Roon Optimized Core Kit (previously reported as Roon OS)

not yet… but we are thinking about it… amazon cloud drive is cheap enough to do off-site backups now. We have requested approval to use their API.

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You would need to run HQP on a different machine because the Core Kit will only run Roon. As with any Roon Core you can configure an HQP Network Zone by entering the IP address of the machine running HQP.

So this is actually a Linux distribution like Volumio right?
I suppose the RoonServer in Roon Optimized Core Kit is like the MPD in Volumio. What are other differences by comparing to popular audio Linux distributions?


You can’t compare it to Volumio. Volumio runs quite a bit of software written by various third parties that don’t know about each other. This thing is Roon only, all throughout.

  1. The performance is incredible. Boot in <2 seconds, full update (post-download) in ~30s. Everything is snappy and built from the ground up for Roon.
  2. It doesn’t feel like Linux, or any other operating system. It feels like Roon. There is no point in hooking up a keyboard or display – you can’t do anything. The web UI is small and clean, and does a few tasks very well, and with a lot of information. It is really hard to mess up, and if you do, it’s easy to recover. This is a DIY embedded appliance system, not an user controllable operating system.
  3. The entire OS is VERY small – this is including a giant ffmpeg binary for MP3/AAC codecs:
Filesystem                Size      Used Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/root                 1.9G     93.4M      1.7G   5% /
/dev/sda3                 1.9G     82.7M      1.8G   4% /roon/app
/dev/sda4                55.0G    182.3M     54.8G   0% /roon/data
  1. kernel and modules optimized for audio, and everything is configured to work best with Roon. There is nothing else in the system, so all middle men and hooks are removed. Roon -> kernel -> hardware. That’s it.

Thanks, sounds good. Seems like this is more like an appliance solution for audio.


yes, \HOST\Data\Storage\ will contain 1 folder per partition

You can do it with the share, or you can do it by drag/dropping files/folders to Roon Remote on Mac/PC.

no option for the share, it just is always there, with guest login and full read/write support.


it doesn’t at the moment, but I know what needs to be done to do it.

possibly… our team are not fans of spinning down spinning disks as it causes massive delays in accessibility

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DoP works fine – it doesn’t require anything more than bitperfect delivery of PCM data.

Depends on the time of inactivity setting. If it spins down after one hour or even two hiurs or so it would be active almost all of the time you use it and will be idle for the rest of the day. I’m not a big fan of running harddrives 24/7 but maybe that’s no problem anymore for modern harddrives.

Yes, all 3 should be supported. There may be some minor peripheral things about the i7 version, like thunderbolt ports, that may need some tweaking… I don’t have one, but I am happy to work with someone who does.

3 posts were split to a new topic: Roon Core Kit machine support

@danny can you provide a high level summary of how Roon Core Kit performs vs Roon Core running on WIndows on the same Intel NUC hardware? Are there any advantages beyond:

  • Cost of windows OS
  • Performance
  • Maintenance


One of the pros of running Windows over a custom appliance happens to be it’s greatest downfall. Enhanced customization means you can also mess it up.

Roon Optimized Core Kit (ROCK) not only just works, but kernel patches, the audio system, and all drivers are setup and configured to give you the best sound quality. You can achieve similar it on Windows and others yourself, but it requires work.

Being near-turnkey is the best feature of ROCK. If you want full turnkey, use a Roon Core Partner device built on top of RoonOS (the core of ROCK).

This looks interesting but I have a couple of questions. I am currently running Roon Core on a Linux VM on VMware ESXi and it works flawless. But Roon Core Kit could ease the operation even further since no separate OS updates will be required etc, but I still want to run it as a VM and for this to work I need to know:

  1. Does Roon Core Kit support Intel E1000 NIC? As it is an appliance I assume there will be no way to inject other NIC drivers and thus I need E1000 support.

  2. Does Roon Core Kit support NTP for time keeping? Since I run in a VM I need to avoid time drift and thus the need for NTP.

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I think that this thread has bread a lot of confusion over what Roon Optimized Core Kit (ROCK) is and especially what it isn’t. Hopefully this will clarify things a bit…

ROCK is a very trimmed down version of linux designed to be run on very specific hardware (5th and 6th generation Intel NUCs). Its purpose is to allow a user to purchase this relatively inexpensive hardware, assemble it, and within a few minutes have a small, quiet, and capable box to act as a dedicated Roon core. Since Linux in itself isn’t the easiest operating system for many to master Roon has included a web interface to handle the settings required to integrate RCK into one’s network.

The only way for Roon (which is a very small organization) to be able to do this and support it is to severely limit its use to very specific hardware and software.

This is an appliance. It’s a black box. All it does is run Roon Server.

This is not a general purpose linux distribution intended to be installed on any hardware. This is not a linux distribution for those who know the Linux command line and like to tinker. This is not a linux distribution which will allow for the installation of ANY software (Roon Server itself is pre-loaded in the distribution).

ROCK is small and lightweight. It installs quickly (with no intervention) and requires no knowledge of Linux (or really any other OS) in order to be used. There is no administration required as it will update itself automatically.

Instant, turn-key Roon Server… just add storage (either an external USB3 disk or an SMB share mounted from a NAS or other server).

This is a completely closed platform. Period.

Now before you say, “but I want to run it on my 4 socket, 16 core Xeon rack mounted server with 512GB RAM and 256TB of storage,” stop and think for a second… this particular product likely wasn’t intended for you in the first place!

ROCK is for the user who either has little (or no) computer knowledge or doesn’t want the headache of managing another computer, but does want a stable and reliable Roon installation. In order to satisfy that requirement that customer must be willing to sacrifice some flexibility.

If that sacrifice isn’t an option then you’re best looking at rolling your own using the operating system of your choice. You may get better performance and you certainly will have more flexibility, but that will be at the cost of simplicity.

Now Roon is pretty simple to setup and use (for many of us), but if you look at the support forum you’ll notice that there is a lot of confusion over configuration and management. These aren’t unintelligent people nor is Roon poorly-written software. It’s just something that is new and complex and well outside their wheelhouse in terms of day-to-day activities and knowledge.

Here’s a perfect example of the target for ROCK… I have a customer who recently purchased a Roon Ready DAC and is interesting in getting into file-based playback for its convenience, access to high resolution content, and all of the other benefits that we all know and love. He has average computer skills, but is intimidated by having to tinker with something to get it to work. He just wants to sit down and press play. (actually, I have A LOT of these customers).

For this particular customer I plan to recommend the ROCK and will likely source the parts and build it on his behalf. In fact I’ll likely handle everything from having his CDs ripped to installation and training in his home. From his perspective it will just be a little black box that makes Roon work. From my perspective it’s a support headache that I won’t have. I don’t need to worry about updates nor do I need to worry about any sort of ongoing management. If it does break in a bad way I know that I can quickly and easily re-install the software with pretty much zero time investment.

So here’s the question: Is Roon Optimized Core Kit a good fit for me?

If you’re looking for a small and simple way in which to light up Roon on your network and either don’t want/need or are willing to give up configuration flexibility then this is a good (potentially great) option.

If you do want / need flexibility in terms of hardware, other software running on the box, operating system configuration, or simply having shell access then you will be far better served by installing the OS of your choice on the hardware of your choice (it just won’t be Roon OS :slight_smile: )


Even for those of us who have been using *nix professionally since V7 was new (that dates me ;)), RCK is attractive, one less gadget to maintain manually on an already complicated home setup. I’m running Roon Core over Ubuntu on a NUC, serving music from a NAS. The only reason I might continue to do that after RCK shows up is that I have a cron setup to backup the Roon database to the NAS every night (The NAS then backs up that backup to Google Drive every week, together with all my digital downloads). If Roon 1.3 and RCK were to have automatic database backup to external storage, I would not need this customization and RCK would be perfect.


I think I remember adding that board because we need it for USB ethernet adapters, but we aren’t going to support you on that VM because it’s not one of the NUCs we support.

yes, it runs NTP.

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everyone asking questions about hardware… please read @AMP’s post above. He said it so much better than I did. +++++

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