ROCK + NUC + HDMI quality

Great, Danny! I assume that the digital audio stream coming from the NUC’s HDMI port is as good as the audio file being read? Is there any disadvantage in using a barebones NUC rather than a device with a dedicated high quality audio card? The HDMI output into our surround processor sounds fantastic, but I’m just curious about what could be better.

I wouldn’t add more complexity in there because HDMI is a tightly regulated port/standard, and more complexity is probably going to introduce badness.

If you are looking to improve, look for a new AVR, not a shim.