Roon Nucleus Review - Marty Music Magic is about the search for a better musical NOW by remembering the past. Remember when a big part of listening to music was holding, reading, and contemplating an album? There was something magical about holding Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd, Sgt. Peppers by the Beatles, and Joshua Tree by U2. 

Albums for those who may never have seen one were cardboard sleeves printed with explosive graphics and text called "liner notes." Vinyl "long playing" records lived inside these simple magical, colorful things. These 12.375" square pieces of cardboard help defined the music we loved, saved our allowances and yard cutting money to buy and discussed much more than The Great Gatsby

Music was scratchy, analog, and sounded like freedom. We were tribal and thirsty for things our parents hated. "That MUSIC," my father shouted at me one day, "is about drugs and sex." I lamely tried to argue the affirmative and lost. In my juvenile mind, "that music" was about ME. Anything else was beside the point.

Twenty years later I realize my father was right, but I wasn't wrong.

Roon Network Connection

Opening my Roon Nucleus box was a little anti-climatic. A simple, well machined, block encased in foam with a cardboard box for the power cable stared back at my lofty expectations. First I plugged the Roon to my iMac.

Wrong!

I'd loaded Roon "Core" onto my iMac and thought the Nucleus had to physically connect to that "core." Not so much. The Roon Nucleus needs a connection to the WEB. I read the Nucleus manual on Roon's site, read one paragraph and corrected the mistake. NOTE: My Roon Quick Start guide fell out. Be sure to look for the small helpful pamphlet when you open your Roon Nucleus because mine was swallowed by the desk clutter monster. 

Once the Nucleus music server was plugged into my CenturyLink router Roon's software accessed the web via my network.

But there was still an issue. No music played. 

My Sonos wireless speakers didn't show up as output options. Living in Efland, North Carolina (i.e., the STICKS) requires more than one way to connect to the Internet. I have CenturyLink DSL and HughesNet, and neither holds a candle to cable. Sonos is related to WHERE (the network, i.e., router) where it was "built" (their word I'd say "installed"). For Sonos "build" may also refers to walking around waving an iPhone to sync Sonos speakers. 

Since my iMac's default connection is via HughesNet and NOT CenturyLink my Sonos wireless speakers didn't appear as Roon output options. I've learned that Sonos "network" lesson before. A few months ago when I switched my iPad to HughesNet Sonos alerted that Sonos was absent. Sonos needs to be on the same network router as the "build." I switched Internet routers, and my Sonos "playroom" and "bedroom" speakers showed as Roon output options.

Roon Recovery Magic

After spending a half an hour opening the box, connecting the Nucleus music server and reading one paragraph in Roon's online manual, and correcting a few settings (like getting over to the Sonos router) Heavy Weather by Weather Report rushed out of my Sonos wireless speakers. Or, more accurately, Weather Report played from one set of my wireless speakers. Sonos, in my tiny house, has two groups of speakers - "playroom" (soundbar and two Play:1 speakers with a subwoofer) and "bedroom" (two play:5 speakers). Music was only coming from the Playroom speakers. 

Clicking on the "group" command at the top right of the Roon "output" devices panel grouped "playroom" and "bedroom." Thankfully volume can easily be set for each "zone" even after "grouping." Tamping down the higher tone from "playroom" soundbar and Play:1 speakers so the Play:5s can fill out the sound is one favorite Sonos tweak easily to make with Roon Nucleus.

Roon Nucleus Review

I LOVE my Roon Nucleus! Memories of holding albums and reading linear notes were my expectations. The Roon Nucleus is so much more! Artists profile pages come with an informative story including influences, who they've played with, and other musicians they've helped, taught, or who are in their network or musical genre with HYPERLINKS.

Roon combines Rolling Stone, Wikipedia, and those twelve-inch pieces of cardboard some of us knew and loved to create a new immersive digital musical experience. Go as deep, make as many clicks, and learn as much or as little as you want. Roon's music software is epic, excellent, and sure to thrill any music lover or audiophile (I'd be firmly in the "music lover" camp).

Read the rest of my Roon Nucleus review on Moon Audio's review tab on the product page. 

Lost in Roonville

The Roon Nucleus isn't strictly needed to run Roon's brilliant music management software. I loaded Roon core (the music storage or Roon's "brain") on my iMac. I defined my iPad as a Roon "Controller" before buying the new Nucleus hardware from Moon Audio. Lost inside of Roonville trying to use the software without Roon's new music network meant it was time to double down. 

Before adding Roon's new Nucleus I kept receiving cryptic "transport failed" errors when I tried to play music. Not having the gigabytes of lossless music many music lovers own, connection to Sonos and Tidal is crucial. I doubled down purchasing the Roon Nucleus.

Given the size of my house (tiny) and music library, infinite when connected to Tidal but not that large by itself, Moon founder Drew Baird suggested Nucleus would work best. The Roon Nucleus Plus has more power, storage, and control than I needed Drew explained.

I'd gladly have parted with twice what I paid for my Nucleus! What is the value of enjoying listening to music again? What does it mean to discover new music as easy as a click? The musical rut I lived in was a prison.  CSN, Hendrix, Miles Davis, Chick Corea and Joplin are GREAT, but repetition ruins anything.  Too much of a good thing can become tedious, and depressing. I needed a musical makeover. That's why I purchased a Roon Nucleus.  

Resources

Read my review on the Roon Nucleus product page on Moon Audio. 

Roon Nucleus Plus product page