Roon Nucleus Advantages

It’s all about the distribution channel. Everyone’s gotta make a profit to get involved. If they sold direct, they could lower the price.

IMO, the idea of selling the Nucleus through hi-fi retailers was so more people can see and use the device. Until I was able to hold one, check out the back panel, see it in action and imagine it in my setup, I was skeptical. Now, I own one!

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I have asked the same question of a Nucleus supplier. He told me ,“basically nothing”.

Also your NAS will still be of use to you if you decide to unsubscribe from Room. Can the same thing be said of the Nucleus? I’m not sure.

I decided to build my own fanless PC so I could cheaply upgrade it in the future with new CPU/motherboards, etc as they come out.

My build is already more powerful than a Nucleus+ and was less expensive.

Check out the Streacom DB4 fanless chassis from Quiet PC USA. The whole outside of the case acts like a giant heatsink. They sell two different power supplies to go with it. The case comes in silver or black and looks terrific. Building it was very straightforward. I also opted for the additional cooling block.

Another option if fanless is desired since the NUC isn’t quite silent is Akasa’s chassis for Intel NUC systems. You can buy it separately or pre-built here:

Or you can turn it around.
If Roon had only released the hardware/software combination, the Nucleus and Nucleus+, for $1,400 — $2,300, which would be similar to PSAudio with the DS and DSjr for $4,000 — $6,000, everybody would say Roon is a bargain. And if Roon then released a software-only version that you can install on a $400 NUC or on your own already-paid-for PC, everybody would think that is really generous and why doesn’t PSAudio do that, why isn’t there a $500 (or $100/year) software version of the DS?

It’s not priced competitively if you don’t connect it to a DAC. It’s extremely competitive if you do. People keep comparing the “PC” specs of the thing. It’s far more than a PC and there is pretty decent value there if you plan on using it.

Well, actually, I don’t think it is. It’s a NUC in an extremely nice box, but I agree with your point: as a NUC its expensive, as a pice of ‘high-end audio gear’ its arguably cheaper.

This essentially sums up the choice, DIY or Turnkey. You fiddle or they fiddle.


If you are in the UK just google Roon Nucleus+ equivalent and see what comes up

My take on it is that a Roon Nucleus or comparable dedicated audio player is optimized for audio, especially the power supply; a PC or a NAS (which is what I use) is not. That is to say, it will have lower noise floor which will, in small or large ways, depending on all sorts of other factors, result in higher quality playback.

In my system the Nucleus has better SQ then the Roon Rock Nuc or the CAPS Zuma that it replaced. All unnecessary peripherals and operations that are not needed for audio are disabled in Nucleus. Fan-less, totally silent and vibration free, solid construction, vault-like to eliminate EMI, and it looks great in my rack. I use an Auralic G2 to stream followed by an SOtM USBultra with clock mod to the Ethernet switch - magical things happen with low noise and better timing. USB to Kii Three delivers the goods.
Battery supply makes it all even better.

What are the peripherals and operations? And how did you disable them ?

You can read the Nucleus white paper to learn more, available on the Roon site or probably here.
Roon and Intell designed the Nucleus with best audio being the goal. The Nucleus does not have BT, IR, extra USB connectors, etc. Operations in software and firmware not needed were shut off.

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Roon Rock Nuc has the same hardware and software as Nucleus except for one fan. That was probably that Nucleus sounded better than Roon Rock Nuc for you because of this fan.

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Nucleus software is slightly different as well.


Sure. But this slight difference does not affect the sound quality, does it? :wink:

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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.