Roon Client/Server - Best Practice?

Since Roon is Client/Server software. What is the best practice for the Core (Server) and Remote (Client)?

Here is a scenario: I have a computer hooked up to my main music rig, should this version of Roon be Core or Remote? If remote, I would then have a Core (Server) somewhere on my network, and then the version of Roon on my Music computer would be a Remote (client).

What does Roon “prefer” or like as Best Practice?

I am going to try both ways and see how playback/performance is in my setup.

Put your core where you have the faster computer, and direct connections to audio endpoints (if any).

Put your remote where you need mobility and access.

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I think your recommendations REALLY need to be stressed to ALL as I found musical bliss last night after failing with my initial install as you know.

First, while Roon currently doesn’t support integer mode, it is scheduled to support these feature which should ONLY enrich the SQ…

Second, my SQ results have been resolved. While I have yet to confirm this on a PC, I can unequivocally state that on a Mac laptop, the best SQ with the least problems is to run the Core mode, ie server, on a dedicated machine powerful machine on the network and connect your DAC to a private/remote node as Danny recommends. When I did this it was musical bliss. In fact the best my portable rig, composed of a HUGO/LCD-X has ever sounded; even better, to me, than JRiver or Audirvana 2.1 running direct on my portable machine. I was pretty much amazed last night when I ran Roon this way.

So it appears, from my perch, that as features get added to Roon, whether I use my portable rig or main rig composed of my MSB Diamond, the definite way to go and should be strongly stressed is to have a server (in this case my very powerful desktop) running the core using it’s substantial horsepower to do all that Roon does and use my CAPs as a private/remote node driving my MSB and the same with my MacbookPro running my HUGO. I will not be converting my MSB over until you guys release ASIO compatibility, BUT, I just wanted to set the record straight as to my initial findings of the “suboptimal SQ” of Roon compared to competitors. It was my error for failing to set up Roon in the method it SHOULD be setup. It also cured all the dropouts, stuttering, etc I was having on my little MacbookPro. .


I have a question regarding the server/remote functionality. I have a CAPS machine running headless connected to my iFi Micro DAC. I’d like to use my more powerful MacBook Pro set up as a server and control the music playing from my CAPS/iFi Micro from it but it appears the current restrictions with private zones does not allow this. I currently am running the caps as a server and MacBook as a remote to get around this but the caps is not really powerful enough to do an adequate job as server. Is there a way I can accomplish my objective to use the MacBook as a server currently or perhaps in upcoming releases?

It’s coming. Check out this post.

Thanks Brian. I’ll eagerly await the Roonspeakers option.

I’m a little unclear on the topic being discussed here. I was hoping to build a fairly powerful audio PC to run Roon on and to output to my DAC. Am I correct in my interpretation of the above, in that 2 PCs are recommended - one to run Roon and another one to do something else?

You really want Roon on the PC, and the DAC somewhere else. I know the “Computer Audiophiles” may not like that idea, but the computer is a pretty electrically noisy place. In an ideal situation, you’d want your DAC to be networked and far away, but if you can’t do that, you’d want a bridge of some sort. PS Audio makes one (that will run RoonSpeakers soon!), and you can also make one with RaspberryPi or maybe even an older Android phone.

If it were me, I’d build kickass Roon library managing PC for now, and plug your DAC into it. When RoonSpeakers is released and/or more hardware manufacturers are releasing products and firmware upgrades with RoonSpeakers support, make your decision on the second machine.

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[quote=“danny, post:9, topic:976”]
If it were me, I’d build kickass Roon library managing PC for now, and plus (Editor fix: Plug) your DAC into it.[/quote]

This is how I am running now with 2012R2 Essentials - It is my Core and my DAC hangs off it - for now like Danny said. Will see what comes down the pike with RoonSpeakers and make a change then.

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I have my DAC separated from my music PC by the distance of one hifi shelf - connected via firewire cable. Are you saying that the DAC is too near the PC in this setup?

Just an anecdote, but I have a Mytek DAC + Headphone Amp within a couple of feet of a computer that it’s not even plugged into, I can sometimes hear noise through my headphones plugged into the DAC when I do things on the computer. Even on their best behavior, computers are really so sloppy with RF/EM noise, and it’s difficult to shield perfectly.

Interesting - I’ve read quite a lot in this field (including on the Computer Audiophile forums) and hadn’t come across this problem before. How far away do you recommend moving the PC from the DAC? Should I get a 10m firewire cable? Maybe get a Shakti stone? :stuck_out_tongue:

This is a confusing answer. It sounds like you are saying not to use a PC connected to a DAC, but that is the only way for Roon to play high res files at present, correct?

And aren’t the Aries, PS Audio’s bridge, the Beaglebone, and the Raspberry Pireally all computers?

@fritzg, the Beaglebone and the Raspberry Pi, yes… the other two shouldn’t be. I haven’t taken them apart yet, but I am familiar with the MS600 and MS200 from Meridian, and both are not noisy general purpose computers inside. They are more computery than a “spdif in / speaker cables out” DAC, but they aren’t like your MacBook.

That thing @brian reported above, he can hear when he does things like scroll a webpage on his extremely heavyweight web browser. It’s one of the reasons why people turn off many services on Windows and OSX for their listening machine.

At present, Meridian or USB are the only ways to play high-resolution audio content via Roon. This is changing, so I wouldn’t go buying a bunch of gear now to use with Roon. You may be disappointed soon.

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Hmm…could do with a bit more clarity here.

I am currently planning an audio PC build, i.e. something akin to the Computer Audiophile CAPS builds. This will involve a fairly expensive case with passive cooling etc as the rig will need to be completely silent. Are you suggesting that I focus on a powerful but not necessarily silent PC, which goes out of the listening room, and then place something else in the listening room to connect to the DAC? Pray enlighten us!

Keep in mind that we’re still putting the pieces in place to enable this solution.

Ideally we’d like to have:

  • Powerful media server away from the listening room
  • WiFi tablet as a control point
  • Audio delivered to the listening area over Ethernet via some sort of bridge device or a DAC with an ethernet port.

Obviously there are some missing pieces here if you try to accomplish this today, but this is the solution we are building.

The missing pieces today: we don’t have tablet apps (in public) yet, and there are very limited options for the third device. That’s what RoonSpeakers is going to address, both by supporting standalone DACs over ethernet and by supporting bridge devices like Auralic’s products.

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Thanks Brian. My question is - is having the media server away from the listening room really necessary, if we are using completely silent builds tailor-made to be in the listening room (such as the CAPS machines mentioned)? Is there any evidence that having the music server in the same room actually degrades the sound (apart from the anecdote already mentioned)?

Another point - in the ideal setup that you describe above, it seems that we would be using a tablet as the control point/browser for Roon. But wouldn’t this negate the beautiful and immersive experience that Roon is? I think that a tablet to act as a remote control would be very handy, but making the most of the features, album art and the whole experience would surely require a nice large screen or monitor? Please forgive me if I have got the wrong end of the stick :smiley:

is having the media server away from the listening room really necessary, if we are using completely silent builds tailor-made to be in the listening room (such as the CAPS machines mentioned)?

Electromagnetic and radio-frequency interference are the kind of “noise” I’m talking about, not the audible kind.

We worked with Meridian for many years on these issues when building out the Sooloos product line, since the original Sooloos devices were fanless PCs in pretty boxes. They were fairly well optimized for audio performance, insofar as that was possible in 2007, and many people said that they sounded very good. When we got there, the Meridian guys looked at us funny–to them, it was a ridiculous notion that you could make good audio right next to a computer, and it was clear to them that our products sounded like garbage. They were just working to a different standard than we were when it came to audio.

As soon as we began working on the ID40/MS200 products (essentially network streaming bridges for Meridian speakers), it was clear that they blew everything we’d done before away. Night and day.

Those guys are experts in making audio hardware, and really smart guys, and everything they did in in defining that architecture led to big strides in SQ for the products. I’m the wrong kind of engineer to give you an expert level analysis of the hows and whys, but I have seen no reason to doubt what the experts up at Meridian HQ taught us over the years.

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Thanks Brian, I appreciate your comment. But what about my second point about the Roon user interface?