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External Hard Drive As A Source

Rollo

Well-known member
Apr 21, 2020
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Morning, My system is fully digital, CD, Downloads and Qobuz Streaming. Due to the fact that the CA Stream Magic app can't and doesn't play well with Windows 10 DNLA server. I mean I see all my albums but when it comes to playback it sorts them alphabetically rather than track number (I believe this is a common problem over DNLA) . And with the CXNv2 having a USB input, I am considering plugging in an External HDD and running all my music from that as a source. I have a few questions if anyone can help:

Will the playback be limited to 24/96 over USB?

Do I just leave it plugged in all the time and it will power up und down with the unit?

My archive is in Alac for storage, but would there be any playback benefit sonically by using WAV/PCM on the directly connected HDD?

Many thanks for your thoughts

Cheers
 

abacus

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2008
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The playback quality will be determined by the format they are in and what your Cambridge can decode. (ALAC is an Apple format and not supported by a lot of separate equipment, (Hence most rip songs in to FLAC) so you will need to check first.

ALAC & FLAC are lossless formats so converting to Wav etc. will make no difference.

Depends on the equipment as to whether it will power up and down automatically.

Bill
 

Rollo

Well-known member
Apr 21, 2020
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Hi Bill, thanks for the response. I understand all about file types. Alac is common to all my hifi gear that's why I use it. It is no longer Apple only and was made open source years ago. Playback quality can be effected by system overheads. And while I understand a powerful PC can decompress audio without loss I was wondering if this was also the case with a streamer. And with regards to USB I read it was limited 24/96. Cheers
 

jjbomber

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Dec 22, 2006
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My archive is in Alac for storage, but would there be any playback benefit sonically by using WAV/PCM on the directly connected HDD?
Both ALAC and FLAC (levels 1-5) are lossy. Better to rip in FLAC level 6, though 7 and 8 are also available. FLAC also have an uncompressed level which will give you a bigger file than WAV.

I use HDD as a source, though mine are connected to an Oppo DVD. I believe AlEars does the same. I have one for music and one for films.
 

Rollo

Well-known member
Apr 21, 2020
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Cheers jjbomber, is your hdd USB powered and do you just leave it plugged in all the time. I have a 6tb drive and was going to go all wav, just to remove another step of decompression from the path.
 

Rollo

Well-known member
Apr 21, 2020
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Found the answer to one of my questions. If anyone else is interested the default USB profile is 1 and limited to 96. You can change the profile to 2 in the software and that changes the limit to 192...
 
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Al ears

Moderator
Both ALAC and FLAC (levels 1-5) are lossy. Better to rip in FLAC level 6, though 7 and 8 are also available. FLAC also have an uncompressed level which will give you a bigger file than WAV.

I use HDD as a source, though mine are connected to an Oppo DVD. I believe AlEars does the same. I have one for music and one for films.
I do indeed. The Oppo will play back any file I care to stick on the hard drive, I don't know the limitations of the CXN usb port.
Works quite well using Oppo media app on my Tablet as a controller.
I use a solid state hd that simply gets power whenever I power up the Oppo.
 
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Gray

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Nov 27, 2015
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With regard to HDD power-off.
Mine is a WD Elements (2TB) with its own PSU.
Most people wouldn't bother, but when not in use, I cut the mains to the PSU.
(Maybe yours is USB powered though).
 
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Friesiansam

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Feb 3, 2015
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The only difference between FLAC levels 0 to 8 is the degree of compression, all are lossless. 0 is the lowest level of compression, 8 the highest, although the additional space saving at level 8 is small, whilst the amount of processing time is greatly increased. Logically, as it is the least compressed, 0 should be least likely to suffer any loss, if indeed there were any loss, which there isn't.

 
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manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
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Yes indeed all FLAC levels are lossless. Where playback quality may be affected is the level of processing required to decode at the highest compression levels.

Naim has made a big deal of the processing power of their Uniti range, no longer regarding USB drives as 3rd class citizens for streaming.
 

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