Roon Nucleus Rev.B - USB sound quality of internal USB sockets

My Nucleus is feeding my DAC thru USB. I am still very impressed with the sound quality and the roon experience offered by the package.

I have made a comparison between the USB digital sound connections into my DAC.

Up to now I was using the USB connectors on the back of the Nucleus. But when I installed an internal SSD I saw that the board also offers USB2 ports which are not brought out to the back panel to be easily accessible.

After connecting my DAC cable to the internal USB2 port I was surprized to note that the sound quality was (for my ears) significantly improved compared to before when the signal was taken from the backpanel USB3 ports.

I would encourage you to unscrew the lid and try this for yourself if you are using USB connection to your DAC and you are interested in sound quality improvements “for free”.

I would appreciate if you could post your feedback in this thread.

Chris

Care to describe the improvement before I get my screwdriver ? :sunglasses:

Dear Michael

I could, but I decided not to.

I am following this hobby since more than 40 years and can state that the change in my system is significant. But then: I might just get old and weird.

The way individuals perceive sound quality is very individual for different people and is dependant on many more factors than just the way of connection to the DAC.

I am neither a professional Hi-Fi journalist nor is english my mother tongue - therefore I would most likely not be in the position to find the right words and correct terms to describe my individual hearing impressions.
Just expressing thigs like “the bass is tighter”, the noise-floor is lower, the highs have more air and definiton, it takes off sharpness and the important mids are more disctinct and seem to be more realistic, would point in the direction of “marketing brabble” which I judge to be not that helpful and also not universally applicable.

The perception of hearing is dependant on so many factors of which this alteration is only one component amongst many. It is possible that this change is working fine for me but you will find out that it is not “your cup of tea”.

The intention of my post was to point out a fact which I was not aware of until I opened the Nucelus. Hence I tried to direct the community towards trying this possibility in order to check for themselves if this alternative connection possibility is beneficial for them.

Therefore I am just making the offer to try it out. It comes at no additional cost and if your set-up is based on USB connection the time necessary to realize this “mod” is minimal.

So please get the srewdriver already! :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

I am just asking myself why roon decided not to offer these two additional USB2 connectors - which are already there - to be available on the backpanel of the Nucleus…

I read in several places that USB3 is less recommended for audio than USB2. The reason would be that it would be noisier. I don’t know if it’s true, I haven’t tested.
Since Roon recommends using Roon Bridge versus connecting the DAC directly to Roon Core, they may have preferred USB3 in the idea of ​​using it for external music storage.
Does the Nucleus user manual say anything about this topic?

Speed wise this is irrelevant. And the very same digital data will be transferred. TBH I cannot see any real world reason for the reported change in SQ :grimacing:

Could this be reproduced in an unbiased (blind) test?

Do you have the Rev A or B?
Cause I saw some pics of the inside of Rev B and fail to see an USB port, as a matter if fact it looks quite bare inside that box…

Hi Michael
As mentioned in the title mine is a rev. B.


Here a pic of the inside of my unit.

The two ports are located on the motherboard facing the front panel.

Cheers
Chris

The Nucleus uses a NUC board. The front of these offers two usb ports, the yellow one of which is designed for higher current draw. This has a 1500mA port over the usual 900 mA. You can also use this to charge things even when the computer is powered off so it’s power may be isolated from the main board.

It might not be that crazy, especially if your DAC pulls power from the USB port. I’ll try it on mine later.

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