Buying a Nucleus -- the long view

I am getting close to pulling the trigger on the purchase of a Nucleus. I’ve been using an old MacBook Pro as a core, and the simplicity of a dedicated device appeals to me.

But as a guy with a closet full of orphaned hardware, I have to ask an uncomfortable question: what would happen to my Nucleus if Roon goes out of business? (I of course don’t expect that, and see no reason to think it will in the near term).

Will it still work if there is no Roon server to phone home to, or would it become a $1500 brick?

In a worst-case scenario, could it be repurposed as a headless Linux box running some other music server software, or ?

Why don’t you just get an old Nuc and put it in a Akasa case?

No, not as Roon. However, if you have a lifetime license, there is the promise that Roon would make one last version for lifetimers that works without servers.

While that’s very nice of Roonlabs, there are some conditions:

  • As long as Roonlabs as we know it is still in control and can make such decisions
  • It will be crippled and not have access to online metadata services. How useful that is might be considered questionable, depending on use case etc.

However, it’s just a fanless NUC and you could install other software on it, like …

Yes, whatever can run on an Intel NUC of that generation.

That said, consider that what you really pay for with a Nucleus is an appliance directly supported by Roon and with a very nice case. That can well be valuable, but you can get a fanless NUC for considerably less, such as an Akasa case, ready-built from Cirrus7 (just ROCK to install from a stick), and other options.

2 Likes

And looks good :slight_smile: and is 100% silent.

Torben

They can’t even do that now, why would you think they’ll do it when they go out of business?

Danny reaffirmed it recently. And they could do it now if they wanted. I don’t care anyway, it’s not a strategy to bet anything on

The Cirrus nimbini looks really interesting – thanks.

It looks like they only offer two flavors of NUC, neither of which is on Roon’s “supported” list. Is that an issue?

If you’ve got “a closet full of orphaned hardware”, you’ve probably already got an old computer you could use as a dedicated Roon core. It doesn’t have to be particularly fast or fancy. Just put Linux on it, then Roon Server, and you’re set.

1 Like

Yes, I have lots of them. I’m using an old MacBookPro, which mostly does the job, though I have been having issues with repeated crashes. Spousal Approval Factor demands small and headless, and my HT receiver only plays surround files if sent via HDMI, so no remote location, which means I need fanless.

2 Likes

ROCK works on much Intel hardware, not just the ones on the list, but there remains a future risk.

When I got my Cirrus7, it was pre gen11 and they had the officially supported ones on the website. Now with the new generations, the website is not always up to date. When Torben got his, the website said „not available“ and he contacted them directly. They know about ROCK and are approachable, best to just ask them for availability of models from the ROCK list

2 Likes

You will need to install Windows or Linux and use it for some other purpose.

Or, put the Core in a remote location, and use a streamer for the HDMI connection, like this one.

3 Likes

I am using a Meridian 218 and a Nucleus and loving the music! My Sooloos Control 15 just called it quits after a power failure after 10 years. No, I am not happy, however, 10 years of excellence is pretty good return on investment for me and I apply the same principal to the Nucleus and Roon. The simplicity of the Nucleus is superb. It took me less than 5 minutes to set up the 218 and Nucleus and the sound, especially MQA is absolutely superb via the Meridian DSP 7200s. Live a little and don’t worry about things ya can’t control…Cheers!

Another good idea, though probably not for me because I only have a limited number of locations where I can set up a wired (Ethernet) Core.

Excellent idea – I just wrote to Cirrus7. Thanks!

1 Like

I was in nearly the same situation a couple of years ago. I was using a MacBook Air as my core but was considering going all in with Roon.

I knew I was sold on Roon and didn’t want to have to make monthly payments on it so I purchased the lifetime subscription. I also thought that using my MB Air as my core was a big PITA. That’s when I thought, what the hell, I’m in this for the MUSIC and I don’t want to have to deal with a damn laptop in order to access my favorite albums.

I highly doubt that Roon will go belly up because streaming is here to stay but if it does, I will have enjoyed the ride.

I have zero regrets about purchasing my Nucleus and would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

3 Likes

As I understand it, internally, it is pretty much a “stock” fanless Intel NUC, meaning, there’s nothing about the internal hardware that is different from any other NUC of its class, except of course the cost.

So you could do anything with it any other NUC of its class could do.

I wouldn’t let any existential concerns about Roon as a company be much of a factor.

You can keep running Roon on it or install another operating system on it.

Absolutely.

1 Like

Thanks for responding – the community here is awesome, but nothing can replace hearing it from the company.

1 Like

I was going to start a similar thread but this is almost exactly my scenario, so I’ll jump in here.

I’ve been running an ancient old Windows box to run Roon core. But it needs a rebuild with a new hard drive and just isn’t worth supporting anymore. So I’m looking for a new solution.

I have the skills to build my own, but no time for a new project right now. So I’d be happy to pay a bit more for an easy to support/maintain “out of the box” solution. But I’m looking for a system that I can get several years of life out of.

What keeps me from just hitting “buy now” on the Nucleus is that I’m not super happy about paying a premium for old hardware specs. When will we see a HW refresh on the Nucleus? Which chipset is used and how long will Intel support it?

1 Like