Considering buying a Nucleus

I moved from a mac mini running Roon Core over to a NUC10i7. Massive difference in performance, but that was when .NET was not natively supported on mac. Nonetheless, the appliance nature of a NUC/Nucleus is highly appealing to me, and I would recommend such move.

NUC vs Nucleus? There is no hardware difference (confirmed by the Roon team) but there is a slight software different: the Nucleus enables ROCK’s Control4 functionality. Additionally, a Nucleus is housed in a fanless enclosure (a gorgeous one) so you can use it in your listening room. My NUC sometimes (not often) runs its fan, so not really appropriate for a listening room (I keep it in my home office).

As for your streamer - for best performance you should keep using it, serving your DAC over the network. Connecting the Nucleus or NUC over USB is not ideal.


I am getting closer now :blush: and my wallet is starting to get concerned. Thanks:-)


You’ll get rid of the fan that currently lives in the iMac. You don’t say what cpu and RAM are in your iMac so comparisons beyond that are not possible. Its all about compute power at Core.

No. The recommendation to use a streamer on the network is still valid.


Again many Thanks :grinning:. FWIW: My Mac has a 3 GHz 6-Core Intel core i5. RAM: 8Gb 2667 MHz DDR4 (and I do love my SOtM streamer)

I used to use a MM 2012 16GB ram to run the Roon Core, but now I happily run a dedicated Nucleus, and use the MM for Roon RAAT/HQPlayer for music upsampling to a streamer. Personally, I think it is a right decision, even I could easily build an alternative dedicated lightweight machine that does the same job as the Nucleus does.

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This restriction to Nucleus was lifted this year:


In what way? Thx

Connect your Nucleus or NUC to your router or a switch using ethernet. Use a Roon Ready device or Roon Bridge device to connect your sound system via ethernet.

The Nucleus (or NUCs in general) have USB port implementations that are electrically noisy. The Roon team confirmed that Nucleus devices do not have hardware-modified USB ports.

Few DACs have USB input implementations that make them immune to this electrical noise issue. Solutions to this issue depend on the DAC - if USB is the only input you would need a USB repeater or better yet a Streamer.

Thank you very much.

I switched from Mac mini to Nucleus and have been very happy with it, mostly for its appliance like nature. Always a drag to sit down to listen and first have to apply a bunch of MacOS updates.

But keep in mind that you will still need to do your music management (ripping new CDs, adding new Bandcamp downloads, etc) somewhere. And also manage backups of your music library. These are things the Nucleus doesn’t really do very well. So I’ve kept all my primary music management on my Mac Mini, and just do a regular sync of the Music folder from that to my Nucleus.

I started using Roon on my Dell laptop. It worked fine, but I was always accidently shutting down Roon. So, I decided to get a Nucleus because I did not want to fool with the DIY of a NUC.

I now run a Nucleus at home and also have a Roon core on my Dell laptop for travel. It’s easy to switch back and forth with one license. Although I just bought a second license so I can keep Roon ARC always active connected to the Nucleus.

I disagree that Roon backups are a problem on a Nucleus. I attached a 1 TB HDD to my Nucleus and have it automatically backup every night. It’s a non-issue.

I use my Dell laptop as the primary Roon control device, but occasionally use an iPhone or iPad. I find the Dell much more functional than the IOS devices.

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I would never discourage buying what you really want, but I’m something of a “Roon Server on Mac Mini evangelist”. I do not believe you can really go wrong getting an M1 Mac Mini at $699 or $899 (if you really want the 16GB of RAM)

Just one more voice adding to the opinions. In case your wallet gets too scared of a Nucleus.

I ONLY use the Mac Mini for Roon Server, which for me, is crucial. And the way I have it set up, it’s turnkey. It’s silent. It’s blazing fast. Built to last.


What do you use as a control device for your Mac Mini? Would a Macbook Air M2 works just as well?

Me? I use a MacBook Air mainly as my control. Also iPad. An M2 MBA would work great I’m sure, but I like the lower cost mini as a single use appliance


If you are looking for a silent NUC - cirrus7 nimbini v3:


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Don’t even consider the Nucleus unless it is hard wired to the internet. Mesh is meh for this device. I loved mine, but had no way to get the signal it needed to it.

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Hi all,
Many thanks for all your inputs. As I just bought the lifetime Roon, I have now also bought the Nucleus with a Samsung 2 tb evo internal storage. Expensive yes - could I have done this DIY? - probably yes, but the presentation of the Nucleus (Rev B) is so nice. So far I have been very pleased to use is with ARC when out and about. Works very fast and seemless. Nice Christmas gift to self :smile: Wish you Happy Holidays and a fantastic New Year


Congratulations, and happy holidays! I’m sure you’ll be very happy with your purchases.

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