DirectStream Dac owner. Is it worth getting the Nucleus?

I use Roon on my Mac. My music is on an external hard drive connected with the Lightning cable.

The PS Audio DAC in the main music room has the Bridge II and is on the network.

In the computer room, the headphone system uses a Hugo 2 DAC connected by USB to the Mac.

I’m wondering is there any reason to buy the Roon Nucleus?
If I did…
I’ve been doing a lot of reading and have heard several opinions on the best sounding connection to the PS DAC. What is the best choice?

  1. Buying an Ultadigital - USB TO SPDIF AND LVDS I2S CONVERTER and connecting to the I2S connection.
  2. Direct connection by USB to the PS DAC
  3. Keep using the Bridge II connected to the network

Is there a technical reason or issue you are having with the Mac? The Nucleus will not bring about any improved SQ, nor does Roon ever says it does.

Keep in mind the Nucleus will not see the lightning cable I don’t think, it will only see standard USB 3.0 or 2.0.

And, imho, connection via ethernet from a Roon server to an endpoint is the best, so #3.

I am not a fan of the Bridge II in etc DirectStream DAC. I had that card and sold it. Now I use an ultraRendu instead. Also, I like the Matrix SPDIF 2 much more than the ultraDigital. If you look over on the PS Audio forum the Matrix SPDIF 2 is extremely popular.

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Nowt wrong with the Mac that anything else can add in my opinion.

If I sit the Nucleus next to the DAC I can take the USB directly to the DAC. I wouldn’t need the ultraRendu, right?

The point of the ultraRendu is to isolate the DAC from the Roon Core using Ethernet. That is how you will get the best sound quality. Your Mac is an electrically noisy device…especially over USB. Isolation is a good way to improve sound quality.

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Couldn’t I use the Matrix SPDIF 2 and forget all about USB?
I hear the I2S is supposedly the best connection to the DAC?

Yes, but you still have all that USB noise from the Mac going into the Matrix SPDIF 2.

Look, I have played with all of this a bunch. The best sound quality comes when you isolate the Core from the DAC over Ethernet. My setup is as follows:

sonicTransporter i9 (Ethernet)–>ultraRendu (USB)–>Matrix SPDIF 2 (I2S)–>DirectStream

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The UltraRendu and UltraDigital arrived. They sounds pretty good, maybe slightly better than the Bridge, but I’ll need to listen more.

This probably isn’t the right place to ask, but I am having trouble with a couple things.
When using the UltraRendu and UltraDigital (into the I2S input) if I play DSD files the channels are reversed and out of phase. It also will not play 256 or higher (the Bridge works fine on these files).
I cannot get into post a message on the Sonic Orbiter forums and haven’t had much luck searching the web.
Can anyone here help?

I would just ask the seller of the UltraRendu how to solve this, they are probably happy to help.

I read this thread to advice that I have not heard any noticeable difference with Nucleus, NUC (ROCK) or Mac mini. But I have experience big differences with streamers. And I see you’ve already started to try that path with isolating the core from the sound system.

Your DAC is DSD128 only, so you cannot possibly play DSD256 without dowsampling. Bridge II only supports DSD64, the only reason it could play DSD256 should be that Roon automatically downsampled that to DSD64 or PCM for you.

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My mistake on that part. I thought it did higher. I must be thinking of my Chord DAC.
Anyway, thoughts on the reversed, out of phase behavior?

This is extremely common with I2S over HDMI output because it’s not standard. You need to configure the I2S source format to fit the DAC I2S format.


Well that’s the problem.
There are 10 dip switches in the ultradigital, and they are set properly (allegedly) to work properly with PS Audio. Obviously, they aren’t right but I can’t seem to get any help with this.
Andrew from SGC tells me to look on line for the answer rather than offering any help. Kind of makes me want to go with the unit from Matrix Audio instead.

You should have purchased the Matrix SPDIF 2 instead of the ultraDigital…

I just did.
I’m done.
Anybody want to buy an UltraDigita?

Well, not really unless you have a DAVE, Chord does not process DSD only PCM. The chord unit might accept a DSD INPUT, but, it immediately converts it to PCM BEFORE processing the audio. Which, imho, makes feeding it DSD completely irrelevant.

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Please reconfirm your switches conform to:

And after changing the switches, I suppose you need to power cycle the unit.

That’s probably why we don’t offer an I2S over HDMI product.

The switches are correct. You need to take the back plate off the unit to change them so you need to disconnect power anyway. Power cycle happens :slight_smile:

Being late to the party, I don’t know if my input is still relevant here. I’ve been using a Nucleus with my DirectStream DAC for a couple of years now and I’ve been very pleased with the pairing. Prior to that I was using a MacBook Air with my DSD and was always experiencing dropouts and other glitches. I’m also using a Matrix in order to feed the DSD an I2S signal. No regrets with my setup.

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