware mix?

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Thanks for the thoughts & suggestions David.

Should’ve said re the DAC - it’s an Audiolab MDAC. It supports HID over USB so am hoping that it will with Roon too.

I see what you mean about the Mac Pro allowing me to combine the Core and Output - plenty of power there that the 2007 Macbook just doesn’t have. Good for DSP too, though the size does put me off a little.

With the 2007 Macbook as output - I was planning to hide it away at the back of the hifi rack and just use wake on LAN as needed. Using the Mac Pro would be a bit more of a visual statement :laughing:

No the 2013 Macbook is the other side of the room & too far for USB connectivity for Output unfortunately.

I think maybe the Mac Pro should be my plan B

Sadly, I don’t think the 2007 MacBook Pro is going to work, even running Linux. (Since I’m a certified Linux numbskull it could easily be user error, but I couldn’t successfully install Roon Bridge under Ubuntu on a Core 2 Duo–based MBP I have lying around.)

It’s looking ok so far - just downloaded and installed roon bridge 32 bit version on the macbook - I am running windows 10 though so that may be the difference?

Super! Problem solved. (I would’ve had to purchase windows to see if I could get it to work.)

Yes iirc it was a real palaver to get Windows installed - partly because i’d removed the optical drive a few years before + Apple don’t make it easy. Probably wouldn’t do it again!

So far Roon can see the bridge - so Roon comms look good. But I can’t get either USB or optical to generate any sound. Time to park the problem and sleep on it - my Windows skills are a bit better than my Linux but not by much :slight_smile:

With the Output as the Macbook 2007 & Win 10 - both Optical & USB working, so thats good, but a couple of issues;

  1. Doesn’t wake up on USB interface transition - I was planning to use the powering up of DAC to wake the Output Macbook automatically.
  2. Doesn’t go back to sleep when i’m done - not sure if Roon Bridge & RAAT does anything here maybe.

Reloaded Win 10 onto Dell netbook - plan to try both laptops as Output and see how it goes.

Re the HD8 as Remote - thanks again for the link. I had a good play around and managed to find the point that Roon transitions from only portrait to only landscape display;

  • adb shell wm density “198” && adb reboot - portrait only
  • adb shell wm density “197” && adb reboot - landscape only

Oddly enough yesterday it did run in landscape a couple of times before i’d made any changes. When it did, there was a screen first telling me that Roon wasn’t happy with the resolution and did I want to go fullscreen.

Anyway I’ve left the HD8 set to “197” and will see how I get on with it - I haven’t found anything missing in comparison with the laptop as remote. It includes DSP for example & so far I’m reasonably happy.

Good to know. Thanks.

Yep, that’s what happens.

Come across an anomaly - happens on both the HD8 and a Samsung Android phone - if I power off/on or WiFi off/ on -then the Remote part of the Roon client doesn’t reconnect to the Core server.

The Bridge part does though. I can re-establish by rebooting the Core/Remote on the Macbook Pro.

I had a quick search on the forums and didn’t spot anything.

Update as spotted that there was a similar / same problem logged here

Yeah, Android just isn’t worth the hassle.

I had a few old iOS devices that couldn’t run Remote. I sold them to a online buy back outfit.

You could, if you needed, buy Roon suitable used iOS devices at such a place, on the cheap.

I hear you SF & thanks for the thoughts/ suggestions - very much appreciated as a new Roon user.

Also more of an Apple household with a bit of Windows. The only Android I’ve bought is the HD8 and I have the Samsung as an old work cast off.

Currently I plan to persevere with existing hardware for a while (if I can - without getting too frustrated), as I’d like to look at some new hardware next year. Current thinking is a dedicated (& silent) combined Core /Output & one of the larger iPads to replace the HD8. That won’t be inexpensive and so will take a while for me to pull together.

Continuing to Roon - learning and enjoying my music as I go :sunny:

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