Nucleus Plus Sound Quality vs USB direct to Cary Player

I just setup a Nucleus + Server. Got a Audioquest Vodka ethernet cable to connect to the network, got the HD Plex 200 W linear power supply, connected a hardrive using an Audiquest Carbon USB C cable. Sounds very good through my Cary DMS 600 (new) player “HOWEVER”, A USB drive connected directly to the Cary is

  1. Much quieter
  2. Wider soundstage
  3. More clarity
  4. Overall sounds better.

But the Cary info on artists etc is nowhere close and as convenient as Roon. I would prefer to use Roon and hence the investment but after having spent the money it seems I did not need to. The Nucleus has been broken in I think so I am not expecting much more improvement or can this be improved.
I am not tech savy but not understand a bit to get by. I have not played with any Roon DSP settings, can these help or will Roon never sound as good as a Player connected directly with a USB drive?

Any expert thoughts will be appreciated.

How is the Cary connected to Roon?

To help understand what’s going on, can you upload a screen capture of Roon’s signal path.

I believe Cary DMS-600 comes with a built in Roon Ready Ethernet bridge. I am guessing that’s what he is using as an endpoint. But I may be wrong

Interested in the response - I also have DMS 600 but using Roon core through QNAP Turbo app (which is also where the music is stored) Considering purchasing Nucleus as core.

@thyname, Agreed, having sight of the Roon signal path should confirm if all is well or not with RAAT.

Is this the screen shot?

The Cary is on the same network as the Roon. Ethernet connection of the Cary is also a high quality Audioquest Ethernet cable.

This is good in terms of confirming that you are using the network bridge built in Cary DMS-600 via RAAT.

Assuming you picked the right settings for the player.

I believe what Carl was asking was the signal path that shows when you are playing something. Hit the track info on playback, and it will show you

Is this is what you wanted to see?

Everything looks fine. With Roon and the Cary built in Ethernet bridge.

Whether your USB stick sounds better than Roon RAAT or not, can possibly be explained by the quality (or lack thereof) of the said ethernet bridge on your Cary.

It would be great if you want to experiment, and connect another Roon Ready streamer (via RAAT) to the Cary’s USB audio input, and play Roon via that.

Not sure sure what another Roon ready streamer to connect to the Cary USB would be. Please give me an example?
Can the the Roon be connected directly to the the Cary? Like either USB or are the USB ports on the server just inputs?
In my opinion the resolution bottleneck is probably my 20 port Netgear bridge which costs $50 more than the Ethernet bridge on the Cary.

There are many roon ready endpoints (streamers)

See for unofficial list

I don’t have a Nucleus, but I think you can connect it directly to USB input on your Cary. I may be wrong

You are right, Thyname. USB output on Nucleus direct to DAC.

The forumnets seem to suggest that using an ethernet endpoint, then out to a DAC, provides the best sound quality.

Hello @Manny_Singh,

The Cary DMS-600 cannot act as a “USB DAC” in the traditional sense. The Cary DMS-600 can act as a “USB Host” like you are using to browse connected USB drives, but not as an audio output for a connected computer.


Yes, Cary confirmed that the USB connections on the Nucleus is for connecting to a storage device and the Cary is not so that is not an option.

Hello @Manny_Singh,

Just to clarify, the Roon Nucleus USB connections can be used with a USB DAC. The Cary DMS-600 is not a USB DAC, so it will not work when used in this configuration.