ROCK vs Mac Mini in terms of audio quality?

Hello, currently I am using NUC ROCK.
But some people are saying Mac mini is better in terms of audio quality.

What do you think?
At least Mac is quiet compared to NUC. Since NUC has fan I’ve located far away from audio equipment.
However ROCK is more optimised for Roon, but Mac is using general the Roon Core sw.

Give us your experiences or opinion.

Thank you in advance.

I think you may consider to modify the NUC into a fanless chassis and powered it by a descent LPS. The audio improvement will be rewarding. :laughing:


Are you plugging DACs into the machine directly? I have a nuc that sits next to my nas and it’s almost silent.
It delivers music to my Kef system via ethernet from the router and wirelessly to everything else, sq is excellent.


Hi Warner. Depends on the Mac Mini version. Some old Mac Mini has the headphone jack that can switch to a toslink cable. In those models you can have 96 kbs /24 bit reproduction. If not, you can have only 44.1 / 16 Bit. I made the experiment long time ago, even install ROCK in the mAc Mini. Unfortunately not all devices worked well, so my advice is to change to use ROCK in a NUC directly, and connect a DAC. If you are using flac files, apple audio format or mp3, then mac mini is a good choice, because your source does not have much music resolution.

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There are lots of Apple fans out there so there may be a little bias , also probably not based on a direct comparison.

The NUC has a fan but in my experience of a 10i7 it is silent , it may make a noise if if you are importing and its “working hard” but in my use case it is effectively silent. I use no DSP , and only very occasionally add to my library.

Roon recommends that the server and end point (read NUC and a streamer) are best run across an Ethernet connection so there is really no need to have the NUC in your listening room (as you are). If you are connecting the NUC direct USB to DAC then that’s a different subject.

The transfer protocol RAAT is the same for either mode of server so I would anticipate no audible change.

Big question are you unhappy with the sound the Roon system makes.

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it .


Some people are saying the audio quality is better for any baseless, made up claim. Ignore


Thanks, but making fanless NUC cases doesn’t look easy!!!

No, my NUC is located in seperate room and connected into eathernet cable. Therefore it is not directly affecting listening room.

Thanks Jaime,

I’ve never used mini yet. But it looks very fancy and noiseless. That’s why I am attracted in it.
I’ll consider a little more.

Never used ROCK, but yes, a big reason I’m happy with my Mac mini is how quiet it is. Also chose silent portable hard drives for the same reason.


You may google some information for this Taiwan product.

Turing TN | Compact fanless case for Intel® 11th Generation NUC (Tiger Canyon) | Akasa Thermal Solution

Or if your budget, fyi, I’m using that over a year, there is a NUC inside. Haydn Music Server – Ediscreation


If the NUC is making a noise, maybe it’s time to clean out the dust.

My NUC8i3 is silent except when importing and analyzing a shed load of new releases.

However, if the NUC isn’t in your listening room, it’s a non-issue. Likewise, you don’t have to think about updates; with a Mac Mini you’ll have more maintenance.

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I’ve seen the info about AKASA.
Wow, your music server looks really goergious.
Is it similar to Nucleus?

Thanks! Even I used CAS almost 20 years , I’m a new comer in the ecosystem of Roon. So I’m afraid that it’s not appropriate for me to compare Nucleus with mine.

For the Akasa, one just need to choose the right model matching the generation of your NUc, and a very good thermal compound (I assume you already got LPS).

Of course, in the first bootup after removed the fan, please don’t forget to change to No Fan in CMOS setup menu.

Very easy, I have done two. Only a :screwdriver: required from memory and there are plenty of YouTube videos too watch if you want to run through it (I did in real time more than once :grin:)

The Akassa cases are great and ours now lives in the living room underneath the wall mounted TV with an SSD for the music in as we could occasionally hear the slight noise of the HD starting up. I also have a

I also have an M1 Mac Mini that I tested and there was zero difference in the playback of audio to the Roon Ready devices which is the only thing that I am interested in.
The Mac Mini now runs HQPlayer completely silently as well.


If you look around the Internet, you’ll find people saying almost anything. There shouldn’t be any difference in terms of audio quality. I tend to think simpler is better – the NUC wins on that comparison.


I think it’s actually harder to get the NUC out of it’s case than it is to install it into a fanless case like a Turing.


That is the best way to run a server, imho. Then you don’t have to worry about fan noise at all.


I second this! Had a mac mini prior to nuc and it was not nearly as good.

I have used both, am currently using nuc fanless in akassa case( easy install) and it is on and quiet as a brick. Has been running continuously for years.

Had a mac mini before this with nothing but roon on it and it made considerably more noise, more updates and os issues. Had to reboot quite often due to memory leaks or OS issues. As for audio quality, no difference but the NUC is rock solid, flawless. Not so for Mac but of course there are the mac fan boys who will always insist mac is best, having never tried anything else.