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Adding NAS for sound quality?


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I'd like to know more about overall system sound quality improvement when adding a NAS to the equation. Is the NAS advantage more for accessibilty and larger storage capacity or is there typically a perceived sound improvement as well?

 

If I have a PC with internal storage serving files to a streamer over my network is there a sound quality benefit to be had to adding a NAS?

 

Is there a general preference between NAS --> streamer --> DAC vs NAS --> PC --> streamer --> DAC?

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I'd like to know too. My QNAP 419P NAS is only good for backup storage, streamed video pauses is a problem with ATOM processor or the RAM that's supplied.

As for audio, there's no excitement listening from a NAS, compared with files from a PC. Maybe it's the QNAP, but am not willing for fork out more $ for a better one (if such exists) and adding optical networking components and end up with similar results.

 

The apps on the NAS are a poor imitation of the same controls as found in commercial and Linux OS.

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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If it makes any difference I would be considering the Synology DS415+, it seems to have a little more processor speed and 4 bays is more than enough for me. Still interested in responses to my original questions though.

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One reason some move to a NAS unit is to avoid having to connect a large HDD/SSD to their music server via USB. The USB port is generally reserved for connecting the music server to your DAC. Of course, you can have multiple USB ports but it is usually sound practice to not have the USB bus handling both the files and output.

 

For me, moving to a NAS has really been positive, none related to SQ, although SQ has not suffered. I have just a single bay Synology (DS115j) with a 2 TB HDD. I also have portable USB drive connected to the NAS that provides back up that automatically runs weekly. About once a month, I swap to another USB HDD so that I keep one USB HDD connected for back up and the other off-site as an added protection against theft, fire, etc.

 

I typically rip CD's or download music onto a Win PC which is connected to the NAS. My music server is a Linux computer which is also connected to the NAS. With both being connected to the NAS, there is no problem using one computer to one task (e.g. ripping) and the other computer for another task (music server).

 

The other advantage with a NAS is that it can be placed anywhere in your house. My NAS is housed in a closet so no noise in my music room as well as connected to a separate power line.

 

I have not used the NAS as a music player so I can't comment on that. However, I use a two computer setup with a Linux music server running HQP that sends data to a small Linux computer (Cubox-i) that is a HQP NAA. There is lots is interest in this type of setup for best SQ. Just looks at the new products from Sonore. This arrangement requires a network (Ethernet or Fiber Optic) so plugging a NAS unit into your network makes sense.

 

Hope this helps.

Eric


Ubuntu Studio Linux box (i7-9700, 8 cores, 16GB RAM, Intel X520-DA1 NIC, HQP Desktop) > fiber optic > MikroTik CRS305-1G-4S+ > fiber optic > fitlet2 (Linux Mint - HQP NAA) > T+A DAC8 DSD > Rogue Audio DragoN > Klipsch La Scala — digital volume control with HQP via Roon client, DSP with HQP convolution engine, Intel NUC (Roon server)

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If I have a PC with internal storage serving files to a streamer over my network is there a sound quality benefit to be had to adding a NAS?

 

Is there a general preference between NAS --> streamer --> DAC vs NAS --> PC --> streamer --> DAC?

The general preference and therefore the general assumption is that those configurations are using UPnP/DLNA network music file streaming.

 

If so, are you expecting a sound quality difference between those two configurations? In each case either the computer or the NAS is 'merely' being used as the music file server for the streamer, so don't form any actual part of the (real-time) digital audio signal playback chain - unlike, PC --> DAC, for example, or even NAS --> DAC (NAS music file players do exist).

We will win because our NHS is the beating heart of this country. It is the best of this country. It is unconquerable. It is powered by love.

-- Boris Johnson

 

We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.

-- Jo Cox

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One reason some move to a NAS unit is to avoid having to connect a large HDD/SSD to their music server via USB. The USB port is generally reserved for connecting the music server to your DAC. Of course, you can have multiple USB ports but it is usually sound practice to not have the USB bus handling both the files and output.

 

For me, moving to a NAS has really been positive, none related to SQ, although SQ has not suffered. I have just a single bay Synology (DS115j) with a 2 TB HDD. I also have portable USB drive connected to the NAS that provides back up that automatically runs weekly. About once a month, I swap to another USB HDD so that I keep one USB HDD connected for back up and the other off-site as an added protection against theft, fire, etc.

 

I typically rip CD's or download music onto a Win PC which is connected to the NAS. My music server is a Linux computer which is also connected to the NAS. With both being connected to the NAS, there is no problem using one computer to one task (e.g. ripping) and the other computer for another task (music server).

 

The other advantage with a NAS is that it can be placed anywhere in your house. My NAS is housed in a closet so no noise in my music room as well as connected to a separate power line.

 

I have not used the NAS as a music player so I can't comment on that. However, I use a two computer setup with a Linux music server running HQP that sends data to a small Linux computer (Cubox-i) that is a HQP NAA. There is lots is interest in this type of setup for best SQ. Just looks at the new products from Sonore. This arrangement requires a network (Ethernet or Fiber Optic) so plugging a NAS unit into your network makes sense.

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

Thanks for your reply. In your configuration do you think there would be any SQ difference having the 2TB drive located internally via SATA in your Linux server? I too can get away with a single large drive and my decision to put it in a NAS would be more for SQ. I too will be running a server + streamer/NAA configuration like you described.

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HQPlayer's NAA is not a music file streamer (and neither is HQPlayer a media server for that matter).

We will win because our NHS is the beating heart of this country. It is the best of this country. It is unconquerable. It is powered by love.

-- Boris Johnson

 

We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.

-- Jo Cox

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Thanks for your reply. In your configuration do you think there would be any SQ difference having the 2TB drive located internally via SATA in your Linux server? I too can get away with a single large drive and my decision to put it in a NAS would be more for SQ. I too will be running a server + streamer/NAA configuration like you described.

 

The issue with including a large HDD in your music server is that you are introducing more noise, both electrical & mechanical (spinning drives), to an already noisy environment. That is why lots of people, including myself, use a small SSD for the internal drive which only holds the O/S and a few applications (e.g. music player). Going to a two PC configuration helps negate this because the Ethernet (or better yet fiber optic) connection provides some isolation but still the large internal HDD is generally viewed as a negative for purposes of SQ.

 

That said, if you looking to move to a two PC setup, that frees up your USB bus for an external HDD given that the music will be going out through the Ethernet port rather than the USB port.

 

Still, a NAS is what I would recommend. It is one of the best moves I have done and very pleased with the results. Again, more for convenience rather than SQ.

Eric


Ubuntu Studio Linux box (i7-9700, 8 cores, 16GB RAM, Intel X520-DA1 NIC, HQP Desktop) > fiber optic > MikroTik CRS305-1G-4S+ > fiber optic > fitlet2 (Linux Mint - HQP NAA) > T+A DAC8 DSD > Rogue Audio DragoN > Klipsch La Scala — digital volume control with HQP via Roon client, DSP with HQP convolution engine, Intel NUC (Roon server)

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My system contains a fanless LPS powered Qnap NAS running Audiolinux. It has one hard disk that contains the NAS boot partition, the player PC boot partitions, Windows and Audiolinux, and terabytes of music files. This machine serves out the player PC boot partition via iscsi and the music via CIF. Both ethernet ports are bridged with one connected to a wireless adapter for iPad control signals, the other to the player PC. The player PC and NAS are galvanically isolated via an EMOsystems transformer, as is the connection to the wifi adapter.

 

It sounds terrific!

Pareto Audio aka nuckleheadaudio

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HQPlayer's NAA is not a music file streamer (and neither is HQPlayer a media server for that matter).

 

My apologies if I used the term streamer incorrectly, I tend to do that - perhaps the more correct term would be renderer? I'm referring specifically to something like Sonore's MicroRendu or SonicOrbiter - they have a DLNA mode as well as NAA mode. I have a PC that will connect to the Sonore device over my network (it has my player software and hosts my music library), my original questions regarding sound quality improvement was in regards to getting the HDD out of the PC and into a NAS. And if adding a NAS deciding on whether have it host the player software (cutting out the PC completely) or keep the PC in the chain.

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My apologies if I used the term streamer incorrectly, I tend to do that - perhaps the more correct term would be renderer? I'm referring specifically to something like Sonore's MicroRendu or SonicOrbiter - they have a DLNA mode as well as NAA mode. I have a PC that will connect to the Sonore device over my network (it has my player software and hosts my music library), my original questions regarding sound quality improvement was in regards to getting the HDD out of the PC and into a NAS. And if adding a NAS deciding on whether have it host the player software (cutting out the PC completely) or keep the PC in the chain.

 

Using a good NAS will greatly simplify your life and remove your file server solution as a factor in "whats wrong now with my music?" evaluations.

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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My Synology NAS is one of the best purchases I've ever made. It feeds all my music and video devices, both computers and standalone devices, throughout my home--which, fortunately is fully wired with ethernet cable and also has plenty of wifi access points for tablet etc. use Life is much simpler that way.

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My apologies if I used the term streamer incorrectly, I tend to do that - perhaps the more correct term would be renderer? I'm referring specifically to something like Sonore's MicroRendu or SonicOrbiter - they have a DLNA mode as well as NAA mode. I have a PC that will connect to the Sonore device over my network (it has my player software and hosts my music library), my original questions regarding sound quality improvement was in regards to getting the HDD out of the PC and into a NAS. And if adding a NAS deciding on whether have it host the player software (cutting out the PC completely) or keep the PC in the chain.

Jumper, if I am hearing you correctly, you are running a single PC solution today, and are asking if a 2 or 3 PC solution will increase the SQ. Is that right?

 

While it is easy to think of a NAS and the Sonore devices as appliances, at their heart, they are really just general purpose machines adapted for file serving and audio rendering respectively through a combination of hardware and software innovations.

 

In contemplating the addition of a NAS, you propose pushing the file serving duties back to the NAS. With the addition of a Sonore renderer you would be pushing rendering duties to a specialized front end. So what's is left in the middle PC is a choice based on the software you choose to run. It could be used for a Roon server, HQplayer upsampling or could run a DLNA server like minimserver.

 

To make things more complicated, except for HQplayer, each of these functions can be combined and run on the NAS for a two PC solution.

 

Having said this, I have many friends that prefer the single PC architecture you run today.

 

For myself, I like a two PC solution, using a NAS like server in the back for the HDD and file services, with everything else in a single diskless PC in the front running the music server, renderer and USB connection. This approach makes it easy to galvanically isolate the noisy hard disk from the DAC with fiber or transformers. It also collapses the music server and rendering duties into one device where the investment in high quality LPSes and clocks can be leveraged across both functions.

 

So sorry, there are no easy answers here.

Pareto Audio aka nuckleheadaudio

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Jumper, if I am hearing you correctly, you are running a single PC solution today, and are asking if a 2 or 3 PC solution will increase the SQ. Is that right?

 

While it is easy to think of a NAS and the Sonore devices as appliances, at their heart, they are really just general purpose machines adapted for file serving and audio rendering respectively through a combination of hardware and software innovations.

 

In contemplating the addition of a NAS, you propose pushing the file serving duties back to the NAS. With the addition of a Sonore renderer you would be pushing rendering duties to a specialized front end. So what's is left in the middle PC is a choice based on the software you choose to run. It could be used for a Roon server, HQplayer upsampling or could run a DLNA server like minimserver.

 

To make things more complicated, except for HQplayer, each of these functions can be combined and run on the NAS for a two PC solution.

 

Having said this, I have many friends that prefer the single PC architecture you run today.

 

For myself, I like a two PC solution, using a NAS like server in the back for the HDD and file services, with everything else in a single diskless PC in the front running the music server, renderer and USB connection. This approach makes it easy to galvanically isolate the noisy hard disk from the DAC with fiber or transformers. It also collapses the music server and rendering duties into one device where the investment in high quality LPSes and clocks can be leveraged across both functions.

 

So sorry, there are no easy answers here.

 

Running Linux I presume on the PC file server?

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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Jumper, if I am hearing you correctly, you are running a single PC solution today, and are asking if a 2 or 3 PC solution will increase the SQ. Is that right?

 

While it is easy to think of a NAS and the Sonore devices as appliances, at their heart, they are really just general purpose machines adapted for file serving and audio rendering respectively through a combination of hardware and software innovations.

 

In contemplating the addition of a NAS, you propose pushing the file serving duties back to the NAS. With the addition of a Sonore renderer you would be pushing rendering duties to a specialized front end. So what's is left in the middle PC is a choice based on the software you choose to run. It could be used for a Roon server, HQplayer upsampling or could run a DLNA server like minimserver.

 

To make things more complicated, except for HQplayer, each of these functions can be combined and run on the NAS for a two PC solution.

 

Having said this, I have many friends that prefer the single PC architecture you run today.

 

For myself, I like a two PC solution, using a NAS like server in the back for the HDD and file services, with everything else in a single diskless PC in the front running the music server, renderer and USB connection. This approach makes it easy to galvanically isolate the noisy hard disk from the DAC with fiber or transformers. It also collapses the music server and rendering duties into one device where the investment in high quality LPSes and clocks can be leveraged across both functions.

 

So sorry, there are no easy answers here.

 

Thank you - you nailed it exactly right.

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