Roon Client/Server - Best Practice?

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?

Tablets have smaller screens, but (usually) higher DPI and you hold them closer to your face. This makes up for some of the disparity in inches. On a 10" tablet, there really isn’t much in the way of compromise–at least, not to the point where I would let it impact this decision.

That said, our tablet functionality will be rolling out over the coming weeks. It’s the same UI as on PC/Mac, so you don’t lose any capabilities. You should definitely try it for yourself and make up your mind.

Fair enough. I will certainly try it if I get the opportunity. I don’t see how a tablet could be preferred to a full size screen experience however!

Given the above, will the PC version of Roon continue to be developed, or will this be phased out in favour of a tablet interface?

Fully agree - there is a reason that the likes of Linn / Meridian etc have rooms dedicated to detecting EM & RF.

Not that you can’t make a PC which sounds pretty damd good - just that it’s somewhat difficult.

Linn went to to extend of writing their own OS* (Not a Linux’alike) so that the interupt latency on their DS range was up-to the mustard.

  • Based on a NASA OS but with a TCP stack.


@extracampine They literally are built from the same code–it’s not like we’re maintaining separate user interfaces for each platform. The tablet + PC software will continue to be developed in parallel for the foreseeable future.


I’m glad to hear this – many of us are desk-bound, and so the PC software is a critical component.

I bought a Surface Pro for a client yesterday and managed to find time to test Roon on it before handing it on this morning. The experience was still very good. The big advantage is of course that you aren’t restricted by the placement of the device and can use it from multiple locations and seating positions. There is no reason why you couldn’t use a monitor but it would require having a PC in the room too. Would you have a touch screen or a mouse driven screen in your large monitor scenario?


My media server is a synology nas… Will there be a Roon build for it to serve the music to a “bridge” solution?

And where do you place the Rapberry Pi and a tablet in the noise spectrum of a PC and audiophoile bridges?

@fritzg - Which Synology NAS?

Synology 213+

@fritzg, the CPU in the Synology 213+ is a dual core 1ghz Freescale ARM, which is pretty slow for Roon, but the real killer is that it only has 512MB RAM – I doubt that after the OS and NAS overhead, that you’d have much RAM left for Roon to even start up. That thing has no real legroom to do anything but be a simple file server.

Yeah, I know it is underpowered, and that is my point. A music server use to mean a simple file server, now with Roon it means a dedicated powerful computer that serves the music to a simple renderer. The equation has flipped. Unless we want to have a multitude of gear, i.e. the Roon supercomputer, the file server where the music is actually stored, and the renderer.

It would be helpful to have suggestions on simple, low noise renderers, to minimize the gear needed to use Roon without having a noisy supercomputer near our DAC. Thus my question about where the Raspberry Pi and audiophile bridges fit in the noise spectrum.

I would also be interested in the answer to the above.

Also, I have a Synology 1812+ NAS - how would this fare as a Roon server? I presume that the browsing experience wouldn’t be fluid?

That must have been a long time back. The Logitech squeezebox server benefited from higher spec hardware and was more than a simple file server.

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