Which NUC Output for using external DAC


I am intending to buy a NUC for using Roon.

Instead of using the low quality Audio inside the NUC I would like to use the DAC inside my amplifier.

Which NUC output should I use to ensure that my amplifier’s DAC is being used?

Also: Which would be the higher quality output: USB? LAN? Toslink?


What DAC do you have?

What amplifier/DAC do you have?

Unless it’s a Meridian with and ID40 or ID41 LAN card then most likely you will have to use a USB connection to it, as your DAC will not support RoonSpeakers network protocol yet.

I am using a Denon AVR 3311 and am intending to upgrade to either an Arcam 550 AVR or Devialet Expert 120 using the pre-outs of my Denon.

So you are saying that using optical is not going to work unless I have meridian equipment. Therefore my only option is to use USB in order to use my amplifier’s DAC?

No the comment re Meridian is for LAN connected equipment … Current Roon only supports Meridian and AirPlay devices, though I don’t advocate the later due to the limitations of AirPlay.

SPDIF out of the NUC would work but is the least desirable in terms of audio quality. This is because the the NUC is a general purpose computer emitting lots of electrical noise and the quality of the SPDIF in terms of jitter will be quite poor.

So that leaves the USB connection, but it’s important that the DAC Supports asynchronous mode so the DAC can control the clock.

Hope that helps.

That’s worrisome.

The Arcam 550 does not seem to support asynchronous USB, the Devialet Expert does however.

But if I would still want to use the Arcam 550, I guess Hifiberry digi+ would be a solution to stream directly from NUC to the Arcam AVR via Hifiberry Digi+, IF roonspeaker is going to supports hifiberry/raspberry pi. Is this correct? Or do you still see quality issues wrt to jitter etc.?

If yes, my only option to use roon with a high quality DAC would then be Ethernet for meridian devices or any other device with asynchronous USB. SPDIF does not seem to be an option for high SQ :frowning:

Test it yourself. I prefer coax SPDIF over USB anyday. Toslink is a different beast. But try it and see how it sounds.

If you are getting a Devialet Le120, then you can use Devialet AIR to stream from NUC to it.

Hi Gary,

I know about AIR but too offen do I read issues with AIR in the Devialet forum and also issues in this forum regardig the use of roon with AIR.

I will be using roon for NAS music and Tidal Streaming on a NUC. Is this setup ok with AIR? Or will they be hickups?

I will test it once I decided on the Hardware setup.

Well, since my NUC is installed with Win10, I can stream via AIR from my NUC to my Le200 using Roon on all music bitrates: 16/44.1, 24/96, 24/192 and DSD64/DSF. Very rarely, I may get stutters (which is non-occurrence with AIR 2.1.3). With DSD, white noise may happen on the first song played. Otherwise, in Radio mode, this is not an issue.Streaming Tidal from Roon or desktop app, absolutely no problem with white noise.

Hi Gary,

I have a Le200 and am struggling with getting Roon/Air to work together without constant dropouts. My Roon core is installed on my Macbook Pro. Would appreciate if you can share your configuration as I plan to get a NUC as well.

Thanks in advance.


Hi Sandeep,

I strongly suggest that you change to a NUC as Roon on Mac can’t support bit-perfect playback as Exclusive Mode is currently not working well with AIR. And, please use Win10 as the preferred OS on your NUC. All my network equipment are standard off-the-shelf stuff, inexpensive and not audiophile-rated. The key I believe is to ensure a 100% proper working DHCP router and having a wireless router (2.4GHz) just next to your Le200, if you want to use AIR-WIFI reliably. Join us at Devialetchat forum for more users’ experiences and setup suggestions to make Devialet AIR and Roon working better.


Thank you Gary! I got a NUC and am currently using the D200’s USB input to play music. Works really great!

If you are running Win10 on your NUC, maybe you may want to give AIR a try, too. Able to be free from USB interconnection makes one feels really good. :grin:

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