Streaming - To direct connect or not?

I’m using Intel NUC (Roon ROCK) as a streamer to DAC, over Ethernet network (cable) and Roon AIR protocol.
I have two option for making this connection (please see here below image):

  • Version A: via router
  • Version B: direct connection

From your experience, are there any benefits to sound quality when using one of the connection modes? Or is the sound quality the same, regardless of the type of connection (A or B)?
I really appreciate your help.

The only way to do it via ROCK stops your network DAC accessing the Internet. If that matters then it isn’t suitable. Also you need to be able to assign an IP to the DAC. If none of that matters then the primary benefit will be isolating the DAC from network traffic but the only way to confirm it is better, worse or no change is to give it a go in the context of your system.

Version A is using NUC network card only, while version B is using an additional network USB network card.
The “translation” of my question is what is worst for sound quality: the extra work/noise generated by the second USB network card inside NUC (version B), or the extra devices/noise generated by router (version B)?

Only you can tell in your system by trying it out.


Did you mean RAAT rather than [Apple] “AIR” protocol?
Out of interest what DAC are you using?

If you are looking to minimise ‘noise’ from the LAN have you considered using ethernet to optical units. There’s been some discussion of this on here.

My DAC is Devialet, and I’m using their AIR protocol (“AIR”, not “AIR Play”).
Thank you for your advice.

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