Best Server To Run Roon Core

Hi Folks,

I don’t currently run ROON, but would like to begin correctly in order to give it a chance - and I understand that server (hardware) on which Roon core is installed is important for SQ (due to noise reduction and other factors).

What are the best hardware for SQ and usability where ROON core should be installed and why (be it audiophile dedicated servers or modified PCs)? Please comment on the rest of your setup for context if you could.

Thank you in advance.

Ag insider logo xs@2xjmarshak

I am using a Mac M1 mini Running Roon and HQplayer only. 

I am upsampling  everything to DSD512/ASDM7/poly-sinc-xtrr-mp-2s via HQPlayer. Runs flawlessly.


The rest of my system: McIntosh Mx-150/MC312 B&W Nautilus 803's

DIY solution for me. May be high end ATX build that combines server/streamer. May be high end NUC for server, combine with any number of streamer choices. Also depends on whether one is using I2S, usb or xlr on dac. May also run another music player software such as Euphony Stylus.

I now have the Fan-less NUC running on a nice linear power supply and I do like the sound better.  Basically I perceive a lower noise floor.  I did not think it was possible anymore, but I do like it better. Tried few days with Quboz and local files sitting on the core ssd drive.

Details: The NUC is connected to the network.  All of my network components run on linear power supplies (modem, router, switches).  I also use fiber for isolation and long distances runs. 

I fear that this finding unfortunately supports the 'everything matters' camp in the digital domain.  It also means that a lot more money will be spent in the future

Very interesting topic, thanks you for everyone contributed so far.
To better understand what really counts when running Roon a few additional questions if I may.
1) Are you connecting Roon core (server) directly to DAC or over the Ethernet? What would be the benefits to either one?
2) There seems to be roughly two camps NUC/MacMini type solutions and proper music servers. Which one should be used with which connectivity method to get the advantage?
I'm trying to understand these as would seem that running Roon core in NUC when using Ethernet would be fine, but in case one would use for example USB output then a proper music server hardware would be better option. Am I completely wrong here?

@jksec Running directly to dac generally means running out usb port on server, unless this is optimized with something like Jcat or Pink Faun usb card, not best way to go.

Running over ethernet gives one many options like separate streamer/end point/usb renderer, also can do FMC (fiber media conversion) or any number of filters like Acoustic Network Eno.


Issue with Nucs is lack of two ethernet ports, but if one is using network switch of less consequence. Macmini requires mods with diy lps like Uptone Audio MMK and JS-2. Macmini can be modified for two ethernet ports, advantage is don't need network switch.


Server direct to dac is convenience method. Ethernet via switch or direct mode is for maximum sound quality.