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jtm

Thunderbolt storage

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I am running a MacBook pro i7 with 128GB SSD and 8GB RAM to play my music through various of the well known programs. I do prefer this direct USB-to-DAC connection rather than the NAS/Streamer-to-DAC way.

My music collection includes more than 500 HiRes albums in either PCM or DSD (nearly done all the ripping of DVD-A, SACD and BD ...) and approx. 1500 CDs, all in WAV format.

The files are stored on several external USB discs and a static copy stays untouched on a NAS.

Some of my all-time favorites are stored on the MacBook for listening, but I normally copy new files or whatever I intend to listen to on this evening from one of the USB drives onto my SSD. So far, so good ...

Due to the huge amount of music data I am now looking for an external storage which can keep all the files in one place.

 

My MacBook pro 2011 comes with 1x Thunderbolt and 2x USB 2.0 (one needed for the DAC), so I was searching for 6TB or 8TB Thunderbolt drives.

 

Hitachi has the G-Raid series which 7200rpm SATA-III drives - looks best option to me at this moment.

 

Any owners here who can share some feedback on this Hitachi G-Raid ?

Any comments regarding noise (fan, spinning, ...) and power consumption ?

Any other suggestions for the above mentioned purpose ?

Do you expect / have information on CES news regarding Thunderbolt storage ?

 

Thanks for your time and I am looking forward to your replies.

 

Cheers,

 

jtm


MacBookpro i7 w/ 128GB SSD w/ 16GB RAM - WD Passport Studio 2TB w/ Audioquest Diamond DBS Firewire - Audirvana Plus - Audioquest Diamond DBS USB - UpTone Audio USB Regen /or\ Melco N1A - Teac UD-501 - Exclusive C5 - Exclusive M6 (Class A mono x2) - QED Genesis Silver Spiral - B&W 803S

 

iMac 27" i7 w/ 256GB SSD & 2TB HDD w/ 16GB RAM - Synology DS413 w/ 12TB - Audirvana Plus - Audioquest Carbon USB - Pioneer N-70A - Beyer DT880 Studio (casual listening)

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I have all my music on a Promise Pegasus 6TB (6x1TB thunderbolt raid - MacBook Pro).

The pegasus is lightning fast and a breeze to use and I would buy it again in a jiffy.

It is quiet, but not quiet enough for me!

 

I'm planning to get a thunderbolt breakout box when they come out:

Thunderbolt Express Dock | Belkin USA Site

 

It will extend my cable run to 2x3m so I can place the Pegasus in the next room.

It will also be handy as a hub for my firewire DDC and USB 3 backup desks etc.


Find my blog: “Confessions of a DigiPhile” at http://www.computeraudiophile.com/blogs/digipete

ALAC 16/44 - 24/192 stereo/surround on Promise Pegasus2 R6 12TB -> Thunderbolt -> MacBook Pro 2,2Ghz Core i7 120GB SSD 16GB RAM

iTunes / Pure Music / Amarra HiFi / Bit Perfect / Audirvana + / Decibel / VLC

-> Firewire -> Weiss AFI-1 DDC -> AES/EBU -> Genelec 3 x 8260A + 2 x 8250A + 7271A sub

DragonFly / iPhone 6 -> Sennheiser Amperior / Etymotic RE-4PT

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The breakout box looks like another goody I might also like to play with.

One cable, the other stuff somewhere remote, and the Belkin design looks good (a little bit Jacob Jensen design, don't you think so?)

 

I do not like NAS, the ones I listened to were inferior in SQ compared to direct USB connection. But I acknowledge the Pegasus is probably one of the best. Which server app runs on your Pegasus?


MacBookpro i7 w/ 128GB SSD w/ 16GB RAM - WD Passport Studio 2TB w/ Audioquest Diamond DBS Firewire - Audirvana Plus - Audioquest Diamond DBS USB - UpTone Audio USB Regen /or\ Melco N1A - Teac UD-501 - Exclusive C5 - Exclusive M6 (Class A mono x2) - QED Genesis Silver Spiral - B&W 803S

 

iMac 27" i7 w/ 256GB SSD & 2TB HDD w/ 16GB RAM - Synology DS413 w/ 12TB - Audirvana Plus - Audioquest Carbon USB - Pioneer N-70A - Beyer DT880 Studio (casual listening)

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. . . But I acknowledge the Pegasus is probably one of the best. Which server app runs on your Pegasus?

 

I play through my MacBook Pro and iTunes/PureMusic for stereo and Decibel for surround.

All buffered in memory.

 

It all sounds great.


Find my blog: “Confessions of a DigiPhile” at http://www.computeraudiophile.com/blogs/digipete

ALAC 16/44 - 24/192 stereo/surround on Promise Pegasus2 R6 12TB -> Thunderbolt -> MacBook Pro 2,2Ghz Core i7 120GB SSD 16GB RAM

iTunes / Pure Music / Amarra HiFi / Bit Perfect / Audirvana + / Decibel / VLC

-> Firewire -> Weiss AFI-1 DDC -> AES/EBU -> Genelec 3 x 8260A + 2 x 8250A + 7271A sub

DragonFly / iPhone 6 -> Sennheiser Amperior / Etymotic RE-4PT

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I have Mac Mini with Iomega Minimac 2TB FW drive that is whisper quiet (fanless, I guess). However, I reached the capacity of the external drive and wanted to upgrade. So, I tried NewerTechnology MiniStak 4TB first. The drive is quiet but still has a fan that creates more noise than my old Iomega, which was unacceptable for me. Then I tried Hitachi G-Raid 7200rpm 8TB, but that was way noisier that either of the previously mentioned due to larger fan in the enclosure and higher RPM. I have returned that one too so the search continues. So, a direct answer to your question would be - no, it is not suitable for music server unless you keep it in some kind of cabinet that will muffle the noise. My racks are open and therefore I need a really quiet drives.

 

I guess I can give a try to Lacie (fanless too) but lot of people are unhappy with them also. Not really sure what is the solution here for an external drive in >3TB range.


DS411+II <-> Mac Mini -> El cheapo 1 ft USB Cable -> QB9 -> Tyr XLR -> YBA Passion Integre 300 -> Auditorium 23 -> Vaughn Cabernets

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Hi folks,

 

thanks for your comments.

 

I basically share the doubts regarding noise and power consumption with the Hitachi G-Raid, although benchmark tests have shown this one seems to be the fastest thunderbolt unit.

 

Pete's experience with Pegasus made me look into that as well, the 4-stack with 2TB or 3TB drives would be an alternative, but again ... power consumption is the issue.

 

I do not trust Lacie as well, heard some negative comments here and there, and WD MyBook drives were reported for failure even more often.

 

What is so difficult to build an external Thunderbolt drive with 4TB - 8TB, using the given read/write speed and combining it with an efficient power supply ??


MacBookpro i7 w/ 128GB SSD w/ 16GB RAM - WD Passport Studio 2TB w/ Audioquest Diamond DBS Firewire - Audirvana Plus - Audioquest Diamond DBS USB - UpTone Audio USB Regen /or\ Melco N1A - Teac UD-501 - Exclusive C5 - Exclusive M6 (Class A mono x2) - QED Genesis Silver Spiral - B&W 803S

 

iMac 27" i7 w/ 256GB SSD & 2TB HDD w/ 16GB RAM - Synology DS413 w/ 12TB - Audirvana Plus - Audioquest Carbon USB - Pioneer N-70A - Beyer DT880 Studio (casual listening)

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jtm,

 

Have a look at the Drobo Mini if you want thunderbolt combined with low energy consumption.

It uses four 2,5" hard drives or SSD's.

 

 

 

PS. I run RAID 5 for some safety on my Pegasus and I value the ability to exchange and update hard drives.


Find my blog: “Confessions of a DigiPhile” at http://www.computeraudiophile.com/blogs/digipete

ALAC 16/44 - 24/192 stereo/surround on Promise Pegasus2 R6 12TB -> Thunderbolt -> MacBook Pro 2,2Ghz Core i7 120GB SSD 16GB RAM

iTunes / Pure Music / Amarra HiFi / Bit Perfect / Audirvana + / Decibel / VLC

-> Firewire -> Weiss AFI-1 DDC -> AES/EBU -> Genelec 3 x 8260A + 2 x 8250A + 7271A sub

DragonFly / iPhone 6 -> Sennheiser Amperior / Etymotic RE-4PT

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jtm,

 

I have a Drobo 5D, which is closely related to the Drobo Mini DigiPete mentioned. It offers great speed, the ability to accept/hot swap/upgrade any SATA drive in any form factor, and very simple operation. Its five drives can be filled with any combination of HDD's and SSD's. It also has an external power supply, so in principle one could upgrade that, too.

 

Unfortunately, I've found it's fan just a bit too loud to make it the ideal DAS solution for music files, so it serves as my local backup drive for now. I've not compared the 5D side by side with the Mini and thus couldn't say which is quieter, though I remember Cnet describing the latter's fan as particularly loud. I've also never seen/heard a Pegasus R4/6 in person, though it's apparently well received by all.

 

In my opinion, a fan-less version of the 5D, or another drive with the same feature set, would be just about ideal. Unfortunately, I know of nothing current or planned that fits this description -- though I will, like you, keep searching...

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This quarter should bringing us the Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock.

Can't wait to put my promise in the next room and perhaps upgrade it to 5 X 3TB.

 

Thunderbolt Express Dock | Belkin USA Site

 

Price should be USD 299,-


Find my blog: “Confessions of a DigiPhile” at http://www.computeraudiophile.com/blogs/digipete

ALAC 16/44 - 24/192 stereo/surround on Promise Pegasus2 R6 12TB -> Thunderbolt -> MacBook Pro 2,2Ghz Core i7 120GB SSD 16GB RAM

iTunes / Pure Music / Amarra HiFi / Bit Perfect / Audirvana + / Decibel / VLC

-> Firewire -> Weiss AFI-1 DDC -> AES/EBU -> Genelec 3 x 8260A + 2 x 8250A + 7271A sub

DragonFly / iPhone 6 -> Sennheiser Amperior / Etymotic RE-4PT

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The Belkin dock is on my shopping list, thanks for pointing me into this direction.

 

I have installed local firewire storage for my music library.

The best compromise at this point for full access to all highres files, silent mechanism (fanless), tweaking option with Audioquest Diamond cable, low energy consumption thanks to power supply via Firewire.

 

The Belkin will be my hub for another local WD Passport Studio (USB 3.0) with all the CD rips and gateway to the Synology NAS we are now using for sharing all the photos, docs and everything within our family.

This NAS drive is also used for the backups.

 

Thanks again, Pete.

 

This quarter should bringing us the Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock.

Can't wait to put my promise in the next room and perhaps upgrade it to 5 X 3TB.

 

Thunderbolt Express Dock | Belkin USA Site

 

Price should be USD 299,-


MacBookpro i7 w/ 128GB SSD w/ 16GB RAM - WD Passport Studio 2TB w/ Audioquest Diamond DBS Firewire - Audirvana Plus - Audioquest Diamond DBS USB - UpTone Audio USB Regen /or\ Melco N1A - Teac UD-501 - Exclusive C5 - Exclusive M6 (Class A mono x2) - QED Genesis Silver Spiral - B&W 803S

 

iMac 27" i7 w/ 256GB SSD & 2TB HDD w/ 16GB RAM - Synology DS413 w/ 12TB - Audirvana Plus - Audioquest Carbon USB - Pioneer N-70A - Beyer DT880 Studio (casual listening)

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pbm,

 

distribution for Drobo here in Germany is very weak, to be frankly.

And like you mentioned, noise is an issue with these units.


MacBookpro i7 w/ 128GB SSD w/ 16GB RAM - WD Passport Studio 2TB w/ Audioquest Diamond DBS Firewire - Audirvana Plus - Audioquest Diamond DBS USB - UpTone Audio USB Regen /or\ Melco N1A - Teac UD-501 - Exclusive C5 - Exclusive M6 (Class A mono x2) - QED Genesis Silver Spiral - B&W 803S

 

iMac 27" i7 w/ 256GB SSD & 2TB HDD w/ 16GB RAM - Synology DS413 w/ 12TB - Audirvana Plus - Audioquest Carbon USB - Pioneer N-70A - Beyer DT880 Studio (casual listening)

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This quarter should bringing us the Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock.

Will it actually come this time. Feel like been waiting for this almost as long as for http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f10-music-servers/merging-technologies-emotion-music-server-7773/. Anyone taking bets which will come first?

 

Eloise


Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Hi folks,

 

thanks for your comments.

 

I basically share the doubts regarding noise and power consumption with the Hitachi G-Raid, although benchmark tests have shown this one seems to be the fastest thunderbolt unit.

 

Pete's experience with Pegasus made me look into that as well, the 4-stack with 2TB or 3TB drives would be an alternative, but again ... power consumption is the issue.

 

I do not trust Lacie as well, heard some negative comments here and there, and WD MyBook drives were reported for failure even more often.

 

What is so difficult to build an external Thunderbolt drive with 4TB - 8TB, using the given read/write speed and combining it with an efficient power supply ??

 

A couple of observations.

 

I've had good experiences with G-Tech drives. My music library currently resides on a 4TB G-Raid (connected to my MacBook Pro via an Audioquest Cinnamon FireWire cable. The G-Tech drive is noisier than the Western Digital drive that is connected to my AirPort for Time Machine backups, but if you run your player software in cache mode (Amarra) or equivalent there should be no drive noise during playback.

 

I could be wrong about this, but I don't think the high cost of Thunderbolt drives is an engineering issue. Rather, I think there's a rather hefty royalty somewhere in the cost structure. Not much to do about that until Intel (which owns the patents) decides to not milk the cow, or until the patents expire.


Office: MacBook Pro - Audirvana Plus - Resonessence Concero - Cavailli Liquid Carbon - Sennheiser HD 800.

Travel/Portable: iPhone 7 or iPad Pro - AudioQuest Dragonfly Red - Audeze SINE or Noble Savant

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Drobo!!! I still have such bad memories of my first Drobo. Slow like a turtle, prone to dying for days, and churn churn churn all day long. Even with headphones on, I could hear it in my office. Eventually my nerves were totally frazzled by it.

 

Honestly are there any drives that have a good reputation?

 

Whoa. I did not know about the Sonnet Tech Echo Express series.

 

I knew this was promised when TB first showed up, but well, it's been such a slow tech to take off.


Software: Roon [depricated: Moode Audio (http://moodeaudio.org), Audirvana Plus+]

Digital: Ayre Codex [upgrading to Ayre QX-5 Twenty]; Oppo UDP-205; [depricated: Raspberry Pi 2 with Hifiberry Digi+];  Synology Diskstation 412+ NAS;  Tidal

Preamplification: Ayre KX-5 Twenty;  Amplification: Ayre VX-5 Twenty; Speakers: Vandersteen 5A 

Analog: Clearaudio Performance DC, Concept tonearm, Artist v2 ebony cartridge, Ayre P-5xe, Nakamichi 630 (Tuner… just for fun)

Cables: Audioquest Aspen for speakers, otherwise Anti-cables throughout (except Audioquest running from P-5xe to K-5xeMP) 

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Can this be used with a Mac Mini?

 

The newer Mac Minis have Thunderbolt, so yes they can.

A very nice piece of equipment if I may say so.


Find my blog: “Confessions of a DigiPhile” at http://www.computeraudiophile.com/blogs/digipete

ALAC 16/44 - 24/192 stereo/surround on Promise Pegasus2 R6 12TB -> Thunderbolt -> MacBook Pro 2,2Ghz Core i7 120GB SSD 16GB RAM

iTunes / Pure Music / Amarra HiFi / Bit Perfect / Audirvana + / Decibel / VLC

-> Firewire -> Weiss AFI-1 DDC -> AES/EBU -> Genelec 3 x 8260A + 2 x 8250A + 7271A sub

DragonFly / iPhone 6 -> Sennheiser Amperior / Etymotic RE-4PT

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Not sure if this is new news or not.

 

Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock pre-orders go live | 9to5Mac

 

Apparently some have even been shipped! Only 2 months after the pre-orders were opened!! And about 2 years after it was first talked about!!!


Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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The newer Mac Minis have Thunderbolt, so yes they can.

A very nice piece of equipment if I may say so.

 

Hi DigiPete

Excuse my ignorance, but how will you set up the Belkin so that you can put the Pegasus in another room?. Is the purpose of the Belkin so that you can run 2 lengths of Thunderbolt? What is the longest length that is recommended forThunderbolt?

I'm interested in replacing my Synology 712+, which I have in an adjacent room connected via ethernet cable. I like having the drives in another room, but I think the ethernet cable is an inferior sounding connection.

Thanks

Carl

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Hi DigiPete

Excuse my ignorance, but how will you set up the Belkin so that you can put the Pegasus in another room?. Is the purpose of the Belkin so that you can run 2 lengths of Thunderbolt? What is the longest length that is recommended forThunderbolt?

I'm interested in replacing my Synology 712+, which I have in an adjacent room connected via ethernet cable. I like having the drives in another room, but I think the ethernet cable is an inferior sounding connection.

Thanks

Carl

 

3m is the longest I have found thunderbolt cables so far.

The Belkin will allow me to combine two lengths of 3 meter.

 

I think thunderbolt cables longer than 3m will probably have to use fiber optic cable.

There have been talk about making some, but I haven't seen anyone offered.

 

Why would you think ethernet cable is an inferior sounding connection?


Find my blog: “Confessions of a DigiPhile” at http://www.computeraudiophile.com/blogs/digipete

ALAC 16/44 - 24/192 stereo/surround on Promise Pegasus2 R6 12TB -> Thunderbolt -> MacBook Pro 2,2Ghz Core i7 120GB SSD 16GB RAM

iTunes / Pure Music / Amarra HiFi / Bit Perfect / Audirvana + / Decibel / VLC

-> Firewire -> Weiss AFI-1 DDC -> AES/EBU -> Genelec 3 x 8260A + 2 x 8250A + 7271A sub

DragonFly / iPhone 6 -> Sennheiser Amperior / Etymotic RE-4PT

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3m is the longest I have found thunderbolt cables so far.

The Belkin will allow me to combine two lengths of 3 meter.

 

I think thunderbolt cables longer than 3m will probably have to use fiber optic cable.

There have been talk about making some, but I haven't seen anyone offered.

 

Why would you think ethernet cable is an inferior sounding connection?

 

Originally, I was using a 2Bay Onto Datatail connected via firewire. I needed to expand, and the fan noise always bothered me. So I bought a 2bay Synology 712+ and the 5 bay 510 expansion unit, and placed it in an adjacent room via a 25 foot Ethernet cable. From the start, I felt that I had taken a hit sonically. Sound was thinner, and more analytical.I have tried numerous cables, CAT5,6 and 7, but I have not been able to restore what I previously had via firewire. I am surprised at this, as I run PureMusic in Memory, and I felt that would negate any difference down the line. I love the Synology system, as a safe, reliable storage system, but have been looking for something else. The thunderbolt, given it's speed, seems like a good choice. Did you notice any difference in the sound when you added the Belkin and a second cable?

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The thunderbolt, given it's speed, seems like a good choice.

 

YUP, I love it!

 

 

Did you notice any difference in the sound when you added the Belkin and a second cable?

 

No, I haven't added it yet.

 

My rig is set up to eliminate any influence from cables, and I have yet to hear cables (brands, lengths, types) influence the sound on this rig.

I believe the trick is to build a rig that eliminates analogue noise transmitted to analogue circuits through digital cables.

Adding a great DDC not only reduces jitter but may also filter out the analogue noise better than the DAC running alone.

My 2 cents.


Find my blog: “Confessions of a DigiPhile” at http://www.computeraudiophile.com/blogs/digipete

ALAC 16/44 - 24/192 stereo/surround on Promise Pegasus2 R6 12TB -> Thunderbolt -> MacBook Pro 2,2Ghz Core i7 120GB SSD 16GB RAM

iTunes / Pure Music / Amarra HiFi / Bit Perfect / Audirvana + / Decibel / VLC

-> Firewire -> Weiss AFI-1 DDC -> AES/EBU -> Genelec 3 x 8260A + 2 x 8250A + 7271A sub

DragonFly / iPhone 6 -> Sennheiser Amperior / Etymotic RE-4PT

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Due to the ability of putting the fan/HD noise in another room with a NAS I went that route. However, here is another negative sound experience with NAS. Using Amarra with a Synology 412 created two issues for me.

 

1. Amarra is not compatible with cache and preload modes, i.e. no gapless playback

 

2. It introduces listening fatigue, digititus pain. Big deal!

 

This was compared with the same files played back from SSD.

 

Now I am also back to looking for a tbolt solution with 'no' noise. Anyone want to buy a 412? ;)

 

Cheers

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