Roon Nucleus Advantages

I’m a Roon subscriber, and have ripped my CD collection to my Windows 10 PC, upon which I’m running a Roon client. I like the view Roon gives me of my library, and also other available music on the Web.
I’m contemplating the next step, either buying a Roon Nucleus w/installed SSD’s to house my music, or putting up a generic NAS server, such as Synology, to house the music and continue to run Roon on my PC.
My question is: what does the Nucleus give me that I don’t have on my PC? What additional functionality is available with a dedicated device running Roon that I already don’t have?


I suppose that the rational answer is “nothing” - there is no additional functionality available on a Nucleus compared with a Windows PC running Roon. However, the emotional answer would be “peace of mind”, and the fact that the Nucleus was designed from the ground up to be a Roon appliance.

It’s the reason that I went from running Roon on a Windows PC to running Roon on a ROCK NUC - the most cost-effective approach for me to actually owning a Nucleus.


Yes I think its peace of mind more than anything.
I have just made the same decision and I am waiting for my Nucleus to arrive.
For me it means I can hard wire my Roon Core which i could not do with my lap top as it is in a different room and is used for work.
Second for me was I just wanted the lap top out of the chain as I had read on forums about Windows updates causing problems etc.

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Because a Nucleus (or ROCK NUC) is a single purpose device, it needs less management, and less troubleshooting.
I used to run Roon on my main Windows desktop (where I have Office and Photoshop and lots of stuff). The moved to a Windows NUC with no other software. Then ROCK. Then a Nucleus. The steps gave me no new functionality but they work better. With the Nucleus, I have never done any management or configuration or troubleshooting of the platform.

(I have been in IT for 45 years, I know how to do that, but I don’t want to.)


It depends on if you directly connect the Core to a DAC.

If the Core is simply sitting on the network and serving audio over that network to endpoints then there is less of an advantage.

The primary benefit, as @Womaz already said, is it’s a single purpose machine so management / maintenance should be less. You’re not having to track and separately maintain software patches or BIOS updates. Now, that being said, a NUC running ROCK gets you like 99% of the way there as long as you buy one of the supported NUCs with good step-by-step set-up behind it.

Synology solution has the drawback that you’re not in complete control of how much processing power you can swap-in. Upgrading to a faster Synology (one with a bigger CPU) will be just about the most expensive upgrade path you can put yourself into. Do you need more horsepower? It really depends on what you are doing, if anything, within the DSP engine. Also, who knows what CPU intensive “features” may arrive in future releases.

The biggest benefit, to me at least, of the Nucleus is when you plug it directly into a DAC. If you do this then the hard work of isolating noise, analog/digital side of the boards, a good power supply, etc. etc. is much better and already sorted compared to other (non-audio focused) solutions. You’re going to get better sound quality from it when cabled this way.

I’ve got core running on an old mac mini-no maintenance. NAS connected and pi endpoint. Very little maintenance, fab sound, cheap as chips.


During a trial-period with Roon, I ran it on a Windows 7 i3 desktop. It ran OK, but was a bit slow and unpredictable.
However, with an increasing library size, I saw the potential with Roon and then decided to ‘bypass’ the NUC opinion and went straight for the Nucleus.
And i’ve never looked back. The Nucleus works flawlessly, and I’m very happy with it.
A NUC is still the better value option IMO, and I understand it’s pretty easy to build/sort, but I just wanted a ‘fit ‘n forget’ solution. And the Nucleus is it.


I have just started out with Roon and am currently running a Trial, but will subscribe when the trial perion ends. I built a NUC solution based on the Intel NUC8i7BEH, with 8GB 2400 RAM (2 x 4GB matched pair), and a 250GB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2 SSD. This hardware is way more powerful and therefore future proof than the Nucleus + and cost just a fraction of the cost of a Nucleus. It is also fit and forget and as far as I can tell, requires no more ongoing maintenance than a Nucleus.

We each pays our money and takes our choices, but I am not convinced that a Nucleus would be in any way better, certainly not for me and most other people with standard hearing…


A Nucleus won’t sound any ‘better’ than a ROCK NUC, at least when considering Ethernet-connected endpoints.

…and indeed my endpoint is RoPieee connected via Ethernet and HiFiBerry optical to my CA 851N.

Many thanks, guys. Further cogitation required about whether I want a DIY or turnkey solution.

Don’t forget: fanless (Nucleus) vs. fan on NUC (unless using a fan less case, an added cost and complexity) or computer

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Nucleus is the only way to get the drivers for integrating Roon with Control4 and Creston systems. Granted, not many people care. But, it is one specific feature addition that comes only with the Nucleus.


My NUC7i5 costs about 680€ with a MX500 2TB SSD, 128GB PCI-e SSD and the Akasa S7 Newton enclosure. All together with the lifetime subscription it costs 1.150€. 8GB RAM were left over from my Mac mini RAM Upgrade.

Absolutely! It’s always good when there are many choices available, that fit every scenario, goals, budget, usage, etc.

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A NUC with all the kit on site will take, at most, one hour to assemble. Mine took 30 minutes, and I’m no gearhead, but I can (usually) follow directions.

For that hour, you will save about $1000 over the equivalent Nucleus (real near-equivalent is more accurate).

I originally ran Roon on a mac mini. Worked OK, but there were a few hiccups. including an incompatibility with my pre/pro that resulted in occasional switching problems.

I swapped it for a Nucleus. Problems solved, and the mini went to a different system.

I went for a Nucleus because I didn’t want to rely solely on my work MacBook Pro. I did however want to continue to use iTunes on my iPhone. So my iTunes library sits on the internal storage in the Nucleus and my Mac accesses it over Wifi. The Nucleus is plugged directly into my DAC and connects to my router via ethernet. Just in case you are wondering, the Nucleus is in the living room the Mac is upstairs in my office.

So I have the best of both worlds, a great music server and a good solution for listening to my music when mobile.

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Also worth adding… the Nucleus is a beautiful piece of gear!

Plus, you also get the satisfaction of supporting your local hi-fi dealer when you purchase one. :blush:

It‘s really too bad Roon didn‘t price their Nuclei a little more competitively, they‘d sell a boat load. But perhaps that’s exactly what they don‘t want to do?

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