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. 



one last point.  had to look up MPS-6 🥴.  That piece includes a dac, right?  Which means there’s alot going on there in the analog realm, which is where I’m more inclined to believe the potential effects of burn-in could be non-trivial.


Correct, here is what they have for a non DAC streamer: I don't want to give the impression I am hugely familiar with this company, point is most manufacturers say "give it 200 hours to settle in" if you ask them, but these guys are the only ones I am aware of that have put it in print. It doesn't matter though because it is beyond my budget :) 


BREAKING IN THE MPT-8 Since the MPT-8 does not have an analog output stage a break in period is not as critical with this machine. However, various parts can still benefit from a break in. For this it is recommended to simply leave the unit powered on without playing any audio. Typical break in periods are 300 - 500 hours.


re: 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? 


yes I am. As soon @metaldetektor told me about it (a year ago), I contacted playback audio. Sadly no dealers here to help out, but I am keeping an eye for that streamer to pop into the used market. So far no luck.

@essrand, I'm extremely jealous of your Nagra Tube DAC sir. If I were you, I’d have as few powered boxes between my router and your DAC as possible.


I don’t know man, hard to understand how after having proven that a $6000 streamer didn’t do anything for you, now you wanna buy an $11,000 one.  But hey, knock yourself out!