Very New to Roon - Newbie Thoughts

Hi all,

My first time here, so apologies if this has already been mentioned thousands of times? But looking to bow to forum members’ knowledge on this… Little bit of a story to set the background; please bear with me.

So I’m an Apple fan - so I’ve been locked into iTunes for as long as I can remember. Then I got into listening to music in flac - and that was a lightbulb moment; suddenly the 50k+ items in iTunes ripped at 320kbps sounded crap in comparison.

So now the mission was accepted - to try and replace those iTunes albums for flac versions. (Have been sidetracked a bit by the quality of the files I’m getting; so lossless has opened up different genres to me that ordinarily, I wouldn’t listen to). Purchased an iBasso DX220 DAP (w/ AMP7), so I could listen privately.

Then introduced to Roon (2 month trial)… another lightbulb moment! Even more discovery and sidetracking going on now!

I’m using my iMac as the core and pointed Roon to a folder where I keep all the lossless files I’ve ripped/collected - as I want to keep it completely separate from the iTunes stuff.

Q1. What would be the benefit of buying a cheap Intel NUC to permanently ‘host’ this lossless folder - rather than just using my iMac.

Q2. If I went with the NUC option, would sound quality be improved? As I’d only be connecting to it over the network via another device, eg. AppleTV, iMac, iPad, (maybe Roon Speakers later).

Q3. My lossless library is less than 500GB at present. Would any Intel NUC suffice? Or can you recommend a particular model for my needs?

That’s all I wanted to know; thanks so much for your help! :pray:t5: :ok_hand:t5:


Hi Richard, welcome to the Forum and Roon !

Very sensible questions. Let me try to respond:

If you just want storage, you might just add an external storage device to your iMac. I’d say USB, but not sure if iMac uses it.

If you did get a NUC, then you could run ROCK on it, which is a stripped down Linux that only runs Roon Server and turns the NUC into a “Roon appliance”. If you do this and also want to store music on the NUC then you need a model with a second SSD as the primary SSD just has ROCK and Roon Server.

No. The primary function of using ROCK on a NUC is to simplify the Core and allow you to turn off your iMac. It wouldn’t be expected to make an SQ difference.

It depends on what you want to do in future. DSP and Room Convolution can make things more intensive. I think an i5 with a second SSD drive is a good price/performance point. I’d suggest looking at the second hand market for an older generation recommended i5. You will be fine with 8GB RAM. The recommended models are set out in the ROCK article linked above.

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If the iMac is working for you, stick with it.

I run a relatively complex setup because I have multiple endpoints and I’m always tinkering: NUC with M.2 and SATA SSD for core, Synology NAS for backup, Macbook, iPad, and Android phones for control, and Linn, Chord, Pi endpoints.

Q1: You can have two separate folders, one for iTunes lossy, the other for lossless, on your iMac, and point Roon to both.
Q2: Unlikely. Sound quality is mainly a function of the endpoint, not the server.
Q3: Sure. The recommended setup is to have both a smaller (120GB or so) M.2 SSD for Roon’s own book-keeping and a larger SATA 2.5in drive (HDD or SSD) for the music files.

Thanks Andrew for this! Whilst the iMac could suffice, (if Roon running constantly, and the machine never switched off), I quite like the idea of a small machine hidden away that’s always on and ready - regardless of what I’m doing on my mac.

Just playing catchup on the NUC posts (only just noticed!), and reading some having issues with these NUC10 models? At the same time, was just looking on Amazon UK at a NUC10i3FNx - which is in the supported list… 10th Gen i3 gotta be better than 8th Gen i5 right?

Thank you Fernando - appreciate the help!

I know Roon can also read the iTunes library but I really don’t want a mixture of lossy and lossless in my library (hence I told Roon - currently installed on the iMac - to ignore the iTunes music folder).

So I’m kinda liking the NUC route so the libraries are completely separate… Lossless on the NUC and iTunes living on the iMac as usual - just for the music I haven’t been able to find and convert to lossless.

And as my library is quite small, I’m thinking a 10th Gen i3 NUC with 8GB, 240GB WD M2.2280 SSD (got one lying around here than can be repurposed), and a 1TB Sandisk SSD for the music files would be fine?

Not really

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Thanks Ged

So you reckon it’s best to go for a quad core cpu, (eg something like the Intel Core i5 8259U /

I think the i5 is as good as you need, actually a gen 8 i3 would do given your library size.
I’m a cheap skate so personally would go with whichever one was cheapest :slight_smile:
I buy mine 2nd hand off eBay as nucs never seem to have a hard life…


Unless you’re planning on going down the path of upsampling, lots of DSP, a library measured in TB and playing many endpoints at once, having a top-of-the-line NUC isn’t that important.

For reference - I run my core on a 10 year old Core 2 Macbook with 2GB of memory. It handles a ~1TB library playing to two endpoints, both with room correction DSP running, and doesn’t break a sweat.

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I have a NUC7i3BNH and it just works. Add ROCK and it really is just an appliance. I am not a tinkerer and if that’s you I’d buy no more than a mid range model and you too will forget about it.


Thanks Ged!

Went for the i3 as my library is pretty small just now. And looking at the ROCK posts so far, I get the impression these 10th Gen NUC’s are experiencing some ‘growing pains’?

Also the older gen NUC’s seem to have the better Iris 655 graphics and slightly faster single thread clock speed - which one of the Roon guys says matters most!

So rather than going for the NUC10i3FNH which hs an i3 clock of 2Ghz (or is it 1.1Ghz :thinking: ), the NUC8i3BEH has the i3 clocked at a base of 3Ghz.

That’s what I’ve learned from reading so far!! :joy:


@Powered_Two_Wheeler Thanks again for this response too!

So I’ve gone for the following…

Intel NUC8I3BEH3 - on the supported list/tried and tested in this forum - 3Ghz base clock i3

16GB RAM DDR4-2400 - (I know the RAM is overkill but for the price I got it, it was only 15 more that the 8GB I saw at the time!)

1TB 2.5" SSD Drive - Little room to grow the library - and it will grow!

I’ve got a WD Green M2.2280 (240GB) ssd too - that was inside another machine doing nothing (that I put Ubuntu on).

Hoping I can just insert that into the NUC as is - and let ROCK format everything, ready for use? :thinking:

Then all I have to do is copy the music files across and buy a Roon membership!

And change my core from this iMac to the NUC… Is that easy to do? Assume just disconnect on the iMac, sign in on the NUC and that’s it? (More reading to do!)

Thanks everyone for your advice here; it’s much appreciated. :pray:t5: :ok_hand:t5:


A little more to it than that. Follow the instructions carefully and you should be OK.

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Slightly tangential and at the risk of starting something: I did exactly the same thing when I started really listening to file-based music instead of CDs a dozen years ago.

Then one day, I thought I was listening to music from my ALAC directory and it turned out I actually wasn’t.

That was the end of that, and the end of me worrying about it. :slight_smile:

Follow the guidelines in Roon Knowledge Base and you’ll be fine.
When the Rock is up and running (good choice of hardware btw) you simply go into Settings on your preferred controller, and on the first screen you chose to disconnect from your current Core.

This will take you to the select Core screen where your Rock machine will be visible.
When you select it, you will be asked to Unauthorize your last Core. Done, your license has been transferred from the Mac to the Rock!

One tip, deactivate the internal Storage while copying your contents to the new Core (or even Shut down the Roon Server Software from the ROCK UI) That makes Roons job of identifying and organizing your content a lot easier.

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From a Roon perspective, I think that’s fair to say. Intel made some design changes in both hardware and BIOS software for the 10th generation NUC, which have taken a while to be accounted for in the ROCK software.

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Mission accomplished!


Well happy! Was pretty painless too; update bios; install roon; format internal storage; install codec


Just need to transfer music now. Kit is running like a dream!

THIS is what I wanted! Thanks everyone!! :pray:t5: :ok_hand:t5:


There again, follow the instructions carefully.

Remember to turn off the Roon Server software when you transfer large amounts of music.