Roon Labs Nucleus+ music server Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Digital Sources: PS Audio PerfectWave DirectStream D/A converter with Bridge II network adapter; Ayre Acoustics QX-5 Twenty D/A processor; iPad mini running Roon app; Ayre Acoustics C-5xeMP disc player; Netgear router; QNAP NAS drive.
Integrated Amplifier: NAD Masters Series M32.
Power Amplifiers: Constellation Centaur II 500, Lamm Industries M1.2 Reference monoblocks.
Loudspeakers: KEF LS50, Wilson Audio Specialties Alexia 2.
Cables: Digital: AudioQuest Coffee (USB) & Vodka (Ethernet), generic CAT-5 (Ethernet), DH Labs (1m, AES/EBU). Interconnect: AudioQuest Wild Blue. Speaker: AudioQuest K2. AC: AudioQuest Dragon Source & High Current, manufacturers' own.
Accessories: Target TT-5 equipment racks; Ayre Acoustics Myrtle Blocks; ASC Tube Traps, RPG Abffusor panels; Shunyata Research Dark Field cable elevators; Michell Engineering spade–4mm plug adapters with NAD M32; AudioQuest Niagara 5000 Low-Z Power/Noise-Dissipation System. AC power comes from two dedicated 20A circuits, each just 6' from breaker box.—John Atkinson

John Atkinson's picture
DH wrote:
Roon works with sample rates up to PCM 768 and DSD 512, and isn’t limited as you indicated. The only limitation of rates below these would be a limitation imposed by your DAC.

Accidentally deleted DH's posting, which had been posted twice. Apologies,

I made this point in my review - see the iPad screenshots.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

tonykaz's picture

I accept.

Thanks for discovering.

Tony in Michigan

bierfeldt's picture

I am running Roon server on a "Vintage" tower. I replaced the hard drive recently and upgraded to Windows 10. Roon is blisteringly fast and the Radio function is better than Apple's Genius.

All of my irritation is due to the Windows PC I am running on as Windows updates cause it to re-boot constantly and I am suddenly having issue with my Airport Extreme. Okay, constantly maybe excessive, every couple days is more like it and I think my network issues are partially my cable companies problem but it is still irritating.

But again, this would solve most of my issues. May pick one up.

Great review.

dalethorn's picture

On my PC (I also have a Macbook Pro) I run Windows XP, which is very stable. If the drive ever crashes, I just go to my tech and get another XP drive and copy my files from my backup drives.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Apple just released a new 15 inch Mac Book Pro with 4TB SSD built-in storage, 6 core processor and up to 32GB RAM .......... $7,000, if got the dough and willing to spend .............

dalethorn's picture

And all of that "enormous power" filtered through a slow, turgid, sometimes frozen pipe owned by AT&T, Verizon, etc. Oh yes - your IP isn't one of those. But your IP has to use their pipes.

My Mac uploads to and downloads from the Internet - when the Internet is working. Real work gets done on my PC, which is isolated from all networks. It's a heavenly combination.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

5G wireless is coming soon (to a sky near you) :-) ...........

dalethorn's picture

Pay attention: 5g specifies the width of the pipe, not the actual throughput. When cable companies became dominant by the 80s, they established that their pipes to your house were "shared" with nebulous anomolous "persons" in your area. Not as bad as "party line" telephones, but still slow-to-useless at certain times for Internet use.

Now you talk about 5g as though you're offering a solution. You're offering nothing except another shared pipe that brings the same as everything else - poor throughput.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Ok ......... I Googled it ........... According to the info available on Google, 5G is supposed to increase speeds (as well) ......... You can check it out, on Google, if you are interested ............

dalethorn's picture

How many times do I have to repeat this? 5G is the *potential* or maximum bandwidth. Your provider can dribble the data through that pipe at 200 bytes per second during "peak hours", which they always do.

Pay attention. You will never get 5G speeds consistently on a 5G network, and oftentimes, you'll be begging for 3G speed and still won't get it. Get it?

Bogolu Haranath's picture

"Itsy Bitsy Spider" .......... Carly Simon :-) ...........

woodford's picture

should have taken the mini to tekserve on w. 23rd; they could have fixed it.

John Atkinson's picture
woodford wrote:
should have taken the mini to tekserve on w. 23rd; they could have fixed it.

Tekserve closed a couple of years back. These days I go to Mike's Tech Shop on W. 20th. The cost of repairing the Mac mini was not much lower than the price of a new one.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

woodford's picture
Thanks- it's been a while since i needed to visit them- sad to hear they closed. in the days before the apple store it was almost the only place one could get a mac repaired.
CG's picture

Have you ever considered trying a test such as this where sample averaging is turned off? Perhaps instead using "Max Hold" or "Peak Hold" over several seconds of sampling time in order to capture random and pseudo-random events?

PeterMusic's picture

That's a long review on a critical product that costs quite a bit to skip the listening notes. Kind of disappointing

rzr's picture

So your mac mini went down 2 times in the last 7 years and you went to the mac store and they said they don't fix older computers. So why didn't you just buy a new mac mini? You rant about how you have all of this computer background, which coming from me with over 40 years of a REAL computer background, you really don't have much computer experience, so i'll call you a hack which dabbles into the computer sector. If you knew anything about computers, you would know that the Nucleus+ is just a computer, and a very expensive 1 at that. What happens when the Nucleus+ won't boot up? What happens when the internal SSD fails? What will you do when an error pops up? You will need to call Roon Labs. Forget about taking it down to your local Apple store or any computer store. If you would have gone out and bought a new Mac Mini with 8GB ram, i7 processor, 1TB Fusion drive with 256G PCI-E flash storage, you would have paid $1200. But if a mac is way over your head to deal with, then go for paying double for another computer and hope nothing goes wrong with it. Before I spend $2500 on a nucleus+, and if I wanted 24/7 computer access, I would buy 2 refurbished Mac Mini's, setup a RAID disk, and if 1 Mac Mini would fail, hook up the other Mac Mini to the RAID disk and off you go.

anonymusicdude's picture

So wait a second. JA uses a MAC Mini and PS Audio DS DAC ? You mean the one that changes every 6 months to a different sound ? lol Sirenus uses a $469 intel NUC ? I thought these guys were Audiophiles ? whats up with that ? wheres the gear boys ? At least have a custom build server like the guy above says except screw Apple BS Linux is far better for a server

vkennedy's picture

There's a huge issue with how Roon Rock running on Linux, and an incompatibility with XMOS based DAC's.

Read this thread:

Scattered accross Roon's forum's are dozens and dozens of reported issues.

mauidj's picture

I am a new Roon user and I am deciding how to set it up in my system. Right now Roon Core is on an iMac feeding the house via WiFi to various different endpoints. But i would like to have a dedicated Core machine directly connected to my main system DAC via ethernet. (or via a bridge???)
I just dont understand why a Nucleus is a better deal than a Mac Mini? A base Mini with storage is half the cost of a Nucleus+ with no storage.
I currently have just over 100,000 tracks on an external HD.
I am a complete digital audio idiot so am I missing something?

shp's picture

Hi mauidj

Why we need these audiophile servers is a bit confusing. And "need" is a strong word.

I use a MacMini wired directly to my main DAC and streaming to my work computer and my phone using Roon.

There are two main challenges with the MacMini:
* System updates often leave the computer stuck. Either the OS couldn't install the upgrade (e.g., Roon or another app was running) or it failed to reboot properly. Roon needing to install server software upgrades can cause similar issues.
* Usually I can resolve the above without needing to access the Mac desktop. But when I can't, it's a whole additional set of steps to revive it.

I can fix it when things go wrong. But my girlfriend can't. To her it's just "not working." Because the Nucleus only does one thing, I would assume it's significantly more reliable.

Additionally, it has been designed to eliminate a lot of electrical noise.

That's not to say that you need a Nucleus, only that it probably does a couple of things better than a MacMini.

ChevChelios's picture

Hi rzr. The Roon Nucleus is merely a NUC - it's right in the name. Why not use a NUC rather than be a condescending A-hole who brags about their computer chops all while proving their sub-par grasp of English.