USB vs Ethernet connection

Whats the difference between connecting my Computer (Roon) via Usb or Ethernet to my DAC?

Depends on the dac. Very few have ethernet connectivity.

Ok I have the Auralic Mini which is also a streamer which is why I assume has the ethernet connection. I have used both connections and was just wondering what the difference was. So if you have a streamer then that should be connected to ethernet and then if you have a separate DAC that would be connected to USB. I am a learning Grasshopper. Thank you Tony.

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Separating the Core and Output is recommended by Roon as enabling the best sound quality. The Ethernet connection has a degree of isolation whereas direct USB connection can result in electrical and RF noise in the computer getting to the DAC.

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Ok So I have some isolation benefit if the DAC accepts Ethernet connection. Other than that they are both wires that transfer the data to the DAC.

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Whats with the MicroRendu?

Michael, stick with ethernet all around if possible. It’s less messier than USB. You had the right idea the first time around of keeping your Mac Pro in another room and running ethernet to the Auralic Mini. You had initially asked whether it’s better to connect the Mini via ethernet directly to the Mini or to the router that the Mac Pro is connected. I think both will work well. You can experiment both ways and see you if notice a difference. I’d still stick with that option over any USB connection as then you have to worry about electrical noise and are limited in distance. Sure, with the micro Rendu you can overcome this distance barrier but then you are back to dealing with USB and its own LPS and not to mention at a higher price. At which point, I’d probably put all that money from the Auralic Mini + Micro Rendu + LPS into a better singular device.


Thank you Mr Zoom, I appreciate you paying attention to my history of questions. I do have the MacPro (RoonCore) running ethernet to the Router and ethernet from router to Mini and all sounds good. I did buy a new 13" Mac Pro so I did the USB connection to the mini but there was some drop outs as the MacPro was streaming from the router. I also have the Meridian Explorer 2 which is OK but is limited to higher sampling rates that the Auralic Mini offers. The Mini was my stepping stone to streaming so I plan to upgrade to a better DAC whether that may be an Auralic or Mytek. Thank you for your awsomesness!

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I Have been noticing a lack of bass in the Auralic Mini so I added some DSP Parametric EQ for some BASS or fullness of sound. My question is am I better off adding a subwoofer? My loud speakers are the B&W XT-4 series. OR is a better DAC what I need?

Under a review of that speaker, it says it only goes down to 40 Hz and it recommends a sub-woofer.

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Well there you go. Thank you Mr. Rugby! I just need to get the wife to approve.

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Always a wise move. Although, sometimes I just get it and mea culpa later. :grinning:

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If you have a number of options that can be used like usb or Ethernet then I suggest you listen to both or as many as you have and let your ears decide on what sounds best to you. Everyone’s setup is different as are everyone’s ears and listening criteria.

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The microRendu is an Ethernet to USB device. You don’t need it with an Aries Mini.

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Interesting that none of your alternatives have won any awards yet the rendu has a passionate following and numerous awards.

I personally steer away from making ‘dismissive’ statements without first hand experience. Fortunately/unfortunately SQ cannot be determined by comparing specs.

With the rendu I have compared it to the Allo Digione, ethernet direct, WiFi and the Naim DAC v1. It beats all of them. Oh and the Allo was on its own LPSU. I’m only selling mine as the Kefs are about to get Roon support and I need to free up cash.

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Well, with the caveat that I don’t have golden ears, I couldn’t tell the difference…


Nah, c’mon, you were closing off an avenue of investigation for Michael by dismissing the microRendu as poor value-for-money… :slight_smile:

I have a simple motto:“if I ain’t tried it, I can’t define it” and that extends to my hifi experiences. There are simply too many variables in hifi for us to be definitive about our recommendations. We can only make suggestions. It is up to the buyer to either go with the consensus (not ideal) or to take the time to short-list and demo software/hardware before laying down the cash.

Just to lay my cards on the table, I rate the Allo Digione very highly so much so that its replaced my Naim DAC V1 in my headphone listening system (I’ve got it feeding a Chord Mojo). I tried the Allo Digione feeding the coax in on the DAC V1 compared to the microRendu going in on the DAC V1’s async USB. The microRendu had a more natural and articulate presentation. Now just in that one set up there are variables that can’t be ironed out: is the DAC V1 coax input executed in a poorer manner than its USB input? Was the Digione interconnect poor quality? Would my wife (or A.N.Other) prefer the Allo Digione than the microRendu sound? Was I just a bit tired and my brain just not up for assimilating a new sound?

Who knows? As I said, too many variables which is why I think the best support we can give our fellow hifi peeps is to offer our first-hand experience rather than conjecture. And to encourage them to try this stuff out and get first-hand experience!!! That’s the reason good hifi dealers happily let you trial kit at home - they know about these variables.

Measurements cannot take into account audiophile goodwill, which inherently improves sound quality by 17.2 or 23.9 percent – depending upon whether a linear power supply was utilized.



I would suggest instead, “apply them to speakers, amps, room treatments and DACs”

In regards to my setup my dac is built into the streamer Auralic Aries Mini which total cost is $500. My speakers are B&W XT4’s and I am using a 12 year old Marantz SR8500 Reciever. Would it be safe to say my immediate upgrade would be a stand alone DAC? Then down the road upgrade to a better AMP be it an integrated, Tube or mono blocks?