Sluggish app and high memory usage - 2014 MacBook Pro, 8 GB RAM, running latest version of Big Sur

Roon Core Machine

  • macOS Big Sur 11.6.7
  • Core installed on 2014 MacBook Pro (MBP) - 8 GB RAM - 2.8 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 - 500 GB SSD
  • Roon Core 1.8 (build 988)
  • Remote - iPhone 13 running latest version of iOS (15.5) and build 988

Networking Gear & Setup Details

  • Netgear Nighthawk X6 R8000
  • Using MBP and iPhone on 5 GHz WiFi channel with a 2.4 GHz SonosNet for my 9 Sonos devices

Connected Audio Devices

  • 9 Sonos speakers, all purchased in 2014, in 5 rooms
  • 3 Play:1’s in individual rooms
  • HT setup with Playbar, Sub, and 2 Play:3’s as surrounds
  • 2 Play:3’s as a stereo pair in another room
  • using SonosNet as none of these speakers are airplay compatible

Number of Tracks in Library

  • In trial period so have only added 709 tracks from my library so far.
  • Library is located on the same MBP that is running Core.
  • Have also added 169 Qobuz tracks.

Description of Issue

Currently evaluating Roon. Love the interface, general functionality (especially compared to the Sonos controller app), and the Qobuz integration. But I’ve noticed unacceptable sluggishness when trying to use the Roon app on my MBP. Mainly things like slow, hesitant scrolling and delays after clicking on things such as volume, signal path, devices, forward/back/play/pause, etc. When this is happening I’ve noted in Activity Monitor that Roon memory usage, which starts out around 500 MB when Roon is opened, is now between 1-1.75 GB, and memory is being swapped to the SSD. The processor temp also increases up to around 200F and the fan kicks in.

If I leave the Roon app alone on the MBP and control everything using my iPhone 13, then things seem to run smoothly. I do use the Roon app on the Mac to display lyrics, cover art, etc. and to look at artist/album profiles, but am controlling playback, volume, etc. using my iPhone.

If I turn off my MBP, iPhone, and router, restart everything, and only open the minimum number of apps necessary on my MBP, Roon starts out running smoothly. But it eventually will get sluggish and RAM usage will shoot up again to the 1-1.75 GB level.

Edit: Here’s a screenshot I just took of Activity Monitor. Roon memory usage up to 2.5 GB.

Have you let it finish anlaysing your tracks? It can take a little while for it to do this, you can reduce the amount of resources it uses to do this in the library settings.

I started my trial 3 days ago. With only 700 tracks added so far, the analysis finished just a couple of hours after initial install (it was set to the default anyway, which is throttle), so that’s not the source of the problem. It’s ongoing and happens every time I attempt to use the Roon app on my MBP for anything other than a fancy display of lyrics, cover art, etc.

Roon and SonosNet have a complicated relationship on the newer Sonos products, I assume these issues may be amplified with the older (v1) products. What most users have found if they want Roon to control their music over Sonos equipment is to connect the Sonos devices directly to your wired or WiFi network and use Roon from there.

I believe you can stil use the Sonos app to create your paired devices for stereo and home theater use, but not sure as I have not used Sonos in a number of years and well before I started using Roon.

I’d hoped I might get some feedback on using Roon with Sonos speakers. I’ve actually been pleasantly surprised so far with that aspect of things. My Gen 1 gear doesn’t support Airplay 2, so the only option I have is to wire one speaker/device to my router. This forms a private, mesh-type 2.4 GHz network that Sonos calls SonosNet. For most networking situations, including with the current day equipment, using SonosNet instead of using your wireless network will almost always give you the most stable situation. In fact, switching away from using your wireless network over to the use of SonosNet is the first troubleshooting step suggested by Sonos Support to attempt to correct stuttering, dropouts, etc.

Interestingly, I believe that using Roon has actually helped make my system even more stable because Roon allows me to chose a bit depth of 16 for the stream going to my speakers even though they will technically support a BD of 24. If I attempt to use the higher bit depth, the stream stutters and drops out badly due to the additional bandwidth, especially if I’m trying to stream to a grouping of most or all of my speakers.

Another significant benefit to me of being able to set a BD of 16 is Roon can then deliver a stream of up to 16B-48kHz, whereas I might only be able to get a 16-44.1 otherwise. I believe I can notice the difference between a sample rate of 48 vs. 44.1 kHz, especially if the source is a 24-192 that Roon has downconverted/downsampled to 16-48. This could strictly be confirmation bias of course, but so what.

The Roon app on my iPhone works beautifully, and is a superb replacement for the pitiful Sonos controller app. With the Roon app, I can basically do everything I typically need to do as far as controlling my speakers. The notable exceptions are I can’t adjust EQ, L/R balance of stereo pairs, or the individual volume of my sub or surrounds in my HT setup. In my testing so far it’s no big deal to quickly jump over to my Sonos app if needed so I can make these types of adjustments. My need to do so is generally rare as after 8 years of use I’ve pretty much got everything dialed-in.

As far as this post is concerned, the RAM usage of the Mac app will shoot up regardless of whether or not any music is playing at all. Simply browsing my library, looking at Settings, browsing Qobuz, reading artist profiles, and so forth will trigger what is almost certainly a memory leak by the app. I would really like to subscribe to Roon, but may not be able to if there’s not a solution to my problem. Of course, buying a new MacBook with 16-32 GB of RAM would probably take care of things wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, my budget doesn’t permit that at this time.

Edit: Ok, I must confess I’ve already gotten to the point of not much caring about this if there’s no fix. Your iPhone app appears to be as full featured as the desktop app for all practical purposes. It’s really well done, bravo. So if I don’t do any significant browsing using the Mac app, and mainly control everything with the iOS app, then all’s well.

I’ve been blown away tonight listening to some pristine 24/96 vinyl rips that I’ve collected over the years, Aja by Steely Dan in particular. The definition in the high frequencies is unreal, and I even think I can appreciate the so called “warmth” that vinyl possesses, although I’m not sure if that’s possible from a rip. It’s probably confirmation bias.

I’d never had a way to listen to those vinyl rips on my Sonos system without first transcoding them myself, and many have no metadata to speak of. But to be able to add those raw rips to Roon and have it work it’s magic and pipe 16/48 streams to my Sonos speakers without any hiccups is amazing. My system has never sounded this good. Frankly I didn’t know it was possible. Plus Roon adds in all the metadata. It’s almost too good to be true. Thank you for an amazing product.


Hey @kitated,

First off, welcome to the community! We’re excited to have you here. I wanted to apologize for the delay in my follow-up to your question and issue, especially when you’re trying Roon out and only have a certain amount of time before the trial ends.

I wanted to check in and see if you were still running into issues? @Robert_F was steering you in the right direction in regards to Roon and Sonosnet. I’d be curious to see how things run if you connected directly to your network.

I also wanted to mention, since you’ve been primarily using the iOS app to navigate (thank you for the kind words there!) there is an option to download and run RoonServer, which is a headless version of Roon and is overall much lighter on the system. Here is more info on RoonServer.

We’ll be monitoring this thread for your reply :pray:

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