SQ is better with internal SSD vs NAS

Why my sound quality improved update: As I stated earlier the removal of my dedicated Dell ROON sever and installation of Nucleus + yielded substantial increase in SQ. I still stand by that statement but there is now more to the story. When I hooked up the Nucleus+ I could not access the NAS where my music was stored as it was password protected and I was having issues. So instead of using the NAS as I had done with the Dell I had a backup on a portable USB drive that I hooked up directly to the Nucleus using an Audioquest jitterbug. I shortly after installed a 2TB SSD into the Nucleus. When I finally got access to my NAS HHD I linked it to the Nucleus to make sure I had all my music. My wife walks into the room and says what ever you just did , change it back. For whatever reason ROON was using the NAS as preferred file instead of using internal SSD storage and it DID DETRACT from SQ . Disconnected the NAS and everything snapped back

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Everything matters. I’m sure Roon themselves are learning as they go, with ROCK and Nucleus, in comparison with a Windows/Mac machine running Roon Server.

Sure some things may matter more than others but everything matters.

I have seen @danny comment about preferring connected USB drive/s over NAS’s before, too (in terms of performance).

This has nothing to do with SQ. It’s because NAS are exceptionally bad for watching filesystems properly, so Roon can’t watch for new files automatically. The “new file” experience is much worse on the NAS than it is on internal storage or USB storage.

That tells me the extra network traffic used by Roon accessing your NAS is somehow impacting your Bryston’s outputs.

so what do I do contact a network guy to sort this out?

What is there to sort out? The internal SSD is the solution.

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@Billt1 Your findings are the same as mine. In my own house, I tested a Nucleus+ with a QNAP NAS compared to an internally mounted SSD. The NAS did in fact sound quite poor. I can’t chalk this up to network traffic as my home’s network is fairly simple and very accessible…so I keep it organized. But, alas, the sound was much better with an SSD. Oh, and the music files were copied onto the SSD from my NAS, so they did come from the same location, rather than a fresh rip/download.

The only time I recommend a NAS to an audiophile is if his or her collection requires more than 4TB of storage (keep in mind a 4TB 2.5" SSD is quite expensive). But my preference to keep things speedy and, as @danny mentioned, reliable with Roon’s many features, is an internally mounted volume.

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Hi, What DAC was this with and how was it connected?

@Carl Good question. I used a Resonessence Labs Mirus, Cembalo River5008D (odd ball product so I don’t critique too much with it in use…but I do enjoy its sound) and a Lumin T1 RAAT streamer. In the case of both DACs, they were connected via USB. In the case of the Lumin T1, both it, Nucleus+ and NAS were connected to a Netgear Nighthawk switch employing QoS and all units had network priority.

I tried to be scientific about it. Your thoughts are most welcome

Hi Danny,

How would the extra traffic between a Roon Core w/ internal storage vs. Roon Core with a NAS have an impact on the Bryston BDP player’s SQ?

My assumption was that the workload for the Roon Core might be higher and more frequent with NAS vs. internal storage, however, I thought the endpoint (Bryston BDP) would still see and receive the same thing provided everything was done in time? What’s the mechanism by which it would make a difference? Thanks.

FWIW, I use a locally attached portable USB hard drive with my iMac.

The extra network load which the Bryston is supposedly sensitive to, is that extra network load limited to only Roon related stuff (like pulling music off a NAS vs. internal storage). What if you were using local storage music but in the background downloading/streaming a lot of stuff unrelated to Roon. Would that have an impact? Is the endpoint only sensitive to extra network load as it deals with Roon specifically or network load in general of any kind (Youtube/Netflix)? :thinking:

Do I know definitively? No. I’m just sleuthing to see what data paths changed.

The workload is higher for NAS, but very slightly so. The workload would be MUCH higher during audio analysis, metadata updates, etc, so I don’t think this is it.

Related to the audio data, yes. But the SMB server on the NAS might be flinging traffic in a broadcast/multicast/discovery manner that the Bryston has to deal with. The switch/hub might be flooding the wrong ports with data so the Bryston is also seeing the SMB traffic. Etc, etc… there are lots of things that could be wrong.

The ideas mentioned above are digital data mechanisms, and they are not very likely in a modern network – but bad setups do exist out there.

There is also the idea (which I can not defend or explain well) that says that electrical noise can screw up power signals that drive the analog processes in the digital to analog conversion.

I speak a bit about these ideas here and just a couple of posts after that one.

Depends on what you think is happening… it’s all possible I guess, at this level of optimization.

This is very different to:

But I was hinting at something similar being a possible factor. None of us here are really experts here. You are a software guy (and a very brilliant one at that). I very much respect what you may have witnessed by the EE experts at Meridian but there are others doing some seemingly more advanced research in this area at the moment.

For example, John Swenson recently finding that high impedance leakage currents can sail right through unshielded ethernet’s transformers and doing research in this area at the moment to look at it’s effects inside a DAC and how to block them.

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Interestingly enough, Ayre said something about network traffic at roughly the same time:

@dabassgoesboomboom, you are grossly misrepresenting my statements.

  1. “This has nothing to do with SQ” was my response to your comment that said I prefer USB drives to NASs. I still would recommend USB drive over NAS and this recommendation continues to do nothing with SQ. It’s all about the UX, which my original post you failed to quote states in the next sentence.

  2. my comment about the “the idea (which I can not defend or explain well) that … electrical noise…” is about an idea out there, one which I do not pitch as my own opinion, nor do I endorse. Even our recommendation of networked endpoints as isolating have more to do with acoustic noise rather than electrical noise.

The fundamental philosophy about Roon is that we make good UX. We do not make SQ claims. We don’t mess up the digital audio, and we keep the UX great. We are experts when it comes to delivering well timed digital information, but we are not electrical or psychoacoustic experts. Also, as we’ve seen with the CX vs Nucleus arguments I’ve put forward above, Roon Labs strongly believes that chasing these demons of SQ is best done at an endpoint, and far away from the Core of a Roon system, because these “fixes” often degrade UX. Additionally, while we do make a Roon Core device, we will never ever make an audio endpoint. It’s not our expertise, and we prefer to stay neutral in the audio religion wars.

We try to stay respectful to the various ideas out there that we aren’t qualified to judge on, but we also won’t take any bullshit when it comes to the things we do know (networking, information theory, digital audio, software, UX).

In regards to SQ, I absolutely believe is that most people chasing the electrical noise issues could benefit from a better endpoint, some curtains on the walls, and turning off that the A/C, any fans, or even removing spinning drives (all of which can impact SQ in an obvious/non-debatable way by creating audible noise). Is there merit in the ideas of reducing electrical noise to increase SQ? It sounds reasonable, but my opinion there shouldn’t carry much weight.

I think I’m done here as well. If the next few comments go back to the Nucleus vs Antipodes CX, all good, otherwise I will fork off the comments to a new topic so this topic can stay about Nucleus vs Antipodes CX.

Hi @danny

Everything is cool - I know why you’ve recommended hanging a USB drive off Nucleus/ROCK over a NAS in the past. I wasn’t trying to say the reason was SQ. But I was trying to use that, in addition to the completely separate potential issue of electrical noise on the network, to give another reason why USB may be better than a NAS with Roon. So in effect, these are potentially two reasons to use a USB drive (or internal SSD as you recommended), over a NAS.

I agree with your recommendation about the endpoint.

While I find the discussion very interesting personally, it’s Friday afternoon - time to crank some music.

Maybe to organize a LAN so that your Bryston connect directly with Nucleus + by ethernet cable and Nucleus + itself connect by ethernet cable (via usb ethernet adapter) to your local network. Thus your Bryston will communicate on ethernet only with Nucleus + which will send all traffic directly to Bryston (and from internal SSD, and from NAS, and from usb devices, etc.).
And may be the difference in SQ between different drives will disappear .

Whenever questions or statements about electrical noise arise it’s bound to be subjective and also local in the sense that different homes have different starting points. I would also guess that the NAS issue could have electrical noise issues or network issues, if the sound quality is degraded when playing from the NAS.

I have friends that swear by products fixing electrical noise, making your current clean and adding a better ground (well, “almost friends” they are audiophiles that I know, my “real friends” are mostly uninterested in sound reproduction). I have borrowed a lot of products like that from the most renowned brands. Some of the things more expensive than my already too expensive gear. But in the end I got nothing or almost nothing from it.

This is very OT when it comes to Nucelus. But if the products that “clean” the electricity (and so on) works then they do not seem to work in my home. I do not have an AC or noisy things like that and I live in a house that has a new electrical connection. One thing that did change the perceived SQ by a bit was going wireless rather than wiered to my endpoint Aries G2.

If you still want to use your NAS as music storage try the easy thing of moving it to another power outlet if possible. Best if you can try one that is on a different phase. I have my audio gear on my least noisy phase mostly out of superstition. Never performed any listening tests …

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