Should I use a Rpi, or should I continue with MacOs

Hello to all. First of all, please bear with me that I’m a big time newbie, I’m lost in tech talks (especially anything Linux related) and I do not understand everything about Roon (the “Core”, the “Remote”, etc.). I am happy to learn, but I have limited time and prefer easy solutions to my problems to heavily-involved ones.

I am on a trial Roon and I am very, very pleased with the interface on my MacBook Pro. However, the Mac is getting old (2011) and I am in the process of changing my computer. I have 2000+ albums (FLAC + mp3) on my hard drive and I have subscribed to Tidal. I own a Cambridge CXN that I really like. I’m low on cash. Subscribing to Roon is kind of a stretch, but I’m ready to plunge if I can make it work nicely.

  1. I thought about a configuration that would meet many needs: connect my old MacBook Pro via a Toslink digital cable to my Cambridge CXN, disable the monitor and control the MacBook Pro via a new computer I would buy (probably a MacBook Air). This way I could keep my ole’ Mac always on for sharing files via p2p, sharing files with the new Airmac and listening to my music library and Tidal via Roon with its core in the MacBook Pro (taking advantage of the Cambridge DAC instead of the Mac ones).

  2. Another config would invert everything. I could keep my ole MacBook Pro as my main computer. It is still working nice as I’m a light user (sometimes under stress when running Roon, but that is rare). I could buy a Raspberry Pi + DigiOne and install Dietpi or whatever OS. Install a Roon bridge on the Pi. Transfer my library to a USB SSD (that I already own) and I even could install my file sharing client on th Pi. Connect the DigiOne to my CXN via coaxial. That way the Pi would be the “always-on” unit instead of the Mac.

Pros of 1: easy to setup (I understand Macs). No library transfer. No file sharing client library transfer.
Cons of 1: The cost of a new Mac Air. Not very environment-friendly, since the ole MacBook Pro is always on and uses more voltage than a Pi.

Pros of 2: Environment-friendly. Open source. Learning a new type of computer OS that could help me in the future if I wish to leave the closed OS of Mac.
Cons of 2: Seems to be complicated and I do not understand very well this setup. I could find help online and with a friend, but that would be time-consuming.

So here are my questions:

Am I at lost in understanding my situation? Is there anything I don’t grasp in just trying to evaluate my options? Is there any comment / suggestions about the two options I’m considering?

Thanks for your feedback! And sorry for the long message and the newbie questions.

Many people use an RPi/DietPi endpoint. DietPi will install Roon bridge for you, as well as anything else you may need. Just run the DietPi config program. The interface is a simple as it gets, so you don’t really need to learn a new OS if you are only using it for Roon.

Don’t forget, DietPi exists on donations. :smiley:

Of course, you’ll still need another machine to be on as an RPi can’t run Roon core. But you knew that.

BTW - for a newbie, you have a good grasp of Roon topology, more so than many.

I think the RPi Allo DigiOne is a good combination and an excellent transport for the money. I’d pair that with Ropieee since that meets your preference for an easy solution. Moreover, it is discrete, silent and can be placed next to the CXN; in contrast I find my old MacBook fan can be noisy at times.

Continue to use the MacBook as this keeps more options open. You may later decide to buy a NUC for your Core or upgrade the MacBook.

BTW, search the forum for CXN as there are a few posts including some limitations that may confirm your choice. IIRC the CXN does fully support Linux USB as an input.

@Martin_Blanchard Do note that RPi can’t run Roon Core / Server so you would be best to keep the core where it is now and maybe Use Roon Server on the old 2011 MB…at least until you can afford something beefier to run. the Core. maybe get the fans cleaned out on your old MB as dusty fans will be less effective at cooling and make more noise too.

Or look at an Intel NUC to run ROCK

Ropieee is perhaps a good RPi endpoints option for you too with a HAT from one of the many available sites like hifiberry or IQAudIO or Allo too.

Thanks to all for the insights. The roon community is something else. I will check in the NUC option eventually, and keep my options open with my MacBook for now…

1 Like