Pre Nucleus purchase help questions

Hi, I’m considering getting a Nucleus basic model as I’m not interested in any form of software upscale, I’ve always found the cleanest, short unaltered path to DAC as the best sound quality. computer audio sound quality in my experience is about less interference.

But anyway, obviously the best way to find out the best sound is to experiment and try which set up sounds best to you, as of course sound is subjective to many factors relating to equipment, room, personnel interpretation…

However my difficulty is I’m paralysed from the neck down, but have enough movement in my left bicep to just about use an iPad with the side of my hand, but no finger control. Before injury I was an electrician and since have done a physics degree, so have a general understanding.

The problem with this is I’m completely reliant on my carer/pa to do everything, under my instruction. But it means I can’t try different set ups and swap connections around too much as it would take too much time. So I usually try to work out the best solution before connecting everything up by asking those more experienced for advice and suggestions.

Presently I’m using Roon core and output on the same Mac mini, with USB cable connected to Mytek Brooklyn DAC. But Ive read many times that separating core and “end point” should yield much better sound.

Mac mini isn’t modified in any way, late 2012 internal SSD, audio files are on an external FireWire HDD.

So, a few questions, considering when I purchase the Nucleus I cant also afford a new network device to connect to my DAC yet.

  1. Would it better to connect my DAC directly to the Nucleus, or use my Mac mini as the network output and connect my DAC to Mac mini?
  2. I have quite a lot of experience with different USB cables, but how does the Nucleus “send” audio to a network output, does that mean the quality of the Ethernet cable is as important as a USB cable to DAC, or does it just need decent shielding?
  3. Does anyone have any experience with a LPSU for the Nucleus, will it have more effect if the DAC is connected directly to the Nucleus or network output, or is there no difference?

Thanks for any insight.

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My two cents -

  1. Roon recommends a networked endpoint, in another room from one’s Core machine. In your case, that would be Nucleus as Core and Mini as endpoint. Still, there will probably will be some noise (audible and/or electrical) from the Mini. Some people use an SBC endpoint like an device or an RPi. In this case, your could use the Mini as Core. device is turnkey; the RPi requires assembly.
  2. IMHO, cables, as long as they are up to spec, are a non-issue. I buy my cables from, who I trust to make spec’ed cables. Also, the lowest priced AudioQuest cables are good. Many people will agree/disagree with this.
  3. Some people believe an LSU has an effect on a Nucleus. If you use an or Rpi as an endpoint then power supply is probably more of a factor. In that case, I would recommend an iFi iPower power supply.

As you can see, I believe in the simpler the better. Depending on the patience of your caregiver, probably some of these options aren’t open to you. On this note, for many people a DAC connected via USB to their Core machine is an acceptable set-up.

Hope this helps, even though it might seem like equivocation. In this arena there are no black or white answers. Pretty sure many other posters will be along to offer their insights.

You can try separating your mac mini from the Brooklyn now without the nucleus and see if it has any effect. If it does, then you have the infrastructure setup and can just replace the mac mini without changing anything else.

As always in the ear of the beholder. To me, the separation means putting the server in a different room completely away from any other audio equipment.

You are probably going to set it up like this:

CPU > ethernet > switch > ethernet > [USB/Ethernet Device] > Mytek Brooklyn.

Cat 5e is good enough.

Generally, I think the Roon guys suggest leaving it alone.

In occurs to me to add a couple more points.

  1. I have used the Mini, both as a Core machine and as an endpoint. I disliked it in both roles. It just wasn’t up to the task. Of course, as is the case many people do happily use a Mini.
  2. In your situation, perhaps the simplest ( although more expensive) endpoint would be an SOtM SMS-200. I’ve used that in the past with good (although not unique) results.

Something like -

Nucleus ===> (Ethernet via router port or switch) ===> SOtM SMS-200 ===> (USB cable) ===> DAC

Oh yeah, one other thing. If you have an exceptional WiFi signal then that can replace Ethernet. However, a lot of people have troubles with Roon over WiFi.

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Just a point I’ve seen play out on another forum. If you do want someone to pull plugs etc HiFi people are certifiably insane and happy to drive hours to have a go at some one else’s system. So if you live anywhere near people on this forum, you can probably get a cable puller (:monkey:)pretty easy.

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I use a Mac mini that has Roon server on it. My local music is on an external Glyph Atom 2 Tybte SSD drive that is connected to my mini via the lighting 3. The mini is connected wirelessly to my network and wirelessly to my Auralic Aires streamer. The streamer is connected via aes/ebu to my DAC which has Balanced analog out to each of my mono blocks.

Hi @Quark ,

I’d be happy to give you a Sonore Ultra Rendu with a Uptone LPS. It’s an excellent endpoint that would allow you to get the mini out of the equation. You connect ethernet to the Ultra Rendu and go USB to your Mytek. Would be a great solution for you. If you’re interested, pm your address and I’ll get it out to you.


Thank you so much for the many lovely replies.
I think I probably should’ve mentioned at the beginning that I live in the UK.

But so far the message I think I’m receiving is I would be better off keeping the Mac Mini as a server with the Roon Core, and instead get a new network end point to connect to my DAC, like a Sonore Ultra Rendu with a Uptone LPS?

What are the specs on your Mini and the size of your library?

Does your Mini have an SSD or a spinning disk?

I’d consider doing the Nucleus / Sonore Ultra Rendu w/Uptone / Mytek Brooklyn combo. That would be an excellent setup.

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The one thing I did not hear you say is “I don’t like the way my system sounds”. You said according to others I should do this.

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I was going to say the same thing Ged, if you are in Adelaide, South Australia (soon to be Canberra) I’d be happy to help, time permitting.

Edit: sorry just read that @Quark is in the UK.

I second @Craig_Palmer suggestion, I haven’t used a Rendu product, I use the Allo USBridge (which can be a bit unreliable) but Allo have a signature version coming out soon that will run Ropiee and be cheaper than a Rendu.

Long term I think a Nucleus would be ideal for you, networked to either a Rendu or Allo product and lastly your Mytek Brooklyn.

Hi guys,

Thank you all for all your very kind responses. You have given me a lot to think about.
Unfortunately for now I’m going to have to put this on hold as I have a few other personal things to sort out for a moment. But at least I can still enjoy the awesomeness that is Roon.
Thanks again

Enjoy your Brooklyn Dac!

I thought the whole point with the nucleus was to have less gear ,not more.What’s wrong with using a nucleus with its inputs being internet and ssd and output to a DAC?Thanks for any sugestions.

There is nothing wrong with that. That is exactly what it was designed to do. It is in a fanless case so it can be in the same room as the music. Connecting it to a DAC via USB is going to work great.
In some cases there may be audible differences between this setup (Nucleus to DAC via USB) and a route galvanically isolated between the Nucleus and the DAC. Even if there aren’t any audible differences, some people will feel better separating the components feeling its giving them the best chance for optimal sound. I spent almost $2000 upgrading my input on my DAC (MSB Analog DAC) from Quad USB to a Network Renderer. There were audible differences, but they were pretty small.
If a person has a ton of money to throw at this, getting a Nucleus and an ethernet bridge is a sensible way to go. But you are going to be perfectly happy with a quality unit like a Nucleus hooked up to a quality DAC by USB. I’d start there. You can always upgrade later.

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I think it is quite likely just not having to worry about something can improve the sound quality reaching your inner ear because of the possible affect of stress on the tiny muscles that serve as dampers on the bones of the middle ear.


I agree completely.
I use my Nucleus via USB to my DAC, and it works perfectly.
I see no need whatsoever in adding another bit of kit between my Nucleus and my DAC.

Some of it really depends on your environment and needs. For example, I have 4 major music listening areas. It makes better sense, to me, to have the RoonServer is a central server location with endpoints feeding the various DACs. However, that being said, my RoonServer is also used directly connected in the basement office where it lives.

I don’t really do critical listening in that environment, though. :smiley:

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Basement rave zone? :wink:

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