Where to run Roon Server?

I have all of my music files stored on a QNAP NAS. I’m trying to decide whether to run Roon Server on this NAS, on an i3 NUC running ROCK (reading music files from the NAS), or on an i5 Windows 10 PC that is also running other apps such as Kodi for my video library?

Without a bit more information about your setup and your preferences, your question remains firmly in the “how long is a piece of string?” category.

Setup information would be things like:

  • how big is your library?
  • how many endpoints/zones do you have, and do you play music to more than one zone simultaneously?
  • do you use DSP on any of the endpoints?
  • what’s the spec of your NAS?

Preference information would be things like:

  • do you prefer to have appliances (things that just sit in a corner and don’t require any attention)?
  • do you like messing about with computers and software?
  • do you prefer to have a one-stop-shop solution (i.e. music and Roon on a NAS)? Or will that be impractical with your setup?
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Roughly 1,000 albums
2 endpoints currently, possibly adding a 3rd. Not currently grouping.
No DSP
Intel Celeron

Minimal messing with device is great, but not at the expense of features or functionality.

I am pretty comfortable messing about with computers and software.

Is there any advantage to “one stop shop?” E.g. Does Roon perform better if Roon and music files are on the same device rather than fetching music over the LAN?

Thanks!

Right, well an Intel Celeron in your QNAP isn’t optimal. Personally, I wouldn’t go that route of putting everything on your NAS for a “one-stop-shop” solution.

For the “one-stop-shop” approach in general, I don’t believe there’s any performance benefit to be had in having Roon and music files on the same device rather than fetching music over a (wired) LAN from a NAS. I view it as simplifying things, with less to go wrong, that’s all. Others might disagree.

With the size of your library and use of endpoints, an i3 NUC running ROCK is eminently suitable. So is the i5 PC (which would handle a bigger library, more DSP and grouping zones for future expansion). Roon running on ROCK has exactly the same features and functionality as running on Windows.

Since you’re comfortable messing about with computers, you could get up and running immediately using Roon on the Windows PC. In the future, should you want to move to an always-on appliance for your Roon Core, then that’s easily done, and the Roon Core could be transferred from the PC to a NUC running ROCK.

With the exception of power management. ROCK is designed to run 24/7 without regard to power usage, whereas Windows can easily be configured to go to sleep when not used and wake up when needed. Both sound the same in my experience, I’ve tried ROCK on a i5, Windows 7 and Windows 10, all via Ethernet and USB direct to DAC. RoonServer on Windows is in my experience as trouble-free as ROCK.

What might also sway your options is if your endpoints or dac require specific drivers for optimal playback…typically windows wins out here but doesn’t have o run the core it can run as Roon Bridge if you go the NUC route or run as server only with control via other mobile devices.

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I have never allowed my HTPCs to go to sleep. It’s just not been reliable enough that the PC will wake up when needed.

Great to know. Thanks for sharing!

Whatever device I settle on to run Roon Server will also be my most used endpoint. The other actively used endpoint that I have is a Bluesound Plex speaker.