Roon bridge on a mac mini

hello there,@support

i use my imac roon core connected by optical cable to my mscaler/hugo2. Today i bought a late 2014 mac mini to use as a roon bridge to my mscaler in the hope it will be a better solution than directly connecting my large imac core directly to the mscaler.

after reading around i understand the roon bridge specs are really low. my mac mini comes with a 1tb hdd so all the advice indicates that an ssd is not needed for the bridge and this is what i can’t understand. if the mac mini bridge is connected directly to the mscaler surely an internal ssd is quieter than a hard drive so should i spend the extra 90 or so pounds and install a 128gb ssd as an example? if there is no advantage in doing so could you please explain why with regards to a roon bridge? many thanks MK.

The hard drive wont hardly be used when the MacMini is used as a Bridge. I wouldn’t spend the money.
I do have two MacMini which gets some use as Bridge hosts, the older one mostly running Win7 for ASIO driver compatibility and NativeDSD trasfer to my DACs. They work just fine and sound good, no doubt!
They have had their harddrives changed for SSD though, but not for this purpose.

Hi @musickid,

When you are using the Mac Mini as the bridge, you are sending the audio data through it, but all of the processing is occurring on the Core itself. Our suggestion for having an SSD would be more for the Core database rather than the Roon Bridge, since the Core will be more impacted by SSD vs HDD performance.

What about just use the Mac mini as a core.

I just picked up late 2014 Mac mini because of the 192k optical to hook to Chord Hugo2. I also bought an external 128g ssd and made that the boot drive. I turned off spotlight and made some other settings for better audio server that I found online. I use external hd for the actual music library since has less effect than core database on ssd . Was too large for internal hd and large ssd drives are expensive. Most of my listening is thru Qobuz so won’t be using hd much anyways.

Previous had it hook to iMac and was using that as server but was also main computer. Figure even though Mac mini less powerful, it’s only being used as roon core and no dsp or up sampling turned on since chord works great with original files.

Last piece of the puzzle for me is the mscaler.

in the mac mini roon bridge is the hard drive totally dormant? my imac core has a 512gb ssd.

If your iMac already has ssd, then best to leave core on iMac. They’re saying the database on ssd is what makes the big difference in speed. Can leave library on spinning disk hd.

Even if your iMac is being used while sending to bridge, don’t think will have much impact if not upsampling.

The hd in the Mac mini will make no difference used as a bridge. Also, if your feeding the mscaler an optical signal, you avoid any possible noise the Mac could be putting off. Late 2014 Mac capable of 192k output.

On the base 2014 Mac Mini, there is space for an M.2 PCI-e card alongside a board input. All that is missing is the ribbon connector for hooking it up.

You could then arguably run the Mac MIni as ROCK, with the database on the blade SSD and your music on the separate internal HDD.

No, the MacMini does some form of UEFI Boot, ROCK needs Legacy boot.

My 512gb ssd imac is a powerful beast on which to keep the core. i currently output optical from it to my mscaler. my thinking is that a mac mini roon bridge with optical to my mscaler would have a smaller footprint and hence be more suitable to connect to the mscaler via optical. i see no reason to change my imac core. does that make sense? it is good to know the mechanical HD in the mac mini is ok for a bridge but no one as yet has explained why an ssd in a bridge is not more optimal especially when connecting to something very sensitive like an mscaler? ie the ssd has less moving parts. is it because the mac mini is only running roon bridge and nothing else so the HD in effect is hardly used and is not really moving at all?

Nobody has explained why it is not more optimal because it doesn’t matter on a bridge device. Roon Bridge quite simply uses up virtually negligible resource. Nothing being streamed should find its way onto the hard drive so it is effectively bypassed. It affects practical aspects of every day use like boot up times and what little noise a spinning disc makes compared to the silence of an SSD. But things like fan noise will have the potential to be a much bigger problem.

thanks Henry i’m starting to understand now. i will use the mac mini late 2014 as a bridge and for no other purpose as it comes out of the box. cheers mk.

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