NAS to NUC to Altair - need opinions

I have a Synology NAS and an Auralic Altair, using Lightning DS / server.
I am about to introduce a Core i7 NUC into the chain, on which I will deploy ROCK.

The way I see it, I have 2 ways to connect to the Altair:

  1. use the Altair as a DAC and connect the NUC via USB
  2. use the Altair as a Roon endpoint and use a usb-to-ethernet converter

My question:
Any opinions as to which option will sound better using Roon?

I’ve found that separating the server from the endpoint provides the best sound quality. I’d use the Altair as a Roon endpoint. Just connect the NUC w/ROCK (as the server) and the Altair to your network and you’re good to go (continuing to use the NAS for your library).

What are your thoughts around the usb to ethernet converter? Not sure why you’d use this unless you want to bridge the NUC and the Altair (some people find bridging sounds great).

Thanks Jim,
So: you recommend connecting both the Altair and the NUC to the same Gigabit switch as the NAS? essentially a star-config with the switch in the center?

And the answer to the other question: I read on here somewhere that someone daisy-chained the devices (Nas - ethernet- switch - ethernet - NUC - usb-2-ethernet - Altair)
Both of these would use the Altair as a roon endpoint if I understand it correctly.

I was looking for opinions on either in terms of preference / sound / etc…

I’ve never listened to the Altair, but in general I find that using Ethernet for the devices that support it is a win. USB audio has all sorts of problems, from carrying electrical noise into DACs to driver and USB receiver bugs. Stay away from it if at all possible. So, I would have a single LAN with Synology, NUC, and Altair on it.

In my own setup, I have two Ethernet Roon endpoints – Auralic Aries and Metrum Ambre – with Roon Server on a NUC and music files on a Synology NAS. Aries to one DAC vis AES, Ambre via I2S to another. It all just works :slight_smile:

Perfect thank you, that answers my questions.