Is the Nucleus a streamer?

I’m trying to my anticipate equipment needs before deciding whether to tackle building the Intel NUC unit or to just buy the Nucleus. Is the Nucleus a streamer? If not, will I need separate streamer and DAC devices? Some people talk about sending the Core signal directly to their DAC, others to their streamer.

I’m basically starting from scratch so could go in any direction. That said, I don’t want to buy a “streaming DAC” combination if all that’s needed is a stand-alone DAC.

Many thanks for accommodating a beginner’s question


Yes (10 characters).

From what I understand the Nucleus can stream only from the music providers that Roon chooses to support That would be the same for any brand of streamer. The Nucleus I believe can then stream wirelessly to your dac end points. Update*** wrong answer. Does not have WiFi.

Thank you for the quick reply. As a follow-on, if I’m playing a wave file, will the signal go directly from the Nucleus to a stand-alone DAC, or is a “streamer” (like the microRendu) needed in front of the DAC?
again many thanks

Sorry I just now read the white papers about the Nucleus and I was wrong in my comment. The Nucleus does not do WiFi only Ethernet connection.

The Nucleus is a Roon specific product so what ever you add to the Roon library will play On any Roon ready end point. If you don’t see yourself going out of the Roon ecosystem then you should be fine.

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You can stream to a DAC via USB connected to an endpoint or the core or a remote…there are also network connected DACs too that are Roon endpoints.

You can stream from roon cores to wifi as long as there is a wifi AP on the same network, the core should not be connected via wifi but LAN ideally

Why is everyone making this so complicated? He’s asking a simple question and people are chipping in about streaming services, end points and WiFi? What on Earth!!

OP- yes the nucleus is a streamer that can be directly connected to your DAC.

As it’s based on computer technology the choice of hookup methods is a bit limited if you want to use it this way. USB being the only obvious choice.

If you have a USB dac you can just connect a nucleus directly do it. No other devices needed.

If you don’t have USB, or wish to store the nucleus away from your hifi (as some people seem keen on doing for some reason) then you would need an “end point” of some kind. But this can be a cheap raspberry pi running ropieee. Or something like a bluesound node 2i

This all presumes you have chosen roon as your library management software and are happy to work with it, and the external streaming services it supports (currently only Qobuz and tidal).

If you need any other info, just ask


For what it’s worth, building a NUC is dead easy, and will do exactly the same thing a nucleus will, apart from the fact the nucleus is fanless by design. The fan on my NUC occasionally annoys me with super quiet music, but that’s rare.

In new house I’ll shove the NUC in a cupboard and use a fanless mini PC as an endpoint next to my hifi.

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Hello James and welcome to the journey.

Roon software, running on a NUC or Nucleus, is a music management system that will stream any music, IT HAS ACCESS TO, to any capable device it can find ON YOUR INTERNAL NETWORK. It can also be directly connected via HDMI/USB. It can do them all at the same time or individually.

The software can run on just about any computer that meets the basic minimum requirements.

The music it has access to can be files stored on drives, or Tidal/Qobuz streaming services.

The choice of endpoint devices is up to you, standalone DAC systems, Roon Ready Speaker systems, Receivers, Etc… Too many options to list and I’m not familiar with most of them.

I have a NUC - connected via HDMI to a receiver, USB to disc player with internal Dac, Ethernet to that same player, wireless to a Roon Ready speaker system, and wireless to a PC running Roon software.

Wishing you good luck, have fun figuring out what you want/need and, As @David_Crosbie1 mentioned feel free to ask if you need additional info.

What a complicated answer to a simple question.


I want to change my response to a simple “Yes”. :grin:


Changed mine also.

Gentlemen, these are very helpful comments–thank you!. As a relative old-timer, I’ve been challenged by the vocabulary of hi-fi in the 21st century.

It sounds like I could dip my toe in the world of Roon by:

  1. Running the Core on Intel-NUC (ethernet cable to router).
  2. Attaching my music library (hard drive) to the router’s USB port.
  3. Attaching a DAC to the NUC (USB cable) and running the output to my old receiver.
  4. Control from iMac or iPad

Before going all-in on a Roon-centric upgrade, my initial goal is to get a low cost test of life with Roon. I like the idea that only the NUC would be a new purchase. [I already have a Cambridge DACmagic100, which I’m hoping Roon will recognize and stream through, or to.]

You’ve answered my immediate question regarding streaming, but I’m still a but unclear on what the word really means. I’m inclined to think of it as a more or less un-nuanced process–converting music files (or a feed from Qobuz/Tidal) into clocked digital output that goes on to the DAC. As such, does it have any impact on the ultimate sound? Are some “streamers” better than others? Or is it just something that needs to be done correctly. I’ve gotten the impression that some manufacturers go to great lengths to ‘optimize’ their streaming process, separate from the DAC conversion. If that’s the case, should one think about adding a high-end streamer or “streaming DAC” to the Roon network?

Thanks again for taking the time to comment. I suspect that I’m already hooked on Roon and just don’t know it yet.


Hi James,
All the very best of luck in choosing your setup, and getting it up and running.
One thing to bear in mind about the Nucleus, especially if you install an SSD inside for your music files, is that it’s completely silent. That was important to me, and maybe other users too.

And, to start, you can run the Roon core on your computer, laptop or desktop. I used my Dell XPS 15 laptop for the first couple of months. I then bought a Nucleus when Roon ran a black Friday deal. A NUC will work well also, but you might want to put it in another room if you can hear the fan.

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The simple answer is yes.

You can attach a DAC to the Nucleus via USB as some have already noted.

What no one noted, is you can also attach an A/V receiver via HDMI (or any box that takes HDMI) to the Nucleus. I use this connection on my Nucleus+ to play multichannel music.

I agree with the comments on how complex the answers given were to such a simple question.

What I am confused about is in the white papers it says nucleus is not WiFi. So how does that connect to WiFi end points?

The Nucleus connects to your router with an ethernet cable. From your router to Roon endpoints or bridges can be ethernet or WIFI. All Roon communications go back and forth through your router.

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