Why spend the extra money for a Nucleus rather than a less expensive desktop computer?

I think of ROCK as an application-specific Linux distribution configured to run Roon Core like RoiPeee and HiFiBerryOs that I use on my raspberry cobbler endpoints. It is built to do a specific job so has a limited set of programs, drivers, and services. For example, none of these can build themselves. And available Ethernet and Wifi device drivers are limited as are sound drivers. For example, HiFiBerry will not operate Allo Digital cards.

ROCK has the kit needed to run Roon Core and Roon Transport and not much more. ROCK will not have graphics drivers or graphical user interface elements. Just command line.

To recap, the attraction of ROCK and Nucleus is that Roon takes care of Linux updates for you. You don’t need to log in to your Nucleus host every now and again to check for updates and apply them. If you are not computer handy, that is a very VERY good thing.


Just to note that you can set this up yourself for Debian and Ubuntu flavors of Linux.

This is for security updates and not others. In any case, it’s not atomic and you rely on Debian/Ubuntu not messing up the complex dependencies. Which, granted, works essentially always for security updates, but those are only part of the game. And if a future Roon Server update requires that you update/upgrade the full distro, you still have to - which may or may not be a problem for an individual


On my Ubuntu server setup I have for the last 2,5 years applied regularly all and every available package updates, without ever breaking any dependency or causing any trouble with Roon. On a dedicated and minimal Linux server setup this just works. Most often updates are applied while Roon server is running and playing back. On the way I have updated from 18.04 to 20.04 and now 22.04, without any problem whatsoever.

What I wouldn’t do nor recommend is running any sizable Roon setup on a multi-purpose computer, whatever its OS.

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I’ve been running Roon on a multi-purpose computer for about 2 years now without having any problems with Roon. The computer also works as a NAS, to which I regularly back up all my files, and on which I run bit-rot detection every 4 months - a task that takes a few days to complete. I don’t feel the need to pamper my Roon server.

Oh, you guys.

It’s configurable.

Mine, affectionately called symphony, won’t throw a temper tantrum if I let it sit alone for some weeks… No pampering here… :rofl:

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As I’ve mentioned before, I have used Linux for 30 years, when everybody thought it’s crazy. Therefore, I also know that you can configure unattended updates for non-security updates. This does not change that:

  • The link that was posted previously was about security updates
  • Installing a distro and setting up unattended updates is well beyond the skills of many people, in particular the target audience of the Nucleus and, to a lesser extent, ROCK. (From the first link: “3. Write your own cron script that calls aptitude. 4. Use cron-apt”. Right! In reality, you can of course set the checkbox in the update-manager app, but this is still way more complicated than many people can manage)
  • The unattended updates only work as long as nobody at the distro messes up the dependency graph. And this happens.
  • In the future, a Roon Server update will definitely require some libc x.y.z or whatever, and the current release of the distro where you have Roon Server running has a.b.c, and the only reasonable solution is a full upgrade of the distro to a new release, or a reinstall of the new release.

I always appreciate a true expert’s input! Thanks!


My Nucleus has been running for 2 2/3 years with no issues. During that time, I’ve only had two issues with Roon, other than the current issue with Windows.


Best answer!
If I don’t like something about the sound, I tweak the crossover of my speakers, buy a new current source power supply for my DAC. I am not such a nerd to say that elektroacoustics is for everyone. I understand why people buy whole new speakers in stead of diy.

Not to mention the much better sound quality of a Nucleus or Antipodes.

I also have a Mac mini (M1). Initially I had mega problems but it was a Roon software bug and it was fixed in a update.

The M1 minis are currently on sale at Costco for $570.

For years I successfully ran my Roon cores on reconditioned Windows notebooks with i5 or i7 processors that I bought at attractive prices. (I split my time between two countries, so I change core machines). Recently I decided I needed a good Windows notebook for working when I travel. But because I work on a desktop at home, I don’t use the notebook there. So my i7, 16 gig memory, 512 gig SD core notebook is in use as a dedicated core machine most of the time. My personal library is on an external 2 gig SSD, although these days I mostly use Qobuz and Tidal with Roon.
The notebook runs with the lid closed when use with Roon and I have it set to auto reboot overnight every three days. It works like a charm and I’ve never heard a fan.
When I travel, I just disconnect the external SSD and I have a decent notebook for work.
That’s my solution.

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I recently switched from a MacBook Pro to Roon Nucleus Plus, and there’s no turning back! I do hear a difference–less digital glare. Then there’s the ease of operation and complete lack of typical computer problems, such as programs freezing and metadata issues (with both JRiver and Audirvana). It might not be much to look at, but it does its one thing perfectly!

You should avoid staring straight into the digital.


No SQ difference, but a really nice way to run Roon core.


You never heard of using /s ?

A decent PC / Mac is all you need to set up your core.
The nucleus is a fancy device but it won’t suit everyone.


I agree. My 2017 MacBook Air with just 8 gb of RAM and a dual core i5 CPU handles everything as Roon Core / living room music system perfectly fine.

I hear quite an improvement.