Qnap 251+ running Roon Server

I just started my Roon trial today. Didn’t really understand what all the fuss was about so i wanted to try it out.

WOW, I’m very late to the party but this is the real deal.

I’ve tried an mRendu (only in DLNA mode - didn’t try Roon) and a Bluesound Node 2 recently. Great products but I wanted to see if I could cut out those streaming devices and play directly from my NAS to my integrated amp (with some USB audio conditioning in between).

I’m currently running Roon Server on my Qnap 251+ with Quad-Core Intel® Celeron® 2.0GHz (burst up to 2.42GHz) + 8gb RAM + 2 x 2TB Samsung Evo 850 SSD’s. Roon sees my Peachtree Audio 24/192 Async USB DAC without any issues.

I’ve currently got the USB audio cable from my QNAP going into an iFi USB iPurifier2 which is installed on the USB input of my DAC/amp.

So the chain is: QNAP 251+ > USB audio cable > iFI USB iPurifier2 > Peachtree Audio 220se integrated amp with USB input

During indexing, CPU usage averages around 50% and RAM around 20%. During music playback CPU usage averages 40% and RAM 10%. I don’t have any other background processes/syncing/indexing happening on my Qnap other than Roon.

So far so good. I may add a linear PSU to my Qnap if things continue to work well since it would be my primary source.

My library size is around 70,000 tracks and I’ve had no issues with indexing or playback of 24/192 music (ALAC and FLAC)

The UI is truely something special. You guys at Roon should be very very proud. And thanks to @crieke who made the Roon Server QNap package possible!

I just wanted to ask what issues am I supposed to be facing with my NAS because when I was reading some of the threads, the message was ‘don’t bother with that NAS’ for specs similar to mine.

If there’s no stuttering or lag, is there some other background problem that would be affecting sound quality?

If so, I will strongly consider upgrading my NAS if there’s good reasons.

Thanks again guy. Looking forward to plenty of music enjoyment with Roon :slight_smile:

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I wouldnt worry at all, your hardware seems to cover your needs more than sufficient! Especially those disks! (In Raid 0 or 1?) :slight_smile:

The CPU consumption seems a bit high compared to my own experience but on the other hand the RAM seems underused.
Have a look at my data here if you like:

I dont see any reason for other services or functions to step in and affect your Roon system in any way, other than self inflicted. (If you decide to use the QNAP as a movie player at the same time connected to your TV or similar)

Atb Mike

Hi @Mikael_Ollars

Thanks for your reply. I just posted my performance screenshots on your other thread. It seems I was overstating CPU usage because that was peak of only one of the cores. When you see the usage of all 4 cores, overall average is lower and this is probably because background audio analysis is still going for my 70,000 tracks. I would expect CPU usage to drop once that’s complete, hopefully.

No interest in using the Qnap for video plackback or anything else - purely for music only!

I have my SSD’s in JBOD’s mode only. I’m only using 1.6TB so I keep a backup of that on a separate 2TB external drive.

Have you upgraded your power supply or just using stock?

Many thanks again

Hi Sean, thanks for adding your comments! Good to hear the 251 seems like a viable alternative as Roon Server hardware!
I wont be changing the PSU on my NAS, as it is built in on the 470. And i dont think it would affect audio quality as much as i dont use its physical ports for audio output. My endpoints are Roon Bridge low power units such as MacMini and Raspberry Pi and they are all connected on the network. (WLAN or LAN)

Hi Mikael

One thing I would like to be certain of is that my QNAP really is outputting 24/192 music at full 24/192. I have disabled max bit depth and max sampling rate on Roon Server but would still like to check the USB audio out.

Does the music output rely on the native Music Player of the NAS, in my case Qnap Music Station? If it does, I’ve already asked Qnap Support if Music Station supports full 24/192 music playback (both ALAC and FLAC) via USB Audio out but we went in circles. They didn’t understand what 24/192 ALAC files were.

If I had a DAC that would show me the bit depth and sampling rate of the USB audio out I would easily be able to verify.

My hope is that Roon Server on the QNAP has nothing to do with the supported music file types of the QNAP itself - apart from aac and mp3 which Roon Server doesn’t decode .

Unless somebody with a QNAP has a DAC that tells them the USB Audio out info and can share this info with me?

Synology narively supports FLAC and ALAC at 24/192 so you guys have nothing to worry about :slight_smile:

By the way, I’ve disabled all background music analysis because I don’t use any volume levelling and my CPU usage is now like yours, 2% :slight_smile:

Roon uses Alsa on linux platforms (also on QNAP and Synology) and the Music Station is not even required to be installed. It will play the high-res flac files on your qnap just fine, as long as your DAC supports as high sample rates and bit depths.

Fantastic, thanks Chris. Yep Roon sees my DAC as “Peachtree Audio 24192 ALSA”.

Superb job you’ve done.

If my CPU and RAM usage is very low at all times and I’m seeing no performance issues with my NAS, is there a strong reason I should upgrade my NAS to the minimum recommended i3 or i5? Something in the background that could affect quality? Mikael mentioned above not to worry.

I know you want to err on the side of caution when it comes to minimum requirements - I completely understand this too. I wouldn’t want to set the bar too low and then be swamped with disappointed customers either.

Completely understand if you want to avoid this question too lol.

Thanks again, Sean

Also, the main reason for my query was that after going in circles with QNap Support about 24/192 ALAC files, they ended up saying they don’t support ALAC playback - only FLAC files. Their QTS webpage also doesn’t list ALAC files as a supported format. But Roon does.

I wish I only had FLAC files now but it’s too late to convert all. Probably half of my 70,000 tracks is ALAC and the other half FLAC.

I would have thought Qnap Music Station also uses ALSA and so wouldn’t have an issues with 24/192 ALAC files but this isn’t the message I got from Qnap Support. While 24/192 ALAC does play through Qnap Music Station (even though Qnap say it shouldn’t) I wanted to make sure the Qnap device isn’t downsampling 24/192 ALAC files via USB audio out.

I’ve since deleted Qnap Music Station and disabled DLNA and only have Roon Server running now. But that’s why I wanted to ask you about 24/192 ALAC through Roon Server.

I dont use my QNAP that way but i can connect my little USB DAC and check.
Im pretty sure that Roon “owns” the output and delivers PCM (or DSD) streams as it should.

Thanks Mikael. Could you check with a 24/192 ALAC file if you have one. I’m pretty sure FLAC will be fine, going by Qnap Support’s response to me. It’s only ALAC where they were a bit (very) unsure.

This played fine. It was played directly to my PreAmp, that is connected via USB to the QNAP.

I didnt have one, but i do now… :wink:
So, here goes, playing whatever-files on the QNAP is not an issue as long as Roon can handle them. They are output’d over ALSA in, what i assume, a bit perfect mode.

Other types of files such as DSD are nicely output’d over USB as well, in my case as DoP;

The Audio Setup dialogue also reports what kind of reciever the USB DAC has got, as well.

I am not trying to avoid this question. It is actually a good thing if potential users are aware of it.
I created the package initially to see how my synology (also under the specs) would perform. In my case it worked also very well. The intention was not to have them now and recommend users to buy hardware that is below the specs.
It is also for me hard to make a proper recommendation as the individual setups can differ a lot. Something that works very well for one user might not be suitable for another. So the best is to just try it and test it.

Thanks Chris. I understand completely . In my case I already had a Nas and fortunately Roon offers a free trial so testing was very easy and cost nothing.

Regarding 24/192 Alac, ive been able to see the same signal path that Roon shows you guys. So I know Roon on the Qnap is playing the file but I wanted to test what actually comes out at the end of the USB audio cable.

As I mentioned earlier some Dacs will tell the user what the incoming source bit depth and sample rate is. Unfortunately my Dac/amp doesn’t.

You guys have already gone out of your way too much helping me so I don’t want to bother you again. If somebody already has this type of Dac I wanted to ask if they can report what shows for a 24/192 Alac file from a Qnap (Synplogy users are fine already).

Or if theres a laptop program that allows me to test this I could try myself - have USB audio input from the Qnap coming into a laptop and a software to analyse?

I’m not at all worried, its just for peace of mind after the responses I got from Qnap Support about 24/192 Alac files.

Thanks again guys

My amp won’t display the bit-depth. But the sample rate is correctly displayed (while playing a 24bit 192khz ALAC file in Roon on qnap)…

Ah this is exactly what I was after :slight_smile:

Not a bad amp either… :grin:

A friend of mine brought his Oppo HA-1 amp over.

24/192 Alac music from the Qnap on full display :slight_smile:

And there you have it, as your friends DAC display it.
When the audio leaves Roon Server on your QNAP it is already unpacked into a PCM stream, exactly similar to if the file was a WAV, FLAC or AIFF initially! :slight_smile:
So it doesnt matter what format it is stored in if Roon identifies it.

I think both Christopher and meself confirmed by our DACs display that the ALAC file played back correctly. As seen in my screen shot with Emily Barker in the background.
It is easier to provide screen shot though :wink:

And, glad to be of help! If i though it was to much effort i would have said so! :slight_smile:

Enjoy your Roon experience!

Thanks Mikael, I never doubted you and Chris, that’s for sure. I just had something at the back of mind that maybe 24/192 Alac was gettiing downsample after it left the Nas - only because of the way Qnap Support answered my questions. So even though I saw the screenshot of Emily Barker in the back, I was able to see this same signal path too at my end but I wanted to know what signal goes into the Dac itself. But it’s now confirmed by Chris’ preamp screenshot and my friends Oppo Dac. Thanks so much for your patience and support. Time for me to worry less and enjoy the music more through Roon :slight_smile:


Pardon the noobishness of this question;

I’m currently running roon on a QNAP 251A, and literally just plugging a 3.5 mm to RCA wye cable into the output jack on the back of the NAS, with the RCA ends plugged into the CD input of a stereo receiver. The roon control apps indicate bit perfect playback via ALSA when playing in this signal path, and it faithfully handles the highest bitrate stuff that I have.

The audio sounds fine, although I don’t have much to meaningfully compare it to. Briefly, is this a pretty bush league way to be running the audio out; would it be better to run it out from a USB DAC such as a dragonfly red (which I have available)?