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When An HDD Becomes NAS


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I would consider that if the "computer" is connected by Ethernet, it is not really "in" your system. Best way to achieve this is to place the computer elsewhere in your home, and on the other phase of your AC power from the audio system. Doing this really isolates the computer from the audio system, as the distance eliminates any possibility of airborne interference, and the Ethernet connection effectively isolates the system from the vast majority of the electrical interference. A NAS is also a relatively noisy component, being an ordinary consumer device built to the lowest possible price point, but getting it "away" from the audio system, both electrically and physically effectively isolates it.

 

My experiments so far have shown me that something like a MacMini with the best processor available actually appears to produce less noise than a Synology NAS, but I have not tested other NAS devices...

 

Inspired by this and other statements along these lines, and afforded the opportunity by purchase of a set of eero routers (https://www.eero.com/), one of which I installed next to my desktop system and another by the main system, I decided to try a little Ethernet isolation yesterday. Preliminary completely subjective results (listening for an hour or so at low volume so as not to disturb my wife) seem favorable.

 

The setup "before:" Desktop system and main system each have an external HDD with identical content (one of my several varieties of backup). HDD for the main system is Firewire; for the desktop system I don't recall whether I was finally able to coax Windows into playing nice with Firewire or whether I gave up and use USB3 (the latter, I think).

 

What I did was a couple of stupidly simple things: (1) Some folks say wifi isn't the greatest thing to have running when listening. So I plugged my main system laptop into the nearby router with an Ethernet cable. (2) I unplugged the Firewire cable from the downstairs main system HDD, and turned on the upstairs desktop computer to access its attached identical HDD from the main system via the network. (3) I switched the "library" for my main system software players to the upstairs HDD.

 

That's it. Should probably have done this a while ago....

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> iFi NEO iDSD DAC -> Apollon Audio 1ET400A Mini (Purifi based) -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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I do this with a copy of my music library on a portable USB drive plugged into my Airport Extreme. If you use something with memory play like Audirvana, any concerns you might have about buffering disappear. It works really well.

 

Similarly, I can also play music while on the road on my laptop from a backup on my NAS at work, just mounting it as a network hard drive.

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