I need suggestions regarding how best to set up roon in my current circumstances.
Here’s what I have already got:
Computers, etc. : I do most of my work on a Macbook pro, but I have 3 macminis in my apartment, each of which is linked with a 2-channel stereo/HT system via a DAC (Schiit Yggdrasil, Metrum Acoustic Hex, Audiogd Ref. 5.32)
I have a synology NAS in the apartment that all the computers can access.
I have an iphone, an Ipad pro, and an ipad mini in the house too.
I have also recently purchased a Sonore Microrendu, which I have not installed as yet in any of the systems, but it is probably going to end up installed with my main 2-channel/5.2 HT system.
Where, in the above configuration, should I install the Roon software in order to make it most easily accessible to all the computers, tablets, and music stations in the apartment?
What additional software or apps, will I need (if any) to make navigating my music playback system easiest, and most hitch-free?
Am I going to need any additional hardware to facilitate things for myself ? (I already have streamers-Nvidia shield, Amazon fire tv, Roku ultra, Apple tv deployed, mostly for movies). Although I have three macminis, and a portable macbook pro, armed with 16gb of Ram each, only the portable Macbook pro has a 1TB Solid State Drive attached. All the mac minis have the usual hard drives. I am particularly concerned with where to locate “the core” of the Roon system. I hope I do not need to get another HTPC (an Intel NUC, for example) in order to make the roon run easier in my home network…
Any helpful setup suggestions, and thoughts are warmly welcome. I hope I have not forgotten anything important.
As long as all computers, remote storage, and phones/tablets are on the same subnet, the Roon core can be installed on any of your computers, possibly even your Synology NAS, though that latter configuration seems to be falling out of favor as Roon adds more powerful DSP features. As you note, however, the Roon core lives best with an SSD for its database. Additionally, the Roon core must be powered on, awake, and the app launched in order to serve music.
The simple parts of the equation for you are Roon Bridge and Roon Remote. Roon Bridge can be installed on any of your computers not running the Roon core. Those computers then become endpoints. And Roon Remote to configure/control the system can be installed on your phones/tablets – provided they are of recent enough vintage and meet the required specs.
What are the specs on the Mac mini’s? If one were at least an i5, that would make a very good Roon server/core, but ideally, you’d want to swap out the HD for an SSD. (That is kind of fiddly, so if you’re not comfortable taking a Mac mini apart, you might want to get someone to do that for you.)
What is your network setup like? What’s hard-wired, and what’s connected via WiFi? What router(s) and switches are you using?
Assuming you have the room on your NAS, that would seem to be the logical place to store all your music. What NAS do you have?
In your position, I would use the microRendu as an endpoint to whichever of your audio systems you consider your best. While the other two Mac mini’s are perhaps not ideal Roon endpoints, they can easily be configured as such, so that would take care of your other two systems, at least initially.
Your MBP and your iOS devices can all be used as remote controls (“Roon remotes”), so you probably have more than you need.
As far as additional software goes, you shouldn’t need anything other than the various Roon components, but IMO it’s helpful to have a good tag editor at your disposal. As a Mac guy, I like Yate, but there are other good choices.
It seems like you already have all the hardware you need to put together a really good multi-zone Roon setup, but I hope answers to the questions above will lead to some more specific, sound recommendations.
Andrew, David, and Danny: Thanks for the helpful responses. I think each of the Macminis has enough processing power to serve as the core, but they all have ordinary hard drives, instead of SSDs, so it seems I am going to have to replace the hard drive on at lease one of the macminis with an SSD.
Incidentally, I have an unused 240GB SSD ready on hand, will that be adequate for the job? I can replace the hardrive on the Macmini attached to my main 2 channel/HT system with that SSD, or even add it to the pre-existing hard drive, if that is doable (I’m not sure about this, but we’ll see). And if that job turns out to be too “fiddly” for me, as David suggests, (for example, if adding the solid state drive is going to lead to the voiding of my apple warranty on that Macmini), what would be the disadvantage of using my Macbook pro (which already has an SSD), as the core? As a necessarily mobile laptop, the MBP connects to the home network via wifi and not via wired ethernet, whereas the macminis are. Is that the problem, the wifi, as opposed to wired, connection of the MBP?
As for the microrendu, I am assuming it can also be configured as a roon endpoint in the system. Let me know if this is correct.
Lastly, I have Amarra and Audirvana plus (2) software on all the Macs in my house. I am assuming that the roon is going to function independently from all of them, and not create any conflicts… I am also wondering whether roon can ever work in conjunction with any of them, however. I use Amarra for Tidal, for example… Can Amarra for Tidal play nice with Roon, or does roon insist on playing Tidal independently? If I have used Amarra Symphony and room correction systems to calibrate my speakers, will the roon player bypass the entire calibration system, or can roon be made to work in conjunction with the Amarra Symphony calibration?
Again thanks for your assistance in helping me to figure out the best configuration for my roon installation.
I’m likely the least knowledgeable of the respondents here, but I’ll offer some advice: Assuming the Mac mini is not a vintage model, you’ll need to replace the HD with an SSD — there’s no room in there for an additional drive. (Your SSD should be plenty large enough.) If you can get an Apple Store or an Apple authorized repair place to do the work, it won’t void the warranty. (I use a mid-2011 i5 Mac mini as my Roon Server. I installed the SSD myself right after I purchased it. I typically have just one zone in use, but I use Roon’s DSP to upsample everything to DSD256, and the mini handles this with aplomb.) If your mini has Thunderbolt, you could try putting your SSD in an external Thunderbolt enclosure and use that as the boot drive, with Roon Server also installed on that drive, which should work well.
You said you do most of your work on the MBP. My experience suggests that a Roon server that stays in one place and has a minimum of other tasks to take care of will serve you best, so I’d definitely go with one of your mini’s for this. Also, there’s really no reason why your Roon server needs to have a monitor attached, once it’s set up.
Edit: Also, you’re better off with the server hard-wired to the network, not on WiFi.
That’s correct. Based on what I see on this forum, the microRendu is an extremely popular endpoint.
Roon isn’t going to integrate with Audirvana Plus or Amarra. If you can export convolution files from Amarra, you might be able to use them with Roon, but I’m by no means certain about this. From what I read around here, it seems like most folks are using REW to create convolution files for use in Roon. (I used A+ and was a big fan before I became addicted to Roon. Still use it at the office.)
David: Many thanks for these patient, and very helpful responses. I have looked at the Specs/features of the Yate Tag editor, and it looks so impressively useful that I am sold. I’m only surprised that my attention was not drawn to such a useful tool much earlier. Thanks again.
I’m running core on a 2010 Mac Mini without SSD. I won’t say it’s blindingly fast but it’s not bad. I used to have it as and endpoint as well as core but have now installed a Raspberry Pi as an endpoint. Didn’t notice a big difference in performance of the core (SQ better with the Pi, suspect it would be very good with the Rendu)
Phil: Thanks for your input. It is making me wonder how important the SSD is in the installation. I am most likely going to get my 240gb SSD installed on the Macmini that will house the Roon core/database in the hopes that it will optimize Roon’s overall performance. I have already made an appointment to get that done at a nearby apple store. I wonder, however, whether I can find a comparison somewhere between the performance of SSD- and non-SSD Roon on a Mac, one in which the advantages and disadvantages (if any) of each option are systematically identified and listed. That would simply be to satisfy my curiosity and enhance my knowledge about the properties of Roon.
I trust Danny and the team when they say an SSD makes a difference to performance - in which case it must be pretty darn fast given how old my platform is and the fact that I’m not using SSD. One thing I do see a lot is files constantly being analysed; not sure if this is performance related, I’ve got used to it now
From the database, Roon does a lot of random reads, not sequential reads when accessing artist/album/track information. That is the performance impetus for an SSD. From music storage, on the other hand, Roon does mostly sequential reads, thus little performance difference between HDD and SSD.
Hi. I have been reading through this post with interest as I have just started a free trial with the ROON software. I also have an Ares Mini with its own 1TB internal SSD. I am running the Aries through my Chord DAVE. I have set ROON up on my Mac Book Pro as the core and it reads all the music on my hard drive plus imports my music for my Tidal subscription. All good there. I have been able to play music from Tidal using ROON and the Aries as a streamer. However, it doesn’t seem to register nor play any music stored on the Aries. Roon sees the Aries on my network but I can’t seem to get Roon to recognise the music on the Aries hard drive. Any ideas guys? I know i am missing something simple here.
Thanks in advance.
Thanks for the tips. The Tidal set-up itself came up when I was configuring roon, so that worked out fine. And no, I have not clicked on “Jump starting your library” etc. etc. Thanks again for the heads-up.
I have an iMac (mid 2010, i3, 4GB, 1TB HDD) with the core. I have a small library (only around 400 cd’s)
I’m considering getting a NUC 7i3 since it will be quieter and cooler compared to (I’m guessing) to the Nuc 7i5. The NUC would be in my listening room close to my endpoint (Sotm sMS-200)
I will change my dac in the future and would like to able to do DSP to 256 DSD.
Now my question: Would your mid-2011 i5 mac mini be comparable to a Nuc 7i3 in your opinion? I,e would it be able to do 256 DSD ?
I ask since I wouldn’t have expected your 2011 i5 mac mini to be able to do DSD 256.
For the price difference and the performance it seems a no brainer to get the 7i5 one the 7i3 but having a quiet computer is important to me.
Alternatively I could get a used mac mini i5 from 2011/2012 and change the HDD to an SSD since it appears to work for you very well. However, I’m curious to try ROCK (it’s such an lightweight OS compared to an mac mini 's OS).