What is Roon?
Roon is a music management and listening solution by Roon Labs that works as a music player, streaming solution, and server. Roon is much appreciated by music enthusiasts. Roon manages the entire music library and automatically finds photos, biographies, lyrics or concert dates and connects them with the appropriate musicians, composers, conductors or producers. You get a digital and individual music magazine for your entire collection.
Roon Core Server Software
At the heart of the Roon system is the Roon Core or, in other words, the Roon server software. Roon Core indexes the music, complements the metadata and sends the music to the terminals. A Roon Core server can be used to manage multiple audio outputs, and simultaneous streaming to multiple devices is possible, too.
Roon can be controlled, among many other devices, via a smartphone, tablet or notebook. The “Controll App” with the intuitive user interface is installed on these devices. However, only the hardware on which Roon Core is installed, needs notable computing power and a fast SSD. The power is needed for fast searching and selecting as well as superfast data delivery to the “Controll App”, conversions and DSP functions.
ROCK and Roon Nucleus
Roon Labs has developed a very lean operating system based on Linux to run Roon Core, its name is ROCK (Roon Optimized Core Kit). Roon Labs offers ROCK for free as a download. In addition, Roon Labs also sells customized hardware, the Roon Nucleus. The Roon Nucleus is available in an Intel Core i3 and Core i7 variant. The basis for the Roon Nucleus are Intel NUC boards. The ROCK operating system is optimized for this hardware and these motherboards. An important feature of the Roon Nucleus is that it is fanless and therefore silent.
Since the PrimeMinis also has an Intel NUC board, all PrimeMinis are ideal as a Roon Nucleus alternative. With the PrimeMinis and ROCK, a completely silent Roon server can be configured as an alternative to the Roon Nucleus. The housing of the PrimeMini is higher quality than that of the Roon Nucleus. In addition, the PrimeMini 4 (Image 3), at 17.7 x 5.5 x 11.4 cm, is more compact than the 21.6 x 7.6 x 15.2 large Roon Nucleus (Image 4), as can be clearly seen in the comparison of the rear view of the two mini-servers. The PrimeMini is in a similar configuration a much cheaper alternative to the Roon Nucleus.
PrimeMini as Roon Nucleus Alternative
The Roon Nucleus is available in two configurations, one with an i3 processor for music libraries up to 100,000 songs, and as Nucleus + with an i7 processor for larger music collections and advanced DSP features.
The best PrimeMini 4 configuration for an alternative to the Roon Nucleus for smaller music collections is a PrimeMini 4 i3 with 250 GB M.2 SSD and 8 GB RAM.
A PrimeMini 4 i7 with 250 GB M.2 SSD and 8 GB RAM is the perfect alternative to the more powerful Roon Nucleus +.
The ROCK operating system is installed on the M.2 SSD. The music files can be stored on an external hard drive, a NAS or an internal SSD of the PrimeMini. It is a good idea to order the PrimeMini as Roon server with an additional 2TB 2.5″ SSD, which is sufficient storage space for about 500’000 songs. The SSD brings even more performance and reliability compared to an HDD and is above all completely silent.
PrimeMini 4 i7 have already been successfully installed by Prime Computer customers as a Roon Nucleus alternative (Images 1 and 2).
An installation guide for ROCK on NUC-hardware can be found here: Link