Where is best to install roon

Hello everyone,
I’m considering download roon, but I’m not sure if roon is right for me,
I have two music libraries, one in the living room and one in my basement (listening room), plus I listen to Tidal, on both rooms.
The living room library consists of mainly flac files on a external drive that I stream to a Logitech squeezebox touch and is not for critical listening, The basement room (listening room) I have a laptop with two external drives, mainly hi-resolution music files connected to a chord dac, that connects to my stereo.
I have another laptop i can use for remote.
If I download Roon, where should I install the core and why? it would be nice if I could integrate all my music including tidal in one place. Will I be able to control and create playlists from all the sources from the remote laptop?
Thanks in advance, your advice is well appreciated.

Performance is key so you need to consider what is newer or more powerful. The second consideration is putting it away from your prime listening position and having a low powered device for playback. You can run Roon on less power than the minimum specified (i3) but you may then have some issues with some DSP functionality if you go that way. Oh, and avoid wireless for anything but control unless you absolutely have to.

Roon is well suited to your use case. Ideally you’d want to install Roon and localise music storage on a single, centralised PC/server. The SBT can act as a Roon endpoint. For the Chord you ideally want to add a Roon enabled endpoint e.g. Cubox, Odroid, Pine, NanoPi, BananaPi, OrangePi, Allo, Wandboard and numerous others. They’re all low power ARM based computers that are more than up to the task of acting as competent Roon endpoints with Roon Bridge installed. You’d be able to create playlists from any control point and they’d be available to all endpoints. The key challenge is going to be network connectivity to get endpoints talking to the server.

I see, so, but could I use my existing laptop connected to the Chord as an endpoint? Or would I be better buying one of the devices you suggest? Should I move all my hard drives with music to the main PC ( living room) or leave them downstairs for direct access from the laptop?

So what I understand is the hard drives should be connected to the laptop, or better to use a low power device instead of the laptop?? to stream directly to the Chord Dac, but the Roon core should be placed somewhere else? Maybe in the living room PC? Does this makes sense? sorry, i’m very new to the Roon software, but highly interested.

Have you read the Knowledge Base article on Roon architecture?

If the laptop is already there, and you’re happy with how the Chord sounds in that configuration, you may as well keep using it. At some point, if you want to go down the road of optimizing further, explore some of the other options.

It makes sense to put the files in the same location as the core.

The core wants to be on a relatively powerful machine–Roon’s library management stuff has a performance footprint that’s not directly comparable to other software. The core performs most of the work in audio playback, too–fetching the file, decoding it, performing any DSP you’ve configured, and streaming it out to a playback device. The playback device does very little–simply copies the network stream to its audio hardware.

If the main PC isn’t a weakling, it probably makes sense for the core to live there so the hardware in the listening room can be doing as little as possible.

Yes. The experience is exactly the same whether you are sitting right in front of the core or using a remote machine–to the point where the core doesn’t even need to have a screen if you don’t want it to. Unlike most other software, our remotes aren’t second class citizens–they are the same software as the “main” interface.

Audio devices can be plugged in anywhere, too. Any zone can be controlled from any control point. And so on.

If you’re willing to spend a little, I’d recommend a headless Mac Mini to be used exclusively as a Roon core. I’ve got that configuration with TB drives connected directly to the Mini. I can use any laptop, or iPad to control the core. The mini is connected directly to my DAC via USB and sits on my rack. The whole thing is totally silent. Having many Apple or Airplay compatible devices in the house, I can stream anywhere. I’ve also got a Meridian Explorer 2 on one of the laptops that I use for quiet listening (quiet for the rest of the house inhabitants :smile:) that also allows me to get the full MQA experience from Tidal. Of course, you can also use a NAS if you want to put the drives somewhere else. Finally, I have a few drives connected to my main iMac that periodically automatically backup the music drives. I’ve had a drive go bad on me so the backups were a life savior (I have about 57k tracks on Roon)

No I haven’t, I will see if I can find that, thanks.

Okay, so with this configuration, main PC with all the hard drives attached, streaming over the wi-fi to both, the Squeezebox touch and the Chord (which decodes MQA) would I be able to stream the MQA files unprocessed and leave to the chord Dac, to decode the MQA files?

I don’t use any Apple hardware, can I use something else instead of a mac mini?

Yes. Processing only happens if you turn it on, or if it’s absolutely required to maintain compatibility (for example, playing 5.1 content to a stereo device, or 384kHz content to a DAC that only does 192kHz).

Great, Thanks.

Thanks evand, from the devices you mention, which one is the best?

I use ODROID C2’s, but others will do the job fine too. Have a look at the dietpi download page and choose a board they support - it’ll make your like simpler. If you’re planning on streaming DSD avoid the RPi.

Ok, so I would like to get a device with the ODROID C2’s, what is the name of such a device? and where can I buy it?



Using a headless Intel NUC seems pretty popular around here for running the Roon Core. See also the KB article on ROCK for more information.

I’m picking up on the comment about NOT using wireless and would like more background.

Are we really saying that Roon won’t run well on a high-performance (e.g. 802.11ac mesh) network? I relaibly get over 100mbps and am aghast that this might not be sufficent.

More info please!


I would be aghast too. Not everyone has made that sort of investment in their WiFi. Most stick with what their provider gives them and that is quite often simply not up to the job in a busy household. At last count I had 19 devices on my network. 18 on WiFi! A week later I had all audio and video network devices wired via ethernet over power (worth doing if you buy good items) and my experience was transformed. Only control devices and mobiles on WiFi. Everything else hard wired.