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Roon announce Nucleus server

  • We’ve heard a good deal about Roon Ready endpoints this past year – devices made by third-party manufacturers that play catch on a Roon (RAAT) stream. Roon Ready hardware partners number around 65.

    Now it’s time to turn our attention to the device that dispatches the ones and zeroes: the server box that runs Roon Core. Whilst any PC, Mac or NAS device will get the job done, Roon is soon to introduce their own hardware: a NUC-based server created in collaboration with Intel.

    The Roon Nucleus will come in standard (i3, 4Gb RAM, 64Gb OS SSD, ~US$1200) and Nucleus+ (i7, 8Gb RAM, 128Gb OS SDD, ~US$2000) variants, will be housed in a nice case and will run Roon’s bespoke operating system. The Nucleus/+’s job will be to run Roon and Roon only. Point it at a NAS, hook in a USB hard drive or install an SSD/HDD to its internals.

    Team Roon at Munich High-End 2017.

    A 19V linear power supply will also be made available for those who wish to optimise the Nucleus’ sound quality; that’s more crucial when direct-connecting it over USB to one’s DAC. The Nucleus is fanless so no need to worry about dropping it into the hifi rack.

    In other words, an off-the-shelf Roon server for off-the-shelf-minded customers, especially those dropping into their local hifi dealer. (No, a Roon license is not included).

    For those who care not for their local dealer, don’t need the fancy case or the linear power supply and wish to build their own NUC-based Roon server for quite a bit less cash, Roon will release their custom OS free of charge and detail the hardware purchases required do so.

    Roon Labs’ Danny Dulai has more from the floor of Munich High-End 2017:

    Further information: Roon Labs

    John Darko

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has also contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram


    1. Just watched the video. Danny makes me feel old. And very uncool. Guess the truth hurts!

      Great announcement though; these guys really do think things through from the end user perspective.

    2. “Roon will release their custom OS free of charge and detail the hardware purchases required do so.”
      I’ll go the DIY route and use the extra $499 for the license.

      • In the audiophie world of furrowed-brow seriousness and far too many grumpy old men, I think he’s a breath of fresh air.

        • agree.
          Dar, try to help me understand the advantages of this, for those of us having our (10 yr old) laptop as their music server…

          currently with my 10 yr old dual core laptop i find in DSP PRESETS, with ”sample rate conversion” i can’t do ‘max pcm rate…or max 2’ dual core 10 yr old laptop just can’t handle that so it repeatedly skips and the processing speed is under 1 (a red flag i’ve read)….i do also have a MR (sonore soon coming out with an ”ultrarendu” btw, so the current MR will be mid tier in their product line) and ultracaps lps 1.

          question: so would just upgrading my laptop to be something more current (i7 dual or quad core) work just as well as these new Roon products…or just buy the OS and have it built locally?
          using mostly tidal streaming
          thanks to anyone who wishes to opt in.

          • chopstix,
            in a similar vein, I just upgraded my 7 year old desktop (Windows 7, 32 Bit) that I was using with Tidal and also Roon, to a new one (Windows 10, 64 Bit) and both platforms are now visually at least, totally different.
            I can’t believe how much content wasn’t available to me just due to the old technology. I use an Antipodes DS as the streamer/server from the PC.
            So, updating a 10 year old laptop will be thoroughly worth it imho. It might not equal the Roon hardware offering but it probably won’t be too far off the mark.


            • thanks….yes, i’m considering which route…buy a Roon nuc device (or OS system) …or even one of the sonic transporters as noted to Dar.

              Dar: sorry i wasn’t clear in comment above: it wasn’t that you had those devices (sonic transporter i5 or i7 ”you also have”) meant instead that what is out there for us now as choices.

    3. Nice idea….Like the Roon OS….but you can get a MAC Mini on e-Bay, that has more computing power, RAM and larger HDD for almost half the price. I’ll be looking to try their OS on my Mac Mini….I really like how Roon works (I use RoonServer) with my music collection!

      • If by the “OS” you mean ROCK – then it’s designed to be used on Intel NUCs – you’ll be on your own if you try and install it on a Mac Mini. You’d be better off sticking with Roon Server

        • That’s a sound point that I’d not yet thought of. Roon’s OS is, I believe, tailored to a specific hardware config of NUC.

      • Yeah, this is definitely not targeted at me. I’ll stick with my Mac Mini + µR. However I’m sure my local Hifi dealer will sell a few of these to the folks who just want to walk in, drop five figures and have a complete system installed for them with no fuss or muss.

    4. Hi John – any word from Roon about MQA? In January, Roon suggested an update to Roon was coming allowing a partial MQA unfold by Roon.

      Also – does Roon currently allow Tidal Masters to reach Roon endpoints and then be fully unfolded by MQA-equipped DACs? Doesn’t work on my system but may be an issue with my endpoint.

      Any word on the above? I know Roon viewed MQA as a priority in January.

      • Like anything I cover, Mark, if I know about it, I’ll publish it. No MQA info here because no MQA forthcoming from Roon. Roon should pass through MQA content unaltered when all DSP is turned off. Hit up the Roon forums for more info on this.

    How to add MQA support to AudioQuest DragonFly Black/Red

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