Why do NAS' Struggle with Roon?

Ok, so I’m new here and I’m not sure if this is a really daft questions, but why do NAS’ struggle so much with Roon?

I am running a Synology DS916 that seems to struggle pretty hard with Roon. Now, I know this is not a particularly powerful NAS, but it has no trouble streaming 4k media to my TV using Plex, but can’t stream audio with Roon? I don’t really get it. Is Roon just really poorly optimised or is there something I am missing here?

I’m basically deciding whether or not to continue past the 14 day trial and having access to the NAS is pretty important to me.

Thanks for any advice :slight_smile:

Cam

https://kb.roonlabs.com/Roon_Server_on_NAS#:~:text=Which%20NAS%20devices%20are%20supported,should%20be%20on%20an%20SSD.

Some of them struggle because they are trying to run the Roon Core, which is very demanding - particularly for large libraries.

Also really unless you have a Sata based ssd in a slot (not a usb drive) you really not going to have a great experience.

A NAS is designed to serve files not host a data base server with heavy data linkages like Roon. While it’s probably going to cope with a small library it’s going to bog down rather fast when the tracks count gets up a bit.

@wizardofoz: though I agree that in principle, NAS are optimised for storage and not necessarily to run CPU hungry applications, Synology has a diverse product portfolio serving different use-cases and their XS+/XS Series is powerful enough for running Roon Core.
I’m using a RS1619xs+ with many business applications, including several virtual machines for my small business and Roon Core does run without issues.
Obviously, it is not the typical NAS you would be running at your home (price & noise) but I’d consider a DS3018xs from the same series being sufficiently powerful. Quite possible even the latest models from the Plus series.

Because your NAS is waaaaay below Roon spec? And the comparison to 4K tv streaming doesn’t cut it. Thats like comparing the desk clerk at MacDonalds to your favorite chef. :wink:

I can’t find the thread…but Roon devs make it clear not to use a NAS to store your music files - it’s that continual back/forward data fetching that seems to get things bogged down.

Now that said - there will be a plethora of users here who have their music stored on a NAS & speak highly of their particular set up.

No doubt there are a myriad of variables why that may be so or likewise why the user experience may be sub-par; so a definitive answer isn’t as easy as it seems from my ‘basic’ understanding.

I have about 5700 albums/70000 tracks stored on my 4TB NAS & I’d not say I’m overly happy. I do intend to change my set-up at some point, but typically I get confused/sidetracked with all the computer jargon, when all I really want is as minimal a system that is possible with Roon & that will house my ever-growing library.

That said, I’ve had very few issues (one full on crash relatively recently) & would say that 90% of the time it streams flawlessly, so long as I ensure new files are loaded first of all. Otherwise, playback can skip, which has been spoken about at length by many a user (and that may or may not be NAS related).

Cheers.

Edit:
Here is one such thread I quickly found:

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I use a Synology DS218 NAS with two 2TB drives in a RAID1 configuration. This setup works great as a file server for my documents, movies and music. I can play files from the NAS to various networked devices and even stream to the outside world. But for Roon use, I have a portable 2TB USB-HDD connected directly to my PC running Roon Server. For me, this works very well and I don’t need a NAS with huge computing power. As others have stated, there is just too much back and forth database tweaking happening and this seemed like a good solution for me. YMMV. Cheers. :sunglasses:

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I have a Netgear ReadyNAS Ultra 4+ which supplies all of my Media files to a 7i7BNH NUC (my Roon Core).

I’ve literally just bought & downloaded a FLAC album from BandCamp (BirdPen - Companion) this morning, unzipped it & pasted it into my Audio-files folder structure on the NAS.

Before the cut & paste was complete, the album was idenitifed & available in Roon. I could not see the tracks appear individually as everything was too quick. Playback was immediate too.

That’s on a 1Gb home network with 2 dumb switches between my NAS & NUC.

Everything is instantaneous. No lag.

Not exactly a consumer level nas

Precisely what I wrote.

Your question really boils down to: why is Roon such a demanding, CPU-heavy audio library manager and playback system compared to ‘similar’ apps on the market

There devs have provided various explanations here over time. I’ll let you decide whether you buy into those explanations.

Roon does way more than ‘just stream audio’. The heart of Roon is the database which really should be on a SSD for best performance. Your NAS likely doesn’t have that. The database is keeping track of many aspects of the music, with lots of metadata connecting information to things like artist bios, graphics, audio analyses, lyrics, where the artist is performing, etc. To keep that current as you browse, Roon is quite ‘chatty’ with the internet and the user, so there is lots of network traffic beyond streaming. When you start, Roon is cataloging your music and doing an audio analysis which is CPU intensive. And when music does come out it may go through various forms of digital signal processing and can send streams to lots of endpoints. Each endpoint may have its own user, music queue, signal processing requirements, etc.
So yeah, there is a lot going on. A lot more than just streaming TV, and a lot more than most music apps like Tidal.
You can’t do much about the slow CPU on your NAS, but it’s likely things would get snappier if the database were on an SSD. All the data fetching will speed up and you’ll have a somewhat better user experience.

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Yes but I really don’t think the 3018xs is in the consumer radar either, I use them at business clients and while I might consider one for home use (if it wasn’t for the significant cost over most higher end consumer options) it is still not enough grunt to support my 275K track setup when compared with dedicated 4/8core desktops setups.

I might add that roon’s min requirements have not changed since V1.3 days and yet the core is doing and capable of so much more these days I think anyone running at the lower end and wanting use DSp options to any real degree are going to struggle with the minimum specs for what most will end up with in the library with streaming as a significant contributor to library sized going forward.

This was a legitimately helpful answer (amongst a few other) - thanks!

I think it’s easy to overlook the complexity of what Roon is doing because it just does it.

I’ve managed to get it running smoothly on the NAS and am super happy (despite less than helpful McDonald analogies).

It remains to be seen how this NAS will handle my collection to flac as it expands. It’s currently quite small as I start out in the world of HiFi audio but a seriously nice set of cans necessitated better source files and I’m glad to now have a seriously good solution.

Thanks to everyone who piped in with help :slight_smile:

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Give it time as you explore Roon. If it does the job for you, that’s great to start.

Some people look at Roon and just don’t feel the love, for a variety of reasons. Others end up loving it, and inevitably look to something more powerful to maximize the experience. There’s no need to rush it.

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I use a NAS (QNap) BUT only for storing all my media files (audio on Roon, rest on Plex). For running Roon server I highly recommend a relatively inexpensive NUC running ROCK.

That system has been excellent and provided a very different user experience since I headed in that direction.

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Actually some of the qnap options way out perform the synology ones in the same device categories but for most large libraries that justify a nas for space needed to host them you are still better off using the NAS as a backup and a large spinning disk in the core machine.

What I have recently gone to using…16TB internal drive for my 13TB music library and nas as a backup copy, in fact 2 nas as backup and you can never have too many backups and disk space is pretty cheap these days.

I think this key & perhaps it’s time for Roon devs to be more forthright & update their minimum specs, so that such users will also have a seamless experience.

:sunglasses:

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Well, yes and no.

If you aren’t using those new, cpu intensive features then the original ‘minimum’ spec is still valid, n’est ca pas?

I put minimum in inverted commas because Roon and a lot of posters here regularly conflate “minimum” with “recommended” and that isn’t helpful either.