Running Roon Core


please forgive me if this is in the wrong thread. I’ve finally decided to give Roon a bash. I will be signing up for the 2 week free trial and If I like it will go up to the annual subscription with the goal of going for the lifetime subscription.

My question is, what is the lowest spec machine you are running the roon server on? I see that Roon suggest i3, ssds and 4gbs of ram. Is anyone having success with a less specked machine? say an intel atom processer or celeron? I am not too keen on leaving my laptop on all of the time and don’t want to invest in a dedicated roon server that is over powered. It simply needs to run roon and scan my files.

All the best


While things may appear simple, often they are not, grasshopper…

Long story short: yes, you can run Roon off an Odroid, but depending on where you live, that isn’t the cheapest way to go at it. It also isn’t necessarily the best price / performance ratio.

There’s a fundamental difference between Roon and most other players, which is that the power you need depends on how many tracks and albums (not as much the quality as the quantity) you have. In any case, you absolutely must have an SSD (and the faster the better, to a point) for the database, or your experience will be miserable. This includes the albums you add from streaming services.

Another factor is DSP: if you use the DSP features, then you’ll need more computing power, moreso if you’re sending music to multiple zones.

Oh, and word of warning: you also need to pay attention to RoonLabs not wanting lifetime subscribers. There have been unambiguous statements that lifetime can either be canned, or go up, any time.

Thanks for the reply.

In whatever system I build to host the Roon server it will definitely use an SSD to run the software and I’ll probably keep my files on HDDs. just trying to get a feel for processing power. As it will all factor into the cost of setting up Roon.

at this point in time I will not be utilizing the DSP feature (maybe if I go down the rabbit hole I’ll use the DSP feature later) but I wont factor in the DSP for now.

I have seen a lot of talk around the lifetime sub issue which is why I have been prompted to give it a try now to see if its for me.

FWIW, my feeling is the sweetspot right now is NUC7/8, probably 8i3 or 8i5 more than i7. Not cheap, but not horrifically expensive either, and you get the added benefits of the appliance-like ROCK distro being officially supported (which it wouldn’t be on non-NUCs). You can get away with cheaper / less powerful, but I’m personally not sure it’s the best choice here. No need to jump into the deep end to try out, obviously, but do make sure that whatever you’re running on has an SSD for the database.

have the core installed on my Dell XPS at right now. have it working like a charm. except for the roon remote app for android. I can’t get the app to connect to my core. it keeps attempting to connect and failing. Once I get this sorted I’ll be able to dig in properly.

Hello Aidan, welcome to the community.

In addition to the platform choice for your Roon Music Server, keep in mind that a robust internal Network is a necessity that needs to be considered. And the sever should be using Ethernet to the router.

A Nuc/Rock setup will eliminate issues with Windows updates causing problems and a robust network will eliminate drops and connections issues. Lots of choices but a good combination will provide trouble free musical enjoyment with Roon.

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This would also be my recommendation. New or used. I run NUC 8i5 and it’s barely working. But then my library of downloaded/ripped albums is quite small compared to some people here. Just over 100 GB. Mostly stream Tidal and Qobuz.

For low spec example: I used a Mac Mini from 2011 before and when testing it during the holidays it was still perfectly capable to run as a Roon core. No hiccups. Probably not that great for dsp.

If you get to screen on the Android which says it cannot connect, there may be a little blue Help link. If you click that, there will be an option to enter your server IP directly. You can try and use

Have everything up and running now with a decent internal network. Everything in the house is connected by ethernet.

I definitely think a nuc will be the next purchase if I decide to continue with my room journey. It’s only day one but I’m lobijf it so far

Eventually got the remote connected. I had to allow Room to bypass windows defender in order to allow the remote to connect.

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I’m not sure there is a single source for this data but…

How many tracks are in your library? Now that you can add tracks from the streaming services how many tracks may your library grow to? There is some hard recommendation at 100,000 tracks to jump to Nucleus Plus. The reason for this is the way Roon does DB management as the number of tracks increases, the size of the DB increases, the more power you need to run operations on the index.

The next bit of CPU hit is the DSP engine. This includes some simple things like volume leveling, crossfeed, etc. Then you get into some heavier things like PCM up-sampling. Heavier still is PCM to DSD up-sampling. And then if you start combining these with parametric EQ you may find you need a very hefty machine indeed.

If I were you… take your time with the 2 week trial and beyond. Use the software. Investigate different set-ups. Look into the DSP engine. Identify if those will be something you’ll want to use in the future. Buying a heftier machine now will be cheaper than buying two cores because you’re first runs out of horsepower.

Only other thing I’d recommend… depending on your environment… fanless / passive cooling will be more expensive than a more standard actively cooled system. This may drive your decision to keep the core far away from your listening environment.

*note. My DB is on spinning disks and I have no noticeable delay or any performance issues. But my spinning drives are 7200 RPM Ultrastar Helium filled drives in a RAID1 configuration. My track count is relatively small. Not a normal thing you can pickup at the Best Buy. I only bring this to everyone’s attention because I see “you must use SSD” thrown around a lot. That’s a good rule if you’re building new but if you’re trying to reuse existing hardware, like I did, you can find success with spinners. Don’t let the “you must use SSD” chant stop anyone from getting a core up and enjoying Roon if spinners are all you have.

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Disable firewall on your Dell XPS and see if you can connect to core. If is is a firewall, you will have to port forward the port that Roon is using.

It’s a small enough library now. About 10,000 local library songs. A couple of thousand tidal tracks. I try to only add tidal tracks to my library if they’re on my purchase list.

Definitely liking the software so far. I think it might be more of a tablet type software than phone for controlling. I’ll enliu thru next couple of weeks, but for metadata alone I’m leaning towards buying in

One thing to note is that Lifetime will go away at some point sooner than later so if you did want to get lifetime get it fast as in a years time it might be gone as an option.

It’s happier and more engaging on a big screen for sure.