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Please help, how can I better store my music?


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My chain is a following:

Macbook Pro > Itunes > Audirvana > NAD D 1050 > Headphones or into Stereo amplifier...

 

I mainly use the internal hard drive, but the storage space is very limited. I can only have maybe 50 albums at one time. I do have a old 1TB external hard drive with most of my music collection in FLAC, but it also acts as a Time Capsule, so it is also full now.

 

I've been thinking of buying a 3TB external hard drive and export my itunes library to it and only play music from it. Would it degrade the sound quality in any way? To me it feels better to play directly from the computer, but all the deleting, converting and importing is making me crazy.

 

The dream would be to be able to have a source that is only for music, so I do not have to put my laptop away when I want to listen to music. But I guess that is not possible with my DAC? Could a NAS help in any way?

 

How would you do it with the storage?

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I store all of my music on external Firewire drives that I built using OWC enclosures. I don't notice any difference between music playing from my system drive and my music drives.

 

Why don't you copy a music folder to your current external drive and use Audirvana to see if you notice any difference?

 

If you do go this route, be sure to get a second drive as a backup and use Carbon Copy or Super Duper to clone it on a regular basis.

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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You are right, have to try it out myself. But the solution for now does not work anymore. From the Squessebox era I've most of my collection in FLAC still, and then I have to convert them to ALAC for my computer setup. I just wanna start new withaout degrading the sound.

 

Why external Firewire and not an ordinary external hard drive?

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Why external Firewire and not an ordinary external hard drive?

 

When I started out, Firewire 800 was faster than USB. It also uses a different interface than the USB DAC.

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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When I started out, Firewire 800 was faster than USB. It also uses a different interface than the USB DAC.

The latter is more important.

 

General advice is to use storage on a different bus to the DAC.

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 latter is more important.

 

General advice is to use storage on a different bus to the DAC.

 

Agreed. The extra speed isn't necessary for playing music but is useful during the initial transfer and subsequent backups.

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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You are right, have to try it out myself. But the solution for now does not work anymore. From the Squessebox era I've most of my collection in FLAC still, and then I have to convert them to ALAC for my computer setup. I just wanna start new withaout degrading the sound.

 

Why external Firewire and not an ordinary external hard drive?

 

Not sure what vintage MacBook Pro you are using, but, as has been suggested, you want to use a FireWire or Thunderbolt external drive so as not to step on the USB output to the DAC. One World Computing makes bus-powered FireWire drives up to 3TB, which means no noisy fans or external power supplies required. They are silent, fast, and portable.

 

I suggest you buy Decibel, a third-party music player app which is compatible with your existing FLAC music library, so you don't have to convert everything to ALAC and play your music through iTunes. Decibel will also automatically play your files at their native bit and sample rate, which iTunes cannot due, and will preload the track into RAM before playing, a good thing. The app only costs $33. There are more elaborate players out there, such as Audirvana Plus, Amarra, HQPlayer, and Fidelia, but Decibel is a good place to start.

 

Decibel from sbooth.org

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@wwaldmanfan

I have a Macbook Pro from middle 2012, not new but would’t say that it’s vintage. The problem is that I only have a 125GB SSD and maybe 1000 cds, and not just music on my computer.

But I should go for a FireWire or Thunderbolt if I understand you correctly, not to overload the USB outputs where my DAC is connected?

I see that you suggest Decibel. I do not know if I tried it but i tried alot of programs some time ago and decided to go for Audirvana Plus because it sounded great and works with Itunes. I really like how Itunes works and if I would’t have startet with Squeesebox it would’t be a problem with ALAC. But maybe Decibel has a nice interface, I will check it out. But I would prefer to stay with Itunes and Audirvana Plus.

The main problem is the space issue.

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@wwaldmanfan

I have a Macbook Pro from middle 2012, not new but would’t say that it’s vintage. The problem is that I only have a 125GB SSD and maybe 1000 cds, and not just music on my computer.

But I should go for a FireWire or Thunderbolt if I understand you correctly, not to overload the USB outputs where my DAC is connected?

I see that you suggest Decibel. I do not know if I tried it but i tried alot of programs some time ago and decided to go for Audirvana Plus because it sounded great and works with Itunes. I really like how Itunes works and if I would’t have startet with Squeesebox it would’t be a problem with ALAC. But maybe Decibel has a nice interface, I will check it out. But I would prefer to stay with Itunes and Audirvana Plus.

The main problem is the space issue.

 

Glad to hear that you are using Audirvana Plus. If that is the case, forget Decibel and the rest.

 

I would look into an external FireWire 800 drive. There are still lots of choices, and they are cheaper than Thunderbolt or SSD drives. Recommend you check out the Other World Computing website (I misspoke earlier when I called it One World Computing), and also look at G-Technology. I have a 2GB 7200 RPM OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual Mini Raid as my playback drive, and three 1TB G-Technology G-Drive Mini's as my work/backup drives.

Although most of the FireWire and Thunderbolt drives also have USB connectivity, you don't want to be inputting your music files from USB into your computer while you are outputting the signal to your DAC out of the same USB bus. Keep your OSX and apps on the internal drive, and put all the music files on the external. Have at least one complete backup, as well.

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Glad to hear that you are using Audirvana Plus. If that is the case, forget Decibel and the rest.

 

I would look into an external FireWire 800 drive. There are still lots of choices, and they are cheaper than Thunderbolt or SSD drives. Recommend you check out the Other World Computing website (I misspoke earlier when I called it One World Computing), and also look at G-Technology. I have a 2GB 7200 RPM OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual Mini Raid as my playback drive, and three 1TB G-Technology G-Drive Mini's as my work/backup drives.

Although most of the FireWire and Thunderbolt drives also have USB connectivity, you don't want to be inputting your music files from USB into your computer while you are outputting the signal to your DAC out of the same USB bus. Keep your OSX and apps on the internal drive, and put all the music files on the external. Have at least one complete backup, as well.

 

Very good advice.

 

Rather than buying a ready made, you can buy one of these enclosures and put your own drive in it. I like the Western Digital Red Drives.

 

OWC OWCME3QHKIT0GB Mercury Elite Pro eSATA,... in stock at OWC

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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Thanks for the advices!

 

Those OWC products looks nice, but I live in Europe.

 

Would it work with a 1 TB WD My Passport Studio FireWire 800 for example? The cheapest one I could find, would cost around 95EUR (approximately 122 USD).

 

1 TB might be a bit small. My rule of thumb has always been to buy more drive than I think I will need.

 

BTW, the enclosure I mentioned above is available in Europe through OWC's partner:

 

Elite Pro FireWire 800 & USB3 0TB - 79.00EUR - MacUpgrade OWC - NewerTech Shop

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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Very good advice.

 

Rather than buying a ready made, you can buy one of these enclosures and put your own drive in it. I like the Western Digital Red Drives.

 

OWC OWCME3QHKIT0GB Mercury Elite Pro eSATA,... in stock at OWC

 

Tom

Unfortunately, not all PCs these days have an FW output, as it fell out of favour there for a while.

I agree however with the logic behind using it instead of USB , and leaving that for keyboard and Mouse.

Are your FW storage devices using external Linear PSUs or are they using crappy SMPS external supplies ?

The link you give states 12V DC 3A (overkill?) from an international SMPS.

Alex

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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Tom

Unfortunately, not all PCs these days have an FW output, as it fell out of favour there for a while.

I agree however with the logic behind using it instead of USB , and leaving that for keyboard and Mouse.

Are your FW storage devices using external Linear PSUs or are they using crappy SMPS external supplies ?

 

Alex

 

Alex,

 

My advice was specific to the OP's computer which I am pretty sure has a FW 800 port.

 

My FW enclosures use crappy SMPS external power supplies and I haven't lost a wink of sleep worrying about it.

 

Tom

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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My FW enclosures use crappy SMPS external power supplies and I haven't lost a wink of sleep worrying about it.

 

My experience with external SMPS hasn't been so great. Other than the SQ penalty, many of these cheap Asian sourced SMPS can cause niggling problems after a couple of years due to poor design and high internal temperatures, which can dramatically reduce the working life of the main filter capacitors. The SMPS used with some Routers were particularly bad in this respect, and I had to replace a couple.

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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My experience with external SMPS hasn't been so great. Other than the SQ penalty, many of these cheap Asian sourced SMPS can cause niggling problems after a couple of years due to poor design and high internal temperatures, which can dramatically reduce the working life of the main filter capacitors. The SMPS used with some Routers were particularly bad in this respect, and I had to replace a couple.

 

So what's a good source for linear power supplies to replace the 8 or so I've got for all the electronics I have connected to my computer?

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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So what's a good source for linear power supplies to replace the 8 or so I've got for all the electronics I have connected to my computer?

 

I can't answer that question, as I make what I need.

 

It sounds like an opportunity for a manufacturer to make and supply a relatively inexpensive multi outlet DC linear supply for such devices. Your mains supply must be pretty polluted with 8 or so (!!) of the little buggers in use, which will degrade the performance of most source devices. Next on the list for me will be a Linear PSU for my external 3TB WD Elements HDD, where they haven't even fitted a damn on/off switch to the case just to save a few cents.

It's getting to the stage now with the proliferation of these nasty little SMPS supplies that we really need to use a Master powerboard that can turn off all plugged in SMPS plugpacks when not needed. At least they should last a little longer when not on 24/7 ?

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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I can't answer that question, as I make what I need.

 

It sounds like an opportunity for a manufacturer to make and supply a relatively inexpensive multi outlet DC linear supply for such devices. Your mains supply must be pretty polluted with 8 or so (!!) of the little buggers in use, which will degrade the performance of most source devices.

 

Sounds like a topic for another thread.

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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Thanks for the advices!

 

Those OWC products looks nice, but I live in Europe.

OWC in Europe ... Mercury Elite Pro USB3/FW800/eSATA 0GB - 91.99EUR - MacUpgrade OWC - NewerTech Shop

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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w.

 

I've been thinking of buying a 3TB external hard drive and export my itunes library to it and only play music from it. Would it degrade the sound quality in any way?

 

When you play from your existing 1TB external drive does it degrade the sound quality in any way? If not, then there's no reason that a 3TB external drive would degrade the sound quality either.

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w.

 

I've been thinking of buying a 3TB external hard drive and export my itunes library to it and only play music from it. Would it degrade the sound quality in any way?

 

When you play from your existing 1TB external drive does it degrade the sound quality in any way? If not, then there's no reason that a 3TB external drive would degrade the sound quality either.

 

Another possibility would be to put your music on a NAS somewhere on your network and stream from that, either wi-fi or ethernet. And if you wanted to unharness your computer from your hifi, you could use an Airport Express connected via spdif to your NAD.

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@andyv

 

I noticed some difference when I was playing from the external drive. But then it is a old, loud and plastic USB 1TB drive. But I can't say that I compared that much. One of the main reasons is to have all the music on one place, and play it from there with Itunes.

 

I do not believe that the size of the disk would make a difference.

 

A wireless solution would be nice, but after some readings and tests it was always for the worse, even Linn systems that i tried sounded clearly better with cable, sadly. But maybe with cable, i need some more products in the signal chain then.

 

Is there any other brands than OWC that are good? Most stuff seems to be cheap china products with a nice logo, and then a lot more expensive.

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Another possibility would be to put your music on a NAS somewhere on your network and stream from that, either wi-fi or ethernet. And if you wanted to unharness your computer from your hifi, you could use an Airport Express connected via spdif to your NAD.

 

A slight variation of this approach is to connect an external HDD (via USB) to an Airport Extreme. Then connect the Airport Extreme to MBP via Ethernet. This approach also allows you to turn off the wireless on the MBP and still be connected to Internet.

 

This is how I connect my external HDD to my Mac Mini. The HDD shows up as a shared drive in the Finder window and works just fine with A+.

Eric


Ubuntu Linux box (i7-12700K, 12 cores, 32GB RAM, Intel X520-DA1 NIC, HQP Desktop) > fiber > MikroTik CRS305-1G-4S+ > fiber > fitlet2 (HQP Embedded OS - NAA) > T+A DAC8 DSD > Rogue Audio DragoN > Klipsch La Scala — digital volume control with HQP, DSP with HQP convolution 

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@ericuco

That sounds interesting to. But then I have to invest in a Airport Extreme to, but I guess the external hard drive would be cheaper. Hmmm

 

I noticed that all enclosures with firewire are kind of expensive, and then you need a good HD to.

Does anyone have a opinion about the inXtron SK-3500 for example (a bit cheaper)? I do not have that a fancy stereo so maybe it's all just overkill for me. My DAC is like 450EUR new.

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