Looking for feedback on update plans (Nucleus, Lumin, Hegel)

I’m hoping I could get some feedback and thoughts on what I am hoping will be a long-lasting upgrade to my streaming system - at least another few years without getting antsy about the sound and FOMO with new tech.

I’m currently using a spaghetti setup with several boxes and cables and my intent is to cut the clutter down to the least amount of boxes for the absolute best sound.

Current setup is a 2012 standard Mac Mini as Roon Core, with Oppo 205 running as the streamer, sending digital coax out to a Marantz ND8006. I am happy with the SQ overall but I know I can do better, and I do want to get rid of a few things here.

My hifi system is a vintage Luxman CL40 preamp to a PrimaLuna ProLogue 4 amp from the fixed RCA outs of the Marantz, and running the variable (at 100 volume) RCAs out to my Anthem MRX 720 to utilize my subwoofer and room correction for bass management. Speakers are La Scala IIs.

So my preferred sound overall favors the analog tube sound - transparent and dimensional, “live” sounding with a deep sound stage and expansive stereo placement. Not so much “studio,” analytical, etc.

I have a small FLAC collection (~600 files) on SSD and use Tidal and Roon to manage the combined collection/playlists/transport, etc.

Right now my plan is to ditch the Marantz, Oppo, and Mac Mini and pick up a Roon Nucleus and Lumin T1. I would run the Nucleus as the Core and keep my small FLAC collection there, and use the ethernet connection to stream from the Lumin T1.

I believe this will allow me to run unbalanced outs to the Luxman pre, and send a digital signal to the Anthem to run my sub/bass eq, etc. It will also eliminate the pain in the ass of having a headless Mac Mini.

I believe there may be cheaper alternatives to this, but my research points to this being the best value for both convenience and sound quality.

Is there anything else I should be considering around this same budget?

I should mention the other DACs I have considered are the PS Audio Directstream (kind of old tech and mixed reviews), the Hegel HD30 (not Roon ready), and the Lumin D2 (may get upgrade-itis thinking the T1 sounds better).

Lumin T1 is more analog sounding than D2.

To save some money, keep using the Mac Mini 2012. Just make sure you’re using Ethernet instead of WiFi. Another alternative is NUC7i7DNHE with a fanless case.

Thanks Peter – is it safe to assume that I can simultaneously output via digital coax to my Anthem and analog RCA to my Luxman preamp?

With this config I should just be able to run ethernet to my Mini from my hub and ethernet into the T1 from my hub and run the T1 as an endpoint in Roon - no USB required, right?

I’m wondering if you won’t run into timing problems with a setup like that, since you’d be running two different DACs for the same audio stream.

Different DACs, if they aren’t the exact architecture, will have different reconstruction filters and thus different delays.

You are correct, it’s hard to say unless I try it I think. In the past, I have run my Oppo 205 as a Roon endpoint/DAC and sent analog outs to the Luxman and HDMI to the Anthem, so that has worked where the Anthem AKM DAC was decoding the HDMI signal and the ESS/Oppo DAC was converting the signal as well. This worked fine unless I ran Anthem Room Correction and then played music before rebooting the system - there was definitely timing issues. But then when I would power cycle both units they would be in sync again.

It hasn’t been an issue with my Marantz as it has 2 RCA analog outs so the Marantz DAC is converting both signals. If this is an issue with the coax out running along with the analog outs of something like the Lumin, I could always get an XRL/RCA adapter cables and run both analog outputs of the Lumin (as long as they did simultaneous output).

For PCM files, yes.
For DSD files, you’ll have to convert them to PCM in Roon.
For MQA files, this requires a special setup - turn off MQA in Lumin setting, and set MQA Capabilities in Roon as “Not available”. This way Roon will decode MQA to MQA Core and Lumin will output to both analog and SPDIF.


There is simultaneous output from SPDIF and one set of analog output.

We do not recommend simultaneous connection of both RCA and XLR analog outputs - this will degrade SQ.