750$ Intel NUC vs $6000 Aurender N200: I don't hear the difference

I finally plunged into the source is as important as the DAC belief that is quite prevalent here and decided to test out Aurender N200. And given I have a very highend DAC, thought if the N200 pans out I would go for the N20 or N30.


I was expecting the N200 to blow away my Intel NUC which is 10th gen, core i7, 8GB and running Roon Rock BUT I am switching back and forth between USB playing the Roon Rock, and Co-axial playing Aurender N200, and I don't hear much of a difference maybe a hair, or not even that.


A few caveats: 1) Roon Rock is playing Quboz, N200 is playing Tidal (I am unable to get Qobuz login to the N200 for reason I don't understand).

2) I am comparing Coaxial on N200, USB on Roon Rock.

Caveat #2 can be ignored because I don't hear a difference between Coaxial and USB output of N200.


So either this is an "Emperor has no clothes" moment or I am missing something big. Any thoughts on what I might be missing before I send this N200 back to the dealer on Monday.


Rest of my system: Nagra TUBE DAC -> Accuphase E-650 -> Devore O96 and all Acoustic Revive wiring. 


My post was intended as tongue in cheek but I guess did not come across that way. I just don’t see the point of arguing the obvious which then results in more arguments, name calling, etc. that is so often the case here on A’gon (not necessarily this thread). If someone likes vanilla you’re not going to persuade them that chocolate is better. I personally don’t believe that most people here on A’gon would be misguided by the OP’s original post. I also don’t think that most people with Aurender streamers are trading them in for NUC’s. I know I’m not. Of course I could be wrong.

It’s been a few years, I didn’t remember, and read thru the thread, wish the other naysayers did the same. I do wish people would read the thread completely before posting their big fat opinions. Note that a few posts later I mention that both use usb cables and both use tidal and are compared and the NUC won. About as close to an ideal experiment as you can get.

I forget that many here might be technically challenged to be futzing around setting up Roon rock. But those you have the chops, I highly recommend trying it out and do report back your results if you ever end up doing a shoot out.


yes, not sure a couple recent posters (@mclinnguy ​​@audphile1 ) read your follow-up post from 12/5, wherein you said:

So, me and an audiophile friend got together to sort this out.

“All the caveats were resolved. Both NUC and Aurender used USB, both were fed by Tidal. Now the surprise was that NUC beat Aurender by a nice margin.

The Aurender sounded cleaner and more audiophile but more analytical and lacking lower end bass (hence cleaner we felt).

Roon ROCK on NUC had better bass and was more natural sounding. 

Go figure.

Hmmmm...now if I add a fanless chasis and LPS to my NUC it might sound even cleaner and beat Aurender in every which way.

The N200 is going back.

Anyone talking about noisy network or noisy USB etc are missing the point. This is a shootout under identical conditions. Roon + NUC vs Aurender N200 running Aurender software.”

I’d be interested what about this test is not an appropriate a/b.  Only thing I can think of is that Roon wasn’t running on Aurender, but you’re still getting a test of streamer/software combos, so that seems credible to me.  And if I’m not mistaken, Aurender is not roon-ready, right, so that makes it impossible to just test hardware anyway?


@essrand @mdalton

I did read the whole thread, I was referring to this:

"I again spoke to the dealer. Asked him if he was sure if the unit was burned in. He got back to me yesterday saying it has only 60 hours on it.

Aurender says the N200 needs 150 hours to sound its best. Maybe that is the issue.

The unit is going back and I might demo it again in a few weeks after its 100% fully burnt in."

Therefore no, not ALL caveats were resolved. Look I don’t have a horse in this race, I am not an Aurender owner, I don’t own shares in streaming companies, I am just researching a future streaming purchase and I want opinions/reviews as genuine as possible. I simply asked if the OP ever tried the same N200 again, as suggested here by the OP Apparently not; if he is happy with his Roon Rock, fine!

But I guarantee 99.9% of the people who are reading this thread are scratching their heads, and not just because of the streamer choice, but the choices the OP has made with the other components listed. Maybe he could save more money?

edit: or, maybe he could spend more :) after reading the positive results from @metaldetektor using the Playback streamer with the Nagra it would be curious if you could try one and see if it "beats" the Rock? You must be curious too, no? 😉