Should I get a Roon Nucleus?

I use Roon on my Mac. My music is on an external hard drive connected with the Lightning cable.

The PS Audio DAC in the main music room has the Bridge II and is on the network.

In the computer room, the headphone system uses a Hugo 2 DAC connected by USB to the Mac.

I’m wondering is there any reason to buy the Roon Nucleus?
If I did…
I’ve been doing a lot of reading and have heard several opinions on the best sounding connection to the PS DAC. What is the best choice?

  1. Buying an Ultadigital - USB TO SPDIF AND LVDS I2S CONVERTER and connecting to the I2S connection.
  2. Direct connection by USB to the PS DAC
  3. Keep using the Bridge II connected to the network
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Absolutely worth it! I did exactly that a few months back and I honestly didn’t expect to hear THAT much of a difference compared to the Bridge II in the DSS, but it’s easily noticeable. My wife heard right away that something had changed (and she doesn’t really pay much attention to the setup… and had no idea that I added the Nucleus).

Another thing that made a difference was removing the Bridge II from the DSS. Not night and day (not nearly as much as adding the Nucleus), but you can hear it, especially with higher resolution material.

I have the Nucleus connected via USB (AQ Carbon) to the DSS.


I guess this news will ruffle some feathers:
Roon Endpoint
But I reckon this won’t affect the Bridge because PS Audio is listed as partner.

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Did you ever try any USB to I2S converter?

@todd-r, no never tried a converter. Maybe that is down the road, but it sounds pretty darn good right now. Definitely an improvement with the Nucleus via USB vs. Bridge II.

This only applies to those manufactures that started the Roon Ready certification process, gained access to the SDK, but never completed the certification with Roon. Roon says they began notifying those manufacturers in 2018 of this eventual day.

If you have a audio device that reports in Roon as Roon Ready uncertified, then it will stop working 9-21, otherwise no change for any other device.

Roon’s messaging was very poor. They clarified later but still perceptive damage was done.

You could stick with your Mac and get one of these, using the DSD DAC usb input. There are loads of reviews, it performs miracles apparently.

You can save yourself a big markup by using an Intel NUC. I use one that I’ve placed in a fanless AKASA case and I run Roon Rock on it. It’s flawless and cost the equivalent of under $1000 US with extra RAM and a recycled SSD that I had.


Small Green Computer Sonic Transporter has Nucleus AND 1Tb storage built in for under $1K

I knew about this, but they only have a 30 day warranty.

That was a deal breaker for me.

Well, I assumed that since they were a reputable company and there are lots of their products in use and I have heard no complaints I jumped in. So far, I am loving it.

Please get a Nucleus or, at the very least, an Intel NUC and run R.O.C.K. on it.

Going the dedicated “appliance” route is so superior!!!

Not my intent to thread jack, but I’ve been toying with upping my digital game, and have a similar current set up as the OP—Running Roon (Tidal) w/Mac mini as core, DS using Bridge II).

When I listen to digital (which is only around 5% of the time), it is pretty much all streaming (I don’t have much music on internal storage).

What are the advantages of a stand alone transport/streamer like the Lumin U1 over something like a Nucleus?

Honestly, the more I read about digital trying to get “smarter” on the right path to some improvement, the more confused I get (so many options, opinions, etc).

If it was me and I was streaming only and then only 5% of the time I would just use the Bridge II with Mconnect or some other compatible software and keep Roon and the extra expense and parts out of the equation. If you want to do something simpler yet better sounding and can live without Roon for 5% of the time the a U1 Mini and the Lumin app or the Aries G1 and LDS should be more than sufficient.

I made the switch from running Roon from my iMac to using a Nucleus+. Night and Day difference! At the moment, I’m still relying on the Bridge II, but am waiting from my Matrix Audio X-SPDIF 2 to arrive, along with quality USB and HDMI cables. There’s a separate forum on that, with high praise indeed.

Thanks for the reply. I should have been a bit more clear on the 5% aspect of the post.

Currently, I only really stream to listen to new releases/discover new stuff or when I get the itch to listen to something I don’t have on vinyl. For that current use, the bridge 2 more than suffices.

Vinyl has always been just more engaging on my system (which it should, as I have many multiples of time and dollars invested in it vs my digital set up).

Lately it just seems that I’m spending more time fussing over my analog rig than enjoying what’s coming out of it (not to mention all the money I’ve had to throw at it to fix things or solve random issues that pop up out of nowhere).

It’s just getting a bit tiresome, so I’m looking into getting my digital system to a level closer to my analog rig such that the 5% increases to, say, 50+%.

If that 50% is going to be from streaming Tidal or Qobuz only then I would still go Lumin or Auralic and use their dedicated software or if you just want to have a “Nucleus type” device will all the necessary parts then I would look to the Sonic Transporter or the Euphony devices before the Nucleus as you get better hardware for a better price. I am one of those though that just don’t see the need for Roon if your streamers software is done correctly and you don’t have library management needs that it can’t handle.

First off if you are going to go Nucleus, this will become your core. The Nucleus primary function is to be your Core. Many have reported an improvement over a Mac mini, etc. This would be my first step given you currently have the Bridge II card. If you go this route you can also try going USB from the Nucleus to the DSD.

Now if I were you I wouldn’t change anything until you get more into streaming and even then I would take my time. I have been running Roon on a Mac Mini with Bridge II card for quite some time. I recently acquired a Nucleus + and have been giving it a run.

My bad, I miss read.
30 return, 1 year warranty

I’m into streaming.
Use qobuz and a lot of my music comes from there.