Stereophile comparison of Nucleus+ and NUC

Here’s a link to John Atkinson’s review of the Nucleus+. He does an unscientific comparison to a NUC and says, “Streaming the same track from Tidal via the Nucleus+, perhaps there was a touch more authority in the bass. Perhaps.” And then he summarizes, “Nevertheless, while changing to the Tidal stream with the Nucleus+ reduced the difference between the servers, the Nucleus+ sounded still a tad tidier.” There’s a caveat, though: Atkinson admits the test was a bit unfair, as he was streaming from Tidal via the NUC and playing a WAV file from local storage via the Nucleus+.

His overall conclusion about the Nucleus+: “For those who, like me, don’t want to go the hair-shirt, DIY route to networked audio, the fit’n’forget functionality and routinely excellent sound quality of Roon Labs’ Nucleus+ through both of the DACs I used it with make it an easy recommendation. It’s not going back!”

I felt the article was weak on many important points - the Roon support, the quality of the build, the quality of the sound and on and on. As a Nucleus owner, I will not renew my subscription to Stereophile.

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That particular review is 90% just a presentation of a product (one can anyway get that from the product page). The rest of 10% is pointless. With each number Stereophile is closer to irrelevance…

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And on top of all, Mr. Atkinson has no clue what he’s talking about: “The basic Nucleus’s 64GB SSD can handle the metadata for libraries of up to 12,000 albums or 120,000 tracks; the Nucleus+'s SSD can cope with libraries with more than 12,000 albums/120,000 tracks.”.

“The Nucleus also has an internal bay for a 2.5” drive, either HDD or SSD, but this drive can’t be more than 7mm in height. "

Er, no, that should be up to 9.5mm in height.

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Another one:

According with ROON, Nucleus+ has 128GB OS SSD.

that was an old spec sheet, pre-release.

There is no one even close to using all of the 64gb.

As I said before, he has no idea what he is talking about.

What the f**k does this mean? From the LaVorgna school of subjectivity poetics.


I think the bass was played by a policeman, and the housekeeper was dusting the nucleus while playing.


So no comparison at all in that review. If you dont use the same exact source you cant compare. What a crock of ■■■■ that publication is.

I did, too. And to make us both feel better: larger SSDs tend to be faster than smaller ones. So there.


I have an early version of ROCK at home, from when we were doing initial dev – it has a 32gb SSD in it.

I have a bleeding edge RoonServer with metadata you guys don’t have yet, and tons of weirdo experimentation on it. I also have 110k tracks of music. I also am using less than 20GB of that SSD :slight_smile:

Without the experimental stuff, I’m under 10GB.

Anyway, playing the spec game with Roon OS based machines is silly – if the specs we recommend don’t work for your use case, then Roon probably won’t work well either.

I wish I could figure out a lightweight way to do run extensions on these boxes without taking down all the advantages of Roon OS :thinking:

I think that this is a very good review, and one that will help Roon grow their business. Dont discount the power of Stereophile within this hobby, especially when it is an Atkinson review that ends with him saying he is not sending it back. I really like him and his writing style.

Regarding the comparisons, in fairness he does go on to say that even when streaming the same Tidal track on the Nucleus+ it still sounded a tad “tidier”. And at the very least, the initial comparison while not being entirely “fair”, does point to significant resolving power. We are still talking 16/44.1 FLAC regardless of where it is being sourced from.

If I am on the Roon team, I am very happy with this write up.

I’m not interested in Nucleus (+ or not) at all, but after reading it (and it is just sad that lot of people consider that article a review) I’ve lost even the interest of trying it sometime (not even for fun).

There was a very powerful article few editions ago about installing some IKEA furniture, what hobby are you talking about? :slight_smile:

For me Audiophile has become irrelevant in all respects. Regardless if I just read it for the reading sake or for finding/learning/enjoying new things, I find nothing there for me (with very few exceptions, most of them related to the music articles).

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Ha, ha, agree about Stereophile completely. Even with LaVorgna gone, they’re still a ship of fools,

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Didn’t see the Ikea piece, but the lack tables are known to be very light weight and inert which is supposedly a good combination for turntables. Given the mechanical nature of TTs, the argument for what they sit on sees to be reasonable. Ikea also has decent LP storage solutions.

I tend to agree with you on audiophilia becoming irrelevant, it does tend to be a bunch of nonsense that can become fatiguing. I do however respect John Atkinson. He has been doing this for longer than I have been alive and I find his insights and measurements are often much more valuable than what can be found elsewhere. $.02

Certainly a positive review is not a bad thing for roon, even if this crowd here is apparently a far more enlightened audience than average.


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do tell!!!