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NAS vs. External HD


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I have heard a HDD connected to a router or switch as a "poor man's NAS" so they are similar at the very basic level in that you can share files over your network.

 

A NAS is actually a computer and as such can run various programs such as Miniserver (sp?) which is a player that streams music. You can also setup RAID configurations to guard against HDD failure.

 

I have a single bay NAS (Synology DS115j) which is just a step up from the HDD connected to a router/switch. I have three different computers connected (Win, Mac & Linux) so it is very flexible. For backup, I connect a HDD periodically & store the backup offsite to guard against theft, fire, etc.

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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Essentially nothing, but a NAS often offers more functionality than just file sharing and will tend to be of higher performance and reliability.

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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Hello,

 

I have tried :

a) using a dedicated PC and its internal drive as shared drive. It is slow, takes a lot of space and is so-so in term of performance.

b) using an external drive. USB2, USB3, eSATA... Works nice if you have only 1 computer or if you want to take it with you. However, it does not offer any protection against loss. My WDBook died over night after one year without any warning. Ditto with LaCie (although it lasted nearly 3 years).

c) Real NAS/RAID. After a bad experience with a cheaper brand, I bought a Synology DS211j (2 drives) and, more recently, a DS411j. I love them both. As a NAS it has a nice interface, simple to use and quite flexible. Their latest OS DSM 4.0 will manage security to your router/firewall, media station, iTune server, photo and video station and file server. As a RAID, it offers you a wide variety of stripping, duplication, redundancy.

 

I am not employed or paid by Synology, but simply a very satisfied customer.

 

If you are on a tight budget, I suggest you get a Synology or Drobo (I have heard good things about them too although never really used them...). Buy a 2 drive NAS and use it with full redundancy and budget to buy a new pair of bigger drives every year or so. (Mileage may and will vary...)

hi

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The advantage of using a dedicated PC is that if you employ a powerful one, you can do stuff like upsample on the fly or do digital room correction. It's not slow in terms of performance if you set your server up this way. The CAPS Cortes and Pipeline are examples. A standard NAS like a Synology often doesn't have the power to do these things.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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So far I've held off buying a NAS, having compared the pros and cons.

 

I store more than 20 TB of music and videos, on "naked" hard drives that I insert into a dual hard drive dock connected via eSata to my PC. Such a dock easily allows to attach hard drives and copy files between them (working with unprotected hard drives requires a certain care during handling though). I keep an up-to-date database (Whereisit.com) of their contents and copy those files to my PCs 4TB data hard drive that I intend to use in the near future, so that the storage drives themselves are rarely in use.

 

Each file is on these "daily use" drives and on a backup hard drive stored elsewhere, plus many hard to replace files are burned to DVD+R. I haven't had any data loss in the last 15 years. I've used WD Green drives (1-6TB, depending on the lowest storage cost) in the past years and have now started buying Seagate 8TB Archive drives.

 

I think the main advantage of a NAS is in a multi-user environment, or the need for 24/7 availability of files, without having to leave your PC on.

 

A NAS does not replace a backup, you still need to keep a copy of the files elsewhere, in case you accidentally delete files on the NAS, or files get corrupted. With it's hard drive redundancy, a NAS only protects you from hardware failure.

Claude

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Thanks, all - this is helpful. I'm at the beginning stages of figuring out my new system. I'll be posting a few other questions in the appropriate forums. Previously I had a simple setup with a desktop pushing music over optical cable directly to my AV receiver. Dead simple and works great. But the mobo fried after many years.

 

I wish there was a way do do the same thing but from my laptop on the couch. Airplay is the obvious answer, but most of my music is in FLAC format. I have lots of live tapes downloaded from BT.etree.org (live dead, etc) that isn't properly tagged, so it makes it hard to load into a program like iTunes or j river. Previously I've just had a pretty strong filing system in windows explorer to keep things organized without tags, and played music in winamp. Works fine for my needs. But being able to do it from the couch would be ideal!

 

Again, I need to organize my thoughts and questions and post to the appropriate forum...

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I have all my music on an external hard drive at the moment, but I have been considering buying a NAS and moving it there. I'm still trying to learn about the differences. My thought is that having a NAS might make music streaming easier. I currently use an Airport Express to stream, and it has been far from reliable. I have to restart iTunes from my Mac almost every time I use it, which means I don't use it as much as I'd like. I've been thinking of moving to something like Sonos, but it occurs to me that a NAS might be helpful here too.

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NAS's are purpose built file servers, better suited for set and forget 24X7 use than a USB connected PC. They also have fewer processes running in the background that can steal CPU cycles and worsen jitter. You can build like functionality in a PC if you are the sort of person that builds your own and tracks/dotes over every new MOBO enhancement from manufacturers but in general you are screwed if you are trying to use a commercial PC as a a music server because they have loaded down the MOBO with noisy cheap hardware causing a lot of electrical noise and CPU cycle stealing

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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My personal experience is, you don't need to make it more difficult than it is. Everyone's needs or situation is different. For me, it's far simpler to use internal HDD's inside a PC with a fan because of my hot location. Fan's are a necessary evil here in the land of Pura Vida. To me a NAS is just an overpriced hard drive with features I don't need. With good organization skills and a proper media software, HDD's are simple and easy to maintain backups, plus most importantly, semi mobile. As far as PC mobo's etc., get a Regen and work to optimize your system at your own speed. You'll still get great sound with commercial products and enjoy the increased SQ from your tweaks later on. I don't think a NAS will change your SQ over separate HDD's all that much, more about features. If it has features you desire, then go for it.

(JRiver) Jetway barebones NUC (mod 3 sCLK-EX, Cybershaft OP 14)  (PH SR7) => mini pcie adapter to PCIe 1X => tXUSBexp PCIe card (mod sCLK-EX) (PH SR7) => (USPCB) Chord DAVE => Omega Super 8XRS/REL t5i  (All powered thru Topaz Isolation Transformer)

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My personal experience is, you don't need to make it more difficult than it is. Everyone's needs or situation is different. For me, it's far simpler to use internal HDD's inside a PC with a fan because of my hot location. Fan's are a necessary evil here in the land of Pura Vida. To me a NAS is just an overpriced hard drive with features I don't need. With good organization skills and a proper media software, HDD's are simple and easy to maintain backups, plus most importantly, semi mobile. As far as PC mobo's etc., get a Regen and work to optimize your system at your own speed. You'll still get great sound with commercial products and enjoy the increased SQ from your tweaks later on. I don't think a NAS will change your SQ over separate HDD's all that much, more about features. If it has features you desire, then go for it.

 

And personally I found it very enlightening when my tweaked out audio PC running Server 2012 and AO was beat for streaming sound quality by an out of the box Synology NAS at half the cost.

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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And personally I found it very enlightening when my tweaked out audio PC running Server 2012 and AO was beat for streaming sound quality by an out of the box Synology NAS at half the cost.

 

But does it work for all media? Video with Hi Resolution FLAC, DSD? Thus a dead end for my needs on versatility. Seems it's getting closer, NAS, but a ways away from trouble free streaming of all media formats to various devices.

(JRiver) Jetway barebones NUC (mod 3 sCLK-EX, Cybershaft OP 14)  (PH SR7) => mini pcie adapter to PCIe 1X => tXUSBexp PCIe card (mod sCLK-EX) (PH SR7) => (USPCB) Chord DAVE => Omega Super 8XRS/REL t5i  (All powered thru Topaz Isolation Transformer)

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Take a look at the specs of the DS-214play... its designed for video as well as audio. Format is a software question... NAS's have more limited software provider options so if you are into a format off the beaten path, it may not yet be developed for software support. So far my video problems have all been on the receiver side... my NAS can send it but my player may not support it.

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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Thanks Dave, interesting. But for my needs I don't need the universal ability to link to several devices or even the web. I would prefer hard wiring. So it would seem to me, that a soupped up NAS is basically a low powered Linux based computer, which is another option for an even lower price using external hard drives powered by an LPS with more options and versatility.

Hard choices which end up in the same place. I always choose versatility for my needs first. Couldn't imagine SQ difference being too far apart either route.

(JRiver) Jetway barebones NUC (mod 3 sCLK-EX, Cybershaft OP 14)  (PH SR7) => mini pcie adapter to PCIe 1X => tXUSBexp PCIe card (mod sCLK-EX) (PH SR7) => (USPCB) Chord DAVE => Omega Super 8XRS/REL t5i  (All powered thru Topaz Isolation Transformer)

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