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A brief history : my itunes library was originally stored on a 1TB USB drive. (On a separate bus) swapped over to a Firewire and immediately noticed a significant improvement. Things just seemed smoother, less of the digtal 'harshness' that can sometimes occur. Both powered from the Mini.

I have just tried out a WD My Cloud NAS (wired network) and surprisingly there is about the same degree of improvement over the Firewire.

I play my files from memory (cache) so why the difference (I suspect some sort of electrical hash/interference) and could I improve further?

MacMini 8Gb OSX > Pure Music / Bitperfect / Amarra / iTunes > Synology DS215J NAS > Schiit Wyrd > Stello U3 > Naim Uniti Atom, Harbeth P3ESR. Meier Corda Arietta Headphone Amp > Sennhieser HD650 Phones (Cardas rewire). Isol-8 Powerline Axis. Isotek GII Orion Power Conditioner. Cardas Clear USB Cable. Tellurium Q Black Speaker Cable. All other cables by Mark Grant.

Vinyl still has it's place. Technics SL1200. Modified with Mike New Bearing, KAB Strobe Disable, MCRU 2 box PSU, Isonoe Feet, SME M2-9 Tonearm > Goldring 2400 >Rothwell Simplex Phonostage.

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A brief history : my itunes library was originally stored on a 1TB USB drive. (On a separate bus) swapped over to a Firewire and immediately noticed a significant improvement. Things just seemed smoother, less of the digtal 'harshness' that can sometimes occur. Both powered from the Mini.

I have just tried out a WD My Cloud NAS (wired network) and surprisingly there is about the same degree of improvement over the Firewire.

I play my files from memory (cache) so why the difference (I suspect some sort of electrical hash/interference) and could I improve further?

When dealing with digital transmission you rarely have to deal with errors unless you have data congestion on a shared bus/LAN. Your primary concern is accurate clocking at the receiver. Based on observation and experiment my own theory is this is affected by two things at the sending end (1) how close to data read a clock signal is generated for transmission to receiver (2) how much clock error occurs because of cycle stealing processes. Firewire is faster than USB 2.0 so likely has less opportunity for cycle stealing during playback to inject clocking jitter due to delays from multitasking.

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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Just noticed that you liked the Wifi even more. While you didn't specifically say so, I'm assuming you are using Apple talk which is a streaming protocol. Streaming protocols are built to compensate for clock jitter across a variable jitter network and the clock is created before you get to physical media layer (wired or wireless media hardware in the sender). Wifi however can be problematic for buffering delays because of 2.4ghz device interference and lesser bandwidth than wired Ethernet. Perhaps not a factor at CD rates but using Wireless N protocol definitely was poorer than wired Ethernet for 192khz/24bit recordings in my home streaming use.

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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1 last point... memory cache in my experience with Jriver was only used with physically attached drives, not used with streaming. Check the user guide for your software to see if same holds true. Caching in memory is basically a device to try to store the data in faster memory so that you aren't limited to the greater cycle stealing opportunity for slower disk read. Streamed data should have its own independent memory caching (buffer)

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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I'm assuming you are using Apple talk which is a streaming protocol.

I don't think you mean Apple Talk...

 

AppleTalk was released in 1985, and was the primary protocol used by Apple devices through the 1980s and 90s. AppleTalk support was also available in most networked printers (especially laser printers), some file servers and a number of routers. The rise of TCP/IP during the 1990s led to a re-implementation of most of these types of support on that protocol, and AppleTalk became unsupported as of the release of Mac OS X v10.6 in 2009.

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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I don't think you mean Apple Talk...

 

AppleTalk was released in 1985, and was the primary protocol used by Apple devices through the 1980s and 90s. AppleTalk support was also available in most networked printers (especially laser printers), some file servers and a number of routers. The rise of TCP/IP during the 1990s led to a re-implementation of most of these types of support on that protocol, and AppleTalk became unsupported as of the release of Mac OS X v10.6 in 2009.

Snort, you are right. The WD My cloud NAS user guide says it runs an iTunes media server, not much additional detail.

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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I don't think you mean Apple Talk...

 

AppleTalk was released in 1985, and was the primary protocol used by Apple devices through the 1980s and 90s. AppleTalk support was also available in most networked printers (especially laser printers), some file servers and a number of routers. The rise of TCP/IP during the 1990s led to a re-implementation of most of these types of support on that protocol, and AppleTalk became unsupported as of the release of Mac OS X v10.6 in 2009.

 

Technically correct, and for the last decade or more the term "Appletalk" is used in place of the more correct "AFP" or "Apple Filing Protocol" implemented either by Apple or the open source "Netatalk" ("Network AppleTalk") package.

 

"AFP" is not a "streaming" protocol. It doesn't really do anything that SMB/Samba doesn't do.

 

Really if you are worried about this be sure to get a proper Ethernet interface/card, and be sure to have lots of RAM and then use software which buffers (i.e. reads the file into memory before playing). If you do this, the system will just do the right thing and you don't need to worry about "RAM disks" etc. FWIW I use a minimum of 16Gb RAM and preferably 64Gb RAM these days.

Custom room treatments for headphone users.

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A brief history : my itunes library was originally stored on a 1TB USB drive. (On a separate bus) swapped over to a Firewire and immediately noticed a significant improvement. Things just seemed smoother, less of the digtal 'harshness' that can sometimes occur. Both powered from the Mini.

I have just tried out a WD My Cloud NAS (wired network) and surprisingly there is about the same degree of improvement over the Firewire.

I play my files from memory (cache) so why the difference (I suspect some sort of electrical hash/interference) and could I improve further?

 

I haven't used firewire discs in a few years but USB attached discs have never worked well work me for a variety of tasks, not only music storage. I agree firewire is better than USB but these days not a great idea to invest in firewire.

 

Thunderbolt works well for high speed local access but large disc arrays can be noisy so I prefer NAS connected by 1) Ethernet 2) 802.11uc wireless. Try playing an 1080p or 4K stream over your system as a test: any stuttering suggests you can improve. I'd advise first adding RAM. The other issue is pulling the data quickly enough off the hard drive (not an issue for audio) in which case you can either/and SSD or mirroring.

Custom room treatments for headphone users.

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I haven't used firewire discs in a few years but USB attached discs have never worked well work me for a variety of tasks, not only music storage.

I find the same with USB items that aren't left permanently connected. At present I have the annoyance of an external 3TB WD Elements that often fails to show up. If I restart the PC it then normally becomes available. This is even though it is permanently plugged into a rear USB port. As the Elements HDD has no ON/OFF switch I unplug power to it when I shut down the PC for the night, as otherwise it's front panel white LED keeps flashing. Even with the well confirmed measures of isolating the +5V supply to a USB device for an improvement in SQ, when used in conjunction with a USB memory stick etc . and an external +5V Linear PSU, as often as not, Windows gives an error message about not recognising the USB device when it is plugged in, usually followed by the contents of the device occurring. If that happens frequently enough, the USB ports are marked as defective and will no longer function.

It appears that the best way to rectify that annoyance, is to use System Restore. You can see reports on the net about this kind of problem, but I haven't seen the System Restore method used. In fact, even if System Restore isn't successful, the register fault counter contents still appear to be reset. There can even be occasional conflicts when 2 separate USB devices are plugged into front panel USB ports, and the PC may even lock up until they are unplugged.

USB can be a real P.I.T.A. at times !

 

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 find the same with USB items that aren't left permanently connected. At present I have the annoyance of an external 3TB WD Elements that often fails to show up. If I restart the PC it then normally becomes available. This is even though it is permanently plugged into a rear USB port. As the Elements HDD has no ON/OFF switch I unplug power to it when I shut down the PC for the night, as otherwise it's front panel white LED keeps flashing. Even with the well confirmed measures of isolating the +5V supply to a USB device for an improvement in SQ, when used in conjunction with a USB memory stick etc . and an external +5V Linear PSU, as often as not, Windows gives an error message about not recognising the USB device when it is plugged in, usually followed by the contents of the device occurring. If that happens frequently enough, the USB ports are marked as defective and will no longer function.

It appears that the best way to rectify that annoyance, is to use System Restore. You can see reports on the net about this kind of problem, but I haven't seen the System Restore method used. In fact, even if System Restore isn't successful, the register fault counter contents still appear to be reset. There can even be conflicts when 2 separate USB devices are plugged into front panel USB ports, and the PC may even lock up until they are unplugged.

USB can be a real P.I.T.A. at times !

 

You wouldn't have this problem if you were running OS X. (Sorry I just couldn't resist.) :)

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 wouldn't have this problem if you were running OS X. (Sorry I just couldn't resist.) :)

 

You Sir, Are a Troll .

OSX has SFA to do with it as it is set by the usually used Intel MBs these days, and the number of external ports supplied. How many USB devices can you plug into your beloved shiny little entry level appliance at a time ?

Personally, I would prefer to see USB used only for Keyboards , Mice and USB memory for portable Data only requirements, and modern Firewire or Thunderbolt devices used for A & V. Even recent HDMI when properly implemented is likely to be better ?

 

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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How many USB devices can you plug into your beloved shiny little entry level appliance at a time ?

 

I think the Mac I'm using right now has six USB ports and four Firewire ports. Not sure how many my Mac Mini has but it seems to be enough for what I use it for.

 

BTW, you saw that my previous post was a joke, right? A reference to all the Mac vs Windows fireworks we have recently had?

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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I think the Mac I'm using right now has six USB ports and four Firewire ports.

 

 

That's a real PC , and possibly similar to some used for professional music recording ?

A potential problem with the older larger Macs (and some earlier Windows PCs too) as regards SQ may be the large number of internal fans used, which are possibly PWM speed controlled from the motherboard (?) When more than one fan is used you can often hear annoying " beat notes" due to slightly different fan speeds too.

 

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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That's a real PC , and possibly similar to some used for professional music recording ?

A potential problem with the older larger Macs (and some earlier Windows PCs too) as regards SQ may be the large number of internal fans used, which are possibly PWM speed controlled from the motherboard (?) When more than one fan is used you can often hear annoying " beat notes" due to slightly different fan speeds too.

 

I've never noticed this problem with any Mac I've owned but then again I don't use the bigger machines for serious listening. They are for work although I do listen to a little music while I work.

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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Personally, I would prefer to see USB used only for Keyboards , Mice and USB memory for portable Data only requirements, and modern Firewire or Thunderbolt devices used for A & V. Even recent HDMI when properly implemented is likely to be better ?

 

Then the current Mac mini may be the perfect fit for you. It has exactly those interfaces you desire - USB, Firewire, Thunderbolt and HDMI.

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Then the current Mac mini may be the perfect fit for you. It has exactly those interfaces you desire - USB, Firewire, Thunderbolt and HDMI.

 

It has nowhere near the number of USB ports that I require, or PCI expansion slots slots for soundcard and Video card, or an internal BluRay writer, and I don't have any gear to work with Firewire or Thunderbolt, so it's definitely not suitable for me, and I would need to spend a small fortune on suitable A and V software as well.

 

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 personally think that Chris's site name will be outdated in 3 years... Mac's and PC's will be left behind commercially as dedicated appliances replace them. Perhaps now is the time to start changing the site name to " the Digital Audiophile"? Its a fact that Agon is a virtual desert for that type of discussion although occasionally I get some humor when 1 guy posts with Marxist ranting against all digital manufacturers.

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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