Software shouldn't call attention to itself, I notice Roon too much. Is Nucleus more Reliable?

Core Machine

Mac mini, Mid 2011, MacOS 10.12.60 8GB memory; Roon build 783

Description Of Issue

I have been using Roon for several years, with different configurations. I find it both unavoidably usual and irritating. My feelings about v 1.8 are mixed, but the update is not my issue.

For the entire time I have used Roon I have found myself having to coax it along.

Although I intended to run the MacMini headless, I have ended up with a small monitor continually connected to it, because the remote would suddenly start looking for the core, and I would have to go to the monitor to fiddle with it. I would restart Roon or restart the computer, invoke magical spells and so forth. It would start working, often for reasons that I missed, but somehow it restarted. I have been working with personal computers on more or less a daily basis, and I am fairly good at keeping these infernal machines working, but my experience with Roon is strange. Typically one has a problem with a piece of software, figures out the problem and it goes away. Sometimes Roon will behave well for a couple of month, and then every second or third time I want to listen to some music, it causes trouble.

Recently I have been thinking I might buy a Roon Nucleus. I am at an age at which I am not as patient has I used to be, and I thought it might be more consistent. I am stopped by the fact that, if the remote fails to find the Nucleus, I have no computer to fiddle with.

I would like to hear you thoughts.

Thanks, Don

Hi Don,

Moved to the Nucleus thread since you do not have a support issue and this is the space better suited to your question.

The Nucleus is a computer, but, you do not have access to the internals or anything to “fiddle with”. You can achieve similar by using a NUC and installing ROCK. RoonOS is based on Linux.

The Nucleus is supposed to function like an appliance, set it and forget it. However, any support issues would be handled here on the forums.

If having something to fiddle with in times of troubleshooting is important, than I would use a different OS or machine. Personally, it is important to me, that is why I like using a Windows machine as my Core. Gives me the opportunity to do things if the need arises (which it hasn’t in over five years). But, I have heard great things about the new M1.

While it’s nice to hook up a monitor to Nucleus to see if something failed, a TV will work just fine too.

Very rarely do you need this though, as the web UI provides almost all functionality and status needed. The web UI can be accessed from any phone, tablet, or personal computer.

We’ve also seen that when people switch to Nucleus from a 10-year-old Mac, many problems disappear because of lack of options or the operating system changing things.

I recently asked on a topic about Roon OS 2.0 features that people want, and while there are a few that are requested, there is quite a few people that have stated that this is a product that they just “forget” is there. That sounds like the appliance-like experience you are looking for.

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I have a NUC/ROCK (DIY Nucleus), with basically the the same OS. Maybe a few tweaks for fan vs fanless, etc… The NUC stays in the media closet, out of site and out of mind.

In the Living Room I use the Logitech remote to turn the system on, then the IPAD remote to select the music. In the bedroom I start Roon remote on my laptop and select what I want. In the kitchen I use my android phone to pick what I want. That’s it, no fiddling, always available and works every time.

I have had a few issues ripping cd’s but nothing that keeps the music from playing.

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+1 for the NUC/ROCK route.

Nearly four years ago, I joined the community and was looking at all the posts trying to decide which hardware platform to put Roon onto after my trial finished. The first one I ruled out was the Mac-Mini due to all the issues people seemed to be having with them and the software. I don’t think things have got much better in that regard since on such old hardware but Roon software has certainly matured and removed some of the issues.
As I needed an always-on appliance server, WIN10 on a NUC was going to be the platform. Luckily I had ordered the NUC but not the WIN 10 license just the week before ROCK was released (May) so thought I would try that first then move onto WIN 10 if it didn’t work out. It has proven reliable and I have been spared the never ending updates that WIN 10 is afflicted with.
If I were just starting out today, I would certainly look at the new M1 Mac-Mini too as well as a NUC/ROCK combo (finances don’t run to a Nucleus). Mac M1 hardware is very new though so I would be wary of initial design issues.

Hi Don,

My Nucleus never ever causes any problems and I’m happy I chose that route reading all these posts about NUC/Mac problems.
I got a separate power supply for the Nucleus, the Farad super3 and this made the SQ even way better.

Robert

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I have used both, late 2014 mini (3 Ghz dual core intel i7), as well as the Nucleus +. Started with the mini, then went to the Nucleus for awhile, then back to the mini. Just be aware, the Nucleus is not without its problems, and the sound quality (in my system) was not impressive. In all, it certainly wasn’t worth it to keep the nucleus when the mini worked perfectly fine, and sounded just as good.

I don’t know how your machine stacks up against mine in terms of performance, which may be a factor for you. Sometimes, I will have hiccups when the mini requires a software update, but otherwise it’s pretty stable. I control the mini using screen share on Macbook and that always works well.

I think the best thing about using a mini (or PC) for Roon, and maybe something additional to consider, is that you can add software to the machine, such as HQplayer, plugins for room correction fiddling, soundflower, etc. to change the sound/tweak your system.

One more thing, my mini is stashed in a storage room and connected to my DAC via long run of ethernet cable . If you connect your mini directly to your DAC via usb or whatever, I would guess the Nucleus would sound better in that application. And, it would look a lot better IMHO.

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I have had a Roon Nucleus for about 16 months with zero problems. I stream Tidal and Qobuz with no music files of my own. My Nucleus runs 24/7 and I’ve only rebooted it a few times in 16 months.

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I had a large collection of LPs and a large collection of CDs in 2002 or 2003 three when I bought an Ipod–2nd generation, I think. I had been involved in the lower-end of high-end audio for some years, and I had been cobbling together ways to hear music since I was in high school. In the ipod I saw something I wanted. I wanted a home Ipod. That is, I wanted all of my music on a digital interface. I had an old Mac desktop in a closet, and I started ripping CDs and trying to figure out the ways to get music from Itunes to my DAC. I had a Timbre TT-1 DAC, which was ready showing its age, but it had a coax input and there was a sound card that was used by recording studios, I think, that had a coax output, so I so in business. I thought I had invented digital audio (as one of my friends thought that he had invented philosophy when he was 14). I was disappointed to learn that there was a forum devoted digital audio on Audio Asylum. It’s been a remarkable ride. We are at the moment just before the appear of the smartphone. The Naim Uniti Atom is not much bigger than the Timbre DAC and probably weighs less. The forthcoming Mytek Brookyn II appears to be even smaller and more functional. I suppose I am just hoping that things will calm down, so I can get a system that will not call attention to itself for 5 years. I just want to listen to music.

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Don, I started with an old Mac Mini, too, but it was running Linux, as MacOS wouldn’t get security updates on it any more. I shifted to a Linux box with more oomph, then a year ago while re-configuriing that box, shifted my Core to a NAS. I’ve left it there on the NAS since then. No issues, pretty much trouble-free, except that it sometimes (not always) takes a while to recognize a new CD rip.

Started with Roon core running on an old Dell laptop running win10, never had many issues apart from the windows updates so no fault of Roon obviously.
Was considering building a Nuc with Rock when I stumbled across an older nuc in an Akasa Plato fanless case with Rock already installed so plug and play on ebay for not a lot of cash at all. Nuc 7i3 with 250gb ssd and 1tb ssd for music.Plugged my 4tb usb hdd into it as well.
Not a single hiccup, burp or fart since even with all of the updates of late.
The nuc is hard wired to router

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