Network Question

Would this layout work?

  • NUC feeding straight into Naim NDX2 VIA USB
  • NUC & NDX2 connected via netgear switch & Develo powerline to router


Hi the ndx2 usb connection is for hard drives and usb sticks, where the ndx2 can use its own server mode to access flac files etc that are on that storage.
The ndx2 is a roon ready device so any active roon core on the same network can stream to it via Ethernet. (Or via WiFi but that depends on your home WiFi suitability).

Thanks for that. Its really a question regarding sound quality. At present system works fine with Roon Core & music on my Qnap NAS, however i find that if i copy a music file from NAS onto USB stick & then plug stick directly into NDX2 & control playback from the NDX2 front panel there is a noticable inprovement in SQ compared to NAS playback. So to use Roon, does everything need to stream through the router or is there a more direct way to connect music to NDX2, or is SQ quality compromised to use the convienance of Roon.

I suspect you’ll always find local direct streaming to be superior, but I wouldn’t say that play back via internet streaming is a compromise. Eg subscribe to say qobuz and you’ll get extensive access to millions of tracks and a significant proportion will be hires 24/96. This is where streaming services come into their own, and the roon user experience enhances this. You may find altering your network layout can improve things further. Plug in mains Ethernet will inject noise into the system, there’s no way to avoid that unless you revisit your network and take steps to remove them. There is also anecdotal evidence that using particular Ethernet cabling (think cat5 vs cat6 vs cat6a) can bring improvements coupled with particular switches eg Cisco 2960. There’s plenty more discussion on these topics on the Naim forum.

Thanks, will investigate further, would be a shame to lose the benefits of Roon if i am unable to address the SQ issue.

At the risk of being shot down in flames by someone who knows far more about networking than I do, here goes.

If you connect your NDX2 and your ROCK NUC to the same local Netgear switch the ROCK should send any local traffic directly to the NDX2, it will not need to go via the router. The ROCK will connect to the router for streaming and interaction with ROON servers but again once that traffic is processed by the ROCK it will remain local and be sent directly to NDX2. In short the Netgear switch should be smart enough to deal with it locally.

As for impact on sound quality. As always it’s incredibly subjective. If you change around components and connectivity it will probably sound slightly different. Whether that is better or worse is down to the individual. All I will say is that you rarely find anyone paying £££s for cables or clean power supplies or filters saying it sounds worse than it did with £1 Cat5 cables and out of the box power. Not a criticism, just an observation. If it makes you happy, then it’s worth it in my book.