As far as the digital data domain is concerned, there is no difference between platform / volatile or non-volatile memory type / connection method and so on. Changes in perceived SQ seem to be related to different levels of RF noise transported along side the data to the DAC (and beyond). The general opinion seems to be to avoid connecting a usually “noisy” device like a general purpose PC directly to a DAC and to taking measures to elecrically isolate the DAC’s input as much as possible from the noisy outside world.
You might also want to read the articles about SQ from the knowledge base:
I understand that Roon Rock is better in audio quality because it has fewer active processes and consequently seems to have less interference. Maybe it depends on the type of dac and amplifier / speakers. I have a 20k € system. I believe there are audible differences at this level.
I’d just say I doubt it. And I’ll tell you why…
If you have a ‘noisy’ computer with lots of processes sending a noisy USB signal to a poorly built DAC, you might hear a difference. But if the computer is not inherently noisy (like a NUC, not a desktop) and you have a high quality DAC built to reject noise on the USB interface, you don’t have an effect get passed to the analog signal.
My system is quite a bit more expensive than yours. I’ve had Audiophile Optimizer run on a CAPSv3 music computer with Windows, regular Windows, and ROCK on a NUC and it’s just really hard to tell a difference. I spent >$2000 for a new ethernet interface for my MSB DAC (versus the old USB input) expecting to hear big things and if you squint hard and keep telling yourself how much you spent, MAYBE you can hear a difference.
What’s common is decent quality machines and very little difference in SQ. Nobody can say you won’t hear some difference, but my point is that it is not a given fact you will. Try them all for yourself and decide. It will be a fun experiment!
As a simple Google search showed a review dated back to 2013 I doubt that the USB port is built to reject noise in any way as AFAIK the knowledge about possible problems with noise and solutions with the use of USB as audio interface emerged later and manufacturers usually still advertise protected USB ports, what makes me believe that even today it’s still not standard to do so.
On the other hand, all this RF noise and also many (most / all) other SQ related problems and measures are IMHO individual to a users setup and environment and can’t be transferred 1-to-1 to different environments / setups. While generalizations to some degree might be possible if one is careful, the individual proportion in a given environment / setup might still be high(er) as many might think. So there’s no need to blame on others because they can or can’t hear differences as their individual environment / setup might be affected / suffer or not from a completely different level / amount / mixture of possible problems.
I have a NUC10i7FHN up and running! It works beautifully, but it took a bit of diligence to get it up and going properly. The bios requires a not so well documented configuration change (which I found here in the Roon community), and I had to use an Ethernet adapter to connect to my network. Besides my own boneheaded mistakes (don’t try to use the Thunderbolt port on the back) it was a relatively smooth and successful setup. Let me know if you have questions.
So you confirm that rock is working on your NUC10?
Can the BIOS be set in legacy mode? Or have you managed to use UEFI mode? In practice, did you follow the same steps of the NUC8 installation guide only that you had to add a USB ethernet interface?
In normal operation with roon the fan is annoying?
I was considering whether to take an Akasa Turing FX chassis.
Yes, you can set the NUC10 to Legacy Mode–I’m trying to remember the settings changes I made (found them here in the Roon Community) so I may have to reset the unit, look in the bios, and then add to this message. UEFI mode will not work.
And my fan is nearly silent–I don’t hear a thing.
UPDATE: The answer wasn’t in the Roon Community, it was on an Intel forum. Here’s a link to the info. In short, you need to disable both Secure Boot and Modern Standby. Then you can enable Legacy Boot.
Very well! So you’re telling me that everything works as on nuc8 and only the network card support is missing. Then I can proceed with the purchase of a NUC10 (I weighed at NUC10i5FNH what do you think?), Install Windows 10 or Lubuntu 19.10 and wait for them to add support to the network card on Rock. Alternatively I can use my USB network cards (I have a pair, a USB 3.0 and a USB-C). Doing so would have the advantages of a cpu and a new nuc (longer support and better performance / features). I could configure a Roon + Plex + Torrent + VNC server. In case I am not satisfied with Linux, I can try with Win10 and if I am still not satisfied (some say that more active processes = more noise on USB) I can try with Rock + LAN usb. Then as soon as the support arrives I will only use nuc with rock and give up Plex and Bittorrent in case I don’t like having Win or Linux. My idea is to add a second HD in which to put films (Plex) and music (Roon), I need 2 TB, it would be nice to have everything on SSD but it is too expensive (do you know a very silent mechanical HD?). Ultimately if I am annoyed by the noise I will order a fanless chassis from Akasa (I was thinking of Turing FX).
To prepare for ROCK, you need a m.2 SSD for the OS and database, and most importantly, a separate 2.5" drive for music, assuming you don’t use a NAS for music storage. Normally a 128GB SSD would be more than enough for ROCK, but if you use Windows I recommend no less than 256GB. Normally 8GB RAM is enough for ROCK. Again if you use Windows you may consider having more RAM than that.
Only if you give up ROCK can you use a single storage device for OS and music storage.