Win PC w/ RAID 5 > Mac Mini > HQ Player setup

Looking for optimum way to use my setup with Roon:

What I have:

Windows 7 workstation (Dell Precision 7910, loaded with 128 GB RAM, 3 SSD’s, dual quadcore processors, high-end graphics, etc…)
• Multiple internal SSD’s and HD’s, with one of the HD arrays configured in Raid 5, using three 6TB drives. This RAID array is where my music resides (8 TB+).
• PC is connected to network via Ethernet. Entire home was built with structured wiring, so Ethernet ports in all rooms.
Location is in my home office, which is upstairs of a Ranch home, in NE corner.

Mac Mini (2010 version running latest version of El Capitan). 128 GB SSD, and 8 GB RAM.
• Mini is hard wired to network via Ethernet.
• Ethernet connection is via a 4 port multiplier from main ethernet connection
Location is in my purpose-built Stereo room, which is in basement of a Ranch home, in SE corner.

iPad Pro (12.9” version)
• Would like to use the iPad pro for my UI, via wireless connection

Router - Asus RT-AC66U
Location is opposite end of my home (west) at the incoming cable line.

Goals: I would like to use the RAID 5 installed in my PC workstation for my source files, use Roon as the main UI, and use HQ Player integration for my final output from the Mac Mini to my USB DAC’s. I use multiple USB DAC’s, some of which aren’t capable of more than 24/96 PCM, so HQ player’s ability to down-rez DSD or higher rez PCM is important.

Please advise how I can accomplish this configuration, using my current hardware.

PS- I also use Tidal, but assume that won’t be an issue at all…

Roon Core / Server plus HQP on main rig, wired NAA in listening room connected to DAC. Roon app on iPad. Where you see HQP in pic, that’s your main rig also running RoonServer.

Using Roon’s Core / Control / Output terminology:
Core - home office workstation running Roon software
Control - iPad running Roon Remote software
Output - Mac Mini running Roon Bridge software

I’m not sure how the multiple DAC’s connected to your Mac Mini would work.
See Roon Knowledge Base for details.

Thank you, Evand: In your schematic, you show a ‘Network Audio Adapter’ used. Is this in lieu of the Mac Mini? Can’t my Mini be used as a NAA? If not, what NAA do you recommend for absolute best sound quality.

Lastly, where there be any compatibility issues with my DACs due to the NAA > DAC interface (if different than Mac Mini).

BTW- I don’t use multiple DAC’s simultaneously. But was mentioning this because these DAC’s are swapped out depending on various listening tests/scenarios. One is a rare Lavry DA2002 which only supports 24/96 PCM. I have a USB to SPDIF convertor that I’d use between the NAA (or Mini) and that particular DAC. The other DAC I own has native USB input and can output up to 24/192.

Thank you, Jeff. In your architecture, where does HQ Player’s integration fit into the mix? The iPad would be controlling the PC workstation, I presume, and the Mini would then simply be acting as a slave to the Core software, with Roon Bridge, correct?

No incompatibilities between PC and Mac in your scenario, Jeff?

Chris, After seeing Evan’s post I think I misguided you regarding the setup with HQPlayer. Without HQPlayer there is no problem with mixed OSX and Windows systems. See this link on Roon / HQPlayer


I’ve never used HQP so I can’t answer definitively, but it looks like it’s Windows only.

Thank you, Evand,. On the Signalyst site- they show some hardware recommendations, but those all appear to be DAC’s. What can you recommend as a ‘best’ solution for NAA that won’t have any issue interfacing with my USB DAC’s (both DAC’s use a Hiface driver)?

Sorry, but I’m not familiar with either, best, perhaps best to enquire directly from signalyst.

Hi Chris,

Both Evan and Jeff have given good advice, but I hope I can fill in the details.

PC Workstation
Consider upgrading to Windows 8.1 or 10. This should not be necessary, but may be convenient.

Install Roon and point it at your library. It will start to analyse it and build it’s database, which will take some hours. You may want to set analysis speed to Fast in the Settings.

Install HQ Player Desktop for Windows from here.

Mac Mini
Install Roon Bridge. This is not necessary in order to use HQP, but it will give you the option to play music from Roon outside HQP should you wish to do that.

Install the HQ Player NAA software for OSX from here.

iPad Pro
Install the Roon Remote app and point it at your PC Workstation Core.

Configure the HQ Player zone as per the link in Jeff’s post above. This will be a localhost configuration as Roon and HQ Player are running on the same machine.

Configure HQ Player, name the Mac Mini in the Network naming tool, choose NAA as output and the Mini as your device.

It may be helpful to give the PC, Mini and iPad static IP addresses in your router.

You could consider replacing the Mini with a microRendu, that is a recent commercial optimised Ethernet to USB renderer that has both Roon Bridge and NAA software.

After installing and configuring the software you should see two network zones available in Roon. One the Roon Bridge on the Mini, another for HQ Player. Output from HQ Player is configured in HQ player as above.

1 Like

Thank you, Andrew. I already had Roon installed on my workstation and it didn’t take long at all for the build to take place. It’s an amazing program, and the primary reason why I want it to work with my dedicated stereo system (rooms away).

My main concern (which you’ve addressed well) was how to best handle getting that library handed-off to my USB DAC, allowing the Roon interface to be my Primary UI (via iPad), while still having the flexibility to use HQ player to handle any up/downsampling duties to my DAC.

My workstation is a beast, so handling as much processing as possible there makes sense, as well as using the local RAID 5 I already have on that machine.

My concern now is whether there are any issues related to the nearly 250 ft stretch between ethernet > router > ethernet, and whether that might affect quality in any way?

Thanks again.

Networks, like air conditioning, seem to be more art than science. Try it out and check back on the forum if you have issues. There are folks here who have forgotten more about networks than I’ll ever know.

I used to reccomend Geoff Armstrong’s Kick Start guide for HQ Player but the link no longer seems to be working. I’ll see if I can find a PDF copy.

Edit: Geoff’s fixed the link.

Thank you, Andrew.