NUC with ROCK or streamer as endpoint

Good day! I’m rather new roon user, so could you please clarify if I will benefit in SQ if I add roon ready network player to my setup. Currently I have NUC with rock installed, I use it as ROON core and endpoint at the same time. DAC is connected to NUC via USB. What benefits will I get if I add roon ready player f.e. SOtM sMS-200 and connect it via ethernet to NUC and via usb to DAC? Another option is to add one more nuc with rock as an end point… Maybe you would recommend more options. Goal is to improve SQ. Thank you in advance.

Options are:
USB treatments between your core and DAC.
Streamers such as the one you suggested.
DAC streamers combined which remove the reliance on USB.

If you have a DAC worth holding on to then the first two options are your best options.
A DAC/streamer is worth considering if you find one you like. Getting a second powerful PC with an audiophile Linux is also an option but that isn’t an option you will see suggested much here. Try if that is interesting to you.

Thanks a lot for this advice. What is still not clear for me is will I notice difference between usb treatments and/or dedicated roon ready streamers and setup I use now (nuc via usb to dac). Option with combined dac and streamer is not available at the moment as i’m satisfied with the usb dac i have now and it will cost too much for me to change it to better dac/streamer . .

Well it all depends on your DAC. I have heard very good DACs that respond to everything you put up front of them and I heard very good DACs that don’t seem to give a damn what’s feeding it. So I can give you only one advice, try before you buy.

But still, if we take any, for instance 2000$ usb dac, connected to NUC with ROCK and the same DAC connected to, for example, bryston bdp-1 or lumin d1 or sMS-200 or microrendu or any other ROON ready player, which will be connected to NUC via ethernet will it improve sound quality? On the ROON site it is mentioned that core should be connected to output via ethernet but not via usb, so I’m wondering does it worth spending additional money on this roon ready player or other device to install it between dac and nuc? Will I be able to notice difference in SQ, is it dramatical or hardly noticable? If it depends on player, then starting from which price the difference becomes really noticable ?

Everyone has different opinions on this that why the advice is to listen and make your own mind up.

I was able to note changes without too much difficulty. USB treatment does change the sound, as do improved power supplies when directly connected by DAC. I may be somewhat unique in that I disliked the change when I used a 1.3 hardware microRendu, even with the specified LPSU sold alongside it. The difference was clear to hear but I think it squashed dynamics personally. It is a very subjective business and unfortunately everyone will have a different take ranging from “do nothing” to “change everything”. I think you need to establish a budget and see what can be done with that money.

Have you considered using a Google Chromecast Audio device as a wireless roon end point then using optical out from the Chrome cast to your dac.

The Chromecast Audio is only around $25 going using the optical out its makes an inexpensive way of isolating your dac from usb related noise artefacts. Even if only to try never mind you can use one to connect roon to many other devices around the house.

1 Like

I think that there is no generic answer; which is what you are seeking. It is too dependent on the listener’s perception. Say you put a mRendu in, the perceived difference, if any, will vary. Some may think it is a great upgrade, some may think you should get a refund.

Also, the are differences in DACs. Some DACs might benefit, others might not, as someone also said earlier.

Have you considered instead of putting extra devices in the chain, upgrading the DAC to one which has an Ethernet port and is Roon Ready. Just plug it in and go; leaving USB completely.

Yes, of course I had considered such upgrade, but I won’t be able to arrange it for rather a long time. I was thinking about an opportunity to noticably improve SQ by adding of not very expensive roon ready player to my setup.