Help with upgrading...Digital vs Analog

Looking for advice. Current setup:

Router> Ethernet> Nucleus Server with Portable HD
Router> Ethernet> Sonore microRendu> USB> DAC Oppo 105D (ESS 9018)> Tube Amplifier Line Magnetic Audio LM216IA > B&W 683 S2

Next Step - Would I see significant SQ improvements selling the microRendu and replacing with Chord Hugo TT or Upgrade tubes 12ax7 &/or KT88

The digital step would cost significantly more and anyone that has done this I would love to hear your thoughts. Alternatively tube rolling the Line Magnetic to higher SQ tubes would that be the path ?


I have no doubt that the Chord Hugo TT DAC would be much better than the DAC in your Oppo 105D. However, the Hugo TT is just a DAC and does not incorporate a streamer/renderer. You would still require a streaming/rendering device such as your microRendu or similar in conjunction with a Hugo TT DAC.

Thanks for the reply. Obviously ttill understanding the chain lol

If you wanted to, you could have your setup be:
Router>Ethernet>Nucleus>USB>Hugo TT. That obviously would require close proximity. But if you want to keep the Nucleus removed from the system you need the microRendu as an endpoint.

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This is exactly the set-up I use, and it’s sublime IMO. HIGHLY recommended!
With a USB connection to the Hugo TT, the microRendu becomes redundant.

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Offcourse it will sound good, but removing the Nucleus physically from the audio chain (aka introduce a quality streamer, matching the rest of your system) will have a significant improvement on the SQ.

Nucleus, NUC or any other computer system will introduce significant noise in the audio chain. Generic computer systems are not designed for this purpose.

What you say makes sense in theory, but in practise it’s not as simple, or as ‘black and white’ as that.
There’s nothing wrong at all in connecting a Nucleus via USB to a DAC. And in my experience, this combination sounds just as good as my other, Ethernet-connected/isolated Roon endpoints.
Maybe the Hugo TT is especially immune to electrical noise?

YMMV, in my case it made a significant impact. Roon advises to keep the NUC/Nucleus out of the signal path for the exact same reason.