Why Does the Nucleus Have to Be So Expensive?

The case SonicTransporter uses retails for a couplahundred. Passive, pre-built, NUCs, be it from Nimbus7 or from LogicSupply tend to be on the pricier side of things, you don’t get support from your friendly local dealer, and I tend to find 'em less pretty than Nucleus: direct, they’re about a grand, and LogicSupply is still on 6th generation if I’m not mistaken.

There IS a gap in the market for a really nice, diy buildable passive NUC case with space for an extra HDD, though (it’s of course subjective, but Akasa doesn’t qualify as “pretty”), and while my local dealers can die a slow, preferably painful death, I’d be happy to give RoonLabs HD-Plex ballpark money for one of their cases (and not bug 'em for support, and take responsibility for frying a CPU), but, alas

The issue with the Nucleus is we know exactly whats.on the inside and how much the core components cost.

But we do not know how much the Nucleus OS costs. It is claimed that in Nucleus there is not ROCK but a special OS.

I cut my teeth on an Apple ][ , even on Apple Pascal but I can’t bring myself to pay close to double a decent PC price. I have to accept the iPad because there is no REAL alternative,I am not an Android fan.

A bit off topic maybe but I found a real good way of making a PC silent , it’s called a brick wall and an Ethernet cable :money_mouth_face:

But seriously dev cost must be a factor , along with small production runs.

I suppose if you don’t like it NUC your own


I heard somewhere that when you go for free software you get what you pay for :money_mouth_face:


It frustrates me as well…
Yes - I can build it myself (and have done so)
But I like the passive and quiet Nucleus box
Some reviewers even found it to sound nicer, directly connected to a DAC, than a NUC (though this may be probably autosuggestive).

If the empty box was available for DIY project…

The ROCK software is indeed for free, and I adore the Roon team for sharing the components and allowing us to run this for free.

This has been addressed by the dev team here.

TL;DR: there’s a bunch of minute differences, none of which should affect sound quality. The only significant difference I can think of is home automation integration, but that’s something for which I find the upcharge not only completely fair, but also rather sane.

If anything, that Roon offers a downloadable image that allows you to DIY a device some of us think is way too expensive, alongside with support for said image, speaks highly of them, their confidence in their product and in the value of the service provided with it by their retail network. And to go back to the Apple analogy, I don’t exactly see Tim Cook ordering his teams to make life easier for the Hackintosh crowd.

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Nah, the Nucleus is expensive indeed! I would would probably buy a “+” version for the price of the smaller one. It is true, that audiophiles (and mac users) tend to spend much more for “the last 10 %” of performance, technology or “hocus pocus”, but it hast to be somehow plausible. Roon is dancing around the reasons for the price… a NUC, but “special, special, intel, silent, special, somehow …”. this would make a 10 or 20 % bump on the price, but not the price of a small workstation for a box like the “+”, even if “we” are used to pay 1K for some cables.

The Roon community is very diverse. Some of “us” are using “Billion-Dollar-Gear”, others use their smartphones and a 200 Euro Dac with their Mac Mini for listening.

I can see the reason from Roon’s perspective: “Hey, the people buy lots of stuff for lotsof money, we CAN charge this!” – they should have position the gear as entry for their service. Or – at least – stick a lifetime-fee to that pricetag.


my personal problem with that? I would love to buy a Nuc+ and repalce my chunky and loud Asus gaming notebook which works as server right now… i could even pay the price … but i am not sure, if i want to buy gear like this, which will run a single service, without knowing about the future of roon.

this is also the reason for me not to consider a lifetime account. What “if” TIDAL falls some day? I love Roon, but i don’t have a big digital lib. As long as there are no more services around in Roon, i won’t buy gear for 1K+ from roon.

Maybe you don’t have to implement other services with all that “deep integration”, make it like Sonos first: a simple API. So, that i will be able to use – let’s say – Spotify, Idagio, HRA and others over RAAT on my endpoint and can reach my libs on that services.

Situation right now: TIDAL falls -> 2,8 K spend for better listening of my 30 digital FLAC-albums. I know, i am not the typical customer of roon, but i guess there are lots of people using TIDAL@Roon very much… and i can image, that a Nucleus is especially for that kind of (lazy) people.


Please, ad a lifetime-fee to your offer, and you are finde!

I just cannot understand all the fuss about price. Things cost whatever they cost, save up and buy it if you want it. Simples. Clearly we can all work out the risks and advantages.
You could say the Same about any product, Cars, Camera, Houses and on and on. Life is about choices and it isn’t free. People need wages, have to pay taxes, insurance, utilities… So we have to pay. Music isn’t free either.
Just a thought…


Sure, but i think there is room for direct user feedback in our small intimate community. :slight_smile: you can always relativize every discussion. Maybe some sales guys are interested if sales are not as good as intended. Maybe i am totally wrong… why are you taking part in that? If you don‘t like the arguments, just ignore - dont‘t read ;). Sorry, this was not a serious statement, but the same statemnt you are using :slight_smile: for the pricing debate.

Can we stay on topic here … remember discuss the argument not the people making their case.

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@Ramona_Kollar-Neuber – we have NUC + ROCK for people that think Nucleus/Nucleus+ is too expensive. We didn’t have to offer that at all, but we did, and we charge nothing for it.

Building hardware that we sell mostly as direct-sales is not a direction interesting to our business goals, and selling through “channel” requires margin for the middle-men.


Is it about price and middleman and checking a manufacturer about the costs of used parts in the nucleus ?
We are intruding in foreign workspaces here, that’s a bit unpleasant .
It always feels more like our own greed not to let people earn any money out of us, or at least try to control the amount .
With manufacturers like Roon people are even more strict, because they are open for discussion . I installed a 4 TB SSD in the Nucleus +, there is no place @ Samsung i could share any thoughts about pricing …
I am more than happy with what I got, thx for that .
Rgds hpb

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I understand that in this business model, the dealer needs to make money. Still, for selfish reasons, I wish it was cheaper. :grinning:

Under $1000 for the base model Nucleus, and I’d be in.

I’d be happy to build my own NUC with ROCK, but what I really want is Control4 integration which is limited to the Nucleus. How about, as a middle ground, make the Control4 integration a paid add-on for Roon on other core devices. I’d pay a few hundred dollars for that.

Just a thought.

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The rule of thumb for electronics produced in small volume is that the retail price is 5x the total cost (parts + labor). The Nucleus(+) definitely counts as small volume: large volume is e.g. the iPhone at 100+ million units per year, and then the retail price goes to about 3x the cost of building the unit.

Recall the the first or second most expensive part on most Hi-Fi equipment is the case. Having held a Nucleus in my hand, I can tell you that it’s high quality metalwork, and that doesn’t come cheap in small volume.

I’m pretty sure the parts for a Nucleus cost more than $300 once you include the case, so it’s not a ripoff. Recall that the wholesale cost of the unit would typically be about 60% of the retail price, so the retailer likely gets the largest slice of the pie.

If you look at silent alternatives, they’re not cheap either, and look rather industrial for the living room.

Personally, I bought an i5 Surface Pro & Ethernet dock for about $1300. Silent. I don’t get ROCK, but I can use the ASIO driver for one of my DACs to unlock its full potential. I also got a nice touchscreen for that price.

You pay your money and take your choice … but the total is going to add up if you want to be fanless.


When I bought my SonicTransporter i7 to replace my NUC, Andrew of Small Green Computer told me that it uses all 4 cores of the i7 whereas the Nucleus only uses two. Here is the quote from Andrew’s email:

“The Roon NUCLEUS is almost twice the price and it’s only a dual core i7! The sonicTransporter i7 is a fully quad core i7 desktop CPU. Much faster than your NUC.”

Fit and finish look fine to me, equal to that of a medium priced home theater receiver.

Nucleus is computer. What about software cost of any computer especially in small volume and OS of Nucleus in particularly?
How do you assess the intellectual value of the product? For example the cost of Windows 10 is several hundred dollars but including millions of sales.

Having held a nucleus in my hands, my impression is it’s a fantastic case, very heavy, and probably worth every penny. Expensive doesn’t always mean ripoff. I’ll wait for version 2 which will hopefully take a 15mm hard drive.

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The NUCLEUS hardware is nice but it’s basically a NUC motherboard in a custom enclosure and a good quality laptop power supply. Roon’s NUCLEUS price has to cover the cost of maintaining the NUCLEUS software distribution. Roon subscriptions cover part of that cost but not the cost of maintaining the custom Linux distribution matched to the included Roon codebase. They’re spreading the cost of several software engineers over small product sales.

NUCLEUS is for those who don’t have the basic Linux admin chops needed to install Linux and Roon server on a NUC. If NUCLEUS can extend Roon’s reach to this community in a manner NUCLEUS customers can take pride in, that’s enough.

I guess the Nucleus is a great door-opener for Roon in the Dealer-Network. People not knowing Roon will see that fine device in the showroom, the Dealer will answer and demonstrate Roon’s software because this time, they will get one’s share of the cake. I guess that is the reason why direct-sales (like danny said above) are not Roons prio: selling hardware to the existing community would be much easier directly ;).

The Nucleus is the way to sell Roon to the people in the outside world of the internet, the guys walking to a hifi-studio and leaving with a Bluesound or a 3K-DAC.


@Ramona_Kollar-Neuber – you description exactly matches our thoughts on the matter.