NUC USB audio out

Is it possible to use a USB interface with NUC or is the only audio output via HDMI?

With OSX and Win I’ve been using a Berkeley alpha USB interface but Berkeley don’t have a Linux driver. I can rehome my NUC to be colocates with my home theatre and use the HDMI on my receiver but it’s not how I’ve been using the Roon server in the past. Only having HDMI out is a real limitation if there aren’t any generic USB drivers.

I’m using a M2Tech hiFace 2 with my Rock. It is working flawlesly, it also outputs DSD over PCM to my DAC.
The reason many DACs and USB interfaces don’t have drivers for linux is because they comply with USB Audio Class 2, that comes standard on Linux.
Reading Berkeley manual for the alpha I found the part that follows below that says it is supposed to work.

_Computer Configuration_
The Alpha USB is designed to work with Apple Macintosh and Windows PC computers and
also works with Linux based music servers. For Linux, the operating system must be ALSA
1.0.23 or above. It must also have the ability to select the output device.

Link to manual:

Maybe someone from Roon team can confirm ROCK is ALSA 1.0.23 or above.

So, I think you should try, it’s very likely taht it will work.

Thanks for that. I guess that will teach me to make assumptions. I had it plugged in and nothing came up. I just tried another cable and it looks like my supposed high quality cable is faulty, my $2 cable works perfectly. I can see the Berkeley in the audio services and have enabled. I’ll have a listen tomorrow to make sure all is well.

It is. Enjoy!

Related question.
I have my NUC/ROCK running for about a week now going out to SBTouch and to Roon Remote running on a Win10 PC. I was going to replace the SBTouch with a microrendu, however this thread has me thinking I could simply connect the NUC to my USB DAC. Is this possible or am I missing something? Would the microrendu be an improvement over the direct connection? Thanks.

If you plan on having your NUC within inches of your DAC, I would not bother with the microrendu. Buy a better power supply for your NUC (I use the Sbooster) and/or USB regenerator (I use the SOtM tx-USBultra). I did both and it sounds much better than the sMS-200.

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Depending on your USB DAC it can totally work.
If your DAC does not require a specific linux driver (like Mytek Stereo 192 DSD that does not work on linux) you can connect directly.

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Sometimes I wonder, how does a more elaborate PSU would help a NUC or notebook considering that it will take the ~19V and convert internally for the multiple necessary voltages using the onboard converters.
I’m no engineer, so this is a mistery to me, which makes me a bit skeptical, but not completely against the idea.:wink:

I’m a skeptic, but became believer after hearing the improvements.

I think I’ll give this a try. I don’t have a separate DAC at this time so it would be USB direct to a McIntosh C2600. Was planning to purchase an UltraCap LPS-1 to use with the microrendu, I’ll have to see if it can power the NUC. I suspect it won’t work but an IFI should.

In my opinion, unless you really need a network device (like the microrendu or sms-200) to bridge your network to DAC, you get more bang for buck with a direct connection to a USB “regenerator” and upgraded power supplies.

Why not try the ISO REGEN and UltraCap LPS-1 combo? Or get the tx-USBultra and sPS-500 if your budget permits.

Thanks for the advice, honestly, I didn’t know devices such as the ISO REGEN existed. With my current setup I really don’t need a network device.

I think you’re going to need a power supply that’s capable of 12–19 VDC for the NUC, so the LPS-1 is probably not going to fit the bill. There are 12V & 15V iFi iPower models, so one of those should work.

Agreed, thanks.

I tried using NUC direct to my DAC bypassing sMS-200 and it is actually quite good. SQ-wise they are very close. The only problem I had is that my DAC can only support up to DSD128 with this set-up. With sMS-200, I can go DSD256. My next step is to try sMS-200ultra with ethernet clock and regulator upgrade.

Here’s another newbie question…will the ISOREGEN pass thru MQA? I realize my C2600 is not MQA ready but a future separate DAC would likely be.

Yes will passthrough

2Qute right? Did you ever figure out the drops with DSD?

My Berkeley works perfectly with ROCK. Spent the last hour this morning listening and it didn’t skip a beat.

I have noticed that the NUC is a bit noisier than the Mac mini it replaced. I may move it in any case to remove the noise from my main listening room. I have a server room (cupboard) where my noisy stuff lives.

It’s a LH Labs Pulse-Infinity. I didn’t notice any drops during the short time I used it.