ROON NUCLEUS: ONE GIANT LEAP IN DIGITAL AUDIO
Digital audio has undoubtedly progressed in the last decade aided in part by the improvements in technology and in particular, the digital to analog converter (DAC).
On the software side, Roon, self-described as a music player, has emerged as the leader. In Roon's own words, "The music player for music lovers," and "Forget everything you know about music players. Music is an experience, and Roon reconnects you with it."
We'd agree. Roon takes you on a musical journey from the comfort of your favorite chair, along with the convenience of controlling music throughout your home with ease from your phone, tablet or computer.
I was spruiking Roon to a colleague recently and trying to justify the US $119 /year license fee. Without the benefit of a physical demonstration available to plead to the jury, the closing argument was simply "It just works." And it does.
If you've not yet experienced the management and playback of your digital music collection via Roon, then give me the benefit of the doubt and download the free 14-day trial here.
Yes, I'm an advocate for what I believe is one of the greatest developments in digital audio, ever.
I embraced the DIY Wandboard, Raspberry Pi, and Squeezebox community. I've churned through countless commercially available "Roon Ready" endpoints from the growing list of Roon hardware partners.
But when Roon Labs announced its own hardware solution last year, my immediate thought was that what better harmony could exist between the player, server and physical components?
The Nucleus is an off the shelf hardware solution, ready and willing to serve as the core to your digital music library, serving music seamlessly to all willing and able end-points.
Nucleus, and its bigger brother Nucleus+ are now available and shipping to Roon's distributors around the world.
Nucleus lives up to its apt name; "the central and most important part of an object, movement, or group, forming the basis for its activity and growth."
Its two forms include Nucleus ($1999 RRP - Intel i3, 4Gb RAM, 64Gb OS SSD) is ideal for streaming up to 5 simultaneous zones and managing a library of up to 12,000 albums.
Nucleus+ ($3499 RRP - Intel i7, 8Gb RAM, 128Gb OS SDD) is capable of smoothly managing hundreds of thousands of tracks and unifying your collection like nothing else. It'll handle even the most enormous music libraries with ease. This one is recommended for the processing grunt required for DSD or heavy DSP usage.
Nucleus+ will also stream simultaneously to as many different zones as your wireless network can handle, as well as having the processing grunt to run extensive DSP including upsampling, room correction and more.
Both models feature a solid-state hard drive for Roon's own 'ROCK' operating system and you can add a secondary internal SSD or HDD hard drive for music storage. The simplest method however is to either connect an external HDD via the rear USB ports, or point Roon straight to the network location of your Network Attached Storage (NAS).
Drop it right into your HiFi rack, make the necessary power, network and audio output connections, and pending some basic config, you're practically good to go. This, of course, assumes you've already got a Roon license, as the purchase price does not include one.
We've just this week inserted a Nucleus into our dedicated reference system and already noted a marked increase in performance and sound quality. And that's while the library is still being processed (5500+ albums, 63,000+ tracks)
Roon was one small step for digital audio, but Nucleus is more like one giant leap.
Roon Labs' Nucleus and Nucleus+ will soon be available for demonstration at the partner stores listed below. Contact them directly to schedule an appointment for a Roon demonstration.
Brisbane HiFi, Audio Tailor
West Coast HiFi Midland, Frank Prowse HiFi
For more information visit Roon Labs.
StereoNET's Founder & Publisher and still buried deep in the review room auditioning everything from docks to soundbars, amplifiers and headphones. Marc is also the founder of the annual International HiFi Show.
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