I did it all for the NUC-kie

I swapped out my Roon core a few weeks ago. For no other reason than to switch to a solution that didn’t use external USB drives. Every now and then Windows would lose visibility to the external USB drives. I’m pretty sure it was due to insufficient power on the USB bus. I had an enclosure with two SSD drives. They were very low power but I think the combined load of two drives was causing the issue.

Fast forward, I decided to do whatever I could make the environment better. I mean the high dollar proprietary servers do it, so why not? :slight_smile: I’m a tinkerer through and through. The below are some of the things I did based mostly on “best practice” and then I threw in some esoteric voodoo cause audiophile reasons.

In the BIOS, I disabled a lot of unnecessary h/w. Disabled all USB ports except for the keyboard/mouse Thinkpad compact keyboard I use. Disabled the on board audio, BT and Wi-Fi. Really anything that I wasn’t physically using is disabled.

In the Windows OS, I made as many services as I could get rid of manual so they won’t run on start up. Removed ALL unnecessary software from the OS and made the video settings as utilitarian as possible when it came to anything graphic while still maintaining a compatible screen resolution to the 4K TV screen its using as a monitor.

In the h/w front on the NUC itself I did a few things. For starters I disconnected the Bluetooth antenna. I mean physically disconnect the antenna cable from the MB. I did the same thing with the Wi-Fi antenna. Disconnected both, wrapped the RF cables in a foam sleeve to make sure they didn’t short anything and tied them away. Additionally I lined the plastic “top” of the NUC with copper foil tape.

That’s it. Cost was zero dollars since I had everything laying about already. A roll of copper foil tape is something no self professed tinkerer would be without. After all that, I simply closed it back up. I also bought a 19V LPS for the NUC which was the reason the whole experiment started in the first place as I found a great deal on a used one through Audiogon. Now the last h/w thing I did is make an RF shielded sleeve for the Ethernet cable as I’ve got a bunch of other crap in the vicinity for the Apple TV, the Cable modem and the Mesh router. They’re all running on LPS but you know why not, the less chance to have the Ethernet cable pick up noise, the better. I’ll document the process as I want to make another one of these sleeves and they’re very low dollar spend but that’s it in a nutshell.

Whether or not any of this made a difference, I don’t know, and it’s too late for me to A/B test as I’ve changed so many things in the network portion of my system. (A fiber isolated EtherREGEN with a SBooster PSU being the main change going to my DAC which did improve things) That I wouldn’t want to go back to test as there would just been too many changes. That said, it’s all best practice stuff, didn’t cost me anything or didn’t cost much I should say and it’s really good for the mind. So clearly it’s working GREAT. lol

Another aspect of my system that I’ve stopped worrying about now.

One tangible benefit to all of this, not a single loss of visibility to the music library drive since now instead of it being an external USB drive, it’s an SSD drive in the NUC. So that original problem is resolved.


I’ve got a couple of legacy audio PCs that I used to run Win Server 16, Audiophile optimiser, Fidelizer, JPlay twin PC setup

7 x LPS for mobo, pico PSU, SSDs, all cables shielded, drives sorbothane isolated, fanless - the mods were extensive and great fun

A couple of weeks ago I over-wrote the SSD on one of them with ROCK to hear how it compared to my Nucleus (only 4x LPS required)


It was slightly better - and slightly worse

Better separation within the soundstage, more tangible instruments and voices - but at the expense of the bigger, more airy soundstage I get from the Nucleus

I used a trial account for two weeks and swapping was very easy when listening - Nucleus on the iPad, PC on the phone so I could directly compare them

When the trial expired, I switched off the PC

On balance, the faff of 4x LPS, a dedicated rack and a SQ benefit that was a trade off vs a bigger, more airy sound stage (that I prefer) wasn’t worth sticking with

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It’s all a balance of price to performance to value and whether or not things move in the direction that we have a preference for. I’m happy because the little low hanging fruit things I’ve done have helped but in the end I’d never kid myself. I’ve no doubt that an Antipodes K50 or a Grim Audio MU1 would take my digital playback to another level. It’s just that I’m not ready to plunk that kind of money at something when I can gain much more by upgrading speakers or my DAC.

I’m enjoying the tweaking now that I’ve come to realize that to go any further in the hobby I’ll need to commit to spending the price of a mid sized luxury sedan and I decided I’m not going there. :slight_smile:

Little sonic incremental improvements following best practice implementations will have to do. If I get better more expensive gear I can’t get any more enjoyment than I already have. I’ll just have better more expensive gear.


I think of the UCU (unit cost of upgrade) principle - and the law of diminishing returns kicks in very hard

I think the UCU factor is 3x (some say 5x, but I think that’s too high) i.e. to get an appreciably better speaker/amp/source you’ll need to spend 3x what you already have - on each item

You can quickly get into silly money. Either directly and/or incrementally (but arguably spend even more on the latter convoluted route, possibly combined with mild disappointment each change - been there too :confused:)

I’m past all that, mostly! My most recent, and excellent, upgrade was dedicated mains @ ~£600 let’s say that was 10% of what my Quads cost me

Sound/£ it was an utter bargain - my next target is upgrading some of the Caps and Resistors in the Quads @ ~£160

Fingers crossed it does what ‘they’ say!

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