Room Nucleus Sound Quality not nearly as good as Melco

Hi All,
First I do love Roon. I had some issues with getting it all working with the update and my equipment, but all is working well and very stable.
However one issue is sound quality. I have recently read a few posts that share the same observation. While SQ from Roon is good: can be fun, detailed: it’s sound is somewhat dull and flat to me compared to playing the same files in other ways. So much so that I happily use my Roon for discovery, but I turn to playing files from my Melco server directly to the same dac as I use with Roon to enjoy my favorite recordings or serious listening. I’ve adjusted to this and in fact will listen to the melco files while browsing on Roon. I’d obviously love to combine this. If someone has experience in improving Roon sound directly, love to hear about their experience and solutions! Has anyone used a Roon ready melco seever? I’ve recently read that others with innoous servers notice the same thing: rendering by Roon very significantly reduces sound quality. Is this an issue with Roon or the other devices like Melco and Innuous are just fantastic devises?
Here is my system:
-Roon nucleus (2 years old) with a Samsung SSD connected to a Moon 390 dac/preamp streamer by direct Ethernet
-Melco HAn1 server (not Roon capable) connected by USB to the Moon 390
-Moon 860A amplifier
/ATc SCM40 speakers
Thanks Roon community!

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Since the Nucleus is connected to your system via ethernet, and the Melco is connected via USB, something to try would be to connect the Nucleus via USB. I found that this made a difference in my system, and may do so in yours. Of course, only you can decide whether any difference is an improvement or not.

Hi Jack
Thanks for the suggestion! I didn’t realize I could do that! Just tried it with the same USB cable my Melco uses.1 Immediate impression: USB clearly better than the direct Ethernet connection to the nucleus (which was using a crazy expensive short Ethernet cable as well). Will do the melco head to head later but the direct USB connection was a real improvement.
Thank you! Mark

That could well be one of your issues, try a bog standard cable instead.


You should also, IMO, disconnect the source you aren’t listening to, otherwise noise from it may still be messing with your DAC, and/or you may be creating ground loops. Also your inputs may sound different, so I would just use USB for the purpose of comparison, and disconnect any superfluous ethernet cable, however exotic.

Fwiw, HiFi News reviewed and measured the Nucleus and found the USB output was excellent and produced measurably less jitter into some DACs, and was possibly a smidge better than the Melco.

Thanks Jez and others for the comments! Yes it appears I have been missing a cleaner output from the nucleus!
Will definitely do a head to head with the melco using the same dac usb input and cable.
I am a huge fan of melco: difference from computer storage was crazy obvious and spoiled me. Of o can get similar or better performance from the nucleus I will be happy indeed… more to come. Melco interface os obviously clunky and slow compared to Roon….

Its probably not what you wanna hear but the moon 390 is at fault if the inputs are causing issue.
You could also try using a switch between the Nucleus and the 390.

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