Roon Nucleus verses Apple Mac Mini M1

I can confirm seamless operation with the M1. It’s great! :slight_smile:


Could always release “RoonOS” for the macs, though I appreciate time is a valuable commodity and there is only so much in a day.

Or better yet open source it (excluding Roon core), and let someone else do it for you. I don’t need to be much of a betting man to bet it’s all based on open source software anyway.

You could still QC builds before releasing etc etc.

Why ? Really, why ?

Look at it from Roonlabs’s perspective, just off the top of my head:

It’d be a significant ressource drain.

Installing third-party OS’s on Apple hardware is a pain.

NUCs go for a fraction of the price of M1 minis, and they’re oomphy enough.

I’d guess from just the above that you’re suggesting significant ressource drain for maybe a few hundred users in the end: the DiY bar for installing a third-party OS on Apple hardware is higher than installing ROCK on Intel hardware, and the hardware itself is more expensive. You want a dedicated machine ? Go out and buy a NUC8. Won’t be as sexy, won’t be as fast on paper, but it’ll work just fine as is for what you need it to do, no faffing about from you or RoonLabs necessary.

Heh, you make it sound like I have a seat on the board or something and have just taken the ship off course.

I fully recognize that one couldn’t justify spending dev time on a rather niche project.

But the second point is more realistic. Pretending RoonOS is anything but a stock Linux distro with Roon installed and possibly a few tweaks is frankly silly. If roon was to just come clean about it and open source the tweaks (excluding roon core) then the community could improve it. While still allowing roon to control distribution of official roonOS releases etc.

It is a real weakness of Roon for me to be constantly pushed towards a dedicated machine and Roon OS. I just cannot believe that it is not well within the capacity of any general purpose machine to reliably deliver what is after all a tiny amount of data to a DAC. I am not under any circumstances going to spend what is for me a lot of money on a Nucleus, or mess around trying to build a NUC. Most of my music comes from the cloud now, and tiny little boxes like Apple TVs seem to manage fine. If Roon struggle to make their software run ok under Windows and OS X then there is something wrong somewhere, but probably not with Windows or OSX. The other week Roon couldn’t even find Dolly Parton albums, it tells me that the Bach Matthew Passion last 1 minute 43 seconds, and that Mozart is a performer. The idea I should buy a machine dedicated to such incompetence is ludicrous! First cast out the beam out of thine own eye!


On the stock linux distro, here’s what @danny had to say a few years back

That’s because a year into your subscription, you don’t understand what’s difficult about Roon: delivering that tiny amount of data is the easy part (and it’s still a frequent issue, because people think WiFi is magic).

Cool cool. Now take your AppleTV and get from Madonna to Daft Punk in one step, through collaborators.

Just a wild guess:

Dolly Parton sounds like an issue with your streaming content provider, or maybe it was an AWS outage (in which case, assuming it was that and they didn’t have a fallback, that’d be on Roon).

The other two sound like metadata issues, though the Bach thing is puzzling. Mozart sounds like some moron making an edit to metabrainz or something, and it trickling down without being flagged.

I’m not saying this to defend RoonLabs, it’s just that even though it’s an expensive piece of software and we all expect perfection, it’s important to keep in mind that there’s stuff that’s on them (classical could probably be handled better for example), and stuff that isn’t.

I stand corrected.

They chose to put together their own distribution.

Though still no reason it couldn’t be open sourced and the rest to follow.

Philosophically, I of course agree with you. There are probably good reasons to why that isn’t happening, and I’d be curious to know what they are. I can see of few (like the cost-benefit of having to herd contributors or the likelihood of low engagement or added useless-slash-counterproductive bloat (“heylook, here’s my folder browsing hack”)), but there are certainly many others.

The Dolly Parton issue was down to Roon. Since I don’t have any DP release in my library, but do have one track which she composed, Roon decided that she was a Composer but not an artist, despite there being hundreds in Qobuz. This is wrong. An elementary mistake. There should be a solution. There isn’t.

I don’t have any CDs in my library which Mozart performs on, yet Roon tells me Mozart is a performer based on a CD called something like “100 Classical Tunes to paint the ceiling by” in Qobuz. It should be possible to correct this, without depending on correcting all the metadata on Qobuz, but it is not.

Roon “knows” that the Bach Matthew Passion is of the order of two hours long, there is even a field in its composition schema called Nominal Length, but nonetheless gives me tiny excerpts from that work as instances of the whole thing, making the results of a search effectively useless. Wanting a solution to this is not wanting unrealistic “perfection” as you imply, it is just wanting the barest amount of competence.

These are all failings of Roon, most probably of its database design and implementation. There are many others. Until Roon sorts its own act out, it is no position to credibly criticise Microsoft and Apple, and I certainly couldn’t justify buying an expensive machine to dedicate to such nonsense. I hope things change with 1.8


Can this be mitigated by disabling Spotlight?


Spotlight is one of many culprits. You can’t kill everything…unlike RoonOS where Roon started with just the bare minimum and added only what was needed.

I would suggest the most likely reason this isn’t happening is support. One significant advantage to Roon Labs of ROCK running on a limited amount of hardware is that it lightens the support load.

… you forgot the bogeyman hiding behind the task bar …

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Not sure what is meant here? There is no taskbar in MacOS !

Not only that, but IIRC, part of the reason ROCK is free is to lighten the support load on Nucleus.

Anyway, Danny commented on it all back in august. File it away with “folder browsing”.

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What does the most powerful NUC that supports Roon cost with 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD? Is it a fraction of $699?

What exactly is “oomph enough”? Because I think that the MacMini M1 will support more DSP functions than any NUC…

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I don’t know where you’re at, but I bought a NUC8i7, Adata 512 and 16 gigs of ram for under $400 over the holidays. All new. That’s 4/7th of what an M1 mini would cost, and less than half if the ram were factored in (those two sticks were 60 bucks or so, and like 5 bucks, not 200, for an extra 8, not that it’s of any use in this case).

As long as it fits in 640k of RAM…

And so what ? Roonlabs isn’t going to start selling M1 Nucleii.

What’s your point, exactly, that the M1 is an awesome processor ? It is. That for the first time in God knows how long, Apple isn’t selling something that’s underpowered at the price they’re asking for it ? This coming from a Mac user, yeap, it’s a been a while, let’s hope they continue.

Mine is that an optimised OS for it from Roon will probably happen around the same time as folder browsing.

The macOS does not need to be optimized for Roon for Roon to run as good on better on it using a Mac Mini M1 than it does on a NUC or Nucleus.

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And it’ll be even more of a no-brainer once there’s an ARM binary. I’d still rather not run Roon on a mini.

You might be shocked to learn that not everything in life is a dick-swinging contest, and than quality of life is sometimes more important : there are edge cases where Roon runs better on Windows than it does on ROCK (or at least used to, it has to do with Mono). Would I personally rather run a dedicated appliance, not out of some fringe religious belief about sound quality, but in terms of convenience ? You betcha. If you’re fine with remoting into your OSX install once in a while to keep it happy, because that allows you to do things you couldn’t otherwise, then it’s a fine choice for you, but it isn’t for everyone, nor is it for most people. No matter how great the M1 is.