NUC placement and Noise from other computer equipment

In my office environment I have a Nuc running Rock located in the equipment rock which supports the office facility where 100 people work…the IT room. In this rack there are several servers, the adjacent rack houses switches and a firewall etc.
For some time now I have found that the system on my desk (windows 10 - ifi Nano USB - Chord Qutest Dac -Rega Brio -Audience 2+2 speakers) sounds a bit shrill in the mid high end. I’ve adjusted speaker placement, upgraded to a better DAC, upgraded power cord to my AMP…and still a bit shrill. I can compensate for this in DSP but seems like cheating. I have been reading about how a fanless case, an LPS for NUC …all can improve SQ.

I’m out of the office, on the road, so just cant simply remove my NUC from this noisy IT room and rack to test. My hypothesis is that I have been tweaking in my own office when the real issue is my NUC sitting in the IT room rack.

Has anyone had an experience where placement of NUC in an IT room or other electrically and mechanically noisy environment introduces electrical noise that negatively affects sound quality??

If these are in fact your speakers then it seems like they are more likely the problem.

“But as much as BD liked the ClairAudient’s sound, I felt it had too much upper-midrange energy in absolute terms—although this undoubtedly contributed to its superb presentation of recorded detail—as well as some hardness to its balance that could well be laid at the feet of the resonant behavior of both the drive-unit and the enclosure.”


Thanks for your input. The speakers in the article are not in fact mine. Mine are the version 2 recently upgraded to the version 3, V3. Physically a very different looking unit. My question remains, has anyone experienced degraded SQ when the Rock was located in a noisy environment like an IT room.

I’d be more suspicious of your desk Roon client. If your Windows box is doing anything beyond being a Roon client, the chance that its USB output is any good is low. In your shoes, I’d grab a low-ish cost endpoint like an Allo USBridge and have it drive the DAC.

I recently moved my NUC7i7 from my desk to a server cabinet and I do not hear a difference in SQ.

I very much doubt it has any affect, certainly not such a massive one.

Fernando, excellent suggestion, however what I omitted to mention was that in an earlier setup I had an Allo USBridge in place of my windows 10 machine. The shrillness was there then as well. I found the USbridge to be much less “alive” than my pc as an endpoint and moved to the pc with ifi nano usb and curious usb cable. SQ improved, but still some shrill.
So much conversation about fan noise and electrical interference at the NUC level that has led me to suspect that my shrillness issue is noise from the rack environment.
Ill be back in the office next week and will be sure to update the post with my findings as to whether the IT room placement is the culprit.

I would imagine an office network is a noisy environment for ethernet and mains and getting the best is not going to be easy as you have no control over it. Adding linear PSU or fanless isn’t going to combat the noise in general as you have everything else in your office to compete with . Try moving it locally and see if it helps and then perhaps try other things but if they stay in the rack I would feel your wasting your time/money .

Thanks Simon, thats the plan. Move the NuC from the noisy IT room to my own office and see if that cures the shrill, then once I have things back to baseline, put it on a LPS

An update on this issue, I moved the NuC out of the IT room to my desktop and no difference in SQ. I moved the NuC to an Akasa Newton S7 fanless case and experienced a subtle difference in SQ, bass was more punchy and deliberate. Moved Quetest dac from Win10 machine to now connect directly to Rock in fan-less case. no apparent difference in SQ. Moved speakers off the cheap speaker stands back to my desktop…glare is gone.

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Aha! That sounds plausible.

Yeah speaker placement is key specially for the hi frequencies.