Optimal Nucleus system

Newbie here,

I’m very interested in the Nucleus. But I’m a bit confused as to how it would ideally be integrated in an audio system. In reading about ideal Roon setup, Sound Quality Rule #1 is “Core and Output on separate devices.” But it seems to me that the Nucleus is designed to be directly connected to a USB DAC, and would have the Core, Library, and output on one device. Wouldn’t this combination degrade the SQ?


Nucleus is designed to be sold alongside the 100 or so Roon Ready networked endpoints that are in the market today. This is how you would install a Nucleus to get the best possible experience.

We also decided not to lock down the local ports because we are not jerks, and we expect that some installations will benefit from the flexibility. If you want to plug in a USB DAC or use the HDMI port for audio output, feel free.


Is it correct that Roon doesn’t allow / can’t do a bridged network (believe it’s an issue working with a Subnet or whatever)? Is this the reason why the Nucleus only comes with one Ethernet Port?

Thanks Brian,

Understood. Seems like a good design choice as it allows a lot more flexibility.

The reason why Nucleus has only one ethernet port is because it’s based on the NUC platform…which has only one ethernet port.

RoonOS can support multiple network adapters–just need to plug the second one in using USB. The configuration screen lets you set up the two adapters with different addresses or whatever you like.

You could use a device like our microRendu connected to your USB DAC. Another advantage of separate server and plays is you can have the server and spinning drive near your router and away from your listening room. Also you can have multiple players in different rooms of your house.

Thanks for the reply Brian.

Ok, so no restraint on number of Ethernet ports.

Wasn’t sure as thought Antipodes had a possible issues with Subnets and Roon, hence had to change something in their design and now only one Ethernet port on their new units (I’ve got an Antipodes DS and upgrading soon to their Core model).

@Brian Any idea if I’ll be able to stream to a Devialet D400 (speaker setup) via Ethernet in addition to a second DAC (headphone setup) over USB? Any reason to expect better sound quality compared to a MacBook that does this currently?

I’m not aware of this.

I don’t see any reason why that wouldn’t work.

We are seeing a fairly noticeable sonic improvement using a sonicTranspoter vs a PC or MAC. This is probable due to the lower latency of our stripped Linux vs Windows or OSX.

My guess is you will see the same improvement with the Nucleus running an NUC with the Linux based Roon Core OS.

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It would be great to see (pdf or web) a user manual for the Nucleus? Looks interesting but want to make sure I’d know how to migrate existing library and media without losing edits made to date.

Anybody point me in the right direction?

Many thanks, M


Really helpful - thanks soundserge.

A post was split to a new topic: Ideal Core for 337k tracks?

This may be a dumb question, but I’m still not clear how to get the best possible sound quality out of my Nucleus. Is it through the network (understanding that there are a ton of devices and multiple ethernet switches on my network), or direct to my DAC using a USB connection? I’m currently running a PS Audio DS Jr. DAC. I could also run direct via HDMI, but the only HDMI input on the DS Jr. is I2S and I don’t think they are compatible. Any guidance would be much appreciated.

The best possible way is probably the biggest PITA! You need an i2S equipped networked end point. The simplest solution is the networked input to your DS Jr. It’s SQ should also be pretty good. The third best option is USB, but it is easiest and should not be a bottleneck to file types. It will get more complex with power supplies and/or USB decrapifiers.

Thanks Henry! My DAC does have an i2S input and is a networked end point, but is the HDMI output on the Nucleus also i2S? I thought it had to be labeled as such, and it is not.

I am also trying to alleviate a little bit of a hum problem, which I think at least in part could be caused by my network although I’m not sure. I will soon be powering my Nucleus via a 19V linear power supply to try to eliminate that as a potential source of the hum.

The HDMI on the Nucleus is video and sound, and is not compatible with i2S as found on the PS Audio gear. To do the i2S thing you will need to get a PC capable of accommodating a PCIe Pink Faun i2S Bridge or use the Sonore Ultradigital i2S solution together with a Rendu device. I can’t vouch for the latter, but while sounding fantastic there is a fair bit of labour involved with the former.

Got it - thanks Henry! Appreciate the guidance.