RoPieee + Roon Bridge to replace aging Mac mini: how and why?

Hi all,

I’ve been thinking about this for some time now. My Bridge, a 2010 Dual Core Mac mini, is currently used for both Roon and Netflix. From what I read on this forum, I get the impression that perhaps, this could be done more efficient, separating the two with a RoPieee for Roon. @RBM suggested opening a new topic on it, so here it is.

I have a Chord Mojo attached to the Mac mini, connected to a small tube amp, connected to Klipsch Heresy speakers. I like the fact that currently, both Roon and Netflix run through these speakers. I think that when I run Roon Bridge from a RoPieee, this means that Netflix series and movies will only run through the tv speakers. On the other hand, I kinda like the idea of separating them and giving Roon a clean and exclusive channel.

Can anyone advise on the pros and cons? Why would I go through the trouble of switching? What would I win and what would I lose? I already panic slightly thinking of having to download Roon Bridge to a device without a monitor, how to do this — Murphy’s Law always applies to me in such cases. Still, I’m curious. But, there are sooo many options: Raspberry Pi, DietPi, RoPieee, Allo… I think that’s not even half of it. What’s the easiest solution, and is there a difference in SQ too? Any help or advice is much appreciated!

What inputs do you have on your amp? Assuming you have more than one you can leave the mac mini running roon core/server and netflix as it does now connected to your amp. Then buils a Rpi running RoPieee and add an appriopiate hat for the other input on your amp. You would then select the RoPieee Pi as the Roon zone and use your amp to switch between sources. The win is more flexibility and potentially better sound from Roon but that is very subjective.

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The DAC is also a potential switching device. I use two coaxial connections (Computer and TV) and AES (CD Transport) into my DAC (Holo Audio Spring) as well as the l2s input for Roon (mR and Matrix Audio X-SPDIF 2).

Could you bring Netflix in via the optical Mojo input ?

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Lovely system and legendary speakers! I heard their most recent special edition model at a HiFi Show last year and I was so impressed at how musical these were.

With the Mojo, it would involve unplugging the microUSB cable each time you wanted to switch to Netflix. I used to do this when I had a Mojo and didn’t like it for the long term durability of the small microUSB port (repeated plugging and unplugging). There’s no easy way to switch input sources, the way you can with a Hugo, for example.

I couldn’t agree more, there SO many options as you say.

If your (integrated?) amp has another pair of analogue inputs free AND if you wanted to keep the Mac Mini in the listening room, then I would actually add a cheap 24/192 USB DAC just for Netflix, assuming you didn’t need Mojo quality D-to-A for Netflix viewing. And then an Allo USBridge just for Roon.

This means 2 small-ish purchases (maybe a 3rd if you didn’t already have a network switch in that setup) but it keeps your layout generally the same, with the Mac Mini in the listening room.

Something like a PS Audio LANRover would allow you to have just 1 central computer in the house for Roon and Netflix, and output audio over your network to the Chord Mojo.

In this case you would replace the Mac Mini with a network switch and the LANRover ‘receiver unit’, the latter will become your USB audio source. The LANRover ‘sender unit’ and main PC/Mac can be anywhere in the house with ethernet access. One issue is that if your main PC is far away, you will need to browse Netflix outside the listening room and then hit play on what you want and then walk over to the listening. And pausing pay become a pain, with having to go to the main PC again. The only issue other issue I can think of is if the video and audio are out of sync with Netflix viewing. I used a LANRover like this and never had an issue with video and audio being out of sync. If you have the ability to try one risk free for 30 days, then that solves any concerns.

A cheap separate USB DAC for Netflix viewing, if you amp allows a 2nd input. And the Mojo is used with an Allo USBridge just for Roon.

PS: I’m no expert but I have used a Mojo the way you want to, so I’m only talking from practical experience, not any expertise. Instead of an Allo USBridge, I used a microRendu but they attempt to do the same thing - low power, low noise, networked isolated audio endpoints.

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A cheap separate DAC for non-Roon listening is the AudioQuest DragonFly Black (actually it’s even good for Roon).

Or something like this at similar price:

Only if your amp allows for 2 sources and easy switching.

I have arcam irDac ii so it does all the switching for my digital music sources. Cd player, Pi running Ropieee via spdif coaxial and Nvidia shield via USB ( so I can get Spotify).

Not sure you really need to separate roon bridge to another system as I would be dubious of any increase in SQ by doing so as your digital all the way to your DAC, and it’s a more expensive and complicated solution to something that already works.

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Guys, thanks a bunch for all your reactions! I’m very busy with work the last few days, but wil try to read all your advice tonight :grinning:

Hey @koen,

I just dusted off a Cubox to serve duties as headphone zone for an incoming Explorer 2 – found another Cubox in the same box I’d forgotten about. :slight_smile:

I could set the spare one up for you with Roon Bridge so you can get your feet wet with a small board computer zone and see if it makes a difference in your setup. PM me if you’re interested!


I have just one input on my amp…

I could try that! The family is currently watching a movie, so I’ll have to wait for it. But isn’t picture quality a lot less via optical than via hdmi?

Optical is sound only, hdmi is video and sound so there is no picture via optical.

Yeah I love their sound. A friend of mine had Klipsch LaScala’s and they sounded terrible to me. Harsh and shrill. A few weeks later he demonstrated them again with modified filters. Just such an enormous improvement! The guy that made these filters offered to make them for me, so I bought Heresy II’s. Never regretted it.

That’s a pity, I actually liked @andybob’s idea of feeding both through my Mojo. Forgot to mention I have an iFi nano iUSB3.0 between the Mac mini and the Chord Mojo as well. Among other things, it provides the Mojo with enought power not to run out of battery.

Yes, it’s an integrated amp, but with just one analogue input. I would indeed prefer to keep the Mac mini in the listening room.

Ouch, I’m learning!

That’s exactly the thing I was wondering. I doubted direct SQ improvements, but was wondering whether perhaps this may be a side effect of more reliability and stability when dedicating the Mac mini to Netflix and separating Roon.

That’s a really nice offer, Rene! I’ll PM you shortly :smiley:

I asked how many inputs, not how many analogue inputs. If it has digital inputs you could use a Rpi hat such as the allo digione to feed it.

It’s a very minimalistic amp, it has only one input – the analogue one.

Ok you don’t have a lot of choices then apart from using a dac with multiple inputs.

Yes he does. Leave the system as it is, I cant see any validity in him splitting to use another endpoint when his mac mini functions perfectly well as it is and can do what he wants already without any additional cost. There are no benefits to spitting it out unless you feel spending money on something that is not needed is a benefit.

Thanks for all your help guys! I have indeed decided to leave things as they are for the moment — if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it, right?

Rene kindly offered me to try out his spare Cubox with Roon Bridge, but the switching cables on either the Mac or the Mojo between Roon and Netflix turns me off a bit. It would provide no real solution, as I still need to undertake some action in order to switch between Roon or Netflix over my speakers.

Furthermore, it’s unlikely to result in an SQ improvement. I still have some issues, but it is unclear whether or not they are caused by the Mac mini. I’ll see how to solve this best, but that’s off topic for here.

Anyway, thanks again and I’ll be happy to get some more advice once my Mac really announces its retirement (which, I hope, will take a long time)!