Purchase Nucleus or Nucleus+

Considering a Nucleus vs Nucleus+. Currently only streaming to one room but maybe up to two more someday. My core is currently on a MacBook pro. I do not intend to upload and store music, only intending to stream. Is there a sound quality difference between models and when would this Roon description of the Nucleus be an issue: “All DSP functions available in the PCM domain. Certain combinations of functions using DSD source or destination formats, upsampling, or multichannel processing may not be possible.”

Unless you are forced to have the Nucleus in the listening room, you can just as well aim for the Roon ROCK and NUC8 or NUC10, i7 version will give you the performance of the Nucleus+ with a dramatic reduction in price.


For small to medium-sized libraries, use the Nucleus. For large libraries, the Nucleus+ (10k+ albums or extensive DSP use.) It makes no difference whether your library is local or Qobuz / TIDAL or a combination.

See specifications here (toward the bottom of the page.)

No sound difference. They’re both just computers so they will not affect the sound quality.


That would be an issue if you tried to do some DSP processing (as listed in the quote) that the i3 in the Nucleus could not handle, indicating the necessity for a more powerful CPU.

Are you not happy with the Core on the MacBook? Experiencing any issues?

When I stream Roon with the core on my Mac book it doesn’t sound as good, in my opinion, as when I steam without Roon and just use my LUMIN app. Maybe it is just my perception. I was assuming there’s some sound impact from involving my Mac. I do love the Roon experience so I was thinking I need a nucleus or rock solution to achieve the same perceived cleaner sound from LUMIN without Roon.

What are you streaming to? I’m assuming a Lumin of some description but how are you connected to it from the MacBookPro? Wifi or LAN?

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Connected via Ethernet

It would help to have the model of Lumin being discussed, the audio chain described, along with a pic of the Signal Path in Roon.

Keep in mind there are different things occurring between your comparisons. With Roon playback, the audio file is sent to the RoonServer where it is processed it into PCM and then sends the processed PCM to the endpoint.

I assume with the Lumin app, you are getting the flac file sent to the Lumin and the Lumin is handling everything.

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The Roon playback processing through my MacBook “colors” the sound in some way that makes it different, in my opinion, vs. direct to and through Lumin T2 when not using Roon.

Lumin T2

These types of discussions are always difficult because we can’t know what you hear. I initially used Roon on my Windows 10 desktop machine. It sounded fine, but I wanted to have my music 24/7 not just when the PC was on. So I got a Nucleus. It sounds exactly the same to me. Some people claim to hear differences with every equipment change. Bottom line is I doubt the Nucleus will improve the sound quality over the Mac. But I have no way to know what you hear. So the best option is to find a dealer that will let you audition a Nucleus in your system. That’s the only way you’ll know for sure.

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My experience is that Roon running on the basic Nucleus offers a very good experience. Although there are cheaper alternatives I chose the Nucleus for convenience and my experience of using it has generally been very positive. My local music is stored on a Naim Uniti Core and a Melco. Frankly I detect little if any difference in sound quality when playing music through my Naim NDX2 streamer irrespective of whether I use Roon or the Naim App. The main attraction for me with Roon is the convenient integration of all my different digital music sources including Quibuz into one library.

I have a medium size music collection comprising around 2,000 CDs. As well as using Roon to play music through my NDX2 as a Roon end point, I also use it to play music on a Naim Muso and a Naim MusoQB in other rooms. I have never had any sense that I am missing out by not having the Nucleus+.

I hope this is helpful.

Thank you David I went with the nucleus and so far so good I love it

I (and several other Lumin owners) have the same experience.
Playing the same track via the Lumin App sounds noticeably better vs via Roon / Nucleus, it lacks depth, stage, presence via Roon / Nucleus and sounds rather sterile compared to the Lumin App. This is independent from any DSP settings.
Also my Nucleus can not handle DSD512, after 25 seconds stalls below 1.0x and then drops out.

You probably need a nucleus plus model for dsd512 or perhaps even something more cpu capable

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Enable Parallelize Sigma Delta Modulator in DSP Engine. Which Nucleus do you have Plus (i7) or basic (i3)?

Seems so, I had hoped that only using one zone via the Lumin T2 would not bring the Nucleus to its knees

Parallelize SDM is enabled. I have the i3 version only, DSD256 works flawless with ratio stable at 3.8x to 4.0, hence a bit surprised on why CPU load would be so much higher with DSD512

DSD is like that…512 is much harder than 256…anything under about 1.4X and you are getting into out of puff territory

Yes, that‘s exactly what‘s happening, starts at 1.8X and then drops below 1.0X within 20 seconds.
I read / hear similar experiences with Nucleus+ owners though, anything capable and strong enough you can recommend which would be easy for setup and configuration ?
I got the Nucleus due to it‘s plug-and-play capability.