Running a copy library on client only?


I have read a few threads about this, but I’m not sure what is possible and what is not:
right now, my music is stored on my laptop, the same I’m bringing to work every morning. As a result, I’m pretty much the only one using Roon in my household, as people are not keen on waiting for me before they can listen to music.

As I don’t really have the means to purchase a second core, I was thinking of doing the following:

  • Putting all my music on a spare laptop that would stay at home, connected to the rest of the audio system. Roon Core would be on that laptop too.
  • Keeping a copy of that music library on my everyday laptop, and having Roon recognise both locations (so I would have two copies of each file). That laptop would then run the client for Roon.
  • When I’m away from home, I’m hoping Roon client will recognise only the everyday laptop files as being available.

Would this work? I understand only the home laptop can be used to make modifications and add files, so I’ll have a bit of work keeping both synchronised, but apart from that, is this a workable solution?

Not the way you are describing it.
You would have to have Server on the laptop and home.
When you want to use the laptop you would have to authorise the laptop as the server when you wanted to use it - this would automatically deauthorise the home install so no one could use it whilst you are away.
On return you would have to authorise the home version and revert to remote on the laptop.
Keeping the libraries and music in synch is a whole other conversation.

Ouch. That does not quite solve the main issue of my family having to wait for me to come back before being able to use Roon.

Oh well, thanks for taking the time to answer.

By your own description you are looking to have two Servers running at the same time. That requires 2 licenses.

Not necessarily. I wouldn’t have a problem with only one server being accessed at a time (it’s not the most convenient, but I’m not about to take a second subscription). My question concerned mostly the ability to play a partial set of files and play them away from the server. From my reading, the alternative is to “disable/enable” a Roon core whenever I start it in one computer or the other, something I’d be willing to play with but my family probably not.

One alternative is setting up a home machine that runs both Plex and Roon.

That way, you can stream while you’re away, and your family has access to Roon. This naturally requires good bandwidth, the experience will not be as nice as using Roon, but streaming to the desktop app on your laptop is free. The Plex mobile apps must be bought (iOS) or require a subscription (Android). Lifetime subscription for Android and iOS apps, which includes better metadata for music, is $89 right now.

Alas, I’m living in West Africa. Internet is… Average?

I think what I’m looking for is impossible, or perhaps incredibly expensive.

If I may, here was our setup before I decided to move to high Rez: my wife had her library on her iTunes, and I had mine. When family became a thing, we could easily access both from either computer as long as we were on the same network. To make things easier, we copied both our libraries in one spare laptop, under one of our accounts (you can have 5 machines per Apple ID). From then on, we could each access our music at work, and all of our music from home.

It seems the only way I can do this with Roon is to buy 2, or even 3 licences. Perhaps I should rewrite this under the feature requests, as I find this VERY user unfriendly.

I understand the pain all too well… Plex will degrade your files to mp3 according to available bandwidth, or it will run locally, as your current Roon setup does. It will also allow you to sync files.

Run your core and JRiver on the home machine both scanning the same location. You can access the JRiver server from your laptop at work with average internet access and set your quality to match.

I’m not quite understanding why you need Roon Core running on your laptop when you are away from the house. I realize that iTunes (or VLC or whatever you were using to play your music before you started using Roon) doesn’t have quite as nice an interface, but surely that’s not a horrible burden while you’re at work.

  • Put Roon core on a machine that stays at home.
  • Keep two copies of your music library:
    • one at home, and
    • one on your laptop (so that you can listen to your music at work).
  • Keep a copy of Roon on your laptop (configured as a client), so that when you’re at home you can use it to control the Roon core.

Then all you need to do is keep the two copies of your library in sync. Which is a solved problem.


Do you mean i would then listen to music at work with iTunes, for example, and run Roon only at home? I guess I could do that, although it means converting each new album to ALAC or mp3 in addition to keeping both libraries synchronized. But it also means losing Roon radio - it has worked noticeably well for me.

If you want to run Roon in two locations, then you need two licenses.

If you can tolerate using some other music player at work, then you can get by with just one license for your home.

There are lots of player besides iTunes, most of which support FLAC. But, yeah, I use iTunes and so I keep all of my lossless music files in ALAC format, which both Roon and iTunes support.

As to keeping the two libraries synchronized, that’s not a big deal. I use rsync on MacOS and Linux. But there are similar solutions for Windows as well.

In any case, having another copy of your music library is a good thing (think of it as a backup of your most-prized data).

If you install JRiver on your core PC , there will be 2 servers, Roon for home, JRiver for outside. You can set JRiver to broadcast across the Internet

You simply install a second copy of JRiver on your mobile laptop and point it at the home server library

That way you have one set of files for both libraries, better for maintenance, back up etc

JRiver has a 30 day demo full function and cost $60 to start . You can install to 10 machines

Roon and JRiver cohabit nicely , I have this setup on my core PC with no issues

1 Like

Apple Music should do FLAC at this point, so no need to worry about that.

If you don’t want to clog up your computer’s hard drive with music, get an bus powered external usb drive. Those go up to 5tb for single drives, and 10 with a dual drive enclosure like this one.

Easiest is to define a “master” library where you add the stuff, and then sync that. You could do that with something like rSyncOSX, which’ll do incremental backups (so only sync the changes) and also work bidirectionally (i.e, you add something, your spouse adds something, and when you get home, both libraries get updated, though that’s potentially more dangerous, because if someone erases something they shouldn’t, then it gets erased on both).

Just make sure to exclude the Roon database from that, because it can mess things up, and only sync the folder with your music.

Honestly, if I’m going top use another player - and it seems to be the best solution, I’m going to use a free one rather then to pay on top of Roon.

And you can install JRiver on 10 machines?? Man, I really dislike their interface, but that’s really the way Roon should do it (or 5, but not 1). It can’t possibly be just a small minority who listens to their music in more than one location, and just wishes to do that easily and using the one player they purchased instead of several and synching on top of that.

Anyway, thanks to everyone who took time to reply, at least now I have options, however unpalatable they feel right now.

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.