MP8 / DAC8 dsd best signal path?

Hello, I am new to Roon but have spent significant time reading the KB and browsing this community. I do have a question with regards to audiophile SQ.
My MP8 / Dac8 drives an A3000HV and a set of KEF Reference5’s. I am super happy with this setup. My music sources are either Qobuz, or locally sourced (DSD and FLAC) form a network connected Melco N1. I have acquired Roon Nucleus and am looking for the best signal path to the Dac8.
As I understand it my choices are networked through the roonready MP8, or Roon exclusive hence direct USB connected from Nucleus to Dac8.
From an SQ perspective, which is the best, and if exclusive is the answer what “functionality” will I loose bypassing the roonready MP8.
Either way, what is the expected signal path? From Roon Nucleus to Melco (to pickup local sourced material), and then as output to MP8 (if networked) or Dac8 (if exclusive).
All a bit confusing to me.
Any insights would be appreciated.

Roon doesn’t pick up local sourced material, if I am understanding you correctly. All local source material is streamed to the Nucleus Core first, and then, back out to the endpoints. So, if music resides on the Melco, it will be streamed first to the Nucleus and then back out.

Ether way you do it, it will be a …Melco>Nucleus>DAC8 chain. I prefer having my endpoints connected via Ethernet if that is an option.

Rugby, thanks for your response. After having installed my nucleus I have found that the direct USB connection from nucleus to my DAC8 works perfectly well to run DSD format direct into the DAC8. Roon recongizes the DAC8 which I set up as a separate zone. Listening to DSD this way will mean some loss of Roon functionality en requires me to switch the DAC8 to the USB source using the T+A remote. Apart from that all works very well.
Again thanks for your insigts.

1 Like


I really like that setup! Let me share mine and some thoughts: :grinning:

  • Intel NUC i7 8th gen (Running Roon)*
  • iFi iUSB3.0 Usb regenerator between NUC and DAC
  • DAC8 DSD
  • T+A PA3100HV
  • Kef Reference 3

*the NUC is a bit tweaked using a fanless case for less noise and win10 optimised with audiophile optimizer software wich strips down win10 for less cluttering and noise (essentially is a DIY Nucleus running win10)

You should try experimenting with a PC running win10 (such as the NUC) and T+A ASIO USB driver installed in place of the nucleus if you ever have the chance. I found DAC8 DSD to benefit strongly from a source like this.
I recently got my NUC and there is noticeable additional detail, deeper silence and sharpness (opposed to a mac mini and sotm sms200ultra neo i had).

Thing is that any non-windows pc source does not allow to use T+A native driver for the DAC8 and therefore not possible to achieve DSD512 streams. I strongly suspect native driver and DSD512 is what this DAC wants to be at its best.


thanks for your thoughts. You know, I can’t get too excited about DSD512. My library (and Qobuz) contains mostly selfripped CD’s and a bunch of Hi Res flacs. I only have a few DSD files (64M and 128M).
In my listening experience I do not hear vast differences, what I do hear is lousy recordings and upsampled reissues, neither of which I apreciate.

What did make a lot of difference in SQ was upgrading the complete powersupply chain from the switchbox to my stereo setup and upgrading to an audio quality ethernet switch, cabling and powersupply.

I now feed Nucleus and an AQvoxSE switch with dedicated FARAD super3 powersupplies. That made a difference.

So, no W10 for me but Nucleus with an internal 4TB ssd drive installed and the best available powersupply. Works (and sounds) like a charm!



With DSD512 I was referring to upsampling all sources on the fly with roon dsp. But in reality I think the difference I see is coming from the optimized driver for windows combined withe the tweaked nuc for low power usage.

I was using a sotm sms200ultra neo which is well regarded with the sps500 low noise power supply and wasn’t even close to the NUC with a normal power suplly.

As a switch I went with a normal enterprise tp-link fed by an ifi low noise power supply.

Tks for sharing as well.