Would there be any significant difference in performance between storing the music library on an SSD in a NUC running ROCK versus an SSD-based NAS on a gigabit network all connected by Ethernet cable?
Local storage will always be faster than the network. Also keep in mind that a NAS is performing a lot of other tasks in the background.
The library related tasks (indexing your library for example) may work faster on the local storage vs. NAS based but the difference shouldn’t be something to be worried about (if perceptible at all). You should also see no consequences (playing related) in transporting the music files from NAS to the endpoint.
As for the sound quality differences, that’s something that only the audiophile gods can answer!
Roon keeps its database local on the Roon Core. This is all the metadata about your music library, and is what is used when you are browsing/searching for music. While an SSD can help for the database, you’d need a pretty big library for it to really make a difference, since the OS block cache will end up keeping most of the database in RAM anyway.
For the music itself, it can easily be streamed off of a NAS. Even the worst case of raw DSD512 is only 50Mbit/s. Roon Core also works by processing the audio ahead of playback, such that there is approximately five seconds of audio pre-buffered at the (RAAT) endpoint. So you’d need a pretty big hiccup for an audible interruption.
The main difference with using a NAS is the initial analysis of music will be a bit slower, but that’s a one time deal for each track in your library. Reporting of changes to directories/files is also a bit unreliable over network shares, so when you add new music, Roon might not pick it up right away unless you force it to manually rescan.
But for day-to-day usage, you will not see any material performance difference. Keep your music library on the NAS, where it’s likely got drive redundancy and backup mechanisms going that you won’t typically find on a Roon Core machine.
Thank you very much for the advice
I keep my music local and use the NAS to hold a copy of the local music for backups. Sidesteps all those irregularities of the NAS reporting new music to Roon, which can add up to be an annoyance if you are so affected.
Everything is instant with it local.
Just a few days ago, I went from NAS music storage to storage on an external USB 3.0 drive connected to a ROCK NUC. The only change was the location of the music. I made the move, because it was taking Roon a few seconds to retrieve the next track whenever I thumbed up or down a track during shuffle play, and one of the devs here had stated that going local would probably speed things up.
It definitely sped things up. Now the “next track” appears instantaneously. I’m very happy with the move to an external HDD. I use the NAS just as a backup now.
It may be that the age of my NAS has something to do with it: a Synology DS211j. An older model, so maybe that was the bottleneck. The whole network is on ethernet, so that’s not the bottleneck.
I recommend the move.
Yes, I find Roon “snappier” with the music local. But, this is an old discussion. There was a thread a while ago (years at this point I think), talking about the benefits of local music vs on a NAS.
The first year that I had Roon running I had it running from my NAS. I thought that was really cool accessing my music from different endpoints.
Then there was a thread where a user deleted a file through Roon (after multiple warning) and it actually was deleted from his library. Hey things happens sometimes.
I copied my library over to a local USB and used my NAS solely for backups.
Low and behold my Roon experience came alive. The navigation was noticeably faster and when I add music to the library it is analized immediatly.