Is Nucleus a better than just using my Synology?

What is the benefit of a Nucleus over running Core on a Synology NAS (for example)?

I’m totally new to high end audio, have been putting together a system and was advised to use Roon instead of the app that came with my streamer. I’m testing it now (and will probably buy livetime license) but it’s completely unclear why I can’t just use the Synology NAS (which has 20Tb of storage on it), or even repurpose an old MacMini.

Would appreciate any insights.


Not sure about the synology but a Mac mini with the right specs works just fine for me especially if you use it solely for Roon.

The Synology seems to be working flawlessly — I installed it last night. But regardless, what is the benefit of a Nucleus over either a Synology or a MacMini?

My dealer claimed that the system “sounded better” with the Nucleus and I’m calling “BS” on that – bits go in, bits come out - there’s no DAC/ADC involved, etc. So how could it possibly sound better?


I have never compared them but Roon don’t claim to it sounding any better. If it works for you I wouldn’t worry about it.

Hello David, welcome to the community. The one main benefit of NUC/Rock or Nucleus as far as I’m concerned is all the software is controlled by Roon and all software updates come from them. No glitches from any PC, Laptop or Nas software upgrades will cause issues.

If the NAS has the suggested requirements for CPU, Ram etc. then it should be fine. I would not expect any SQ differences between core platforms.

I went with NUC/ROCK so I could choose the components for performance/familiarity and it was half the cost of the Nucleus or 1/3 cost of Nucleus Plus. It has worked out very well for me.

Good luck with whatever choice you make and enjoy the music.

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Here’s the thing – I’ve been out of the hifi audio world for 35 years (ironic because I play keyboards and tour with several bands) but when I decided to jump back in, I bought some magazines to see who were the new players/companies in the game, etc. The first article I came across was a “Product of the Year” which turned out to be a 6’ USB cable selling for $2,000 which is just totally absurd in the digital world (my laptop connects to my audio interface with a $19 USB cable and I don’t care how fancy your USB cable is, it ain’t going to produce any improvement over what I generated!)

I’m having the same struggle with MQA which also seems to be major marketing hype with very little (if any) actual improvement over FLAC. That’s why I went with Qobuz rather than Tidal after trying them both.

So I’m struggling with the problem of what actually is worth buying vs what the marketing/magazines/dealers are trying to push. I’m willing to pay for value but I hate being ripped off or taken advantage of if I don’t happen to have the right expertise.


I found some speakers I loved in two systems, one active quadrals and passive tannoy eatons as in my opinion speakers are where it’s at, paired them with NAD 658 (actives) m10 (passives) you can play with room correction to your hearts content if you want from both and stopped reading Hi-Fi press and have been very content. I ‘down graded’ from a really good valve system and to be honest don’t miss it!

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As @danny has said on numerous occasions, the Nucleus is an ‘appliance’, a simple, ‘turnkey’ way to get a Roon Core.

And it’s wonderful. I’ve had mine for two-years now, and I wouldn’t be without it. It just ‘works’. Without fail. Roon is there for me, whenever I want it.

Expensive? Maybe. But indispensable, IMO? YES.

The Nucleus is highly recommended :+1:

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I get that but I was more interested by the claim that it “sounded better” which seems like nonsense

It doesn’t ‘sound better’. It’s a bespoke NUC that runs a dedicated version of Roon ROCK.

What is it exactly you’re looking for?

Well duh - I didn’t see how it could sound better - but my dealer was claiming that it sounded better and so I decided to post here to see if there was something I missed (which there wasn’t!)

It really does not sound better. Benefit is a very beautiful design without any rotating fans for ventilation. Nucleus runs a special revision of Roon ROCK OS. Your experience will be much better and free from problems running Roon ROCK (either via Nucleus or NUC). If you need to have the Roon Core in listeningroom, go for a fanless design like Nucleus, else it does not matter. All Roon cores running against a Roon Ready endpoint over the network will sound exactly the same. I know some claim differently, but they just does not know better (or are trying to create a need not existing to earn money).

I have tested NUC8i7 vs Nucleus+ (rev A). Mission impossible to hear which one is currently playing. If you know, your mind will start playing tricks on you.

Also, Nucleus is plug and play - some people value this :slight_smile:

For the record:
I have a Nucleus+ and NUC8i7 running Roon ROCK (2 different locations).


Perfectly said! :+1:

You have to watch these guys every step of the way. Roon has never promoted Nucleus as an improvement in SQ. Your dealer is just trying to make a buck off of you. He probably doesn’t even know how to properly set up a Nucleus.

A GEN8 NUC running ROCK is just as good as a Nucleus or a Mac Mini and will come in, with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB M.2 drive, at around $600.

You will find many of like mind on this forum. Welcome.

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If I were in your position, I’d put most of your budget into your source (streamer, etc), amplification and speakers. Find the cheapest possible way to get into Roon, if that’s what it takes.

Ignore all the ‘refinements’ until later. Yes, they do make a difference, IMO. But the bedrock of your system comes first.

I’m not sure if you meant ‘source’ or ‘streamer’ to include transports, but I would not put my money into expensive transports. They don’t ‘sound better’ any more than the Nucleus does.

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Well, I agree in principle with you. Yes, the streamer, rather than the transport is fundamentally key to the performance of your system.

However, once you reach a certain point on this ‘journey’ the quality of transport does matter.

I know for a fact that the Lumin U1/U1 Mini range sound ‘better’ than a Roon Nucleus directly connected to a DAC. I also know that my Stack Audio LINK with SA LPS sounds better than a Nucleus connected directly to my DAC.

BUT I am lucky enough to have a high-end system worth around £100k. As ever, YMMV!


Well, I guess you don’t agree with me then :slight_smile: A streamer is just a transport, moving bits from one place to another.

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No. I don’t agree with you.

At a certain level, the transport does make a difference. Period.

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Importance of streamer very much depend on DAC. If the DAC is well designed regarding handling “iffy” input over SPDIF (or whatever protocol is in use), the quality of the streamer is less important.

But a streamer can have an effect of audio quality (they are not all the same), which device is running Roon core, and you streamer is Roon Ready, is completely irrelevant regarding audio quality.

Regarding streamer. The most important thing is that it is Roon Ready.