Connecting a sonicTransporter directly to a Mac or PC

Hi all and @agillis

I have my sonicTransporter i5 and microRendu both connected to my modem via powerline adapters around the house - works very well.

But I want to connect my sonicTransporter directly to my Mac for the purposes of backup only - maybe once a week or once a month.

My sonicT i5 has internal SSD storage and obviously has the USB 3.0 port. The external USB drive I use for backup is a Lacie Rugged Mini (HDD, not SSD) but also USB 3.0.

My Mac’s ethernet port is gigabit but my modem only has 10/100 ethernet ports.

So when I do a backup via my iMac or even my Surface Pro 4 via ‘drag and drop’ from the music folder on the SSD to the mounted USB drive, my copy speeds are limited to 10megabytes/s due to the modem being the weakest link in the change at 10/100 - everything else is capable of gigabit on the network.

Even if the USB drive is plugged into the iMac and I do drag and drop backup, my backup speed is still limited to 10megabytes/s - even though I know the external USB drive is capable of 60megabytes/s (copying local iMac files to the drive). So it’s capable of copying 6 times faster to the external USB drive.

So without having to buy a gigabit switch, I wanted to plug the sonicTransporter directly into my iMac for backups only. Then I won’t have the 10/100 limitation and will be limited to the USB 3.0 write speeds of the mounted USB drive.

But when I connect the sonicT to the iMac I can’t seem to browse any of the sonicT files :frowning:

Is it possible and if so, can someone take me through the steps.

Again I know the sonicT needs to be plugged into a router to work - I have this working fine for Roon playback. I’m just looking for a way to backup 6 times faster than currently - backing up 2TB of music is currently taking 3 days (roughly 72 hours). So getting this down to 72/6 = 12 hours would be a huge benefit.

Buying a gigabit switch will sort it but if I can achieve the same thing connecting the sonicT to the iMac I wanted to try that first.

Much appreciated ! :slight_smile:

Another option, is using a Type A to Type A (male to male) USB 3.0 cable.

I recall my QNAP NAS could be connected to my Mac this way (but not ethernet to ethernet).

I don’t have a male-to-male USB cable at the moment.

Could someone connect their sonicT to their Mac/PC for me to see if it sees the sonicT storage?

I just mounted a second USB drive to my sonictransporter and copied from one drive to the other using Windows explorer. Worked fine. Can’t help with Mac specifics I’m all Windows.

Hi Phil,

I can do the same. But as mentioned my speed is limited due to my router’s 10/100 limit.

I may have misunderstood you though. Do you mean your sonictransporter is connected via USB to your Windows PC?

If you mean over the network, I can already do that.

I’m looking to backup 2TB of music in ~12 hours as opposed to the current time of 3 days (over the network).

Cheers, Sean.

[quote=“Em84, post:1, topic:16538”]
Buying a gigabit switch will sort it but if I can achieve the same thing connecting the sonicT to the iMac I wanted to try that first.
This is the best solution to your problem, it’s also very good practise … I never recommend anyone using the their ISB provided modem/router/wifi device as a switch.

ISP connection --> ISP Modem/Router/WiFi-AP --> Switch --> Wired LAN devices.

In my case:

ISP connection --> ISP Modem --> Cisco Router/Wifi-AP --> Cisco Switch --> Wired LAN devices.

Hi Carl, yes and they’re not too expensive. I had a feeling I would need to go down this path.

What are the reasons for not using the 4 ethernet ports on the back of the ISP modem, if you don’t mind me asking?

It’s a Netgear ADSL2+ Modem.

Cheers, Sean.

In your case they are only 10/100 not 10/100/1000 … but in general the ISP’s tend to select the lowest specification device they can get away with to save costs. As a result packet switching and throughput can be compromised.

Oh ok, so it’s just regarding the slow speeds of the ports - so we’re on the same page. I thought you meant there was another reason not to use it as a switch.

So are you saying that when files are copied from one drive on the sonictransporter to another on the same sonictransporter they go over the network and back? (Via the machine the copy operation was initiated on I guess) I did not realize it worked that way.

Yep that’s correct. Drag and drop through Explorer or Finder (Mac) goes through the Windows/Mac OS hence through the network. It doesn’t just backup directly from the sonicT internal drive to the mounted USB drive.

The only ways to write directly from the sonicT internal drive to the mounted USB drive are:

  1. Use the Storage Backup app which is on the sonicorbiter OS under available apps.
  2. Using Terminal root access of the sonicT you can do the same as the above (not for end users to do through Terminal but I have seen Andrew do it when he was helping me remotely backing up my collection. Essentially does the same as the above anyway, but through Terminal and root access, which only he has, for good reason too). When Andrew helped me with this, all of my music backed up overnight at full USB3.0 speeds. In comparison, doing it via drag and drop through Explorer or Finder takes 3 days, due to my network limitation of 10/100.

The issue with 1 above for me is my 4TB Lacie USB drive has 2 partitions, sdb1 and sdb2 and the Storage Backup app only writes to sdb1 everytime. In my case sdb2 is the 4TB partition and sdb1 is the tiny EFI partition. I can’t change those around. I have cleaned the drive of all partitions already to have just 1 partition and the small EFI partition just keeps coming back again and defaults to sdb1.

If the sonicT’s Storage Backup app allowed me to select which partition I could backup to (the same way I can choose which USB drive partition to mount to the sonicT) then that would be ideal.

I did email Andrew last week asking about this and he said he may look at updating the Storage Backup app in the future but in the meantime I still need to find better ways to backup my stuff.

I guess if enough people request the SonicT’s Storage Backup app to allow you to select the partition to backup to, it might get an update sooner. But if I’m the only one requesting it I can understand why it won’t be a priority.

The gigabit switch should solve this issue but it would be nice if the Storage Backup app had the same functionality as the USB drive mounting app on the sonicT (selecting the drive partition). It would be the same/similar code so hopefully that app can get an update soon.


Attached the sonicTransporter to your mac via Ethernet is a very complex setup. You would need something to provide a DHCP IP address to the sonicTransporter.

You would be much better off spending $20 on a good gig Ethernet switch.