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. 


@pindac it’s probably best to start a new discussion. You’ll get more visibility that way and get more answers.


If I were you, I’d have as few powered boxes between my router and your DAC as possible.

Last night, for the first time with my new DAC, I unplugged all the apparatus between my router and DAC and compared going from the router to the DAC with just an Amazon cat 6 cable. The difference was huge- much larger than I thought it would be. It makes me want to investigate adding an auxiliary clock into the chain as well, as many others have reported having a positive benefit. 

@mdalton not buy but try. Buying used would be okay; cause if it didn’t work, I could sell it with not much loss.

I am yet to be convinced that streamers don’t work. Keeping an open mind to see if a streamer recommended by a fellow Nagra tube dac owner works for me.


@adasdad thanks for your kind note. Currently I have taken a break from streaming, only ripped CD audio files for now, but when I do get back to streaming I will keep your advice in mind.



I get it.  I just think you found your answer over a year and a half ago when you posted this:

“The lesson I have gotten is that the effect of the server mainly depends on how competent your DAC is with input signal. Mine (Nagra Tube DAC) seems to be very competent because of various design reasons and has taken particular efforts to negate the bad effects of USB input. So I don't need to waste time with music servers just like Jay with his MSB Select 2 DAC. YMMV.”

Your conclusion there is consistent with actual data from reports done by Paul Miller of Hifi News whenever they review streamers.  He shows the amount of jitter and noise as inferred at the receiving DAC, and the quality of jitter rejection and noise filtering is highly variable across DACs.  But in certain cases, no matter how great the measurements are for a streamer, it’s largely irrelevant because of the DAC.  I think you just need to declare victory and enjoy the music.  Another less costly approach would be to try one of the much less costly streamers out there that measure magnificently - e.g. Volumio Rivo - and see what you get.  Here’s the review/measurements of an Aurender, btw: