Roon-Runners Corner

Figured I’d start a thread for folks running Roon. I know pro’s and cons and cost and everything else, and in the end our interface into our digital library feels like it’s almost as diverse as our digital libraries, with more choices and more changes coming at us all the time.

For folks that have committed to Roon as their library/interface I wanted to have a place to chit chat, Q/A etc.

My first question is now that I’d decided to have a dedicated Roon Core server (I have a smallish ~1200 albums, 6000 songs library) is there clear benefits for going with a ROCK as the operating system or sticking to Windows? I’d be more familiar with Windows and it would also allow me to create a network storage server in the process. But I understand that ROCK is Linux based? And therefore would be much gentler from a hardware standpoint. I’m not too worried about performance given my smallish library and the fact that I don’t have a lot of DSD files. But I did buy an older Core i5 w/8 gig of ram silent corporate mini box so not having the burden of a full blown Windows on the Roon Core sounds appealing.

How are you guys doing Roon?

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I’m running my Roon core on a Mac Mini (the music files live on my NAS). It works fine.

I’m strongly considering running the core on my NAS, even though it isn’t highly recommended. I want the data stored on the same device the Core is running on. I have considered running ROCK but the thought of stuffing 2TB of data on a non-redundant volume makes me cringe.

Reading a little bit more into ROCK now, it doesn’t allow you to store music file on the device’s HD. It’s also very clear they will support only the specific NUC boxes they list. Although the PC I bought exceeds their NUC recommendations and it should work, I’m not keen to have it stop working should they change something.

Looks like Windows it will be.

Also, running the full blown Roon Core I’m using now versus the Roon Essentials I was using with my ELAC Discovery server, I an EQ… a pretty dang granular EQ. Nice thing to try and play with.

The ROCK does support local music storage if you add a second drive. I dislike that it won’t support other services, though. I can’t run Plex in parallel (like I can on a NAS/Windows/Mac). The ROCK doesn’t support RAID, backup services, or anything else. I understand why. It makes it a dedicated appliance but it also makes it a more vulnerable point of failure, IMO.

Yeah, you’re right, it’s not on the ROCK ssd drive, so it must be a second drive. I’m pretty meticulous with my backing up for music files, but I can understand the reservation to not have a raid-0 or something along those lines as part of a solution. As I type this my actual “active” music library is only about 135 gigs or so, to it’s still easy to manage manually.

I’m about 60% of the way through my first year with Roon, and I’m just really figuring out how to best use it for my needs now and looking down the road. My first impression was that I wasn’t the intended audience. When I’m not at work and listening to music/gaming/watching tv, it’s in the same chair at the same desk 99% of the time. I’m using my main pc as my core and I don’t have any issues with playback, even as I am doing normal pc stuff on the same machine. Only time I’ve heard jitter was when Steam started installing in the background, but I disabled that and haven’t had any issues since.

But, since I was using it at the one desk I wasn’t sure it was worth the price for me. Most of what I’ve seen praising roon is it’s ability to handle multiple rooms, and while I plan to do that one day, the rare use of my laptop wasn’t justifying paying for it now. I figured I would look at it again when the time came.

In the time since, I’ve really grown to love it though. Most of the music I post here I discovered through roon suggestions, and that’s worth it for the price of admission alone. It works really well with my Qutest, and expect the same when I add the M Scaler later this year. I’m not someone who EQs very often, and even less as I get older. But the EQ is pretty great, and easy enough to turn on or off when I’ve felt the need. I do always use the Audeze plugin for my LCD XCs and it’s really good. It’s slightly different than the one I had always used, and I think it fits my XC really well.

I was hoping to cancel another one of my subscription services, but I’m in for another year at the very least. I’ll be watching this thread to see how other people are using theirs for ideas as I expand outward from my current setup

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I’ve been using Roon since August of last year, i personally find it’s UI and metadata control to be the best and unchallenged in the space. As a non streaming user I find roon to work really well with my collection and does a decent job of organizing it all.

I have the core intalled on my main PC where my music is located and I have been thinking about getting a dedicated roon machine but don’t really know where to start yet. I will figure it out eventually, but first I will probably be building/buying a NAS to store my collection for some added redundacy.

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If anyone is interested in trying out Roon, this is a free 30 day subscription instead of the two week period you get from the std. portal offer. Referral - Roon Labs

I installed a Roon Core server on a cheap micro computer. I went the Windows 10 route, just felt I had more control, can share additional things, not just the music files and they’re a hell of a lot more bang for the buck than buying a used Intel NUC. I was able to snipe a Lenovo Core i5 2.9 Ghz 16 gig and a 120 Gb SSD drive. I stripped everything out of Windows, deleted all unnecessary processes and even removed the Wi-Fi card, disabled the com ports and sound card in the Bios and set the fan to silent mode. It’s zero noise and pretty damned quick. Cost for on eBay $129 bucks. Try to get a NUC of that caliber HW at anywhere near that price. The Roon RAAT database is running on the SSD drive and the library is on a Synology dual NAS set to Raid1.

A lot of quality of life improvements over running the Roon core directly on your PC, less CPU utilization and just being able to turn off my PC and still be able to listen to music in my living room is nice. :slight_smile:

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Over the last ~6 months I’ve experimented with using Tidal / Qobuz native apps, Audirvana, and Roon. The Tidal and Qobuz apps are great for the price (free w/ service), but they are missing some features that I value. Audirvana was too “clunky” for me, user interface wasn’t very attractive to my eye and the music discovery was basically non-existent.

Roon has been a love/hate relationship. The features cover all my use cases, but it’s also fairly complex and it’s taken me a while to get it running well for my setup (sounding good and reliable). I used it last year and ended up walking away for two reasons: cost and streaming to chromecast targets didn’t sound as good to me. But when 1.8 came out i gave it another try. The cost model has improved, I prefer a smaller monthly fee than a large yearly (or life time) fee. And I finally got the streaming to Chromecast targets sorted out (issues with glitches, low quality sound, etc). I like the new 1.8 interface, and the music discovery on Tidal & Roon is better (in my use cases). So now Roon is my daily driver.

My setup:
Roon Core: Mac Mini w/ Core i5 and 32GB ram (doubles as family homeschool computer, so extra memory comes in handy)
Roon Remotes: Windows Laptop, Surface Go, and Android phone(s)
Streaming Targets: 4 Chromecast Audios (CCA) using optical output at 24/96 - work desk, listening chair, office speakers, garage speakers. The CCA at my listening chair is paired with an iFi SPDIF iPurifier2 to add some extra awesomeness.

My next audio system upgrade is going to be “better” streaming targets (raspbery pi, or bluesound node 2i, or something like that). Now that I’ve got Roon utilizing the CCA’s correctly I think the sound is really good. But can’t say for sure till I “upgrade” to a better streamer and compare.

I avoid USB as much as possible. Just too many ways it can go wrong. And since all my computers (apart from the Roon Core) are mobile devices, I don’t really want to have to plug in to listen to music. Using all network streamers is just clean.

I’m currently in full crazy mode with my streaming subscriptions: running both Tidal and Qobuz on Roon - so 3 monthly subscriptions (when wife figures this out I’ll have to pick one, but let’s see how long I can hold out).

After about 3 months of using Roon daily I really can’t imagine going back. The ease of use and music discovery are just fantastic.

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Also, running on dedicated vertical monitor is awesome!

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Roon tip:

One of the experiences that is lost when moving from LPs and CDs to digital is perusing the liner notes and following along with the lyrics when listening to an album. Roon has a nice feature that has enabled me to bring that back experience.

Under Settings > General there is an option to “Allow for more covers and photos”.

When this is enabled, Roon will scan for additional images in the album folder. But, to make it even better, you can create a PDF and drop it in the folder. When a PDF is detected, Roon will add a link to the PDF that will open it in a PDF viewer or browser. This works both on desktop and mobile devices. When I’m in my listening room, I can pick up my iPad, start playing an album and click the PDF link. The PDF opens in Safari and since it’s a PDF, I can zoom in on the desired page.

Here’s an example of a PDF I put together from a copy of Arc of a Diver by Steve Winwood that I picked up recently:

It’s a bit of a labor of love to scan all the artwork, but once done, I’ll have it forever and be able to peruse the artwork without digging out the CD. It’s even better than having the CD in hand because I can zoom in on tiny text when needed.

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The thing with Roon for me is the rabbit hole of who’s playing on what song and seeing what other things they’ve worked or collaborated on. I think Roon’s integration of Tidal suggestions blows Tidal’s recommended artists out of the water!

@EvilGnome6 That’s actually pretty cool tip!

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Well… that got answered: raspberry pi!

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OK, so I have been deliberating for a while what to do for an in home streamer solution for a while now and recently have decided that I will buy into Roon (for a year anyway). I am going to start with taking advantage of hardware I already have to set it up and try it out. I have decent (probably overkill for this purpose) machine that is not even powered on ATM that I can dedicate as Roon core on Windows 10. Ryzen 3800x w/32g @3600 booting from a 1tb NVMe gen4 with another 1tb NVMe gen 4 slotted in, as well as several 1tb SSDs that can be mounted internal or external as needed. I’ll reload Win10 with a minimal install and get it going on there. I’ll use other windows PCs and laptops as remotes/bridges for testing, and I’ll also order a pi4 to build out as an endpoint to test with. Though I will probably put an Allo digione HAT on it so that I can use S/PIDIF (coax & or BNC) to my DACs.

If it all works out well I will most likely then build out a NUC/Rock and several other pi’s to use as endpoints - Running a full blown PC at some of the listening positions just does not make sense. Powerwise or use of the hardware resources wise.

I’ll let you know how it goes and will ask for guidance if get stuck. Though I presume most of my issues will be around using Roon as an organizer and player. I am an old school foobar user…

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You don’t need to have the actual music files on the Roon Core, a NAS or other network accessible location is just fine. What you want on the Roon Core is a fast (M.2 preferably) drive for the Roon database which is what takes a beating when scrolling through your 3000 album covers etc. :slight_smile:

I’ve been thoroughly happy with my dedicated Roon core build.

Also passing it forward to you guys, Pi 3 B+ is less “noisy” than a Pi4 when you’re going to put a hat on them. The faster processor seems to generate more noise and to use as a simple end point, you don’t need the additional speed.

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I am starting to get a bit deeper with my 2ch setup and recently acquired an Aurender N100H server/streamer. A year ago, I made an important step to get my chain off of my noisy laptop. A mere DAP was a nice improvement. Now, I will take it a step further by using a dedicated server/streamer.

Does anyone have an experience going beyond this and using a USB regenerator + LPS? I was debating about the Uptone IsoRegen + LPS1.2 or maybe a Kitsune SU2 or 6, for the added DDC. We’ll see…

All I know is that the rabbit hole keeps going down for the 2ch, lol…

I think the low hanging fruit is to move away from USB altogether and via a hat get your Digital Signal out via AES, or BNC or SIDIF etc. There’s an inherent benefit in never touching USB when noise is concerned.

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Dang, that’s too bad. I snagged the N100H at a great deal. Perhaps, I should have held out for the Aries G1, which is the one I really wanted.

The N100H only uses USB. Perhaps, I may have to look for a DDC.

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Thanks, yes I know that but I have this box and 2 others even built out better with 24 and 32 core procs and 64GB ram or better in each. … The NvME drives I have are M.2 and pcie gen4 so can’t really get much faster than with those :slight_smile:

Nice - I was just about to order a couple 4’s literally moments from now. I’ll watch the vid. Reason I was opting for the pi4 was that the USB and Networking are now their own bus each and USB was said to be quieter. But I’ll watch the vid. Maybe I’ll get one of each - not all the pi’s I would need will have an audio HAT.

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it’s not that it’s bad! I’m actually now using an SoTM SMS200 Ultra Neo Special Edition… I like typing out that whole name. That’s USB, it’s just very specialized. It sounds just a wee bit better than my Pi2AES but then again it should, it’s $2k retail priced versus $280 when you include the price of a good LPS.