Roon stops playback on Mac Mini to AVR via HDMI set-up


  • Mac-Mini (late 2014) 10.12.6 2.6GB Intel Core i5
  • Roon Server in latest version - download Dec 25th, can’t see which version
  • Control via Roon App on iPad
  • Connected from MacMini via HDMI to Denon AVR X-4000 using Aux 2 port on AVR
  • MacMini controlled by MacBook Pro via ScreenShare

The Mac Mini runs Roon in server mode, iPad app connects without problems.
Access to MacMini Server via Screen Control from Laptop, no keyboards connected.

PROBLEM: Roon plays back via HDM to AVR, when Laptop used to control the MacMini is active. As soon as I close the laptop or put it in stand-by after ca. 30 seconds also the playback stops. Music seems to run if you look at the iPad GUI but there is nothing you hear.

In other words, never mind the iPad app, ROON only runs and plays music if the laptop used to control the MacMini is on and connection between Laptop to MacMini server is active.

Further info: Only HDMI connection is activated, all others possibilities are de-activated (no AirPlay, no System Output, no Built-In Output)

If we can’t find the resolution, what other lossless connections can I make from MacMini to AVR (can’t be Airplay, right)

The HDMI output on your Mac mini probably is tied to the integrated/standalone graphics card – even when the intent is to output only HDMI audio. If so, once the the Mac mini graphics shut down from headless operation, the HDMI output also ceases.

HDMI audio output from a computer can be a real pain in the ass to sort out. My suggestion is to use HDMI audio output only if you also need concurrent video output to a TV/monitor. But as a possible workaround, you could try installing Roon, rather than Roon Server – because full on Roon has a GUI that may keep the Mac mini graphics active.

A surefire solution, though, is to use the mini TOSLINK optical digital output from the Mac mini to the Denon AVR. That is part of the Built-In Output option, and it remains active during headless operation. As long as audio output is two channel and no greater than 96 kHz sample rate, TOSLINK is right on par with HDMI.


Hi Andrew
Confirm resolution. Works impeccable, thank you for this advice.

For later readers here in the forum, the Toslink output of the MacMini is not clearly indicated on Apple‘s hardware description. It is the headphone output connection that you should use for the Toslink connection.
Some cables need a special adapter which needs to be put on the Toslink jack.

Kind regards


Yes, while I believe Apple has discontinued mini TOSLINK output in its latest hardware, many Apple devices from roughly the past decade have mini TOSLINK integrated inside the 3.5 mm TRS phone jack. And many people have Apple hardware with that capability without realizing it.


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