Nucleus straight to DAC vs Nucleus to Streaming Transport (Endpoint) to DAC


Vortexbox and SGC both have the same brains behind them - Andrew Gillis.

Fair enough.


It’s all relative. Have you seen the price of the Zennith. Make sure you’re sitting down :grin:


Again, part of my ongoing rant, I mean crusade. :laughing:

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But I last saw you’re still hanging onto that iFi micro iUSB3.0 in your chain there Slim. Still have one foot in The Dark Side :grin:


Actually, I’ve deleted my original comment. After reading the specs, the price doesn’t seem that bad.

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(Danny Dulai) #66

Not that you should ever buy product on future features, but it is on my TODO list to do something about CD ripping w/ Nucleus via USB CD-ROMs.

Was Anyone Hoping that CD Ripping Would Be the Next Feature Enhancement?
(Geoff Coupe) #67

Cough - less than 24 hours, and it’s gone from a hypothetical to something on your TODO list? Mind you, I’m not complaining…

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ROCK - CD Drive and ripping support
(Danny Dulai) #68

No no, I’m still not committing, but it’s been on my to-do list for months now … thus the disclaimer.

(Mark) #69

Sounds a bit of a boring chap? Dead boring you might say :grinning:

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(Brian) #70

I like this!

Off Topic: I like the idea of Roon providing a complete hardware solution that can be tailored to each person. Creating a simple, native way to archive CDs would be good for some people. While I understand Roon is software/computer/network based, some people don’t want to think about those things when listening to and accessing music. I like the concept of a “dedicated modular appliance”…just for listening to music in the home.

(Mark) #71

I for one completely agree with you and Roon mate, my home made completely unshielded MOCK in a HDPlex H5 case sits in the rack with the ASUS RT AC88U and LPS siting above it and my Pre-amp, MS600 endpoint and power amp sitting below. It’s not ideal and not how I want it set up but it’s a long term plan to reconfigure my listening room.

Before I ever read any audio forums, or learnt anything about RF/EMI (other than what my dad taught me when I was a teenager, the TV would “pop” when a light switch was turned on in the house or you would get interference from a motorcycle going past the house), I noticed a negative change in SQ when I had to move the Hi-Fi rack and have the router and core above my endpoint, more so with the router. This is what lead me to audio forums and a gigantic can of worms. There was a definite shift away from the warm musical “sound” that Meridian gear is known for. As @danny used to work for Meridian i’d be interested to know if he has any knowledge about how well shielded the G series gear is from RF/EMI.

I have been getting increasingly annoyed at seemingly random distortion to bass frequencies when I’m listening on my headphones at night, I never had any of these issues with my system when I listened to CD’s. It’s been bugging me for a while. Last night I was in heaven listening to a CD rip of Tookah by Emiliana Torrini on my headphones through the Explorer², the sound was amazing and I was drifting off in a warm fuzz, the album ended and the next track was an 24/96 download by Angus and Julia Stone, straight away there is distortion in the bass frequencies. I’m starting to wonder if it’s something to do with 24 bit Hi-Res downloads, I also noticed it on Depeche Mode’s latest album, Coldplay and a few others, all Hi-Res downloads. It doesn’t seem to happen with CD rips. Maybe Its just the way the music has been produced.

Anyway, sorry for my rambling, I will start my own thread about these issues and maybe ask some of you to listen to certain tracks, to see if you have the same issue.


Please code it so it uses the AccurateRip database to verify rips!

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(Peter Lie) #73

Try two experiments:

  1. Downsample to 44.1kHz using Roon for those Hi-Res, and see if the problem appears.
  2. Try listening at a different time (not at night), and without any family member using WiFi.
(Christoph Longree) #74

This is so very true (thus my opening question on this thread) - I personally couldn’t care less for computers and networking - I just want stuff to work when it comes to computing. I‘d rather spend my time visiting concerts or hanging out in good music clubs/bars or obviously spinning music. Music to me is more of a question of lifestyle or a „way of life“ that has followed me for the most part of my life and in which I have integrated HiFi as an essential part to enjoy music at home (be it Punk-Rock, Metal, Jazz or Classic)… but computing is something I find hard to integrate into this hobby. I can have fun comparing CdPlayers or Turntables but it does not fill me with joy finding out why my streamer looses connectivity to a serving computer and reprogramming stuff…

That being said I have accepted that going the digital road via streaming is the future for digital music and Roon has brought some heart and soul to this new way of listening for me.

But all this talk about computing and connectivity and loosing connection and all really is annoying.

An all in one box solution which you hook up to your DAC and just enjoy music in the best possible quality would be fantastic.

I think a Nuleus is sort of a little step I that direction - right?

Maybe a system where locally stored files (ripped CDs or downloaded tracks) can just be fed as easily as loading a CD… that would be great.

Thus my opening question and hopes that you can just connect a Nucleus to the router via Ethernet (bang - connection there for internet) and all else (locally stored files) can be fed straight to DAC… simplify stuff… no need for Nucleus to further communicate with a streamer which again needs connectivity and all…

(Mark) #75

Thanks Peter,

I tried option one, the distortion is still there, regarding option two, I’m listening in bed at night when nothing else is going on with the network.
I went a step further and used XLD to create a 16 Bit version that I loaded onto my iPod Classic, the offending songs sound exactly the same on the iPod. It’s either my ears, my headphones or that’s the way the songs are meant to sound. Tidal versions sound the same.

I’m now thinking that my ears are mistaking the way the music has been produced for distortion.

(Jeremy Jones) #76

I’m almost embarrassed to have to report that I detect no sonic benefits whatsoever whether my core (on a MBP, 8GB/SSD) is plugged into the network , far from my audio equipment vs wireless in the same room. I tend to mostly listen ‘plugged in’ but frankly it’s more out of sense of doing what I understand to be ‘best practice’. Y’know - just doing what I’m told by the experts. I have an excellent wireless network and I never, ever get any pops or dropouts. I use a little DSP - upsampling PCM to 96, some minor EQ and headroom adjustment. Sound quality is outstanding either way - plugged in or wireless.

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(Christoph Longree) #77

Have you also compared plugging the Nucleus straight into the DAC and using it as endpoint vs using a streaming transport as endpoint?

(Jeremy Jones) #78

Sorry, no I don’t have a nucleus. I use a MacBook Pro for my core. I used to connect it directly to my DAC but eventually bought a microRendu (which is my end-point.) Once I upgraded the power supply the mR was definitely better than direct connection from MBP to DAC.

I often question the need to buy a dedicated device for my core/music library - some people claim SQ advantages while others (who have made the change) say there’s no SQ benefit. I’ve experienced zero problems with my core/music library on my laptop, whether connected to the LAN or wireless. It breaks all the sacred rules touted on these forums but it really sounds very good.

(Tony) #79

There are no ‘sacred rules’ on these forums, just recommendations. Clearly, recommendations will have different impacts depending upon circumstances. Glad that you are happy with your sound.

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(David Hamby) #80

Nucleus to USB is the best employment of Nucleus. Nucleus offers 2 advantages: no software tinkering for those not wanting the Linux care and feeding experience and a clean ground that does not pass grunge over to a USB DAC. Your DAC’s converter, filters, line outputs, and voicing choices will determine the sound. I’d not expect a dramatic change.

An inexpensive transport such as a Chromecast poker chip or a Raspberry PI with a SPDIF/TOSlink hat also works well. If using the Chromecast, opt for the TOSlink output to your DAC. I have no experience with the Chromecast internal DAC but suspect it is laptop parts to be small land fit the cooling budget of a poker chip.

I can’t hear a significant difference between SPDIF and TOSlink using a Parasound P5, GAS Ampzilla (70’s throwback) and Dhalquist DQ-10’s, another 70’s throwback. Listening preferences are Jazz these days. Snarky Puppy records are top shelf sonically and post bop funk jazz genre wise. Play “Grown Folks” or anything from Culcha Vulcha. Also any of the Joey Alexander disks (not his iTunes exclusive Monk record).