Roon Nucleus+ Experience

There are other manufacturers that fill the gap between ‘cheap’ DIY and a ‘costly’ nucleus. Small Green Computer offers a Roon Server for around $800. Probably forgetting a few other vendors in the process.

Thanks for this feedback. Yes something with i5 around 800 up to 1000€ would be more realistic than with a mere i3 at 1600€ or i7 at the whopping 2600€ price tag (though this small green computer’s case has a rather bland design ; but one doesn’t pay an extra 800 i.e. 100% extra just for the better case design).
I am wondering about the European market. (Unless I am mistaken, Small Green Computer is only operating in the US. Ordering overseas across the pond is not working well nowadays.) Does someone know other manufacturers, but Europe-based ones (or with EU-based online distributors), having potentially interesting Roon servers, relatively comparable to the Nucleus (and with properly working passive cooling; many people report that most “Akasa” cases are not good enough at passive heat dissipation…) but less overpriced? …
It would still be better if Roon themselves would do direct sales for a lower price than these boutique sales… especially for lifetime members like me :wink: … Because the Nucleus really looks and sounds vey convincing, only its current price is a deal-breaker. I hope Roon soon increases production scale and then revises the Nucleus pricing.
Not only do many people not need those HiFi boutiques for their voodoo services, the self-proclaimed HiFi “specialists” running such boutiques are, to some of us at least, feeling so unbearably annoying that one tries to avoid having to meet them (i.e. a disservice, not a service). In other words, such boutiques are for example for me, a disincentive to go buy a Roon Nucleus there…

Back in the days, I ordered a SonicTransporter i5 from Small Green Computer. No problem whatsoever with delivery in Europe. You can always check Vortexbox. They are located in UK.

Thanks for sharing about the “Vortexbox” UK distributor

We ship all our products world wide and have many customers in Europe.

Thanks for your feedback. (I personally had some problems in the past with the German customs with electronics ordered directly from the US. I thus would personally probably avoid doing this. @Nepherte already kindly mentioned a UK reseller of your products on this thread.)
Your company’s “transporter i7” device seems powerful enough to use more of Roon’s DSP functions (e.g. room correction) and to use with a very large music library, while it’s still less pricey than the Nucleus+. (For my part, I will just continue using my old i7 WIN laptop for a bit longer.)

We ship to Germany all the time. We use DHL and they are very good at getting stuff through customs. Takes 3-4 days from when we ship the product until when it shows up at your door.

Happy to hear. My experience with DHL and customs for products from the US was very different, but I guess your customers paid DHL their special premium price for them to pre-pay the custom taxes. (Easier but somewhat more expensive procedure.)

Anyhow, as far as I’m concerned, I have already in the meanwhile ordered a pre-assembled fanless NUC and will then install ROCK on it myself (I’ve been able to install and run various versions of Linux on several PCs in the past, from Mandrake to Ubuntu, so this should be do-able for me, as long as I don’t have to assemble the fanless NUC myself). The reason I went for this option is that then I could pick good and fast elements myself, get a 2nd SSD with 2TB in the process, buy from a seller within Europe, and save money overall. (After much reading on Roon forum threads, I went for: NUC7i5DNHE, Akasa Plato X7D case - not the prettiest but hopefully acceptable, 8GB of RAM with two Crucial 4GB DDR4 dimm 2400Mhz modules, a Samsung 960 Evo NVMe M.2 250GB SSD to install ROCK on [the seller couldn’t find smaller anymore with similar reading/writing speed for a superfast music database], and an internal Samsung 860 MZ-76E2T0B/EU 2TB SSD for my music collection.)

But it is true that the current “Transporter i5” and “i7” from SGC are quite appealing indeed, and not so much more expensive than self-picked solutions. I, for one, almost decided for one of their products, which are more reasonably priced than the two Nucleus models. (Of course the Nucleus case remains clearly design-wise the most beautiful of all options.)

My only concern is that I hope the fanless NUC device I ordered, hopefully professionally pre-assembled, with “regular” ROCK (and not the “thermally smarter” Nucleus), will not over-heat. It would be quite much money literally burnt… (I’ll place it where it can get enough air circulating around, ) Else I will regret not having paid a bit more money for a device by SGC, or much more money for the Nucleus+ and an extra SSD…

Yes that is one of that advantages of ordering a full plug-and-play product. We test everything here with Roon upsampling to the highest rates and make sure there are no heat problems.

New to Roon and first time reading about all of this core stuff. Is this really worth it? It costs $1500 and it all it does is possibly slightly improve sound quality due to it being processed in an external device. It has some more features that improve ergonomics slightly but that’s it. Can someone explain it to me? Yes, I read all of the information about Nucleus but still can’t comprehend how someone would spend so much money on something like this. Kind of reminds me of snake-oil cables varying from $1000-$1500 or more and are said to improve sound quality, but the difference is questionable, especially for its price. I can get an high tier headphone for the same price and it would be much more worth it.

Kinda agree with people comparing this with how Apple prices their stuff.

it’s very simple:

  1. Roon is software
  2. The Roon Core, the brain of the system, requires hardware to run on.
  3. That hardware must be reasonably modern to get a decent experience
  4. That hardware can be one of the following:
    1. your mac/windows/linux laptop/pc
    2. an appliance dedicated for Roon, of which there are a few options:
      1. Intel NUC ($cheap) + ROCK (free).
        • Pros: cheapest, made by the Roon team who knows the best about what is needed for Roon, and has great Roon integration for software updates
        • Cons: Do-it-yourself: fiddling with BIOS, installing hardware, buying the right stuff, the NUC has audible noise due to CPU fan (unless you increase cost and install complexity by using a fanless case). Also, ROCK is very opinionated about the best way to run Roon.
      2. Nucleus/Nucleus+ (not cheap)
        • Pros: Same as the above NUC + ROCK, but fanless and looks pretty – not like a computer. Also turn-key, with no work to do for install. This product is meant to be sold to you by a Hi-Fi dealer.
        • Cons: Cost, very opinionated about the best way to run Roon.
      3. Third party devices
        • Pros: A wide range of options, from power to price, at both ends of the spectrum and all in between. Some can run non-Roon things too.
        • Cons: Not built by the Roon team to run Roon. Quality and support can range wildly here too. While there are some good players here, most are not ones the Roon Team would endorse.

This is a terribly incorrect and misleading statement you’ve made. We’ve never made claims about its sound quality. Nucleus and ROCK are all about the best Roon experience at the best price point. If you need low cost, you can’t beat NUC + ROCK. If you need turn-key, we have Nucleus/Nucleus+ for you. There is no snake-oil. As for quality of product, Nucleus and NUC + ROCK are very similar to each other, using the same basis of operating system and hardware. Why? Because we don’t think there much better options for most people.


And this should be in ‘How Roon works’

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Hi Danny,

Could you clarify what this statement means ?


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And there should be a sticky post on top of “Roon software” linking to which NUCs are supported.

Have a read of the Nucleus Whitepaper produced by Roon Labs, in particular the section on the operating system.

In short, Roon OS (the basis of ROCK) is an optimized Linux-based operating system developed by Roon Labs to provide the best reliability and performance for what Roon does – networking, storage, and fast database access – and nothing else.

@Jan-Erik, Software is opinionated when it is rigid to a certain way of thinking.

Think about Apple and their walled garden. You can’t do much there unless Apple allowed it explicitly. Apple has opinions on how things should work and their phones reflect those opinions by locking you down so you can operate only in the ways they want. It’s not flexible, but it works well if you don’t step outside the limits.

In contrast, Android is far more flexible and adaptable to many situations. It has far fewer opinions on the “right way”, and what you see is far more adoption in many markets because it places less limits on various use-cases. It is also is a bit of a mess and with far less coherency across devices or vendors. You gain flexibility, but lose the benefits that come with a vision laid down by an singular architect.

RoonServer is super flexible and you can run it on Mac/Windows/any-Linux-Distribution. It lacks strong opinions on the environment it runs in. On the other hand, RoonOS is highly opinionated on the “right way” and isn’t flexible at all.

With flexibility comes complexity, maintenance, and environments prone to errors. Roon OS was built to eliminate that, but it comes with strong opinions on what’s the right way to accomplish the “goal”.

I hope that was clear.


If I may - “far more adoption” in certain markets is probably more because barrier to entry is WAY lower, money-wise. As you probably know, go out of rich countries, and the iPhone is one of the ultimate status symbols. Regular peeps use Chinese phones running android, not iPhones. They couldn’t give a shit less about Apple’s opinionation.

You missed my point completely because you are still thinking inside a single market. Think outside the phone. By “markets” and “use-cases”, I’m talking about retail kiosks, ebook readers, point-of-sale systems, gaming systems, refrigerators, drones, flight entertainment systems, etc… The sheer number of non-phone/tablet products that Android can be rearranged into attests to its lack of opinion on what it should be used for.

Your point about iPhones is about popularity, and says nothing to add to the conversation about opinionated software. One might be able to argue that price flexibility is another way Android is less opinionated. No one can make a cheap iOS device because Apple doesn’t want to.

Apple’s iOS is a massively successful, great product that is highly opinionated. Android is also a massively successful, great product that happens to be much less opinionated.

Roon OS is our super opinionated offering. RoonServer is not. Both are very successful (for us).


Thanks for taking the time to clear that up - makes a LOT more sense than the way I’d understood it.

Thank you Danny for the explanation of ‘opiniated’ in the software world. Much appreciated !