Roon via USB vs ethernet and USB direct vs over wifi

Making some adjustments to my system and I’m curious about which may be the optimum approach. I’m sure it also depends on the DAC.

I have a Nucleus+ connected to my system via ethernet to a router satellite; it is not in close proximity to my audio system. In addition to using Roon from the Nucleus+ I also stream via Hearts of Space and Bandcamp via web and I need USB for that purpose (or do I?). Through Roon I also stream Tidal and Qobuz.

I have a Resolution Audio Cantata MC connected to an iMac via USB and stream to the Cantata via Roon on the iMac. The question is, would Roon sound better on the Cantata if it was connected directly to the Nucleus+ via USB?

Is there any loss in quality by streaming this way:

Nucleus+ > ethernet > router > wifi > iMac > USB > Cantata

The other option:

Nucleus+ > USB > Cantata

If I do that, is there any way to stream from the Web to the Cantata through the Nucleus+?

Thank you.

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You cannot load other software onto the Nucleus. And there is no way to send a stream to the Nucleus and have it forward it through, other than the integrated Tidal and Qobuz partners. Many have already asked for ways to stream (or play) something to the ROON OS server and have it then send it through, like turntables, or youtube, etc.

However: If you go to the TINKERING section, there are users who have figured out combinations of software (running on other PCs) to get things streamed into a Nucleus (or ROCK) by emulating an Internet Radio Station. But, that is not official, is not supported and you are on your own ( other than the help of fellow friendly users) if you attempt such.

There are endless, endless threads on sound on A Vs sound on B on the forum. They all end with the same advice. Listen and see which one you like better.

Nucleus+ to DAC via USB allows me to use DSD upsampling, which I really enjoy. When I am in the listening position, this is my main option.

Nucleus+ to DAC via WiFi allows me to upsample 24/192 and allows me to use the DAC’s remote. If I am moving about the house, this is my main option.

If I don’t use any upsampling or DSP stuff, I connect the Nucleus+ to the DAC via WiFi, as it is more convenient and there is less possibility of the USB cable having an influence on the connection.

Roons recommendation is to seperate the core computer from your audio chain by ethernet/WiFi and use another device to connect to DAC. So the heavy duty stuff is offloaded and the endpoint does light work.

Lots use direct USB from the core and swear by it, some will say using the mac in general as endpoint is not optimal and you should use a dedicated streamer, others will say use a small SBC such as raspberry pi connected to the DAC with software designed solely to run the light weight Roon bridge such as Ropieee. Some might also swear by using an ethernet DAC that’s Roon Ready. People are divided on transport some will say use ethernet to the bridge, some will say USB is best and some will say WiFi is best.

My answer is to try out the the first two as you have the kit already and see. It’s all DAC dependant and other parts of system play their role to.

Got it. I’ll do some experimentation. I also had not considered the streamer option yet. I had migrated from iTunes to Roon on the iMac to Roon on the Nucleus+ plus iMac. Perhaps the next logical step is the addition of a streamer. But first I’ll work with what I have now. Thanks.