Roon Nucleus?

Any opinions as to whether it’s better to get an OEM Roon Nucleus or build it yourself based on an Intel NUC, Apple MacMini, etc?

OEM seems expensive for what it is…… IMHO.


not a perfectly complete answer, but you may want to browse the thread below:

there’s a number of similar conversations sprinkled across the boards. good luck!

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Thx :+1:


I’ve been using Roon off and on, but with a bunch of 1st gen streamers, it’s not the most useful of tools for me. That said, love the interface, discovery, additional content, etc.

On the question of Nucleus or ‘other’ - I suppose I could sum up what I’ve read by saying that the consensus is that it ‘works’ on anything (Mac, NUC, NAS, whatever) but there’s diversity in opinion on SQ depending on hardware platform.

I went from Mac mini to innuos mini to nucleus… lift in sound quality (slight) with each but the nucleus is easy to use , quiet and in my opinion looks cool. I bought mine used so a bit of an easier pill to swallow when the innuos was sold too.

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I eventually managed to run an Ethernet cable under floors from router to NSS333 and so bought a fanless NUC running Rock. This really is plug in and forget. It has not failed at all yet and seems like a fantastic solution. The only time I interact with it is to copy new downloaded music onto the internal SSD.

Very pleased so far and glad that I moved away from a general computer as core. Personally I love the Roon experience but do not use any form of DSP.

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A NUC is a general computer, lol.

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I think he means he prefers using a dedicated headless device used purely as a roon core versus a “general” pc meaning one with monitor keyboard mouse used for anything and everything plus running roon on it.


Exactly right @robert_h and thank you for responding.

@garyi , I did actually struggle with what wording to use to describe the headless NUC - ‘general computer’ obviously did not work well! It was intended exactly as @robert_h kindly explained.

I spoke too soon by singing the praises of Roon. I have the latest 1368 build on my nuc and iPad but playback stopped several times today and the queue disappeared each time. The nuc, 333 and iPad are all working OK - the issue is with Roon.

Thankfully the Naim app plays well!

This software malarkey is never, repeat never to be relied upon.

Just like your broadband service, at least here in the UK, the guaranteed service level is precisely zero, ‘best’ efforts only.

Hence why I keep my Innuos Zenith Mk III connected to my 222, even then subject to the vagaries of software updates on my hardware, which are never, again repeat never, applied on the day of release.

But, we are where we are…….:smirk:


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Yes, you are so right! At least I have the Naim app to fall back on. I have an SSD attached to my 333 with the same files as those on my NUC so I can listen without Roon when necessary. Also, Qobuz is playable on the Naim app providing Qobuz is behaving itself!

Backup and fault tolerance is the new mantra of HiFi - all the SQ in the world doesn’t matter if it’s plain broke :joy::joy::joy::joy::joy:

I’m surprised Naim doesn’t recommend buying two of everything :innocent:



Ha ha, yes it does sometimes feel like a back up is necessary. However, in this case Naim is functioning perfectly.

Also, to be fair to Roon, I have been running their build 1368 flawlessly for a few weeks of heavy use - it is not as if I had just updated and found problems with the update.

Have you tried ZENith Mk3 as Roon Core? If its operation is okay I’d assume given its fancy power supply, motherboard, etc. the SQ would be better than either Nucleus/NUC/Mac mini - I haven’t tried this as I only have a NUC but do use Innuos’ PhoenixNET downstream which for my use case works very well.

Whilst I appreciate roon sell nucs IMO they are just too weedy to run as a server this is from direct experience. Roon whilst on paper seems to require very little the difference on even moderately faster hardware is marked and results in a substantially better experience.

Ultimately I chose to run roon in docker on unraid. Due to electrics cost I have substantially downgraded so a mid powered zeon processor, 64 gigs ram, touch wood I simply have no issues with roon. Pleased to note it still working when our internet went tits the other day as well, seems a shame to thank them for letting me play my own files!

The Nucleus is very expensive for what it is. Better to buy a NUC and get help from the Roon forum on how to set it up. I bought a Nucleus in 2019 and it’s been trouble-free ever since. I mostly chose it as I was terrified of computer technology and knew the Roon team would help me with it. If I’d had the skills I’d have gone for a NUC with Rock and a Raspberry Pi streaming bridge.

In my system, the Nucleus is a perfect partner. I have no doubt that it has contributed in spades to the quality of the music I am hearing. It isn’t cheap and on paper there are many less expensive ways of ostensibly achieving the same result. I know there is an army out there which says that it is all in my imagination, but I know it isn’t. I recommend it unreservedly, and also the addition of a linear power supply.
As things go in our hobby (obsession?), it is good value.

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hobby is those model railroads… :grinning:

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I bought my RevA Nucleus + used and it’s been my constant companion ever since. The case finishing is exceptional (it uses auto paint), it’s sealed, so no dust or dander gets inside at all, it’s silent, and it’s a bit of a conversation starter.

Can you do the same job for less? Sure. Can you do it as elegantly, for less? Nope…at least not that I have seen yet on the market. There are a few Streacom passive cases (like the DB-9) that are visually simple and up to the task thermally. But they are big. Like 4x the height of the N+, with a footprint as large or larger.

I think one of the benefits of Roon is that you can run it on so many different platforms. BUT, I run my N+ with a Plixir Elite BDC power supply and (with a few discrete enhacements) have found that it compares very favorably to vastly more expensive servers from the likes of Antipodes, Innuous, Aurender, etc.

EDIT: The Streacom case is the DB4.