Nucleus, NUC or Streamer?

Hello all! Currently running core on my 5 year old iMac on the other end of the house from my main listening setup. I use the mesh Google WiFi trio. One is a router, the other 2 have wired connections and can be placed around the house. My iMac is wired to one. So it’s networked, or is it? I’ve been thinking of the Nucleus. Very expensive, but seamless and is a great streamer as well. The NUC is much cheaper fairly easy to build, but could be noisy. I’ve even seen where some people are building these things to look exactly like the nucleus and operate in the same manner with hardly any differences. Or do I keep my core on my iMac and go for something like an Allo Digione Signature hardwired to my network and go USB right into my Topping D90? Any suggestions or opinions would be appreciated…

Is your setup not performing to your expectations? I use an iMac desktop, store my music on the internal drive, and network out using Eero mesh wifi. I started out using a 2014 iMac i5 quad core, and am now using a 2019 iMac i5 six core. Works great. Other than the Catalina upgrade flop, the iMac has worked well as a Roon Core. All endpoints (except iPads) are hard wired.

Ditto Why Change ?

I use a bog std Tower PC Box , full of HDD (it covers my video and other general need it also my dev PC when I do any , retired but twitchy !!)

its an i7 , 16 Gb RAM etc . Sounds like a Tractor (well not quite) but is well away from any listening spot. Indeed its very quiet when “just playing”.

Its ethernet to a RPi - Allo Digione with no issues.

If and when it dies I may consider a NUC but where do all the drives go , a NAS ? not sure.

Just my thoughts

You can also buy a fanless NUC in a case with heatsinks (or build one). Cheaper than Nucleus. If you load Rock onto it I doubt you will be able to tell a difference to Nucleus.

The Allo is also a good route. It’s important to think how you use the HW and what your various use scenarios might be, including SW on the streamer/server (example: do you use only Roon and will be happy being limited to Roon?). That will help you decide. A separate endpoint like the Allo gives both some HW placement and SW flexibility, if you want that.

I’m a bit of a skeptic to the audiophile wisdom about how much better certain types of these setups sound than others. I think the differences are often highly exaggerated.

I’d figure out what works best for you now and in the foreseeable future, and go for the SW features and physical HW setup that best matches your needs. If your HW and SW setup doesn’t match your needs, you won’t be happy, even if you have some small audiophile improvement in SQ.

You can always add boxes or gadgets to improve SQ if you decide that’s needed, once you get your basic setup the way you like it.

In my experience no difference between the Nucleus and a fanless NUC even in a “highly resolving system” such as mine. Or even with the Mac mini that I replaced. No difference. Nucleus is beautifully made and plug and play but also 2-4x the price. You pay for the sales model and that the hifi dealer takes a (30-40%?) cut.

I was as well with streamers. But the difference is in my experience way bigger than it “should” be. I’ve been surprised multiple times and also conducted fairly unbiased tests to validate this. Switching back and forth many times trying to slim my system down, but thus far ended up with a fairly high end streamer as the clear winner.


I’d be interested in your thoughts on streamers & players. I use Roon (Bryston BDP-2 and Sonore mR) and MPD (Bryston BDP-2) mostly. Audirvana (on occasion) into a Chord Qutest (direct from iMac).


I do like the products from Sonore and started with the mRendu as my first streamer. I already had an UpTone modified Mac mini and didn’t expect much from a streamer — if anything at all. But the mRendu with an UpTone power supply did thoroughly surprise me with its performance. I really just bought it to try without thinking I would keep it.

Back then I had an MSB analogue Dac so I had already fallen into the trap of expensive digital sources. A couple of years earlier I would have been highly sceptical that dacs could sound so different. After all it’s just a digital signal to analogue. Should turn out the same every time… well, turns out that’s not the case. :thinking:

After buying a Chord Hugo for an office and headphone setup I switched to Chord in my main system as well. Now with an Auralic streamer.

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I have two mRendus. Both feed Sonore Ultradigitals for i2s connection. Also own two Bryston BDP-2s and a BDP-1.

The Qutest and Hugo are close relatives. Performance should be similar. Pretty pleased with the streamers. Auralic would definitely be on my short list along with Bricasti M5.

Thanks for the comments. I appreciate it.

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Hi all.

I currently run Roon on a Synology DS416Play NAS on an SSD with my music files stored on disc within the NAS but regularly have problems with tracks stopping and starting and jumping onto the following album track. Most times it works great but when this happens it’s a real pain.

I have been told that the Synology NAS doesn’t meet Roon minimum requirements so have decided to go down the NUC route and can find on the Roon forum pages which machine to buy/build. I would then use the NAS purely for storage of the music files.

Has anyone out there done this? I am a complete computer novice but would like to know how easy it is to a) build the NUC with a SSD and RAM and b) how to transfer the Roon software to operate on the new NUC, also how the NUC accesses the music files on the NAS

This is probably all old ground for this forum but I can’t find anywhere that all of these questions come together…an idiot’s guide for this would be beneficial for me! Thanks oin advance