My current setup is as follows: All music on (1) Synology NAS (2) iMac with Roon software (3) USB DAC attached to iMac and (4) Headphones. This setup enables me to also enjoy other music and video services through iMAC, USD DAC and Headphones. This setup covers 75% of my musical wishes/entertainment. The other 20% is through a HIFI setup using an OPPO 105 as player and DAC (so not Roon involved).
Does a nucleus makes sense? (1) I still want to be able to listen through USD DAC with Headphone; (2) Use Roon for Hifi- living room setup.
Does the Nucleus make any difference (player software?) for using Roon on the iMac? Is it worth the financial expense?
I am still looking for a solution for my 5% remote listening. Despite all limitations, Plex(amp) is the only solution to offer seamless offsite remote enjoyment for music (owned). I am also using QOBUZ and Spotify, but preferably not for the music library owned by myself (a lot of SACD’s, etc.).
The Nucleus allows to move Core to a dedicated bit of hardware. However, Nucleus is not the only way to do this. Plenty of threads discussing the benefits of a dedicated core. If you find benefit there then Nucleus is certainly one way to get there.
It does not change any functionality of Roon*. (*only thing of note, nucleus is currently the only way to get support for home automation https://help.roonlabs.com/portal/en/kb/roon-labs-llc/nucleus/home-automation)
Instead of your Mac being Core, Endpoint, and Remote it would become just Endpoint & Remote as you’d move Core function to Nucleus. Nothing other than that changes.
No, you experience / interaction with Roon will be unchanged.
Again, there are benefits to a dedicated Core but that’s the evaluation you should do. Once you decide to use a dedicated core then evaluate if Nucleus makes sense as your solution to dedicated core.
Not sure if this fits with your requirements for your 5% but have a look at -
Being a new Nucleus Owner - is it worth the expense ? I am not really sure.
The Nucleus comes with a hefty price tag, ok - includes one year subscription for Roon, has appealing looks and is pretty much plug and play. But… it seriously lacks performance.
I paid USD 1600 for a device that can not fully utilize all Roon features even in one single audio zone.
Retrospectively I wish I would have done more reading and research upfront vs choosing the lazy approach and built a more capable DIY NUC with Roon ROCK for much less $.
I have just completed , this weekend, the migration of my core from Windows 10 to a 10 i7 NUC with a 4 tb SSD
It was simple , just time consuming copying files to the SSD but that was a background activity.
The ROCK install is well documented and easy , despite being tech minded.
I now sit with a TINY, they are very small up close, NUC which I will shortly hide somewhere!
I haven’t listened much yet but the sheer ease and convenience is why I did it, I have a 4Tb server in 11x11x5
The nucleus is expensive . My prices were in Rand so little use anywhere else but about 6 times less than the nucleus . The NUC/ROCK option is one many Roon users have chosen over the nucleus mostly on cost.
Couldn’t recommend the NUC more.
Dare I say it but I think I am even perceiving an improvement in SQ , that should stir some thoughts …
My library is around 7000 albums so I went big, i7, 32 gb RAM, probably over the top but RAM is relatively cheap .
I’d go with a Mac mini as a dedicated Roon server any day of the week. You can get a M1 Mac mini w. 16GB ram for half the price, of a Nucleus. And when (not if) the Nucleus get’s outdated, you’re stuck with a very expensive doorstop. The Mac mini will keep on being useful for years to come. My MacBook Air from 2012, still runs as the day I got it, and can run Monterey - after 10 years! No Windows computer will do that.
I got a used Mac mini late 2012 for 80$ and upgraded with a 120GB SSD and 16GB of ram for 50$. I do not have any local files, so I can not comment on how it will work with local streaming. But apart from Roon’s search function errors and some other weird quirks (which are not isolated to my setup), my Mac mini works great with Qobuz and Tidal. And as you have a Mac already, setting up the Mac mini and access it remotely doesn’t get any easier. If you have any problem in that process, you can contact me, and I can guide you through the whole process - which is very very easy.
Curious to hear more details about what your Nucleus struggles with? I’ve had one for the past 5 months with no issues as of yet.
It stalls with DSD upsampling, the well known issue - which - having a rather small library and only one audio zone - I failed to research properly before I bought the Nucleus.
My point was price vs performance and that you can get a better performing DIY Roon Core for less $.
Using a Nucleus to replace another core machine and NAS makes sense if a plug and play solution matters to you. But if the iMac and NAS are staying then it makes a lot less sense.
Guess I missed that issue, too, when researching it. I’ve only a few DSD albums which I must not have played since getting the Nucleus. But still a bummer to learn of this.