Roon Nucleus Advantages

The Nucleus has far more aggressive power management because we know it has no fan. If you believe that increased or decreased electrical activity can affect SQ in some way, then it could.

We never added this stuff to ROCK because NUCs use a fan to cool themselves. I understand that there are aftermarket mods to NUCs to remove the fan(s), but that’s not what ROCK was designed for.


This is fully justified given the fact that the activated Turbo boost mode in the BIOS with a certain processor load leads to a sharp increase in the CPU frequency and, accordingly, a sharp increase in heat generation on the CPU crystal which requires a copper substrate with high thermal conductivity to remove the heat from a relatively small area of the CPU crystal. Such a copper substrate for contact with the CPU crystal is unfortunately absent both in the Nucleus and in the alternative fanless cases for the NUC. In the native NUC fan cases there is such a copper substrate that, together with the fan, provides the necessary rapid heat removal from the CPU crystal during a sharp increase in the CPU frequency. The absence of such a rapid heat dissipation can lead to short-term overheating of the CPU crystal which, if repeated many times, can lead to a fairly rapid degradation of the CPU. This is a warning to owners of NUC with fanless cases. In order to avoid troubles with the CPU I recommend that they turn off the Turbo boost mode in the BIOS. This is exactly what I did in my NUC although I use a massive copper substrate to quickly remove heat from the CPU crystal in my DIY fanless case. Turning off the Turbo boost mode provides a constant minimum frequency of the CPU required for the used DSP modes. The constant and minimum frequency of the CPU has a positive effect on the sound quality (this is my ten-year experience in computer audio), even considering the galvanic isolation that the ethernet connection between the computer with Roon Core and computer endpoint gives.

Yes, I think that this has a negative effect on sound quality.

Designs evolve over time to satisfy many criteria.

Maybe it could be possible in future for ROCK owners with a fan-less NUC to check a tick box to gain said far more aggressive power management because we built at NUC with a big chunky metal specialist fanless case?

I would rather prefer everything roon in the cloud. It is quiet in the cloud, the only thing there are some pictures :laughing:

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We’ve spent a lot of time with copper the last few months.

It’s both heavy and expensive, while not being enough for the complete heat situation. The copper is great for heat absorption, but not so great at getting rid of the heat it accumulates. While it might work if we made the entire top of the case copper, adding the cost and weight to do that was not an option.

We found that certain alloys of aluminum were far more effective at solving the full heat situation and future Nucleus units will probably switch to that once we figure out some manufacturing problems.

As for turbo boost, even copper was not enough alone for our tests. It was able to maintain turbo boosted speeds for short periods of time, which is fine for restoring a crashed Chrome with 40 tabs, or doing a heavy operation in Photoshop, but not for doing convolution filters at DSD for the length of an symphony.

Adding a small fan to any copper large enough fixed that. Even blowing on it worked if the copper had enough surface area! But those are not valid solutions.

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I meant that the copper substrate/plate with an area many times larger than the area of the CPU crystal is in direct contact with the CPU crystal, quickly removes heat from it and then transfers heat to the rest of the aluminum chassis to effectively dissipate heat into the surrounding air.

Okay I’m perplexed on how everyone can consider the Roon nucleus has better sound quality than an equally configured NUC/PC; unless there is difference in the Roon Nucleus softwares audio processing vs Roon ROCK audio processing.

When the audio is 1’s and 0’s on the Roon Appliance until it hits the DAC end point. If there is loss in quality then there was either packet loss on the ethernet which is measurable or data loss/corruption between the storage, to memory, to cpu, to ethernet and a that is major defect in the system and most likely cause additional stability issues. Think about it we’d have a lot of financial transactions with issues if there was error correction built into the transmission, storage of data.

Could there be noise added by NUC to end point? My belief is not by NUC as the packet is retransmitted via a switch and any noise via ethernet would be from the ethernet switch and should be filtered upon input to ethernet as it’s stored within the memory via the bus transport also through error corrections.

Also if you want you could run via fiber it’s still a packet and 10 which is sent with error correction.

Love to hear this. As well don’t see reason why Roon is limiting Control4 and Crestron drivers you nucleus only and not including ROCK at minimum. I can understand Mac/Windows core as nobody can be sure if workload on desktop shared platform. With ROCK one could measure and insure it meets min specs and call it good. The cost of nucleus is to high in my book for what you get in return for a simple PC.

In the end it is the DAC that creates the music from 1’s and 0’s

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The Nucleus definitely sounded better in my system than a QNAP fanless NAS, probably because all processing is restricted to just what Roon needs. It’s also smaller and runs cooler. I’m very happy with it.

A purely commercial choice on our part.

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How does it sound better? A Consistent stream of 1’s and 0’s? Did you ever check the ethernet packet loss to see if you had data loss from your QNAP? Were you using DSP features on the QNAP which may have been underpowered?

  • Appreciate Roon Team monitoring their forums and contributing; thank you this says a lot.

  • It is my understanding that you don’t get a Roon license with the Roon Nucleus so retail you are looking @ $2499 Retail plus adding a lifetime membership @ $499; which is very costly. Do I misunderstand this?

  • If $1399/$2499 included a lifetime membership then cost looks a bit more in alignment.

  • What about all your Third Party Roon Core Server vendors listed on your own website? If I made an investment within them I would now be out of luck integrating into home automation system and customer satisfaction number will/would be impacted.

  • Do we feel we could be short sighted and could be missing a revenue stream opportunity.

At a minimum it should be able to use ROCK with no Hardware Support by Roon but the third party vendor; but possible to all Rock Driver License for added feature such as the Control4 driver with similar support for the driver alone as you provide for the Roon Core Software. Myself personally pay $199 for that driver.

Based upon my options for direct procurement of hardware solutions I have a difficult time justifying the cost of the Nucleus and what you get within it. Not that I couldn’t afford; but the value of software, hardware, cost makes me consider alternative solutions.

Apologies for the direct view; but hope feedback is helpful in adjusting approach for the benefit for Roon Labs and your customer base.

If you think the Nucleus is too expensive, don’t buy one. There are other options including a Windows 10 laptop.

I have a ROCK solution today… but want to integrate a Control4 solution with Roon which requires currently the Nucleus from Roon. None of the Third Party solution listed on the partner page; as I currently understand; will work nor the ROCK solution.

I have more storage and compute within my solution than Nucleus.

Appreciate the suggestion but I wouldn’t run it on a Mac or Linux platform before any Windows platform.

Why not? I would think a Mac or Linux platform would be fine. Anyway, if you need a Nucleus to do what you want to do, then you need a Nucleus or don’t do what it is you want to do.

Did you know Jerry Schwoerer?

No DSP. It’s to do with analogue noise rather than data loss as far as I understand, which isn’t much. But I know what I heard, which was greater bass extension and control, improved dynamics and greater mid-range detail, particularly in the texture of voice and classical instruments. This improved further with a DC3 power supply from Custom Hi-Fi Cables. I can only suggest you find out if you have a local Nucleus dealer and arrange a home audition.

As for your other comments, the way Roon does things allows users greater flexibility. If the Nucleus included life membership it would have to cost more, which wouldn’t be great for people who start with modest systems, dip their toe in Roon waters, then go for life membership but for one reason or another wait before upgrading their hardware etc

I sort-of disagree on this point.
I bought a Nucleus earlier this year, and I am extremely pleased with it as a completely ‘turn-key’ product.
However, for the £1500 I paid for it, I think it should have come bundled with at least a year’s subscription to Roon included.
I’m now a lifetime member, which as a Nucleus owner is almost requisite, but it would have been nice if I was given, say a year up-front with my Nucleus purchase.

No. Your understanding is correct if you plan to go lifetime.

If they’ve spent the resources to build those integrations, then you’d get those integrations. I’m not sure what they’ve built. You’d have to contact them.

We are looking into licensing Roon OS which could come with those control integrations, but the devices you speak of that exist today are no more than RoonServer running on Linux or Windows.

I believe this is rhetorical, but the price is what we believe is right. There are multiple factors playing into these decisions including the cost of support, maintenance, and the sales channel’s required margin.

I get that everyone wants a deal, but given that this use case already has an expensive C4 or Creston system, price sensitivity is rarely a matter that comes up.

The fact that we give away ROCK was purely to reduce a support burden. It has worked fantastically. It is not the norm to give away something like that.

Roon added value! As Danny suggests, other manufacturers would make you pay for software that Roon is providing for free. You can roll your own or pay for a bespoke device (Nucleus or Nucleus+).

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Products are priced at what the market will bear. If the Roon products are selling at their current price, then they are priced properly.

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