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Connect USB drive directly to PC or to Router for best sound?


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I am curious what people's thoughts are on how best to attach my 1 TB USB drive music library to my server pc. I used to access my music wirelessly from my NAS which is upstairs (my music server is downstairs). Because of some drop outs I am getting due to the distance from my wireless router to my server I decided to make a copy of my music onto a USB drive and connect it directly. However, in doing some research I came across this post by Superdad which mentions that connecting the USB drive and server to the router is superior sounding:

 

"To beat the above, you will have to ditch directly attached storage, make an SD card to boot from, dismount/eject your internal SATA drives, and put you library on a shared, Ethernet attached drive (ideally on another Mac directly connected via BlueJeans/Belden Cat6a--bypassing your network switch).

Or use the USB2.0 port of that OWC drive I just had you buy, plug it into an Airport Extreme, and cable your computer (again the unbeatable and affordable BlueJeans/Belden Cat6a) directly to the Airport Extreme. A few of my clients do this with good results."

 

Any feedback would be appreciated.

12TB NAS >> i7-6700 Server/Control PC >> i3-5015u NAA >> Singxer SU-1 DDC (modded) >> Holo Spring L3 DAC >> Accustic Arts Power 1 int amp >> Sonus Faber Guaneri Evolution speakers + REL T/5i sub (x2)

 

Other components:

UpTone Audio LPS1.2/IsoRegen, Fiber Switch and FMC, Windows Server 2016 OS, Audiophile Optimizer 3.0, Fidelizer Pro 6, HQ Player, Roonserver, PS Audio P3 AC regenerator, HDPlex 400W ATX & 200W Linear PSU, Light Harmonic Lightspeed Split USB cable, Synergistic Research Tungsten AC power cords, Tara Labs The One speaker cables, Tara Labs The Two Extended with HFX Station IC, Oyaide R1 outlets, Stillpoints Ultra Mini footers, Hi-Fi Tuning fuses, Vicoustic/RealTraps/GIK room treatments

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I think you need to try the options for yourself, regardless of other people's preferences. Trust your own judgement.

Thank you for the reply. Of course I will go and test it myself but was just curious what other people's experiences are.

12TB NAS >> i7-6700 Server/Control PC >> i3-5015u NAA >> Singxer SU-1 DDC (modded) >> Holo Spring L3 DAC >> Accustic Arts Power 1 int amp >> Sonus Faber Guaneri Evolution speakers + REL T/5i sub (x2)

 

Other components:

UpTone Audio LPS1.2/IsoRegen, Fiber Switch and FMC, Windows Server 2016 OS, Audiophile Optimizer 3.0, Fidelizer Pro 6, HQ Player, Roonserver, PS Audio P3 AC regenerator, HDPlex 400W ATX & 200W Linear PSU, Light Harmonic Lightspeed Split USB cable, Synergistic Research Tungsten AC power cords, Tara Labs The One speaker cables, Tara Labs The Two Extended with HFX Station IC, Oyaide R1 outlets, Stillpoints Ultra Mini footers, Hi-Fi Tuning fuses, Vicoustic/RealTraps/GIK room treatments

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I *think* the primary rationale for this is that you don't want anything else competing with your DAC or SPDIF converter on the USB ports. Maybe the secondary rationale being that extra noise could be coming through extra USB connections. The Zuma has a horse of a processor and uses the dedicated SOtM card right? I think that should more than address the problem. No drop-outs sounds way better than with drop-outs. So I would do as you are doing and just be happy.

 

For an unrelated use, I recently got some power-outlet networking devices which are really quite remarkable in how well they work. I can't speak to any impact on sound quality (which I would bet is minimal), but they are cheap and reliable.

Roon ->UltraRendu + CI Audio 7v LPS-> Kii Control -> Kii Three

Roon->BMC UltraDAC->Mr Speakers Aeon Flow Open

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Dayum...looks like I cant test this out. Even though the wireless bridge I am using (DLink dap1650) has a USB port it doesn't allow you map a network drive to it like the airport extreme. The Dlink only allows access to the usb via DLNA or a website. Too bad. I was looking forward to testing this out.

12TB NAS >> i7-6700 Server/Control PC >> i3-5015u NAA >> Singxer SU-1 DDC (modded) >> Holo Spring L3 DAC >> Accustic Arts Power 1 int amp >> Sonus Faber Guaneri Evolution speakers + REL T/5i sub (x2)

 

Other components:

UpTone Audio LPS1.2/IsoRegen, Fiber Switch and FMC, Windows Server 2016 OS, Audiophile Optimizer 3.0, Fidelizer Pro 6, HQ Player, Roonserver, PS Audio P3 AC regenerator, HDPlex 400W ATX & 200W Linear PSU, Light Harmonic Lightspeed Split USB cable, Synergistic Research Tungsten AC power cords, Tara Labs The One speaker cables, Tara Labs The Two Extended with HFX Station IC, Oyaide R1 outlets, Stillpoints Ultra Mini footers, Hi-Fi Tuning fuses, Vicoustic/RealTraps/GIK room treatments

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