New User Setup Help - Totally lost here

Roon Core Machine- Nucleus w/2T internal Drive

I just received my Nucleus and I am a newbie to all of this having been an audiophile back in the pure analog days. I’m in the steep part of the digital learning curve and don’t understand all of the acronyms or foreign technical language used on these forums so I ask for your kind indulgence . Think of me as your grandfather who doesn’t get all this “magic”…:>)

Networking Gear & Setup Details

I have a single ethernet cable strung across the floor from a Netgear router (because there is no outlet near my set up and Ethernet over power won’t work because the electrical outlets are not on the same circuit).

Connected Audio Devices

The ethernet cable runs to a Cambridge Audio CSN streamer which is connected to a Sennheiser HDV 820 DAV/Headphone amp via XLR cables as well as an Arcam Alpha 8 bi-amped system (RCA) powering Paradigm speakers. I also have a MacBook Air running Monterey 12.1 and Apple Music where I have all of my CD collection ripped in “lossless” quality connected to the Cambridge CSN via USB.

Number of Tracks in Library

I have no idea how to find this on the MacBook and can’t find how on the internet. Looks like 102mb from the “about” on the application?

Description of Issue

I have no idea how to connect all of this to Nucleus:
1- Do I even need the CA CSN? I think I do to serve as a DAC for the ARCAM amps? If so, is that the only use and do I bypass the streaming functions and use the Nucleus? How do I connect Nucleus to the CA? I’m guessing USB? How do the Nucleus and the streamer work together? Do I switch between the two?
2- I believe that I connect the MacBook Air to Nucleus via USB with the remaining USB port?
3- What about the Sennheiser HDV 820? Did I waste $200 on decent XLR cables? The HDV has a USB input but the Nucleus only has two USB connections and those would be tied up with the Mac and the CA CSN. How do I connect the HDV?
5- I know HDMI is used for the AV system. Can it be used for any of these other connections since the nucleus has two HDMI connectors?
4- Since I only have 1 ethernet cable, which to plug it in to (streamer or Nucleus)? Perhaps there is an ethernet splitter and I plug both in?
5- I would like to copy all my music library to the Nucleus internal HD but the instruction on the website only reference what happens if you ADD a hard drive and format and monitor a folder on your computer or drag and drop from aPC or external drive, not what to do if you purchased one with the Nucleus.
6- Are there people that set this stuff up locally (for a fee of course) or perhaps a remote (ZOOM) service to walk me through this. There is only 1 local audiophile store near (suburbs of St Louis) and they don’t utilize Roon. It would seem that ROON would offer some form of “getting started” support beyond a community posting page, at least given the investment for the hardware.

Thanks- as for now I have a very expensive paperweight…

A lot to unpack.

This device is Roon Ready, which means you can attach an Ethernet cable and Roon will recognize it. Output from the CA device should go to a pre-amp and from there to the Headphone amp and your ARCAM. Take Roon out of the picture. How are you feeding your headphone amp and ARCAM now? Is the ARCAM acting as a pre-amp? I’m a little hazy about your setup.

You need both on the network. Get something like this and connect to your router, Nucleus and the CA CSN.

Are your music files on the Mac? That’s a whole other story.

You will need a second hard drive to do that. The drive in there now is strictly for the OS. An external USB drive is the way to go.

First, let’s get your Nucleus and CA device on line. Once you get both the Nucleus and the CA on your network, go into Roon at Settings==>Audio and enable the CA device.

Depending on your patience this can be done on the forum. The will be more than enough people to help.


Thank you for the quick reply! To answer your first question, I am feeding the Headphone amp and Arcam from the Cambridge streamer.

Yes, my music files are on my Mac in Music. I bought the 2T drive with the Nucleus so that I could store my music on it rather than have to keep the MacBook “awake” constantly. Do I understand you correctly in that the internal drive won’t hold music? If so, why are the 2T and4T drives an option if they aren’t need for the “core”?

I’ll get the ethernet device and get both plugged in first as you suggest and report back tomorrow. thank you!

OK, you’re GTG, as you bought an extra drive.

Great, that simplifies things. Once you get Roon connected to your streamer, then apart from moving your music files, you are GTG.

If you have multiple Ethernet ports on your router, then (for now) your don’t need an additional switch.

You’ll need a way to Control Roon. Either the Roon app on a tablet or Roon on your Mac will do that. If you put Roon on your Mac, don’t authorize it as a Core, that’s what your Nucleus is doing.

For now, let’s concentrate on getting connected to Roon.

Also, you may want to do a little reading, starting here.

Look here for how to copy music files to the internal drive of your Nucleus.


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