Seeking Advice - NUC to Amp

Hey folks,

Recently sold my KEF LS50W and am looking at connecting my Roon NUC to my main system which is -

Rega P5
Jolida JD100s
Audio Note Soro Se
Audio Note AN-E

I am looking for the best way to connect the NUC to the amplifier for under $1000 while retaining the best sound possible. I have been out of touch with the audio industry for a few years so I thought I would ask for suggestions on the best way to proceed.

Thank you for any and all suggestions


If your amp only has analog (phono) inputs, you’ll need a dac of some sort - and there’s an entire market (at all price points) waiting for you!

Hi Mike,

Thanks for replying. Do you have any suggestions under $1000 where I should start looking?

From what I have read the use of a Bluesound Node 2i into an amp seems to have been a fairly popular approach. Does anyone have experience with this and did they achieve decent results?

Or would something like an ifi zen stream + a separate dac get better results?

Brendan’s suggestion is a good start, A Zen Stream (or a Pi) out to a DAC like the Zen Dac Signature 2 is around $600 and would work as a wonderful option (if you then wanted a headphone station you could add the Zen can signature 2 taking you around your target price)

Another good all in one streamer DAC choice is the Matrix Audio Mini I-Pro 3 (or the non pro). I have one of those as well and almost the perfect device if you want to run headphones and an amplifier and offers phono and XLR output and will drive 2 pair of headphones at once.

But there is so much choice in this market from about $300 to $10k

G’day Michael,

Thanks for your suggestions. It is good to know my research has me on the right track so far.
I already have a separate headphone setup so this will be dedicated just for the Audio Note system.
I like the idea of the ifi zen stream that way I can upgrade dacs whenever i like in the future if the zen stream is good enough to not limit the system. I’m not entirely sure how much effect the streamer has overall on the sound of a system? I am sure this is a topic of much debate.
Any thoughts on good dacs under $500?

Brendan have a look at this link hear where David is comparing streaming devices

There are lots of good DACS in that price point from Zen, Topping, SMSL to name a few. Remember that the Zen Stream has USB and SPDIF out and can drive them separately if needed (I use both to to different headphone Dac amps).

I was chatting to someone that had recently bought the Zen DAC 2 SE and he was very happy how well it worked with the Stream, but also users with Topping being very happy with them.
I would make a short list and do some YouTube searching for Topping D30 pro, SMSL SU-9
Like I said so many options in increments of about $50 or so.

Have fun looking at the options

Thanks Michael,

Looks like it is time to delve deeper into dac research. :wink:

Have fun and be careful that you don’t follow Alice down the rabbit hole.
Some people don’t resurface for weeks after they start researching DACS :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Michael have you used these two (Topping D30 pro, SMSL SU-9) if so how do you rate them?

Brendan I have never used a Topping device, but they are generally rated highly on the forums and by reviewer’s and depending on where you purchase you can easily return it if it doesn’t fit your needs.

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What is your digital library content in term of formats (PCM or SDM(DSD) and resolutions (44,1/16, 96/24, DSD64)? And are you interested in NativeDSD playback?

Igor the majority is FLAC 44.1kHz / 16bit

Never even looked at NativeDSD…