Nucleus — can it replace Naim Uniti Core?

I am thinking of replacing my Naim Uniti Core with a Roon Nucleus and have some questions:

  1. Apart from CD ripping, is there anything my Core does that the Nucleus can’t do?
  2. Will the sound quality (subjective, I know) be as good? The Core sounds great to me.
  3. Is streaming from Tidal as simple as choosing the Nucleus as the output from the Tidal application?
  4. Is it worth going with the Nucleus +? I see the Plus supports all DSP functions, but I don’t know what that means in practical terms.
  5. Other than ease of setup, is there any advantage to the Nucleus vs building my own NUC-based Roon core?

My system is Core —> Naim DAC —> Musical Fidelity M5 —> B&W 804s.



Nucleus can rip CDs.

You add Tidal as a service in Roon via Settings==>Services. For the purposes of running in Roon, the Tidal app is irrelevant…

Nucleus has an i3, Nucleus+ has an i7. Depending on the upsampling (among other things) that one wants to do, an i3 could be a little anemic. Do you plan on upsampling to DSD, for example? Also, Nucleus+ can support more zones.

No, if you use ROCK on your DIY NUC.

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just to expand on Slim’s last point, there is an advantage, Home Automation control. Control4 and Crestron drivers are part of Nucleus build but cannot be added to ROCK. Only an advantage of course if it is something you intend to use or need.

It’s also purpose built for silent operation so has fanless thermal control where ROCK doesn’t.

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Does the uniti core rip to wav or flac?
Wav can be problematic importing into roon.

Which Naim DAC? Is this coax?

(I don’t think you will be able to directly connect Nucleus to the original Naim DAC - unlike the DAC-V1 it’s not a usb DAC)

Great point. It is the original DAC with an SPDIF cable connecting to the Core. Looks like there’s no USB port, so perhaps that is a show-stopper. Don’t really feel liked changing out the DAC.

Using FLAC, so shouldn’t be a problem.

Thanks for pointing that out. I was wondering if that might be one of the important differences. Seems like one wouldn’t want a fan anywhere in the system. How much of a difference does it make in the sound? (Can it be quantified?)

You can get a usb to spdif converter in the middle. Lots of people run them for non usb DACs.

None it’s just quieter if you have it in the same room as your hifi. If you don’t it matters not. Some will argue that it does but in my own experience with moving from fan to fanless it made zero difference. You can have a silent case case for NuC ROCK.many do it’s just not supported in the OS for thermal control. Don’t think it’s caused any issues. I use ROCK too and the pc I bought was a prebuily fanless machine not a NuC.

@William_Somers are you using Roon currently?

I did a trial a while ago, running through an Allo DigiOne Signature to the DAC. (I abandoned the Signature because it was finicky and the sound was much inferior – to my ears – to the Core, which I had been thinking it might replace.)

Shame - to my mind that’s an ideal architectural solution… would allow you to build a NUC Roon core which you could co-locate next to your router out of the way. But if it doesn’t sound right…

Although you might then spend the money saved by not buying a Nucleus on an alternative Roon Ready endpoint…

Edit: Have you considered swapping in one of the current Naim network players?

I have considered swapping the Naim DAC for a network player (for streaming Tidal) w/DAC. But I don’t want to take a step down in DAC quality.

Um. Difficult to pick a way forward. Do you have storage in the Uniti Core, or did you opt for a NAS?

I have a hard disk in the Core. I do have a ReadyNAS Duo v1, which I used when I had a UnitiServe, but it’s collecting dust at the moment.

  1. No. And you can rip if you add a USB CD drive to Nucleus.
  2. Probably.
  3. Yes.
  4. No, unless you have a very big collection.
  5. Home automation, self build is cheaper.

The Nucleus isn’t very elegant by Naim standards, but it does what it says on the tin and is well supported.

Were you able to get Roon to identify your files during the trial?

Edit: Post edited to remove incorrect information…