ROCK/NUC configuration question

Can anyone tell me if the following configuration will work with Rock running on say, a NUC8i3BEH:

  1. The HDMI output going to my Denon X3400 AVR so I can listen to multichannel music.
  2. The USB output going to a DAC (I don’t have the DAC yet) to listen to 2 channel DSD music without it getting converted to PCM.

I experimented with a RoPiee on a RPi (USB output enabled) with a HiFiBerry hat and I saw that I could assign seperate “endpoints” in Roon for USB or the HiFiBerry. I assume the same will work for the NUC?

Linux and DSD can be tricky.

First, make sure that the DAC can work under Linux at all, some require Windows drivers to function (not talking about DSD yet).

Next, Linux like MAC OS can do DOP DSD, in which the DSD is encapsulated in PCM. The DAC needs to be able to support DOP, not all do. Now this IS DSD not PCM. The extra wrapping will eat up some resolution, so DOP resolution maximums will always be one step down from the native max resolution. Meaning if a DAC can do native 256 DSD, then the max DOP is 128.

Finally, if you want to get Native DSD, then it gets trickier since each DAC needs to be individually supported in each and every different Linux build. So you need to verify that the DAC AND the Linux version (Rock in this case) will work together natively.

Others may chime in with their own DACs which work natively with ROCK, and that would be a good start in making your DAC short list.

Otherwise other options are to separate the DAC from ROCK with something like a microRendu, who provides a list of DACs for which native DSD support has been added. Another, is to use a 2nd computer running Windows running the DAC drivers and Roon Endpoint software (not the core). Or, just run Windows and the DAC devices drivers on the Core NUC.

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It’s a Yes to question 1, and Daniel has answered question 2 very comprehensively.

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The microRendu is worth a closer look.

I was originally considering a windows computer running the Roon software. Normally in windows, it can only send audio out at one output at a time. Would I have to manually switch the default output between HDMI and DAC on USB (not to mention this would be a headless unit).

Yeah, hopefully there will be some other posts here with workable DAC’s for linux.

You can have multiple outputs (zones) running simultaneously.

I use windows headless as a core and have multiple endpoints (most using Ropieee and Raspberry Pi) via Roon Bridge.

Many will frown on connecting a DAC to a server computer directly. the xxxxxrendu options seem popular but costs can add up.

A dedicated care is always the most desirable setup.