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 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.

I’m still undecided. Setup will be router, server, Ayre QX-5 Twenty, and Google MESH node connected to an Ethernet switch upstairs. The server and QX-5 will be connected directly to Ethernet, but the utraRendu with LPS 1.2 and Ayre QB-9 DSD DAC downstairs will be on the Google MESH network.

Which server, a Mac Mini M1 or NUC? I’ve watched Darko’s NUC preparation, and hardware looks easy, not so software. If somebody sold prepared NUCs, I’d try one. Currently running Roon on a 2011 Mini that’s downstairs on the Google network. Sounds good to me, but I’m willing change out the server when I move it upstairs. Maybe rewatch Darko.


I’m also wondering what next steps to take in my digital sourcing. I use Roon almost exclusively. It’s in a headless mini (couldn’t tell you the last time I connected to a monitor to do anything with it, it just runs and runs and runs). Right now, I’m using HDMI out of the mini into an Oppo 205 as the ‘endpoint’ (I think that’s the right term), and then into the processor. I like that setup for when I’m watching/playing a disc, which is rare, as it means the connections and inputs don’t change. I can use the Oppo as the DAC and listen via the balanced outputs, or use the processors DAC by using the HDMI output that’s always connected anyway. Both the mini and the Oppo have Ethernet connections to the router (internet comes into the house right next the equipment rack). While I tend to be a ‘buy once, cry once’ buyer, I’m more interested in incremental steps for this to see what difference each change will make, while maintaining the reliability and ease of use I have now. Therefore I’m reading this thread and others with great interest, while at the same time trying not to get lost in the technical aspect…I get lost there very easily.


thanks to all that have posted their preferences and experiences so far.