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A quick USB Drive question


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I have just started the computer audiophile journey having just purchased a weiss DAC 2 and mac mini.

 

I plan to use an external USB drive connected to the mac to store my music media.

 

With external drives, I have the choice between ones that use an external power supply and others that are powered via the USB cable.

 

Has anyone compared the 2 for sound quality, the latter is preferable for convenience and less cabling behind my stereo system but I am a little concerned about the effect of transferring power along the same cable as the data.

 

By the way, my complements on this web site/forum

 

 

 

Aurender N100H> USB(Darkside Cable) > Mcintosh D1100 Digital Preamp > Darkside Cable balanced interconnect  >  Mcintosh MC302 Amp  > SpectralMH-770  Speaker Cables  >  Martin Logan Prodigys

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The external drives which require an external PS typically have larger storage capacities than a USB powered drive, and high capacity, USB powered drives are typically more expensive. I wouldn't worry about the bits travelling along with power. They'll have a much more arduous path to travel before being streamed out to your DAC. Make sure the external drive supports USB 2.0 (nearly all do).

 

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Welcome to the forum!

 

Either will work well (the same from a SQ perspective). Choose a drive that is not too noisy; USB drives vary a lot in the fans (some are fanless) that they use - its a small point.

 

You may consider the Airport Time Capsule (more expensive)- this would give you 2TB and a built in wireless router which you can use to operate your mini without a monitor (headless) - many on the forum operate their media server without a keyboard/screen perferring to use a laptop VNC or screensharing and/or an ipod/iphone using remote. - just a thought.

 

/Paul

 

Serious Listening:[br]Intel Mac Pro 6G (SSD) -> Amarra ->Alpha USB ->Alpha I Dac -> Ayre KX-R -> Tom Evans Linear Class A -> Avantgarde Mezzo Horns (107db) + Basshorns-> Engineered Room (Power, Traps, Helmholtz Resonators, Ceiling Diffusers)[br]Computer Listening:Intel Mac Pro 6G -> Lavry DA10 -> Adams S3A Active Monitors

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I will most likely go for a smaller usb powered drive as I only need about 200 gig.

 

 

 

Aurender N100H> USB(Darkside Cable) > Mcintosh D1100 Digital Preamp > Darkside Cable balanced interconnect  >  Mcintosh MC302 Amp  > SpectralMH-770  Speaker Cables  >  Martin Logan Prodigys

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fand1 said... "I will most likely go for a smaller usb powered drive as I only need about 200 gig."

Just a quickie and hope I don't sound like I'm treating you like an idiot, but you only want to do this once...

 

But 200GB isn't a huge amount of CDs - you are storing them either uncompressed (AIFF) or lossless compressed (Apple Lossless / ALAC) format aren't you? Also worth mentioning that if you are using iTunes to do your ripping, make sure you select "Error Correction" on, though the added confidence that using XLD gives you to ensure your rips are made correctly is worth the slight inconvenience IMO.

 

Eloise

 

 

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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Thanks Eloise, I apreciate the advice

 

Fortuntely due to this site, I am ripping all my files on my XP PC using dbpoweramp into AIFF, as suggested

 

My CD collection is not really that big so it can virtually fit onto my Mac Mini internal hard drive.

 

The plan for the USB drive is to hold any excess files.

 

 

 

Aurender N100H> USB(Darkside Cable) > Mcintosh D1100 Digital Preamp > Darkside Cable balanced interconnect  >  Mcintosh MC302 Amp  > SpectralMH-770  Speaker Cables  >  Martin Logan Prodigys

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  • 2 weeks later...

Initially about a year ago i compared my USBw/ high quality spidif connection versus using a CD transport. I did prefer the USB with high end cable. But now that my system has been upgrade with a highend preamp with separate power supply, among others, i have started to hear the jitter. Going back to a CD tranport was a huge improvement in sound. So as long as you have a decent system, computer server will be probably the best option. But once you have a system closer to 100k....you will definitely need a good CD transport. Music server will not match a high-end new transport.

 

Music after life

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I don't mean to be disrespectful; but this is just not true.

 

I have a 100K+ system my music server outperforms CD transports.

 

I also have a 10K system - again the music server outperforms CD transports especially at the price.

 

The problem is; at this time in the computer audiophile world you have to have a fair degree of systems engineering knowledge to produce great sound. In addition the elements of the computer system - DACs and the like are at the beginning of their product cycle(s) - so there is a lot of 'noise' (FUD, fear uncertaininty and doubt) in people's understanding. CD transports push this problem to the designers thereby giving the community a one stop shop feel - computer audiophile is not there yet - although there are a number of best practices.

 

Linn just announced that they will stop selling CD players - I expect others to follow suit. There will be a substitution effect of mechanical CD players for Solid State (CD) players - no longer constrained by the CD format - this is is essence a computer.

 

People here are early adopters.

 

I don't mean to imply that you are incorrect; there is a common logic issue on the forum with people confusing 'Causation' with 'Correlation'.

 

/Paul

 

Serious Listening:[br]Intel Mac Pro 6G (SSD) -> Amarra ->Alpha USB ->Alpha I Dac -> Ayre KX-R -> Tom Evans Linear Class A -> Avantgarde Mezzo Horns (107db) + Basshorns-> Engineered Room (Power, Traps, Helmholtz Resonators, Ceiling Diffusers)[br]Computer Listening:Intel Mac Pro 6G -> Lavry DA10 -> Adams S3A Active Monitors

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Hi Paul,

Yes i agree with you on the fact that it takes a lot to get digital right, out from a server. I myself use a computer based source. But if you listen to the reviewers who review the likes of the Esoteric, Ayon tube cd player and the recent review of play back design. The person who reviewed the playback design CD player, also has reviewed a top notch server music player. You basically have to read between the lines....when it comes to server music, you will noticed he compares it to other server configurations. But when it comes to reviewing the CD player, the response is usually the best digital i have ever heard. Another instance is weiss..you would wonder why wiess has a $5k computer DAC. But on the other hand he has a 30k CD tranport/DAC combo. Is he saying computer servers are not meant for serious audiophiles? I feel the computer based music is an excellent option, but the new Transports espeically with I2s (Shortest "distance" to an analog signal) is one step ahead of the game.

 

Music after life

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Ajay Hi, we regularly compare our 'computer audio' set-ups against high quality cd players/ optical transports and dacs, including the top Naim,Nagra ,Esoteric and DCS players and the computer set-up is certainly no worse, I would say better than any cd player we have compared it to.

I would take anything written by a reviewer ( or a dealer for that mater ) with a large pinch of salt!

Ask some dealers to bring around a really good computer set-up and compare at home.

Keith.

 

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Glad to hear that. It just means I am heading in the right direction.

 

More importantly, I noticed you claim stahl tek to be the

best DAC you have heard. I own the same DAC and it's definitely

awesome. what and How are you connecting to the stahl-tek?

 

Thanks!

 

Music after life

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