In this one I am a bit confused, am listening to ROCK on a NUC, some people say, a linear power supply does improve the sound quality. So I took it for granted.
But now it comes, I went to an audio builder to make such a power supply and got really puzzled, he said …
All ATX / ITZ boards like a NUC has, they all consists of hardware switches, called buckets, a linear power supply on a NUC cannot improve the sound quality because of that, not a great idea to build a linear power supply for a NUC. Is he right?
I think my question is answered an LPS does not make difference on a NUC, and yes I trust him, think one of the better audio technicians in the country, and really believe he would build one for me with the idea to improve SQ he did, and I bought, and made a nice profit from it.
But he said: no, a LPS on a NUC doesn’t improve SQ. because of that, so he refused to make profit on a thing he knows it does not do anything.
In my opinion, a great audio engineer, who only does want to make profit on audio components that make a difference.
Recent compact digital circuitry is packed with its own internal switching power supplies to deliver different voltages to different parts of the circuit. The main power supply brick just feeds that, so I agree that changing it to an LPS would be unlikely to make a sound difference, even to an attached USB DAC. And if your Roon endpoints are connected to the core by Ethernet or WiFi, what could conceivably matter are the endpoint power supplies, not the core’s.
I tried 3 power supplies with my Intel NUC and they all generated differences in sound quality. Obviously, the differences were not major, but easily noticeable. The decision between them was a matter of personal taste.
A power supply used on the same electrical circuit as the audio chain can have a double impact, both on the component it supplies, but also on the others components (through the noise introduced in the electrical circuit).
If changing the NUC power supply in 2 changes sound quality, you have bigger problems than just the NUC power supply, such as:
Audio components with mediocre power supply filtering that lets in noise from the power source.
Poor power circuitry, for example with bad grounding.
Less than ideal organization of power distribution for your audio system, for example plugging both digital sources and audio components into the same power strip.
In all cases, remedying the root cause will give you better long-term results than just changing a NUC power supply, because switching noise is all over the power wiring in a modern home. For instance, I use Furman power filtered conditioners to power my audio components only. Digital components are powered by separate (also filtered) power strips. I’m currently fighting slight sound quality issue at a different location which may require regrounding the whole house power distribution
The purpose of an LPS is to make your NUC more electrically stable. Whether you can hear the result depends on how far along you are in optimizing the system its connected to. A good LPS for i7 NUC will set you back $500 or more… the question to always ask is given what you already have, will spending that money elsewhere get you further. For example, you could buy Kimber Hero interconnects and a Lush 3 USB cable to improve the typical DAC 's input/output for the same amount of money.