I’ve been using Roon since about 1 month ago and I have to say I’m quite impressed with the concept and sound quality.
Initially I installed the core on my old iMac (about 10 years, upgraded with SSD) and it is working in principle but it is clear that the platform is struggling, cpu utilization is frequently quite high, there are occassional drops etc. Given the high price of software, I decided to give it a proper platform and followed your hw recommendation: NUC8I3BEH2, 8GB RAM, 128 GB SSD. My library is about 1500 albums, no biggie. I am now faced with the choice of OS and this is the crux of my question.
Ideally, since this is going to be really an appliance only running Roon, I would normally install ROCK. But it seems you’re only supporting SMB. I have my music on a NAS and in my home network I’m in principle only using NFS. That could be changed, but I’d prefer not to do it if I don’t have to.
I’m very (very) experienced with linux and I thought about just installing Roon on a Ubuntu server. This will be a headless NUC.
So the questions are:
Would you recommend ROCK + SMB or would Ubuntu + Roon Server + NFS be good enough? Please provide some for/against arguments.
If Ubuntu, would you support 19.10 or is some other release recommended?
My digital part of setup is basically NAS – Roon – Teac NT 505 (all wired ethernet). DAC has been properly upgraded and supports Roon, it is currently working fine while Roon core is running on OSX. Roon server is not and will not be directly connected to DAC with either USB or optical. I have a fairly large DSD collection and I just want to confirm: in this setup, it is not relevant if Linux kernel supports DSD natively, since Roon and DAC will talk RAAT, right?
2 quick comments from my side:
I am using an headless Audiolinux server running Roon Server (with HQplayer).
I mention HQplayer only as its standard recommended OS is Ubuntu.
So I am quite confident that Ubuntu will be perfectly fine.
2) Roon is NOT running RAAT between the server and the Dac if they are directly connected ( using e.g. usb)
Raat s only used between roon server and roon endpoints, such as e.g. Roon bridge.
This can be used to put your ‘noisy’ server at a distance from your dac, connecting over ethernet to a lowpowered optimised to connect to the Dac via usb.
Please note that Dac’s start to appear with ethernet input.
What it all means to you is tat DSd support is required. I zm sure that Ubuntu can handle this through the ALSA driver.
So the “noisy” server will be in a different room and will only be connected to the DAC through ethernet. My DAC is indeed a “network player” kinda DAC and this is the setup I’m currently using with OSX – mac is also not connected to the DAC directly.
I would never use a Linux distribution without long-term support on a server as I don’t like to upgrade/reinstall my perfectly running sever(s) every year or so. I have better things to do in my free time.
As you say you know linux very well and want NFS, then as the other have already said, then go ahead and use a normal Linux distro (LTS or not, again I am with the others, I would use the LTS server version). There will not be any quality difference, imho.
Rock is completely locked down and can’t be modified, so, you might be happier with a Linux you can configure.
Alright thanks for all the replies. I guess the plan is to try out 19.10 and if it goes well, upgrade in 6 months to 20.04 LTS and stay on that for a long time. If 19.10 doesn’t go well, I could use 18.04 LTS as alternative temporary solution.