Nucleus near NAS, or near DAC?

I am a new user, loaded Core on my laptop to check our Roon. Love it so far! Much better than Media Monkey or Brennan B2. I have a modest music collection (of flac ripped CDs) on a NAS (Synology DS216J with 2x3TB drives in a mirrored RAID) that I’m using as the Roon music store. Other than music, I use it for backing up PCs (no video or other media). The NAS is on a wired ethernet connection to my wifi “parent” router in the family/TV room near the cable modem. The wifi system is a new mesh system with one “child” router. My DAC is in the living/listening room. I cast music to it over wifi via a chromecast audio dongle.

I just ordered a Nucleus with no storage. Should I put it by the NAS, connected by ethernet, in which case music will stream to the DAC over wifi via a chromecast dongle on the DAC?

Or should I put the Nucleus by the DAC where I can connect them via USB? This seems better as I 1) can play higher res files than supported by chromecast (right?), and 2) I imagine the DAC will be happier (jitter, etc.) connected directly to the Nucleus. However, music will stream from the NAS to the Nucleus over wifi (via the chromecast?). And right now, all my files are redbook, which is supported by chromecast.

Or should I move the child mesh router and NAS to the living room where I could connect the NAS as a USB drive to the Nucleus, and have a USB connection from the Nucleus to the DAC? Then, all are on wired connections to each other, but wifi to parent router and internet.


If your DAC does not feature an ethernet connection, my choice would be Nucleus to NAS via ethernet to access the library and hook up the DAC via USB. Gives you the widest range of formats and ease of use. JMHO


recommandation as well

Have dig through the forum about dropouts and connection issues, there seems to be a lot at the moment.

Can you do both connections by Ethernet or is there some physical limitation.

Even putting the Nucleus near the DAC. So it’s a one cable job will leave you feeding the Nucleus by WiFi if I read it right. This is potentially a recipe for woe. It sounds like of the 2 connections one will be wi fi

Hardwire Ethernet NAS > Nucleus then hardwire network to DAC is the best bet. Check out the KB re Roon’s recommendation

You may be lucky with WiFi but many aren’t

I’m pretty sure the people who don’t have any issues don’t post as much/often as users who’re looking for help from others. I have zero problems with my network and Roon setups, although I only use WiFi.

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Use the Nucleus as your network bridge/endpoint and connect to the DAC via USB. Leave the NAS as you have it. Can you get the entire path to be wired?

Of course you are correct, people with no issues don’t post asking for help.

Personally I had nothing but trouble with WiFi. My house is brick and plaster interior walls plus a concrete roof hence loads of absorption and a nightmare to run cables. I bit the bullet and ran cables over the roof. I live in South Africa so sun is an issue and UV protection of the cables

It was effort but I simply couldn’t live with WiFi, even now just running WiFi for the kitchen gives me grief

Maybe I’m overly biased :sunglasses:

Hi Rajaish. That’s sort of the point. The DAC is in one room and the mesh router hub or parent is in another (and I’m not going to run ethernet across the house (which is why I have wifi)), so one link in the chain from the internet to the DAC must be wifi. The question is which link? BTW, with my new mesh router (I’m obviously very pleased with it!), I get ~ 250 Mb/s over wifi near the child router, maybe better if connected to the child router by ethernet, and the wifi seems very stable. My DAC doesn’t have an ethernet input.

From the comments, I’m thinking that the very best set-up would be to put the child router and Nucleus near the DAC, so it is wifi between parent and child router, ethernet from child router to both Nucleus and NAS, and USB from Nucleus into DAC. And I may try other set-ups, such as leaving the NAS near the parent router, so wifi between NAS and Nucleus, or connecting the NAS to the Nucleus as a USB drive (I saw several posts recommending that over ethernet). My guess is that all will work fine. I’ll report back if I learn anything surprising.

Thanks, all, for your input!

I suspect it’s all quite situational, I have no trouble with wired ethernet or WiFi but Roon over the home plug network is frustratingly unreliable. Am thinking about external ethernet cables myself, in the north of the UK I doubt UV degradation will be much of an issue. :wink:

The need here is primarily for a wired core. So sticking next to your networked gear is sensible. Going wireless to an endpoint should not impact user experience in the way connecting a core that way would. And an endpoint will be a lot less demanding on the wireless hop than an entire core.

I’m going to suggest a different direction. Connect the Nucleus to your router via ethernet. Skip the NAS and put your music on the Nucleus on an internal SSD. Hook your DAC to a Raspberry Pi with Ropieee. Get one of Spokfish’s recommended wifi dongles and stream away. You’ll be amazed at how good it sounds.


Since you already have the Synology, I think it’s fine to use it for local music. I do, and it works great. Although it looks like one, Nucleus is not an audio component…it’s a music server. As such, it does not belong near your audio components if sound quality is a priority for you.

A Raspberry Pi running RoPieee (or similar) will substantially outperform a Chromecast as an endpoint device, so I suggest that you ditch the Chromecast as soon as you can…or relegate it to a 2nd or 3rd system for background music.

I’m from Hyde, Cheshire originally, I’d worry about rain damage :joy:

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For the cost the RPi performs brilliantly. I added a Allo Digione to slow me full 24/192/by coax, my DAC limits t 96 on USB

cheap and very cheerful :grinning:

Sadly, USB audio support from the Synology will be lost with DSM 7…

Hmmm, I hope no one thought I was suggesting they should connect a USB DAC to a Synology NAS. Yikes! No, all I was saying is that the Synology is a fine place to store local music files. Perhaps the only thing worse than connecting a DAC to Core is connecting one to a NAS.

I was not aware that DSM 6.x supported USB Audio, but I’m actually glad that it’s being removed for DSM 7…at least as it applies to Roon’s ecosystem! :slight_smile:

Personally, I don’t see the problem in connecting a DAC to the Core or a NAS. Why do you perceive it as an issue?

It works, but it sound quality is poor compared to a proper endpoint.

I’d be intrigued to learn how you define poor - and how you define a proper endpoint. Also is this fact (by that, I mean can you prove it?) or is this your opinion? The bit-perfect stream is fed from the Roon Core via the USB output of my NAS to the input of the DAC.The DAC also has a ‘ground-lift’ switch to prevent any ground loop issues between the NAS and my headphone Amp. At max volume with nothing playing, there’s no audible noise in the headphones…

Then audiophile logic dictates that something is defective with your room, your headphones, your hearing, or your amp.

If none of those prove to be the case, the non-audible noise can be substantially lessened by using expensive wood lifts for your cables, magic stones on top of your NAS and your DAC, and also isolation feet to make sure evil micro-vibrations from the NAS don’t affect your DAC (you don’t know it, but this’ll make the sound much more “holographic”, and if it doesn’t, see the previous paragraph).