What are the differences (Roon Endpoint OS Options, Roon Server vs ROCK)?

Between DietPi and Rooipi for RPi3s as Roon endpoints.

Between RoonServer on an i7 Windows Server and ROCK on an i7 NUC.

I have lost the forest for the trees, so to speak, in the detailed discussion of each platform and would like a high level commentary on when to use what and why. Thanks much. JCR

1 Like

Ropieee is burn the image and plug it in…web page setup minimal settings
DietPi burn the image, needs a keyboard and monitor plus some text based options setup and supports wifi if you must have it.

Roon Server on Windows if you are familiar and have windows on a suitable platform its all easy to setup up. More hardware options of course.
ROCK on a NUC is a bit more hands on as you are starting with hardware without an OS (thats the ROCK part) but less prone to the issues of windows updates and drivers etc to deal with ongoing. OS supported by RoonLabs

In a nutshell:

DietPi vs Roipiee is what Roonserver (WIN/Mac/Linux) is vs ROCK.

DietPi = ROON Endpoint + other uses (like Airplay etc.)
Roipee = ROON Endpoint, nothing more

Roonserver WIN/MAC/LINUX) = Hardware for Roonserver and other uses (like UPNP-Server, etc.)
ROCK = A Hardware/Operatingsystem dedicated for your ROONServer with or without Music, nothing else.

1 Like

And they all should sound the same. It is about ease of maintenance not about SQ!


“needs a keyboard and monitor” - strictly speaking, you are, of course, correct, but this does not necessarily mean they have to be directly attached to the RPi. Many of us will be using PuTTY (or equivalent) over the network…

I can’t honestly recall but Ive done it so many times with a keyboard and mon attached its the norm for me - but once it is up and running past the first boot then I use the terminal.

Maybe ill blow a new image just for fun to see but it does require some hands on whereas RoPieee doesn’t. Which was my main point.

There are services/applications and there are operating systems.

Operating systems run the hardware and provide an environment for software services/applications to run in.

Examples of operating systems include Windows, MacOS (formerly known as OSX), and multiple Linux based distributions (popular ones include Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, but there are many more). Linux itself is just the core of the operating system, known as the kernel – you still need to have an operating system around that kernel, which is often known as a Linux distribution.

DietPi and Ropieee are Linux distributions that run on some ARM processor based computers, such as the Raspberry Pi.

ROCK is a Linux distribution made by the Roon Labs that runs on Intel processor based computers, specifically tuned for running on Intel’s NUC line.

Windows/MacOS were designed to run a multitude of services/applications, and thus come with added complexity to support the environment that is required to accomplish that.
DietPi has easy-to-install packages of some hand-picked services/applications, including RoonBridge.
Ropieee was designed to run RoonBridge only.
ROCK was designed to run RoonServer only.

RoonServer is the “headless” version of Roon, meaning it has no user interface. It is just the “Core” in the Roon Architecture. RoonServer can run on Windows, MacOS, or many Linux based distributions.

To interact with RoonServer, you must use a RoonRemote, which can be run on Android or Apple iOS devices. The full Roon on MacOS and Windows can also be run as a RoonRemote.

RoonBridge is an application that “extends” Roon to another device on your network, which at the moment, means giving access to all the audio outputs on that device to RoonServer. It is often used to create a network bridge for USB devices connected to another computer (but it is not limited to USB). A low power, small, and inexpensive computer for this purpose can be a Raspberry Pi.

The difference between running Ropieee and DietPi is a matter of what you find easier, and more applicable to what your needs are. The difference between ROCK and Windows/MacOS/OtherLinuxDistribution is that ROCK is optimized to do 1 thing (run RoonServer). It provides a nearly turn-key, hassle-free, stable environment to run the center of your Roon ecosystem. It is hard to mess up, but it is very opinionated on how things should work.


I think a most timely set of comparison notes and thanks to @Danny and all the rest of you.

So what I’ve learned: As I run Audiophile Optimizer on my i7 W2012R2 server, ROCK would be the wrong choice for me. But, I could run Ropieee on my RPI3s as endpoints if I wanted to switch from DietPi. JCR

Unless you have drivers on Windows that requires you to use Windows, ROCK will be a better experience, and most likely sound better on the same hardware as well.

W2012 is trim, and Audiophile Optimizer trims it more (and adds enough to make it audio server capable). AO takes a large operating system and trims it with no support from Microsoft. It’s a tough project, and it’s amazing it gets where it does. But ROCK in a different class. It starts with nothing and builds up. Every piece is custom built from scratch, even the cross compilers. Everything is trimmed to be the bare minimum and focuses on one task: the best RoonServer experience. Just as matter of comparison, the core operating system services of ROCK consume only a few dozen megabytes – the larger than the black box of just the Windows kernel.

I speak a bit to the optimizations in this post:


Got it. Arguably, ROCK is more “core” than AO can get W2012R2 to act.

Now, for the potential of multichannel DSP (which I assume ROCK still does not support), ie Dirac, that would take a Windows product. Same if I want JRemote running JRiver so as to have a mobile listening solution. Those two could not run on ROCK. JCR

As I understand Dirac Live, it is a convolution engine – just a standalone one with an automated setup routine. Roon and ROCK support multichannel DSP, including convolution, but you must roll your own filters. That is the primary difference.


1 Like