WiFi iMac or WiFi MacBook as the Roon Core?

I am fairly new to using Roon. I have a Lumin T1. I am using a Naim Core on my network, which is easily accessible through my Network, so all my ripped CDs and downloads on the Naim Core show in the Lumin App.
I currently have my MacBook Pro, which is connected by WiFi, set up as my Roon Core machine.
I have also taken advantage of Qobuz’s recent offer of a reduced cost subscription.
Everything works fine.
Sometimes I want to put my laptop out of the way when I listen to music. Or shut it down. When I do, of course, the Roon Core is unavailable to the network. So there IS an issue.
I do have a very good spec iMac in another room, which ALSO is connected by WiFi. I COULD set that machine up to act as my Roon Core, but it would have to be left on all the time which I imagine would be more expensive as regards electricity use. I can’t easily get a network cable into that room. So it has to stay wireless and to be fair, there is not normally an issue with the WiFi in my house.
So…my question is… What would YOU do? Set up the Roon Core on the MacBook Pro or on the iMac?

I am currently running the Roon Core on 5 year old MacMini/8gb. I have it hard wired to a mesh node #2. My Roon endpoint , Bryston Pi hardwired to mesh node #3. It works great , solid.

But I was running some test and realized that if I bypassed Roon and ran Qobuz and RadioParadise (RP) strait off the Bryston Pi (MPD) the SQ was better. Qobuz only slightly better but RP was dramatic. I have read that iMacs can be noisy little beasts (thats PC’s in general). I also wanted to get the music server on a dedicated device. It may be that the Manic Moose RP application is superior to the Roon.

About 1 hour ago I decided to give the SGC Sonic Transport a try to run the Roon Core. Should be here in a couple days.

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If your iMac is asleep, it should still keep Roon running, so assuming you are elsewhere, using an iOS device for control, you can still run the Roon Core on it. Presumably it has SSD (or a ‘Fusion drive’) so thet you don’t have to run Roon on a spinning disc?
You may find this more convenient than running it on a MacBook. Either way, I would want to run an Ethernet cable, although my MacBook is generally OK running Roon over WiFi if I can’t be botherrd to plug it in.

Thanks Chris, That is really useful advice.
I can’t easily get an ethernet cable to my iMac but would it improve things if I ‘extended’ my WiFi by putting a WiFi connected Apple AirPort Extreme unit near the iMac and ran a short ethernet cable from that?

Whether you use the MacBook or iMac to run Roon core they both need to be on so it doesn’t matter in that respect which one you use. If you just don’t want to walk the extra steps to your iMac to turn it off and on then that’s another story. You have basically two choices to be able to remove your MacBook Pro. Get a NUC which you can leave on all the time or use your iMac.

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I manually put my Mini to sleep last night from the menu option and the music stopped.

I run a Roon Server on a MAC Mini. My music can run 24/hour/day and the MAC Mini is asleep. In fact I have an iMAC in my office that has Roon as well to install Convolutions for my Room Correction. Both systems can be asleep yet I can run Roon from iPad anytime I’d like…

My MAC Mini is dedicated to Roon while my iMAC is just my office computer.

I’m curious if there is a difference between “power save” and “sleep”. Will it still play if you manually put the Mini in “sleep” mode?

Thanks to all who replied. I will follow the advice here. I don’t want yet another computer in the house, so I won’t be setting up a NUC. I will use the iMac in the next room and at least get a better WiFi signal to it, maybe even hard wire it. Cheers, all.

You might look into mesh wireless as well at some point. I have my Mini and my Bryston endpoint hard wired to nodes and it’s bomber. I use the Linksys Velop.

Hey Joe,

My MAC Mini goes to sleep on it’s own. I can see a screen saver working if I was to log on…but I don’t and the screen saver eventually disappears to black which I thought was as sleep as it can be …,it can be that way even overnight, yet I can grab my iPad or log on to my iMAC the next day and still play music without touching my Mini…my Mini is hard wired to the 'net.

Hey Larry,

Mine behaves the same, but like I said if I go to the apple menu and select “sleep” Roon music stops. I think there might be a difference between sleep and power save mode. If you get a chance just go to the apple menu and select “sleep” and see if Roon stops. I am just curious if another person gets the same behaviour.


Yes my Mac Mini, when put to sleep with the Sleep command does stop my Roon…but I never do that. Most of the time my Mini runs 24/7 unless I’m going away…Funny… it even sounds funny typing that in the Virus era…Where the hell would I be going exactly?? ;-). Wait …I have an answer…Going Crazy!

Thank God for Music!!!


I hit the wrong “reply” button so you are not aware of my reply above…sorry…

Enjoy the weekend!


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I was just reading a little more on this. I think the explicit sleep is a “hard” sleep. Where power save mode lets the mac mini keep backgound processes alive. (mail,timemachine, software updates etc). Roon server proly runs as a background server process allowed to stay alive in PSM.

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This is a problem I envisaged too, the difference between putting a machine to sleep, or just closing a laptop’s lid, and a mChine which os using its power settings to go to sleep, its a bit like the description ‘Wake on LAN’ which I have never fully understood… so I could do with this clarifying too, please!

I have now set up my 2013 iMac as my Roon Core. It works fine. I use a Lumin streamer as my main endpoint in the Hifi system.
Will I now be able to set up my MacBook Pro (OR my 200gB iCloud space) to keep a backup of my Roon Core? (I have no idea how large a file this would be)

Thank you, you wonderfully helpful people!

I was thinking of doing the same thing but as my MBP with the core on it is directly connected to my Dac how on earth would I hear the music if the core is on my iMac?

This is more curiosity than anything else. I am happy with the way I have it set up and using another MBP to screen share with the one that has Roon on it and control it all from my bed/adapted chair.

I was checking through a few notes on the Roon website last night, and Roon seems to refer to ‘outputs’ rather than ‘endpoints’ now…is that correct?

You’d need a Roon endpoint (at a minimum, a Raspberry Pi running RoonBridge) connected to your DAC.

Given your other issues with Roon, currently, I am hesitant to recommend that you go down that road.