External SSD via USB, Which Format?

Hi all, just a quick question. I’m taking delivery of my new NDX 2 this week and trying to sort out my SSD ready to plug it direct into the back USB port. Does anyone know which formats the NDX 2 can read? Should I format it with APFS, ExFAT etc. Ideally I’d like to just go with APFS since I’ll be adding files to it from my MacBook. Cheers!

Exfat is probably best.

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The Naim online support guide is particularly unhelpful for the NDX2 and I absolutely wouldn’t expect it to be up to date or even necessarily correct frankly.

But what it says about acceptable file types is:

Despite what it says, there is no more information in the specifications topic. I suspect that the technical author who wrote this probably didn’t actually understand the difference between FAT32 etc supported formats on the USB ports and FLAC, WAV etc formats for music files that might be saved on a USB disc plugged into those ports.

As mentioned, exfat is supported since firmware 3.4 and is probably the best choice for a Mac user.
See point 4.

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I have never once bothered to format a drive that I have used in my NDX2 and other Naim streamers. They have all just worked. So I suggest that you just buy one, add an album, and check that it plays.

I recently got a PNY 512GB Elite-X micro flash drive for my NDX2. It was, of course, empty when I got it and apparently pre-formatted (what file system I don’t know). Copied 200GB of FLAC files over to it and it appeared to work fine. However, every time I connected it to my Windows PC, I got file error warnings. Eventually did a full format (ExFAT) and recopied the FLAC files over and everything is OK now.

Moral of the story - always format a new drive and stick to ExFAT for the NDX2 (can’t trust anything you read on the Naim support site).

Brilliant thanks everyone. I went with ExFAT in the end. I had the SSD inside an Auralic Altair before and sent stuff to it over the network. It turned out I couldn’t just plug that into my mac as it seemed Auralic use some weird format, so it’s good to know the Naim one is a bit more friendly in that regards. Appreciate the help!

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Be carefull with exFat and macOS.
If you don’t unplug your SSD safely from your mac you can loose everything.
It is not a jounalized format.

You can’t use APFS because your NDX2 will not see it.
You can’t use FAT32 if you have files bigger than 4,2Go.

So at the end you can use NTFS.
To use it with your mac, buy and install Paragorn NTFS.

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I’d say avoid NTFS for the very reason you need to get a 3rd party ‘driver’ to write to it on a Mac. Reading NTFS files has worked, but writing is a completely different issue. I’m not saying the Paragon driver isn’t worth it as they’re providing a great solution for many people. Some external drives actually come with the Paragon NTFS driver to install but it is limited to that manufacturer’s drives, and maybe to specific models too.

ExFat is probably the best option in my view, but at least in the past MacOS could easily format larger drives as FAT32 beyond the recommended 32GB partition maximum.

If this drive is purely for audio, even with FAT32 you are highly unlikely to have any audio files larger than 4GB unless you’re somehow trying to play a single ‘all track’ massive classical compilation as a single file.

Interestingly attached to my NDX2 I used an external HD formatted to Mac OS extended (Journalled) and that worked fine.

I have just added a Samsung SSD T7 formatted the same way and that works fine.

The only issue I have is that despite having re-editted all my files Tags with DBPoweramp to a small number of genres, when I use the server function the NDX2 it show a generic Pop/Rock genre which I didn’t use when I re-tagged them. Does anyone have any idea why this happens

It seems the Pop/Rock genre is an amalgamation of 3 genres I used. Very odd

So you didn’t go down the ExFAT road? Any issues with the Mac journaled format in terms of metadata, indexing?

I’m thinking of doing the same on an SSD and just plugging into whatever I’m streaming from. Cutting out the WiFi middleman…

Sorry for the delayed reply.
I have no real issues with the Mac Journaled format. The SSD is permanently plugged into the rear USB port (except when I add extra albums to it) and it works just fine. I use DBPoweramp for metadata.

The only really odd thing is that despite choosing my own Genres some of them don’t quite show up as expected. For Example I use a “Space” genre for space rock music but the Naim app shows that as a sub genre of New Age which isn’t on any of the metadata tags I used. Similarly “hard Rock” appears under a Pop/Rock genre which again I have never used. I wonder if pulls those from Tidal/All Music?

Other than that, no issues really. After adding new albums I just plug it back in and in a little while it re-indexes everything.

Using the SSD in server mode, the app will pull up other albums by the same artist that are available on Tidal which I like.

Certainly a much cheaper and easier option than a NAS drive.

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