Can I stream from a Nucleus to an ethernet dac?

I stream Roon to my DEQX Pre Mate Plus via Ethernet from an iMac core in another room.
Router is tp-link Archer AC 1600.

I am planning on buying a Nucleus to sit next to my dac and transfer the core from my iMac to the Neuclus. There is nothing else on the network.

My Questions are:

After the core transfer is complete, how do I connect Nucleus to the Ethernet input on the Deqx to start streaming from the Nucleus which seems only to have USB out.

Do I need an Ethernet switch or splitter from the wall outlet where both devices will be sited, to run Ethernet cable to both devices?


Connect your Nucleus to your router using ethernet. Connect your DAC to your router using ethernet. You can run one ethernet cable from your router to an unmanaged switch, then ethernet cables from that switch to your Nucleus and your DAC.

In addition, if your Nucleus is close to your DAC, you can connect the Nucleus to your DAC using USB and/or HDMI. Then, in Roon, you can set up a separate Roon end-point for each of these connections. There is no reason to do this unless you just want to experiment and see if one sounds any better than the other.

My Nucleus and Oppo DVD are both connected to a nearby switch using ethernet. My Nucleus is also connected to the Oppo using HDMI for multichannel. I can’t really detect any difference in SQ with ethernet vs HDMI.

My Teac NT-505 DAC/Streamer is connected to ROON ROCK Nuc via USB and via Ethernet. Both connections operate separately flawless (I can switch between USB and Ethernet with the remote of this Teac DAC/Streamer).

The Ethernet connection of Teac is limited to 192K hi-res, but Teac can upsample the sound. The USB is limited to 700+K hi-res and 512 DSD per channel: this leaves room for the Nuc to upsample the sound via DSD.

Sound wise there is a small difference between Ethernet and USB: which I prefer, depends more on my mood than on the sound quality. In general I don’t upsample via Nuc or Teac.

The TEAC and Nuc are connected via ethernet to the same router.

In case your socket has two ethernet ports, I suppose that you don’t need an Ethernet switch.
In case there is only one port available in the socket, you will very probably need a switch. I use a standard 8 port hassle free switch (connect and forget) that costs around € 35, because I also stream Netflix etc. to my TV, (of course not at the same time as I listen music :)).

@Graham_Smith Roon have chosen not to incorporate a means of feeding a network connected DAC direct from any of their versions of RoonOS. It recognises a second Ethernet connection but will not assign it an IP address so Roon won’t see anything connected to it. You have to connect back to a switch and connect the end point to that switch (or do the same with a router). It is certainly possible with alternative OS’s but not with RoonOS on the Nucleus or home spun NUCs.

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Hi @Graham_Smith,

As mentioned above, you can’t connect the Nucleus directly to the DAC via Ethernet, but as long as they’re both connected to the same network you’ll be able to play to the DAC no problem!

This also assumes that the Ethernet dac is roon ready ( I’m not sure that is the case for the DEQX). You would need to check on the partners page for roon ready devices. If it’s not it might show up as airplay or other device.

It seems it is already working from his iMac.

Thank you to all who gave advice, looks like a switch will be required if go Ethernet via Nucleus. Yes the dac is Roon ready, been using it for over 12 months streaming Roon from the iMac. I know it has USB input as well. I just want a streamer that has both outputs. Just noticed a few other streamers that can be Roon cores and have Ethernet out, Innuos, Antipodes etc as well as USB, I will look at them.

One again thanks

I used two of these. One at my router and another at my sound system where the Nucleus and Oppo 203 DVD are located.

This is tempting since the Nucleus is so pretty, but it’s not the best idea. In spite of its appearance, Nucleus is a server, not an audio component.

For best results, Nucleus should be placed in another room or closet, connected to your router. You’ll then have an Ethernet cable run from your router or switch to your audio system for use by your DEQX.

In general your answer is correct, except one small detail that may be important for the placement of the Nucleus and/or ROON ROCK Nuc.

As far as I am aware the Nucleus is mainly a server, but it is also a audio component in two ways. It provides the digital signal - in this case via ethernet (or via USB) - to the DAC, Roon Endpoint etc.

In case the nucleus is connected via USB to the DAC, it is wise to limit the length of the cable. The same is also to some extend applicable to a connection via ethernet. Several purists have strong opinions about the length and quality of these cables, but in general this issue may/might begin to arise at high end audio systems.

The Nucleus can also be used to upsample the audio signal via ROON DSP. This process is very CPU intensive for DSD 256 and DSD 512, and the CPU will heat-up quickly to some 60 degrees or more (in a NUC in original case, the fan will start blowing loudly). A proper heath dissipation is necessary for the Nucleus. When DSP is heavily used, it is very unwise to place the Nucleus in a closed cupboard or in a closet, especially during hot weather.

So my additional advise is:

  • in very high end systems the weakest link will determine the quality or the sound, and the placement of the NUC and quality of the interconnects may/might be important.
  • in case of prolonged upampling to DSD 128 and above, take care at the placement of the Nucleus for a proper heat management and dissipation of its case.

Thanks for adding clarification. I agree with everything you said except, possibly, for this bit. In even a moderately serious playback system, connecting a DAC directly to Core via USB is generally a bad idea, regardless of the length of the cable. Roon’s Sound Quality guidance is to “plan for an ethernet cable between your Core and Output components.”

All of the suggestions so far are pretty much audiophilia. My suggestion is try it first. See if you detect a difference in various configurations. I’ve had my Roon core on a desktop PC, now a Nucleus, both connected direct USB, now ethernet. I’ve had my Nucleus in another room, now next to my amp. I haven’t detected any difference in sound quality with any of these configurations. Maybe I’m not discerning enough, maybe my system isn’t resolving enough. I’ve tried it with an Elekit TU-8200DX with Sennheiser HD-650 and Audeze LCD-3 headphones, and with rebuilt and heavily modded Pioneer HPM-100s. I’ve tried it with a Pioneer SX-950 and the same outputs. I’ve tried it with a Peachtree Nova 150 and Tekton Lore speakers. All of these using various DACs. They all sound slightly different because the equipment is different, but I can’t say I ever detected a difference based on where the core was located or how it was connected to the system.

Why do you say the Roon Nucleus should be placed in another room or closet? If you install a SSD, it is totally silent. You could put it on a table next to your listening seat and not hear it. I recommend putting it anywhere that works best with your setup. I put mine next to my Oppo 203 and connected by ethernet as well as HDMI to the Oppo.

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