@Martin_Andersen Rock is free to try - I’ve used on many Mobo combinations and usually the issue is LAN interface drivers not working. I even installed on a MacMini with USB ethernet to get it working but most intel chipsets “should” be ok.
Then you can usually go with Linux and just do a server install (no GUI) as no roon remote GUI for linux anyway. Plenty of light weight distress around…Even DietPi had an X86 install I tried once - but I have other PC’s to run Roon/Rock that are easier. Now I just run under W10 or sometimes a Nucleus
Is this because you want to reduce box count and get rid of the MiniDSP?
Before going down a rabbit hole of complexity and cost, over just using the USB port on the NUC you have, step back and ask what you’re hoping to achieve and what you perceive to a be an issue.
Unless your DAC is poorly designed the USB port on the NUC (I assume currently running ROCK) will be fine, despite what vendors offering ‘audiophile’ USB cards and ‘audiophile’ USB isolators may claim.
Simple experiment, if you plug your existing USB DAC into your existing NUC do you hear a change in sound quality — the answer should be no.
If you are noticing a change then ensure your MiniDSP isn’t performing any DSP or additional processing and that the volume levels are matched ie. so the MiniDSP SHD is just decoding the audio it receives from Roon/RATT and passing the PCM stream your your DAC untouched. Then to rule out confirmation bias — which were all susceptible to — get someone to switch between the two, so as your not aware of which is being used and see if you notice a difference.
You shouldn’t notice a step change in quality, in fact you shouldn’t be noticing any change in SQ. If you are it’s likely to be that the MiniDSP SHD is adding DSP or adjusting volume — far more likely than any minuscule effect the USB port on the NUC could possible have.
I think if you’re noticing a major change then something else is up / amiss, way over the USB port on the NUC.
While there may be measurable electrical noise on the USB port, unless your DAC is poorly designed, it won’t be at a level that will affect the data being passed. At this point you’re still in the digital domain, the data (0 and 1s) will either pass and if not you’ll get noticeable audible dropouts.
Before rushing out and building a new PC just so you can add a new USB card I’d look elsewhere for the root of the difference in your setups. As mentioned above, the difference between a stock USB card on a NUC and a ‘audiophile’ one should be indistinguishable, if apparent at all. If you’re noticing a big change in sound quality it’s not going to be the USB that is causing that change.
Is it possible to describe the change in sound between the two setups?
Sure this will get a lot of naysayers blood boiling…lol
If I connect my nuc directly to my ml585 DAC by it’s USB output it sounds very thin and lightweight in body and delivery compared to connecting my Lumin T2 to the ml585.
The T2 is connected by Hardline to my network.
In this instance the T2 is doing a lot to the signal compared to the direct USB output of the nuc.
So I can sympathize with the ops request and wishes.