Where best to connect an external USB3 drive?

I’m in the process of setting up a second Intel i7 based NUC with ROCK and a second lifetime membership for use as the heart of a music system at work.

I plan to store the FLAC music files on an external, powered, USB3 WD Elements 4TB hard drive. But what I’m unsure of, is where best to connect the USB3 drive.

As I see it, the options available are to connect it directly to a USB3 port on the ROCK, or to connect it to a USB2 port on the wireless/modem/router/switch. Are there any other choices?

Which option will work best?

Which option, if any or maybe both, will let me see the USB drive as a network drive so that I can use other desktop/laptop systems to transfer new music files onto the drive. Or will I have to disconnect the external drive from the ROCK or modem/router/switch and connect it directly to another PC to transfer music files?

I know what to do when using a Synology NAS and the storage device, but I haven’t tried using an external USB3 drive this way before. While I can see a dedicated Synology NAS ending up on this setup, for now I already have the USB3 drive and would like to use it.

Any help and guidance would be highly appreciated.

Personally I would connect it directly to the Rock device. You should be able to see it on the network.

I would stick it on the ROCK device to format it, move it to where you keep your files to populate it then move it back to ROCK. That should prove faster than transfering across a network.

Not necessarily, a gigabit network is in theory 2x faster than usb2 but I agree usb3 is faster. If you did that the system on which the files reside would need to be able to write to a ext4 formatted drive.

How many albums do you have? I would mostly agree with Henry, I would format the drive on your pc which if it is Windows would be ntfs and then copy all the music files to it, then disconnect it and connect to the ROCK system and then add it in storage and let Roon do it’s thing, I preferred this way to copying over the network for the initial setup although when I just add the occasional ripped cd I do copy to the Rock network storage share and have had no issues.

I have some 1000 albums ripped already with more still being done.

The drive is already formatted as NTFS and most of the music files are already on it.

So if I connect it to the ROCK USB3, you guys seem to be saying other PCs will be able to use it as a network drive? Thus that should be an easy way to add new albums.


Yes correct, Rock should be viewable as a network device in Windows explorer if you select it you will see a Rock storage folder then your disk will be under that, if memory serves me correct. I use a Mac.

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I connect to the NUC’s USB3 port. The drives are revealed to my Mac controller (MBP), and I can mount the drive as a network share using OS. From there, its usable by Roon or any other app such as a tagger.

I don’t think that setup can be beat. My only issue is that occasionally my Mac will fail to mount the volume. Since fixing is only a 5-second operation, I haven’t bothered with troubleshooting.

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Question: I believe Rock prefers drives be formatted as ExFAT. Not sure if NTFS is okay with it.

Roon Labs recommendation is exFAT, but NTFS will work. See the bottom of this KB page.

So a few weeks ago I reformatted the drive as exFAT and copied the music files, now 1176 albums and 18875 tracks, back onto it. (I have all of the music files in all three of Apple Lossless, FLAC and MP3 formats.)

Yesterday I finally connected the drive to a USB3 port on the NUC and all is going well so far. Thanks for the tips above.

We’re about half way through running extra data and phone cabling. Today I’m hoping to use a 30 metre Ethernet cable as a temporary measure and connect a HiFiBerry DAC+ Pro to the Yamaha receiver and Coral speakers. Then I should be able to finally have Roon up and running in the main part of the dive shop.

I have another Yamaha receiver and Yamaha speakers ready to be installed in the back office. Then another RPi based DAC will be used to bring Roon to that area as well. Just need to finish the data wiring and install some shelves for the speakers.

The dive shop now has a Raspberry Pi 3B with HiFiBerry DAC+ Pro, delivering FLAC lossless sound files from my collection of nearly 1200 albums and 19,000 tracks on an Intel i7 NUC based Roon Labs music server. A Yamaha RX-V795A AV Receiver is sending the sound to a pair of Coral X-III 3-way bookshelf speakers. It sounds awesome! I’m thinking it’s probably the best sound in a dive shop anywhere on the planet.

One problem. My Windows 10 based laptop can’t find the external USB3 drive that’s attached to the ROCK. It can see the ROCK and it’s SSD, but not the external USB3 drive.

Do I need to be doing something so that the external drive can be found?

Duh! I found it. It comes up in

I needed to know where to look.

I need to know how to turn the external USB3 drive into a mapped network drive. I haven’t been able to work out how to get that to happen.

On the drive is the FLAC directory that is being watched by Roon. I have an Artists sub-folder with image files for the artists Roon hasn’t found images for. To add the artist images in Roon control I need the drive mapped so that I can navigate to the sub-folder. But how to do it?

Why don’t you just copy the images over the network to the relevant folders? You don’t need to set up a mapped network drive. Just use the Windows File Explorer to copy files across the network.

Yes, I can do that to get more files onto the drive. But that’s not the problem I’m trying to solve. When I want to tell Roon control running on a Windows 10 based laptop, to add an artist image file that’s already on the external USB3 drive on the ROCK, Roon control won’t let me browse to the file on the drive unless it’s mapped.

Okay, so I think I’ve solved the problem. I can setup \\ROCK\Data\ as a mapped drive, just not ROCK or the other subfolders below \\ROCK\Data. I guess it’s a Linux thing.