AudioStream Product Of The Year 2019: Roon Software and Roon Nucleus Network Server

Balancing acts.

Some of us walk that thin line more than others. That doesn’t stop those who rarely do it from throwing things at those who are on the line though.

I mean, not try to knock someone off? Where would be the fun in that? It’s the Internet!

Choosing a Product of The Year for AudioStream is a balancing act; there’s a lot of pros and cons to weigh when making a decision that is distilling a year’s worth of high-fidelity listening time down to one product that made such a difference that it could qualify earning such a lofty title.

But, it’s a task I’ve been giving myself either here or at other publications for a number of years now. It’s never easy, but it is satisfying. Personally satisfying that is… I mean, some of the people who read your choice will usually not be satisfied, but you can’t please all the people all the time anyway. As audiophiles we’re too disparate a group for anything but tribalism, so there’s no way to really bring everyone together happily, why even try? Because it matters, opinions are important as a reflection of standing and viewpoint. A relevant voice in this business isn’t established overnight, it’s established over time, and you can’t let a hobby with such a high signal-to-noise ratio stress you out. Like Warren Zevon sang, “Life’ll Kill Ya.”

So, with an eye to living long, I present the AudioStream Product of The Year 2019: Roon Labs Software and Roon Labs Nucleus/Nucleus+ Network Server: $119 USD/Year, $699/Lifetime. Roon Nucleus/Nucleus+ Network Server – $1,399/$2,499 USD

AudioStream PoTY: Roon Labs Software and Roon Labs Nucleus Server.

No other two products worked together so holistically – literally built for each other, I consider them one – to allow me to so richly experience so much digital music, so easily, so seamlessly between almost every piece of digital gear I use, more reliably than this combination of software and hardware. And this was before the Valence update was released (Roon Labs 1.7), which stepped up the game of Roon as to make the user interface and listening experience become a state of high fidelity gestalt.

Nobody else does the user experience of digital-audio playback like Roon, and not everyone wants everything that Roon offers, but for those who do, there is no substitute.

Roon Labs