Recommendations for a low maintenance Roon setup

I’m helping a friend set up a system for which I’m considering Roon. He’s not technical so my goal is to keep it as low maintenance as possible. The notion of bringing a new computer into his house is already making me have doubts. Even if it’s headless and hidden underneath a desk, both the OS and Roon are going to need updates. I’d want backups to happen, but bringing a NAS into the equation too…hmmm. I have a fine QNAP NAS, but it’s not for him.

His library is very modest, 400-500 CDs and might grow to 1000 over time, but nothing crazy. Sound would come out of one dedicated stereo system and at most one extra endpoint but that’s not a priority for now. Hi-Res is not important. Assume 16/44.1 FLACs.

Assuming I have carte blanche, what would you recommend for core, store and endpoint in this situation? I’m a Mac guy myself, but he doesn’t care.

Probably not the right answer, but I’d say: wait.

Wait for the linux based core to be available. Running either headless on ie a NUC with local storafe or on a NAS as a docker vm.
Or, perhaps even better, as an embedded appliance (Meridian MC200 style) by some Roon partner.

At this moment Roon is great… for those who like to be on the bleeding edge and are comfortable with the minor annoyances that come with that.

It’s not Beta, but I would not classify Roon in its current state as a smooth, maintenance free ‘appliance’.
Unleash Roon on your friend now and you risk turning him off forever. Teasing him with it for another 6 months or so and then implementing a solid version will get you more kudo’s down the line.

If you do want to go now, keep in mind that you will be the support desk, so choose something that is close to what you are familiar with (so go Mac).

Since you asked, my 2 cents.

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Wait is an understandable answer.

The low maintenance factor you speak of is exactly what? I’ve invested 1000s of hours fixing metadata and curating playlists, much of this is all done by Roon. Its a big win for the music lover!

I feel that you would have to rip all of his CDs for him, since Roon does not offer a importing feature at this time.

iTunes remains the easiest and low maintenance all in one solutions for Mac and Windows. The assumptions are that he will keep is songs on the local storage (hard drive) and rip/import to Apple Lossless or .AIFF uncompressed files. The criticism for iTunes is that there is no report or feedback if the import was faulty. Use dBpoweramp $40 if he requires validation of each rip.

What you could do is get any machine, I prefer Mac OS Hardware but:

  1. Get a Touch Screen PC ($500)
  2. Install iTunes Free
  3. Purchase and install Roon. (see pricing)
  4. Set Windows to import CD’s using iTunes and eject when done.
  5. Set Roon to watch iTunes’s music folder

That should get him going.

The benefits are that the user will be able to export music to an iPod/iPhone and Roon will “mine” all the imported tracks for metadata and provide it’s rich experience. Drawbacks, at least $600 upfront and you may not know if the rip is validated. Still, it’s super low maintenance.


This is why I’m considering Roon. I’m mostly concerned with ongoing maintenance of the infrastructure — core, store, backups, etc.

He’ll be ok with ripping. Sticking with iTunes is a good suggestion.

This is about my assessment as well. I have an MD 600 and while it has its flaws, it beats another PC in the house with the its larger attack surface and its bells and whistles begging for attention (“do you want to update xyz software?”) when all you want to do it listen to music.

Assuming cost is not an issue, what do people here think about introducing a vortexbox-based appliance into the setup to act as ripper and “NAS”? Something from small green computers or one of the Audio Aan Zee Flow boxes (my friend is based in NL). It would be a waste of the digital outputs, but I’m hoping that devices like these are less like a general purpose NAS and therefore have fewer knobs to fiddle with, services to disable and therefore less potential for things to go on wrong.

I realize that Roon core couldn’t run on it and that a separate computer would still be needed, but at least the ripping and storing would be taken care of.

Have you asked Audio aan Zee to install Roon on their Flow device?
Looks like a custom job shop to me.
Might be a nice combo.

The thought occurred to me but the AAZ Flow is Linux-based so this option might fall into “maybe later” category. I’m looking to put this system together these next three weeks. I think the answer might be to hold off for a few more months, but wanted to make sure I didn’t miss any options I hadn’t thought of.

This may also be a job for a gently used MC200. He might see that and think, “Good enough.” Even though I wouldn’t get one myself at this point in time.