I hope I have posted this topic in the right place.
My listening chain is what I show you.
Overall, I am happy with the sound quality but, as I think many of us, I am nit picking.
I was wondering if replacing the iMac as a server by replacing it with a Nucleus would bring me any sound quality benefits.
For sure, because I was able to try it on my skin, the separation between the server and the player produces a certain improvement in the sound (as is well specified among the advice that Roon puts in his knowledge base), so I would like continue on which path.
If you keep the music files on the NAS, I’d move them off that, onto a disk plugged directly into your iMac. The Roon Core doesn’t “see” music on NAS’s very well.
To answer your question, I don’t think replacing the iMac with a Nucleus would change the sound quality at all. You might try replacing the Mac Mini with a Raspberry Pi, but just to get rid of the fan noise from the Mac Mini.
I agree with Bill - a Nucleus isn’t likely to make much difference IMO. I went to a Nucleus from a PC and the appeal was the fit/forget, not the SQ
I’d consider getting something like an SOtM Ultra, or an Aurelic Femto etc. etc. there is plenty of choice.
The budget would be similar to a Nucleus and the step change in SQ would probably be very significant. When I bought an SMS200un it was one of the biggest single SQ improvements I’ve ever made, I was genuinely amazed
If you took the SMS200un route and already have the SOtM SPS-500 PSU for the Tx-USB, you could power both (which is a really good upgrade for the SMS200) - if not, you have a good (and relatively cheap) upgrade path for both
The SOtM Y cables are stupidly expensive - if you’re OK with a soldering iron, consider making your own (as I did - I have the connector details - PM me if you’re interested)
If you go down the SOtM route and are planning ahead, consider the clock input option (especially if you already have it on the Tx-USB). That opens up the external clock option - it is quite expensive (and the cables make it more so) but it is like switching on a light I have one, and it clocks these two and the switch.
If you don’t mind second hand (I like a bargain), you can get good deals on the used market for SOtM gear at Nucleus money
Alternatively, if you want to make a big, single-box jump, consider something like the Aurelic G1 or G2.1 - both bloomin’ marvellous, my mates have them
Final point: having the Tx-USB after a SMS200un (as I do) isn’t night and day better, but it’s worth having - especially with the clock option