New User needs advice on hardware

I am a new roon user and have been using my MacBook Pro (mid 2014, i5, 8GB Ram) as my core. I also use the computer for other activities. I have now realized that this is a far from ideal solution, so I am exploring the alternatives. It looks like one of the easiest and most reliable solutions is to get a Nucleus. I probably can not build my own set up and it would not be easy for me to locate my core in another room. I would be hooking the Nucleus up to my Yamaha AVR (RX-2000). I have several questions:

  1. My AVR doesn’t have Bluetooth so I have used Yamaha’s Pre-amp (WXC-50) to stream Tidal and access my iTunes. The nucleus would handle both of those things, correct? Would there be any reason to have another step in my system?

  2. How do you rip albums from disc into the Nucleus? Do it on a computer and then move it via USB?

  3. I don’t have a large digital collection, but that is only because I didn’t have a ton of space on my MacBook Pro to store High Res files. What size drives to people attach to the Nucleus? 4TB SSD?

  4. Do I have to get a DAC? I realize this could be somewhat subjective.

  5. With the Nucleus, I could access roon from any endpoint, correct? So I could be working out at the gym and use my iPhone and would have access?

Thank you for answering questions for a newbie!


You would use your Nucleus to run the Roon core and could connect directly to your receiver using HDMI if you want. Or, you could use USB. I put a 1 TB SSD in my Nucleus, but I have very few albums of my own and don’t plan to have any more. You already have a DAC. It’s inside your receiver. That’s all you need. And no, you cannot use Roon at the gym. It is local only.

If its a gym in your home then you should be of if it has wireless coverage to your home network.

Im not sure if the Yamaha is roon recognised over a network but to the Nucleus should be doable with Airplay - not perfect but will get you music

A better RoonReady DAC might be in your future tho, but will depend on your source material if its justifiable

@wizardofoz-You raise a great point, Roon is not supported by Yamaha, which stinks and it seems Yamaha has no interest in supporting it. So if I connect a Nucleus via HDMI to my Yamaha AVR will the DAC inside of the Yamaha override all of the modifications that the Nucleus has made? One of the major reasons that I have tried Roon is I had read that it did a much better job of improving the sound of Tidal.

Then if I got a RoonReady DAC wouldn’t I face the same problem? Once the signal hit the Yamaha, it would use it’s DAC.

If this helps my current set up is using a MacBook to wirelessly connect to WXC-50 (pre-amp) then the pre-amp via HDMI to AVR which is hardwired to B&W speakers in my living room and kitchen.

My AVR is almost 10 years old, so it isn’t crazy to think about a new one, but it also works perfectly well.

Thanks for your input. I certainly don’t want to spend the money on a Nucleus and have it produce worse sound than I have now.


If you bought a DAC you would use the analogue output into a RCA input o the receiver say CD input

Often AVR have a Pure setting which bypass all the internal processing

Otherwise can you by pass the pre amp stage and effectively use the DAC as the preamp

Yamaha are unlikely to go with Roon as they have their own wireless technology, MusicCast nowadays

Yes, I agree Yamaha is unlikely to go with Roon. MusicCast isn’t phenomenal though, so I wish they would.

You are correct that I can use Pure Direct on the AVR, but then I couldn’t play music in the 7 ch mode or in my kitchen.

As far as bypassing the PreAmp and using an external DAC, I am not sure. I will have to do some more research.

I would be curious to know what other people use for AMPs, Receivers, and AVRs.

Hello Michael and welcome to the journey. I’m a fairly new Roon user - enthusiast. Had it for several months now and am very happy that I found out about it. I started with Roon on my PC but went to the NUC/Rock setup so I could use the NUC to Receiver HDMI connection for multi-channel music.

Roon doesn’t need to be supported by your receiver, or visa versa. Your Yamaha receiver will process the signal passed to it over HDMI. I had a Yamaha RX-A3030 before I discovered Roon but I feel certain it would have worked just fine.

I have the Nuc/Rock connected to my Denon 8500H receiver with HDMI and it is not recognized but it plays the music and sounds very good, to me anyway. The receiver should do whatever you ask it to with the incoming signal. Play the stereo or multi-channel signal as is, or use one of the built in processors to convert stereo to multi-channel. I use the Denon Dolby Surround Processor to play though all the speakers in my system but it will also play the Stereo music as is.

I have the surround system in my wired living room zone, an Elac Discovery Z3 for my wireless Kitchen zone and I use my PC for the wireless bedroom zone. You can play something different at each location or group the zones to play the same music throughout the house.

There are solutions coming to market now, designed to modernise streaming to older devices or augment existing ones with services the manufacturer may not support. The PRIMARE NP5 Is very new and I have been waiting for one for far longer than the advertised delivery period but when they are out there in numbers they will probably be quite attractive to those that use AV receivers.

If nucleus and your avr have hdmi you can just use that. If your avr has optical input, you could use something like a Topping D10 to convert usb to optical. Your avr will apply it’s own dsp for multi channel, bass management, room correction, etc. (unless you turn it off) to whatever roon sends regardless of how it gets there. It will not mess up whatever you set roon to do such as volume leveling, eq, resampling, etc. It will still sound great, or at least as great as your avr and speakers.

You could also consider the possibility of a pre-built small form factor windows pc and install roon on that. For example, a Lenovo M720 Tiny with a latest generation i5 is only about $600-$700 and more than enough to run roon.

This is all great advice. I will just plug the Nucleus via HDMI, get rid of the WXC-50 and be done with it. I just wanted to be sure that I wouldn’t take a step backwards.

Thanks for all the help.

I think everything has been covered now…it’s was 3am in the morning when I posted that :slightly_smiling_face:

I do appreciate the help and in reading on this site, I saw that you can plug in a CD rom to rip directly to the Nucleus. I think I am going to like this thing.

It will require either an internal or external usb drive to ‘rip’ to

The NUC or Nucleus is a nice improvement over having Roon on a PC. At least it was in my case. I continue to be amazed reading about all the different equipment identified on this site, Roon running on this, this connected to that and that connected to this, etc… Its mind boggling to my old brain. I wish I could walk into a showroom somewhere and sample all the goodies with Roon. But for me, simplicity is the best.

I do have a USB CD player connected to the Nuc and it does work well for new additions to my library. But to start with any size library it would take forever. I ripped my small library, 300 cd’s, on the PC and used drag and drop over the Network.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

I would love to play with all of the attachments associated with Roon. Where I live the only electronics stores that we have are Best Buy and Crutchfield. While Crutchfield has some nice stuff, it doesn’t have much on the shelves that is audiophile. We used to have a high end stereo store and when I purchased my last system (9 years ago) I spent about 2 months and 4-5 visits checking stuff out. I would so enjoy doing that again.

I too am using a Yamaha receiver (RX-V2085). I built a ROCK, and it’s in my office. My plan is to get an NP-5 Primare (or maybe an Allo Digione) and hardwire to router (which lives near the Yamaha) and then connect via coaxial digital to the Yamaha AV input.

I did not know that a NUC could be connected via HDMI. Will it be recognized as a Roon endpoint???

I believe so. It looks like several other people have it set up that way. I am afraid I am too new of a user to have the knowledge to adequately fashion a response.

Best Buy “Magnolia” stores carry a good selection of high-end equipment (receivers, separates, disk players, speakers, cables, etc.). I bought my OPPO 205 from them. I have to drive about 80 miles each way to shop there so I look online or call ahead and make sure they have what I want in stock. Wish I had Crutchfield close enough to visit. I do order from them. I also take a lot of time to make selections but most of the time its from reading reviews and basically everything I can find on the subjects. I spent months reading about sub-woofers and how to integrate them into the system before buying. And yes it would be nice to see it all in one place.

Roon doesn’t need to know what the HDMI is connected to. It just sends out the music signal.