Sound quality comparison: Nucleus vs Nucleus+

In search for new Roon core device to replace my old PC(Win10), I’m thinking about buying Nucleus (not Nucleus+) because I don’t need upsampling nor large library capability. But recently I read a blog saying that i7 NUC sounds better than i3 NUC(running ROCK).

I’m wondering whether it is true. Please share your experience.

The Nucleus products will not affect your sound quality. Only your DAC, amplifier and speakers can affect SQ.

Best to think of the Nucleus products as being a convenient, stress-free way to enjoy Roon. Given that you don’t plan to upsample then the i3 will be perfect for you.

There is lots on conjecture on these kinds of things… some will say a processor thats doing less work is less noisy and other will say that one that is faster might be more noisy or any number of permutations of this or that … I am not sure if anyone here has done any serious testing of one against the other given a similar setup (bar processor) based on Nucleus as users…Roon might well have but given if this is the case then I doubt they would have 2 different platforms if there was any real issue with one being better than the other.

Upsampling + DSP of any sort on any PCM content is fine with the i3 – the problem is when you start doing higher rate DSD in that mix.

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Are you saying that there is no sound quality difference between Nuclesu and Nucleus+?
(The blog I that mentioned was based on the blogger’s actual exeprience and he said that he experienced more air and ambient in sound from i7 NUC. But he dosen’t know the reason for sure. He only presumes that i7 NUC seems to use different/better mainboard/parts compared to i3 NUC except for the CPU(of course))

Mr. Fixit said it well. If you are risk averse and suffer from buyer’s remorse, buy the one that people say sounds “better”.

:grin: If the price gap between Nucleus and Nucleus+ were as small as the gap between i3 NUC and i7 NUC, yes, I would probably choose Nucleus+ without hesitation. (but for me … $1,000 gap… I just wanted to know the fact…)

The gap comes from increase in CPU/RAM, and more importantly, the thermal cooling solution.

Passively cooling that fast of CPU is not easy.


There is little about sound quality that is fact. Its mostly perception and opinion. The i7 will handle very large libraries, multiple zones, and DSD streaming without a sweat. The i3 less so.

If you are economically foolish like me, you’ll get the Plus, comfortable in the knowledge that you won’t outrun it in the forseeable future. But then, you tie up more cash for that certainty.

If you’re rational, and it seems you are, you’ll get the one closest to your current needs, then trade up as necessary. I’d bet there will be an active used market.

Both units deliver a digital stream. To the extent they can do that ably (no stutters, slowdowns, etc) both should sound equal. As you add stress to the unit, the Nucleus will falter first, the Plus second. Not many more facts to be had.

Didn’t intend to discount your question. I apologize if it sounded that way.


one question : i d like to know if both models have exactly the same body case? because for me more important thing is isolating…

Externally they do, which is important to us. In the future, we will attempt do this as well, even if the internals change radically.

A post was merged into an existing topic: Which Nucleus should I get?

I wrote about Nucleus vs other Roon Core servers, but the same applies to Nucleus vs Nucleus+

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