Nucleus Sound Out via Wired HDMI or USB

Core Machine (Operating system/System info/Roon build number)

Dell XPS 15 Laptop for now. Planning to purchase a Nucleus soon.

Network Details (Including networking gear model/manufacturer and if on WiFi/Ethernet)

AT&T U-Verse 50 mbps

Audio Devices (Specify what device you’re using and its connection type - USB/HDMI/etc.)

RAAT from laptop to Oppo 203. Oppo HDMI to Bose. Also Dragonfly Cobalt.

Description Of Issue

If I purchase a Nucleus, will that limit significantly what devices I can connect to via HDMI or USB? For instance, if I decide to get a receiver and bookshelf speakers, can I connect to almost any receiver that has HDMI or USB? I don’t want to purchase an expensive device that greatly limits my options later. Thanks.

Hi @Jim_F,

Take a look at our documentation regarding Nucleus audio devices. HDMI and USB are both supported with Nucleus.

Thanks. Yes, I understand that. But does that mean any receiver, amp, dac, etc that has HDMI or USB in will work? I don’t know why it wouldn’t.

Hi @Jim_F,

As long as the device has Linux support, it should work with Nucleus.

Linux support. That could be the issue. How common is that? Does that apply to USB and HDMI or just USB? That could be a deal breaker as far as a Nucleus is concerned. I don’t want to get locked into an eco system that makes it difficult to add receivers, amps, DAC’s, and speakers, etc. I may decide to stick with Roon and a year later drop it and sell the Nucleus.

Hello @Jim_F,

The Nucleus’ HDMI output conforms to the HDMI audio spec. Therefore, it should work with any HDMI device’s that adheres to the HDMI standards.

The USB output on Nucleus uses Linux’s UAC2 driver to communicate with USB DAC devices. UAC2 is the industry standard USB protocol supported by nearly all consumer DACs manufactured in the last 4-5 years. There are of course exceptions to this rule, so it is advisable to check with the manufacturer if there is any question about the device’s support for UAC2.

We started the Roon Tested partner device program to help reduce the uncertainty involved with shopping for new audio devices. We’ve partnered with over 100+ audio manufacturers to receive samples of their devices for testing and support purposes. Our Partner Device Matrix lists all of the DACs we have tested to date, along with any quirks that we feel users should be aware of.


Thanks John. So, help me understand. If I’m streaming from Tidal or Qobuz to the Nucleus using Roon, I wouldn’t need another streaming device. I would go USB out from the Nucleus to a DAC, then the DAC would connect to an amp, receiver, or powered speakers using analog connections. Is that correct. So, as long as I bought a DAC from your Roon Tested partner list, I would be OK, correct?

And if I went HDMI out, just about thing would work? Please confirm.


Hello @Jim_F,

You are correct! All you need to do to get up and running is:

A. Connect the Nucleus to your home network.
B. Connect a DAC via USB or Receiver via HDMI.
C. Connect to the Nucleus using the Roon app on a smartphone, tablet, PC, or Mac.
D. Log into your Roon account and add your Tidal or Qobuz streaming credentials.
E. Start enjoying your music!


OK, thanks John. I’ve already done some of that. I have Roon core running on my Dell laptop and using RAAT to my Oppo 203 with HDMI to my Bose sound system (no ethernet on this side of the living room). For headphone listening, I plug a Dragonfly Cobalt into my Dell, iPad, or iPhone and use Sony headphones.

If I stick with Roon, I want to purchase a Nucleus to run the Roon Core. I will still use RAAT to the Oppo 203 for a while. Down the road, I will purchase a DAC, receiver/amp, and speakers to replace the Bose.

Thanks for all your help.

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