Why Does the Nucleus Have to Be So Expensive?

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.


Well done :). I am in marketing myself and – after initial beeing “sad” about your choice for customers like me, i thought about the reason for your strategy. you could easily boost the subs with a cheaper but nice device like that – like Amazon does. But i understand now, and hope this will lead to a strong hardware-base for Roon.

I remember myself at the hifi-studio some time ago, the salesman presented a few sound-systems to us and used Roon for it (i didn’t knew Roon at this time). I was curious about the “software”, but he rather was after providing info about the speakers he wanted to sell. The Nucleus will change this situation for the better!

OT: What really matters now: Get more services on board!

Thank you!

Recall that ROCK is a Linux distribution customized for running Roon and nothing else. A combination of GPL-licensed code and market forces mean that Linux distributions are available at no cost to the end user (they may pay $$$ for tech support, but that’s a separate service offering). You’ll notice that Roon Labs gives ROCK away for free if you want to assemble a NUC to run it on… Roon Labs primarily makes money selling Roon subscriptions; Nucleus is a product to get them into the audio salons.

If you are not a developer of ROCK then give a source of information and tell what Linux distribution specifically you have in mind.
And OS of Nucleus is not ROCK.

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From danny…

I know :wink: .

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Hehe I know you know. For information for others. You asked for a source :wink:

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Sorry but this actually misses in a big way. Nucleus looks like it was designed for a direct sales model that got changed mid stream to a retail sales model

  1. Dealer is not making enough $$. I have heard that over and over
  2. Price is too high and the effort to sell at retail isn’t worth it. Where is the Nucleus marketing campaign to create demand? What really is the incentive to sell it? No demand, no go at retail…
  3. The Nucleus has no “it” factors to get attention on the retail shelf. U need to have customers asking what that is. A desire to own it. A generic looking box isn’t it. (Lit logo, bigger ,cooler box, color, etc.). (Y
  4. Finally, it has no it factors under the hood to create some demand. Very modest specs to say the least

Price to High for whom? Surely it depends on how much disposable income one has. There are enough well healed people who want and can afford, the best…

My local high end dealer has just started selling Nucleus. It is probably the cheapest device in the whole place:

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This couldn’t be more wrong. We’ve done a few direct sales. We’ve done thousands of channel sales.

Yet we have hundreds of dealers worked making sales daily. Sounds like you’ve talked to some dealers that don’t understand the sales model.

Reviews and video reviews often talk about how nice the device is she how cool the packaging is.

I think you grossly misestimate the market and how full of J1900 and Celerons it is.


Totally agree the SonicTransporter line is terrific value.

Around that pricepoint, I’d also take a look at a-tech fabrication if I was in the market for a fanless MOCK-type device.

I see your arguments, but your statement imply a “hardware company” to launch a new product. But this is Roon! I guess it’s a cheap test balloon for them. Maybe they want to check demand first, before risking companies cash or working with big $$$ and VC. Sure, testing without power is risky, you can spoil the brand easily, but that’s a question of possibilities.

I don’t know about dealer comments on earnings myself.

Campaign? Nah – There is enough Buzz on the net about roon – i guess every digital audiophile know Roon, you don’t have to make noise on the web that big.

Outside the web, reviews do matter – and curiosity. There will be a place in the salon, there might be a POS-display, big flags, a newsletter, whatever – it’s up to the dealer.

You are right about the other stuff, BUT … you compare the Nucleus to some kind of Airpods oder Sonos device, or Ambilight TV… where are the campaigns, the incentive, the “it” factor for the new Brookyln, Linn, Hegel, Bel Canto … whatever?

And YES: Roons market is rather small, a Niche for special digital “Hardcore-Music Lovers” and an alternative TIDAL Frontend for the Home :D, sure they will have to open up to be really interesting for the audiophile masses. I guess they go one step after another. Future will show!

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Absolutely, Nucleus is a cheaply priced high end product. In the context of an Ex-Demo power supply costing £5,949.


A few hints towards an answer to the original question:

  • This looks like a custom case (haven’t seen anything remotely looking like it, I’ve searched). The original tooling for production costs an arm and a leg.
  • small volumes. Recovering the cost of the above is not easy, plus all the added economies of scale that are not realised for such a niche product
  • recovery for the development of ROCK. It’s free for all, but it does take dev resources, subscriptions only support is probably not the most viable path for sustainability of ROCK. As a Linux guy, I find the ROCK implementation extremely well made and extremely usable for non IT/non-techs.
  • MAINLY: the target market and targeted sales channels. NOT tinkerers, NOT IT people, NOT the online crowd. They are a crowd used to classic Hi-Fi stuff, basically as plug and play as a power amplifier, reading the paper version of Stereophile. It also needs to look the part, and fit within a nice stack of high-end, jewel-looking boxes. A computer isn’t that. Silent, same here. Also, this is for a market where “too cheap” is a reality. Too cheap is a non-starter in a market where people spend thousands on each little piece of kit. Those guys are buying insanely priced USB cables! (hold on, who was the previous employer of the Marketing & sales VP?). Seriously, the Nucleus had to be expensive, regardless of the profitability point. I have to praise the Roon guys for resisting the temptation of using or offering optional buzzwords like a linear power supply or things like that to make it look/pretend to be even more “audiophile grade” (I would have been tempted!)
  • as I’ve read, yes, profit margin for the resellers. As a new arrival in the hardware market, the resellers have to be motivated to sell, a healthy profit margin is a good way of achieving that. I wonder what the resellers price is on the kit.

While this is mainly a resellers product, I wonder why it’s still nowhere to be seen on the front page of the website… (heh, not the only problem there from a marketing point of view! But the tech/support side is top notch, and, as a user, I’d rather have the unbalanced efforts that way!)

LATER addition: Remember that Roon is a SaaS company. Hardware is not their core business. I believe that a Nucleus-type device was absolutely needed, high-end, looker, silent, non-IT. It could have been achieved with a close partner or alone. Both ways have their loads of advantages, issues and risks. Alone was chosen (with Intel’s backing, if I understood correctly. I used to work as one of their partners, they can be a powerful help), which is, I believe, a sensible choice. It’s a good thing that “there is such a thing as too cheap” exists to help mitigate some of the financial risks of such an endeavour.


I bought a sonic Transporter i5 US$795 from small green computer.com. it is fantastic. Your own discs are instant access Tidal is same access time but there is a difference in dynamics wow is there. So it is fast instant and dynamic. SO WORTH THE INVESTMENT.

@David_LAw the link you provided for SGC is incorrect. Here is the correct link https://www.smallgreencomputer.com

Can somebody please tell us what NUC and ROCK mean ?!?
Not everybody knows it !