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Streaming - To direct connect or not?
#11
@David A
Thank you for your answer, you are right: there is no such "general" answer for this.
I see that many users (including me) are reporting some kind of small improvement on sound quality over direct connection.
It is not clear to me why Danny Dulai of Roon doesn't recommend doing direct connection. Basically, connection via router is nothing else than two direct connections, plus some data transfer inside the router, ans also some services (e.g. DHCP). Maybe because (for a regular user) direct connection is harder to be made than connection via router?...
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#12
@daniel.avasilichioaei

I think there may be 3 things behind Danny Dulai's reluctance to recommend direct connection.

The first may be that when Roon configured their ROC operating system for a NUC, and then introduced their own Nucleus models with essentially the same OS, they basically configured things for a single network connection via the single ethernet port. They allowed for a second network connection via a USB port with the use of an adapter but basically I think they envisaged the ethernet port as the device's communication gateway and probably saw the USB ports as intended for USB audio out and connection of drives for storage and/or backup. Using a second network connection may increase the potential range of problems they're going to have to deal with from customers. There are advantages in keeping things simple and one network connection is simpler than 2 for troubleshooting purposes.

The second is related to the first in a way. If you have 2 network connections and you're using one for the internet connection and the other for direct connection to an endpoint, which port do you use for each connection? One of Danny's comments is that he would recommend the ethernet port for the internet connection in relation to software updates so there may be some concern that since they have no control over the choice of adapter the user is going to use, using a USB port for the internet connection may be less reliable and could cause problems with the update process. They may also be concerned that some adapters may not be ideal for the direct connection and impact on sound quality for some reason. Either way, not only do they have no control over the user's choice of adapter they also have no control over the user's choice of port for the network connection and the direct connection. Instead of only having to consider one network connection setup if people don't use a direct connection, they have to consider 3 (network connection only, network connection via ethernet port and direct connection via USB port, and network connection via USB port and direct connection via ethernet port) when it comes to providing advice and testing for problems in their software when users report issues.

The third is probably a lack of personal experience using a direct connection because Danny's experience is using the server as "intended", ie with server and endpoint both connected to the network.

I don't think a direct connection is significantly harder to make in any real way though it can be a little tricky doing the manual IP addresses if you switch the NUC/Nucleus internet connection to the USB port because you need a live network connection to change the configuration of the ports and if you get the order of doing things wrong, as I originally did, you end up not being able to get a network connection to the server and end up having to swap the cables back and do things in a different order. It took me a few minutes to realise what I had done when I ran into that problem and then to work out how to fix it. That problem is going to be the source of some service requests if people start using direct connections.

I said in my original response to you that I had just gone back to using a direct connection after running with a network connection to my 140 after getting it back from it's fix for my SD card problem. I switched back to the direct connection on Sunday morning and it's now Tuesday morning my time. I've just gone back to a network connection. I've had 3 dropouts in 2 days while using the direct connection with a USB3 adapter. I'd had no problems with the network connection in the several weeks between return of the amp and Sunday morning when I switched to the direct connection. I think the dropouts are likely to be as a result of the gigabit ethernet connection with RAAT. I didn't have that sort of issue with the direct connection prior to sending the amp away for repair but my experience with the gigabit ethernet issue and RAAT has been infrequent and I have no idea why the issue occurs when it does and why it doesn't occur more frequently. I've gone for more than a month without the problem at times and then I strike it a couple of times in a short period and I can't think of anything which may be the trigger, apart from the fact that it definitely becomes more frequent if I stream 192/24 signals but even then the occurrence is sporadic.

I'll add that the slight gain I get in clarity and definition isn't necessarily always welcome. There are times when I find myself thinking it's a little too much and find myself wanting the slightly more relaxed presentation of the network connection with some music. That's largely the reason I regard the change with the direct connection as a small improvement. It's really nice with some music, especially "punchy" music, but it can border on slightly distracting with more flowing music.

I may try the direct connection again when the gigabit ethernet issue gets fixed but it's possible that I'll end up deciding to just stick with the network connection. I find that once I get into listening that way, I tend not to miss the slight gain in clarity and definition of the direct connection but while I appreciate those gains when I try the direct connection I do find myself wishing for slightly less of those characteristics with some music. I'm on the borderline when it comes to deciding whether the gain I get with the direct connection outweighs the disadvantage of the feeling that at times it's just a little too much plus the slight amount of fiddling involved in setting it up.
Roon Nucleus+, Devilalet Expert 140 Pro CI, Focal Sopra 2, PS Audio P12, WireWorld Starlight ethernet cables, Cisco SG110D-05 network switch, Kimber Select speaker cables, Shunyata Alpha NR and Delta EF power cables power cables, Grand Prix Audio Monaco rack, RealTRAPS acoustic treatment.

Brisbane, Qld, Australia
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#13
(13-Aug-2019, 00:02)David A Wrote: @daniel.avasilichioaei

I think there may be 3 things behind Danny Dulai's reluctance to recommend direct connection.

The first may be that when Roon configured their ROC operating system for a NUC, and then introduced their own Nucleus models with essentially the same OS, they basically configured things for a single network connection via the single ethernet port. They allowed for a second network connection via a USB port with the use of an adapter but basically I think they envisaged the ethernet port as the device's communication gateway and probably saw the USB ports as intended for USB audio out and connection of drives for storage and/or backup. Using a second network connection may increase the potential range of problems they're going to have to deal with from customers. There are advantages in keeping things simple and one network connection is simpler than 2 for troubleshooting purposes.

The second is related to the first in a way. If you have 2 network connections and you're using one for the internet connection and the other for direct connection to an endpoint, which port do you use for each connection? One of Danny's comments is that he would recommend the ethernet port for the internet connection in relation to software updates so there may be some concern that since they have no control over the choice of adapter the user is going to use, using a USB port for the internet connection may be less reliable and could cause problems with the update process. They may also be concerned that some adapters may not be ideal for the direct connection and impact on sound quality for some reason. Either way, not only do they have no control over the user's choice of adapter they also have no control over the user's choice of port for the network connection and the direct connection. Instead of only having to consider one network connection setup if people don't use a direct connection, they have to consider 3 (network connection only, network connection via ethernet port and direct connection via USB port, and network connection via USB port and direct connection via ethernet port) when it comes to providing advice and testing for problems in their software when users report issues.

The third is probably a lack of personal experience using a direct connection because Danny's experience is using the server as "intended", ie with server and endpoint both connected to the network.

I don't think a direct connection is significantly harder to make in any real way though it can be a little tricky doing the manual IP addresses if you switch the NUC/Nucleus internet connection to the USB port because you need a live network connection to change the configuration of the ports and if you get the order of doing things wrong, as I originally did, you end up not being able to get a network connection to the server and end up having to swap the cables back and do things in a different order. It took me a few minutes to realise what I had done when I ran into that problem and then to work out how to fix it. That problem is going to be the source of some service requests if people start using direct connections.

I said in my original response to you that I had just gone back to using a direct connection after running with a network connection to my 140 after getting it back from it's fix for my SD card problem. I switched back to the direct connection on Sunday morning and it's now Tuesday morning my time. I've just gone back to a network connection. I've had 3 dropouts in 2 days while using the direct connection with a USB3 adapter. I'd had no problems with the network connection in the several weeks between return of the amp and Sunday morning when I switched to the direct connection. I think the dropouts are likely to be as a result of the gigabit ethernet connection with RAAT. I didn't have that sort of issue with the direct connection prior to sending the amp away for repair but my experience with the gigabit ethernet issue and RAAT has been infrequent and I have no idea why the issue occurs when it does and why it doesn't occur more frequently. I've gone for more than a month without the problem at times and then I strike it a couple of times in a short period and I can't think of anything which may be the trigger, apart from the fact that it definitely becomes more frequent if I stream 192/24 signals but even then the occurrence is sporadic.

I'll add that the slight gain I get in clarity and definition isn't necessarily always welcome. There are times when I find myself thinking it's a little too much and find myself wanting the slightly more relaxed presentation of the network connection with some music. That's largely the reason I regard the change with the direct connection as a small improvement. It's really nice with some music, especially "punchy" music, but it can border on slightly distracting with more flowing music.

I may try the direct connection again when the gigabit ethernet issue gets fixed but it's possible that I'll end up deciding to just stick with the network connection. I find that once I get into listening that way, I tend not to miss the slight gain in clarity and definition of the direct connection but while I appreciate those gains when I try the direct connection I do find myself wishing for slightly less of those characteristics with some music. I'm on the borderline when it comes to deciding whether the gain I get with the direct connection outweighs the disadvantage of the feeling that at times it's just a little too much plus the slight amount of fiddling involved in setting it up.

1+!!
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