In computer room (West end of house): NUC with ROCK + external USB HDD with Roon library
Ethernet wire from West to East end of house
In listening room (East end of house): iFi Zen Streamer with USB output to rest of music system
Question: Both the NUC and the iFi Zen Streamer are equipped with USB ports for external drives. If I plug the USB Library HDD into the NUC, it is more proximate to the Roon ROCK core (and music must travel over the Ethernet to the listening room end point).
But if I plug the USB Library HDD into the iFi Zen endpoint, the drive is more proximate to the DAC (where, maybe, the Ethernet connection is for control only and the actual music digits may stream from the drive directly to the endpoint).
Of course, it is entirely possible that I don’t understand how this works…
I’m assuming so - the drive (like the endpoint) are on the same network. In fact, were it NOT possible for a music program to see a drive plugged into the iFi Zen, then why would the Zen have a USB HDD input jack (and it definitely DOES - specifically dedicated to an external USB HDD).
One can specify ANY network address as storage in Roon. I’m 99.99% certain that Roon WILL be able to see the drive plugged into the iFi Zen streamer. The question is “How does ROCK route actual music data? Must it stream from the HDD through ROCK and then to the endpoint? Or can ROCK route music data directly from a network HDD to an endpoint?”
My iFi Zen is on order - not yet arrived. I can’t answer that question. But unless the iFi Zen comes with its own music player, it would do no good at all for the Zen to see a drive that the music player (in my case, Roon) couldn’t see. iFi does claim that the Zen Streamer is “Roon Compatible.” But I’m not sure what that means in this context.