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Network Streaming vs USB Storage

Theo

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2011
16
1
18,525
Not seeing enough activity in the network audio section so I am re-posing this here... If we take any mid-level Streamer e.g. Marantz NA7004 or Cambridge Audio Stream Magic 6, we have the following ways to feed source material. 1. uPnP server via network2. plug-in a USB Storage device We know that option two has several known limitations in terms of storage capacity, limited features for accessing albums and album art etc.

If we ignore these limitations, can the experts here think of technical limitations (affecting audio performance) with option 2 that will ultimately limit its performance compared to the standard server approach in terms of jitter, noise isolation etc.
 

unsleepable

New member
Dec 25, 2013
6
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I'm not expert, but the only limitation that occurs to me would be with the standard of the USB port.

USB 1.1 is limited to 12 Mbps, and while in theory this should serve with audio up to 192KHz/24-bit audio, which requires 9.2 Mbps, sometimes the practical limit is 96KHz due to overhead. With USB 2.0, the limit would be whatever the DAC can handle.

I have no clue of what's the standard used by these specific streamers, though. But they are not very new models, so it wouldn't surprise me that it was 1.1 for the memory port.
 

unsleepable

New member
Dec 25, 2013
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Just checked out of curiosity and it seems both streamers use version 1.1 to access USB media, so no 192KHz/24-bit audio even though the DACs themselves support it.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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Another factor is that a usb drive has to be 'catalogued' by the player each time it is connected or powered up. Not a big problem for a 'Thumb' drive but for a big disc this could take some time.
 

fr0g

New member
Jan 7, 2008
445
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If I had the option I would choose USB drive for the simple reason is that with wireless, you WILL get the odd dropout. Pick up a 1TB usb 3 drive and you're laughing. You could store 2 to 3 thousand albums on it in lossless FLAC.

As for the jitter, noise

Jitter is irrelevant these days as has been blind tested over and over. Only neurotics worry about it.

Noise could be an issue if you are listening VERY quietly and have a mechanical hard drive close to you. Of course, you could splash out for an SSD usb drive and that wouldn't be an issue.

It will be what I do when I get around to replacing my ageing Squeezebox Duets.
 

The_Lhc

New member
Oct 16, 2008
1,175
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fr0g said:
Noise could be an issue if you are listening VERY quietly and have a mechanical hard drive close to you. Of course, you could splash out for an SSD usb drive and that wouldn't be an issue.
What about electrical noise through the USB connection? This has been given as one reason to use optical instead (I honestly don't know, and frankly, don't much care but I thought I'd ask the question for completeness).
 

The_Lhc

New member
Oct 16, 2008
1,175
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fr0g said:
Noise could be an issue if you are listening VERY quietly and have a mechanical hard drive close to you. Of course, you could splash out for an SSD usb drive and that wouldn't be an issue.
What about electrical noise through the USB connection? This has been given as one reason to use optical instead (I honestly don't know, and frankly, don't much care but I thought I'd ask the question for completeness).
 

fr0g

New member
Jan 7, 2008
445
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0
The_Lhc said:
fr0g said:
Noise could be an issue if you are listening VERY quietly and have a mechanical hard drive close to you. Of course, you could splash out for an SSD usb drive and that wouldn't be an issue.
What about electrical noise through the USB connection? This has been given as one reason to use optical instead (I honestly don't know, and frankly, don't much care but I thought I'd ask the question for completeness).
Possibly. Although personally I doubt it. A ferrite core should sort it out easily anyway (you see many USB cables with them pre-fitted).

I think mentioning that optical has no electrical connection is more "belt and braces" rather than any actual real-world advantage.
 

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