Want to branch out from iTunes; several questions.


Currently using iTunes, importing CDs using Apple lossless encoder on a Mac Mini, have a thunderbolt external hard drive holding my iTunes library, outputting via optical 3.5mm headphone outlet to USB on a Schitt Yiggy DAC using Audionirvana via iTunes.  I want to continue to improve the accessibility and quality while still using the Mac Mini as a source.  Eventually, I will upgrade to a music streamer but not yet.  I am not computer savvy but am familiar with the Mac environment.  My music is classic rock > classical.  

  1. I plan on subscribing to ROON (using an iPad to control my music) and using a NAS to hold my library as I understand that is the most efficient method:  is there a specific format/file system that the audio files need to be put into a folder on the NAS or can I just rip the CD files to the NAS folder or drag and drop other pre-existing files?
  2. Being familiar with only iTunes, what CD ripper is recommended?  What ripping settings are recommended?
  3. Comparing the following, downloading FLAC files or ripping SACDs of the same album, which would provide better quality?  Compared to a regular audio CD, how much better? 
  4. I do have a McIntosh MVP 861 that plays SACD and outputs via 5.1 unbalanced outputs.  Is there any quality difference playing the SACD directly vs ripping to a NAS?
  5. Reading up on the ROON Nucleus, this seems the best option for me for audio quality and ease of set up and use, given less computer sophistication on my part.  Are there other quality ROON compatible streamers that one would consider?
  6. Am I missing any fundamental issues when upgrading my computer audio? 
ymc226
Roon has a Community Forum where you can ask whether your Mini has the processor and memory to run Roon.  My 2012 Mac Mini with an external firewire harddrive runs Roon fine but I dont ask it to upsample or do any DSP.  

I still use iTunes as a library manager.  I rip to AIFF uncompressed for compatibility using XLD, a free program.  The great thing (one of many great things) about Roon is that it reads your iTunes library without modifying it. 

If you can, get a Roon trial going on your Mini. Then by reading the forum and using your own experience and hearing, decide where you want your music files.  

Ripping SACDs will require special equipment and know how.  Good luck with that.  
wow, I used to have OP's set up until I went one box Streamer DAC

Thanks dbtom2,  I am reading through all of the info on Roon.  Has anyone used their NAS as a server?
@ymc226 Yes. Many many Roon users have their music files on a NAS.

Some also run Roon server from a NAS but there are definite minimums to the processors and memory needed to run Roon on a NAS.  Since I don’t use a NAS, I am not familiar with those minimum specs.  

My basic, novice, understanding is that an optimal setup is the have the Roon core with the library (database) on an SSD drive and the music files themselves can be on a remote NAS HDD. By remote, I mean in another room since the spinning disk will emit noise. Since my hearing isnt what it used to be, any disc whirring sounds from my Mini havent been loud enough to distract from my listening. YMMV.