Jump to content
IGNORED

Hi Rez File Storage: Best External Drive Setup for Laptop?


jxo
 Share

Recommended Posts

Posted also in Disc Storage.

 

I have several TBs of HiRez music files with more on the way with my SACDs getting ripped. I use a laptop with JRiver and various USB DACs from time to time. Up until now, I have had enough internal storage on the laptop for the music files. I will soon be out of space and need to decide on the best storage option for external Hi Rez storage and playback. This will move into a high end system.

 

I was taught to avoid USB connected hard drives with USB DACs-- Synchronous Conflict? That was a few years ago. Will the Regen and similar products now obviate this concern or should I try another connection strategy to the laptop?

 

I need a 5TB drive. With a laptop, there aren't many connection alternatives other than the USB 3.0 connectors. Am I stuck with the DAC and the external drive both on USB connectors or is there another solution?

Regards,

Jim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IMO, best option is to use high performance NAS with wired gigabit ethernet.

 

So just use the NAS device like an external hard drive connected to the laptop via ethernet?

Regards,

Jim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So just use the NAS device like an external hard drive connected to the laptop via ethernet?

 

NAS acts in principle like a network server with shared folder(s). Your computer communicates with NAS via network protocol (for example NFS or SMB/CIFS). Network access to NAS can be shared by more computers.

 

Alternative possibility is to use iSCSI initiator & iSCSI target type of solution (if available). In that case your PC would see and handle the network storage as local disk device and would have exclusive access to it.

 

In both cases, NAS and iSCSI, the storage device can be connected to PC with network cable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is there a sound quality difference between a simple USB hard drive and a tricked out NAS with same music files?

I understand what a NAS does, I have been unclear lately on whether they provide an audio performance enhancement over a directly connected HD.

Regards,

Jim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's mostly about noise, the data transfer speed isn't so important aspect. USB is considered to be a noisy interface for audio. Because of your DAC is most probably also connected via USB, USB disk may have negative influence to sound quality compared with other solutions (SSD disk, SATA or eSATA disk, FireWire disk, RAM disk, NAS, iSCSI SAN ...). LAN is considered to be lower noise interface.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's mostly about noise, the data transfer speed isn't so important aspect. USB is considered to be a noisy interface for audio. Because of your DAC is most probably also connected via USB, USB disk may have negative influence to sound quality compared with other solutions (SSD disk, SATA or eSATA disk, FireWire disk, RAM disk, NAS, iSCSI SAN ...). LAN is considered to be lower noise interface.

 

If I use a USB 3.0 hard drive on a usb 3.0 connector on the laptop and stick the DAC on the USB 2.0 connector on the laptop and use a device like a Regen or Intova....

 

am I likely compromising sound quality vs. NAS setup?

 

Seems like the separate USB connectors may reduce the risk of synchronous conflict and the new Regen-type devices address the noise problems to some extent.... I hope.

Regards,

Jim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can use USBView utility to find out whether your USB2 and USB3 ports use the same USB hub. Better if not.

USB Device Tree Viewer

 

I recommend you to install free SoftPerfect RAM disk (it's for Windows) or some recommended alternative for other OS ... I don't know your OS. If playing from RAM disk brings sonic improvement against playing from USB HDD, then you got the answer. IMO in such a case NAS could help.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can use USBView utility to find out whether your USB2 and USB3 ports use the same USB hub. Better if not.

USB Device Tree Viewer

 

I recommend you to install free SoftPerfect RAM disk (it's for Windows) or some recommended alternative for other OS ... I don't know your OS. If playing from RAM disk brings sonic improvement against playing from USB HDD, then you got the answer. IMO in such a case NAS could help.

 

Bogi: great stuff. thanks so much. am using W10 for my high rez file playback with JRiver. What does SoftPerfect do?

Regards,

Jim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It does what the name says - it creates virtual disk in RAM. You choose filesystem type (I recommend FAT32 for this purpose), size (at least one music file should fit here) and Windows drive letter. Just download and run it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It does what the name says - it creates virtual disk in RAM. You choose filesystem type (I recommend FAT32 for this purpose), size (at least one music file should fit here) and Windows drive letter. Just download and run it.

Hi Bogi, do I need to install the music playing software to the ram disk?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Bogi, do I need to install the music playing software to the ram disk?

 

Not necessarily. Program and it's libraries are typically read form disk to RAM only once as the program starts or later when some program library is used for the 1st time. As soon as playback is running, there si no need for the player SW to read the program code from disk.

 

Different situation is with the tracks played. This type of data is read contunuously - that's the significant difference. It has sense to attempt to lower the noise coming from that continuous reading of music data.

 

If you place also the player SW to RAM disk you cannot be wrong. I don't consider it to be a nonsense, but don't expect a big benefit from that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can use USBView utility to find out whether your USB2 and USB3 ports use the same USB hub. Better if not.

USB Device Tree Viewer

 

I recommend you to install free SoftPerfect RAM disk (it's for Windows) or some recommended alternative for other OS ... I don't know your OS. If playing from RAM disk brings sonic improvement against playing from USB HDD, then you got the answer. IMO in such a case NAS could help.

 

Hi bogi.

I have been running my external drive via RAM as recommended by many for some time. I used the USB cable that came with the drive caddy. I tried a couple of other "audio" USB cables but did not detect any difference. When I tried the disk direct route I found the sound a bit thin and uninvolving so went back to the RAM buffer which sounded better as you say.

 

I then put a Curious Cable in to replace the generic USB and felt there was a slight improvement though not earth shattering. A friend then prompted me to try the direct disk route again (this option is easy in JRiver) so I switched it over and low and behold I got the shock of my life. There was a clear improvement in the sound, in particular the bass had more impact and was much cleaner. I switched back to RAM and thought the sound was slow and the bass fat and wooly in comparison. I switched back to direct disk access as on my system this sounds much better.

 

My quandary is why is this so when conventional wisdom indicates via RAM is better?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ClothEars, you provided no much details, but I suppose you used a specific RAM disk solution within JRiver. I didn't point you to JRiver RAM disk option. I and also others found sonic difference when using different RAM disk implementations.

 

I pointed in this thread to SoftPerfect RAM disk in context of trying, if it will better sound quality against accessing media files from USB disk. We discussed more RAM disk options in HQPlayer thread and possibly also in other threads. Do a search ... Try different solutions and evaluate them.

 

Listening is always individual experience. Individual results depend on SW, HW and the listener. Make a conclusion for you. As listening impressions are always subjective, your conclusion is valid for you and your system. You will be always true.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ClothEars, you provided no much details, but I suppose you used a specific RAM disk solution within JRiver. I didn't point you to JRiver RAM disk option. I and also others found sonic difference when using different RAM disk implementations.

 

I pointed in this thread to SoftPerfect RAM disk in context of trying, if it will better sound quality against accessing media files from USB disk. We discussed more RAM disk options in HQPlayer thread and possibly also in other threads. Do a search ... Try different solutions and evaluate them.

 

Listening is always individual experience. Individual results depend on SW, HW and the listener. Make a conclusion for you. As listening impressions are always subjective, your conclusion is valid for you and your system. You will be always true.

 

Sorry bogi I may not have been clear enough in my last post.

I have not tried a RAM disk scenario yet, though It's on my To Do list. Thank you for the link to other resources.

I was referring to the on board RAM in my ASUS laptop which is 4Gb DDR3. Sorry for the confusion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share



×
×
  • Create New...