Roon for Linux [done in 1.2]

@brian - it’s absolutely amazing to see a CTO getting their “hands dirty” on a public forum,

Really looking forward to trying out Roon once there’s a version that suits my OS sensibilities…


What distro(s) do you like Boris ?

Have you had any experience with AudioLinux ? It’s an ArchLinux variant optimised for audio.

@andybob I’m slightly dubious about people charging for GPL software…


Coming from Windows it all feels like a bargain !

I’m happy to pay a reasonable amount for media, tested installs and pre-configured third party software. I see it as a kind of insurance against my boundless capacity to stuff things up.

What Boris said… ! +1

Apologies if I’m showing my ignorance publicly, but is there ANY credible evidence that Audiolinux is ANY improvement over an appropriately (minimally) configured Arch Linux install? Or maybe this is a little like Windows Fedelizer criticisms - “works great, but nothing you can’t do yourself”. The trick is knowing what to do…

This is no different than Audio Optimizer + Windows Server 2012. @AudioPhil did a ton of work to make a Windows system about as minimal as you can get.

Trimming a Linux distro is easy if you know what to do, but knowing is the hard part :smile:

HI Steve,

I thought the latency measurements on the front page of the AudioLinux site linked in my post were interesting. But I have to confess that a lot of my interest is because I’m quite happy to leave it to others to minimise the configuration.

Why am I thinking of moving to Linux from AO optimised Server2012R2 ? Well there is that little matter of a licence fee to Microsoft at the end of the six month trial period…

He’s charging for the image and/or usb stick.

you can download all the real meat of the work here for free: and

but then you’d have to put together a OS to put on your disk.

AudioLinux isn’t going to do anything for those of us running RoonServer under Linux, right? I can just use a normal distro for that? (I would find it hard to believe that with Meridian endpoints the server is going to make a difference to sound quality - unless it’s seriously underspeced, which my i7 won’t be.)


This all goes to the school of thought that the more load a PC device faces the more electrically noisy it is (and thus introduces electrical interference in the audio signal), hence AudioLinux presumably seeks to make the OS as lightweight as possible. IF you were thus paranoid one could make a case for the PC running Roon core to be as lightweight as permissible and then doing the same for the endpoint if you plan on running RoonSpeakers to turn say a RPi into an endpoint.

Personally I’m happy running a regular distro, albeit my poison of choice (Arch) is pretty lightweight out of the box. Could also be that I’m just deaf or my kit isn’t good enough to disclose the night and day differences some claim to experience.

It’s also low level timing variations arising from unnecessary processing. Where you are connecting via a Network Zone then I agree that such variations are less likely to be significant to SQ. But I’m going to have to connect my DAC to my BRIX by USB to use HQPLayer until I get an NAA, so I am interested in an optimised distro.

But none of this is relevant with a LAN connection to the endpoints, no?

…and particularly end points with their own internal buffering and clocking. Such systems are not dependent on the timing of the unit that harvests the signal from the HDD’s.


You have two different types of systems:

  1. those that play music
  2. those that serve music

For the latter, you just want a completely bulletproof OS that Roon can run on. AudioLinux would not provide any benefit at all for this.

For the former, this is where all the PC music stuff begins to become important. Here, one would probably use RoonSpeakers for a lightweight system and take as a given that Roon have optimised their own OS (as I understand it, RoonSpeakers will be provided as a complete distro for, for example, RPi).

If you wanted to run a Roon client on a Unix system, not RoonSpeakers, then something like AudioLinux might be useful. Although as mentioned above, I doubt you’re really buying anything from the AudioLinux guys than a stripped down version or Arch; which you can obviously do yourself if you wish.

There are also plenty of other lightweight Unix distros that as designed as headless music players, such as RuneAudio and piCorePlayer, which are worth looking into if you simply want to have a headless Rune client.

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Those that fully buy the foo would disagree.


Those that fully buy the foo cannot be reasoned with…


My Roon server does both. I connect my listening room (living room) DAC via USB. For other rooms, it serves music. So there is a third use case to consider.

I agree with everything @Boris_Morris said, including the statement about the foo.

Electrical noise will not affect an error corrected digital stream over TCP/IP. The clock here that will be affected is in the endpoint, not in the source. Note this is only true in some protocols like RAAT, Meridian, and uPnP/OpenHome. On the other hand, Airplay and Songcast are source clocked.

I know someone will surely bring up that Airplay doesn’t work like that. I discuss that here:

As do I, I’m a real skeptic where the foo is concerned as I’ve yet to hear any difference that warrants pursuit.