Roon for Linux [done in 1.2]

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.

I’m curious to test the Raspberry Pi with RoonSpeakers and the HiFiBerry DAC+ Pro. I doubt it has the best analogue output stage, the DAC is independently clocked and the analogue stage can be powered independently from the digital electronics. Should be an entertaining weekend project. :wink:

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Could you enlighten me please as to what “buying the foo” means? I take it it’s something akin to believing a boutique Ethernet cable is going to make a difference in sound quality.


Yes, that kind.


But does “foo” stand for something in particular? Long ago it used to be used for a throw-away file or directory name but I haven’t seen that usage in quite a while (though I haven’t really had that much contact with ultra-computer geeks lately).

BTW count me in as waiting patiently for endpoints on Raspberry Pi and/or Squeezebox (I have 3 of each at present). I would also be happy to see regular Roon Core running on something like Ubuntu Desktop. Better still, to run alone side of something like Kodibuntu or Openelec. Then I could wipe Windows from the HTPC and never look back. But I understand it’s not a priority.

It’ll be available relatively soon.

@danny, please tell me there’ll be a Roon build for Linux desktops too…I cannot tell you how many times I’ve wished I could interact with Roon whilst sitting at my desktop with Roon streaming to my desktop hifi.

RoonServer, not Roon.

We haven’t done the UI work for Linux/OpenGL, which is a huge can of worms.

At the moment, I’m not sure the user base is large enough to warrant the huge effort… but then again, 2016 might be the year of the Linux Desktop :wink:

This post by @brian most accurately sums up the state of a Linux release at the moment:

Thank, I’ll have to find a way to run the Android app in Linux then. @danny have you considered a web interface for Roon… May simplify the multi OS desktop issue?