I recently upgraded to a Naim Nsc222 streamer, Nap 200 and Focal Sopra 2. Now I want to rebuild my lossless music collection to stream to the Naim Streamer / preamp.
I listen to Tidal, Spotify and vinyl and don’t expect to be ripping much or anything at all. So I don’t need that functionality. Basically all I need is a music server and some software to manage the collection.
Now I used to have Synology NAS and am tempted to go that route since its easy, low energy and versatile.
I don’t plan on putting it near the hifi gear so it seems a noisy power supply is not so much of an issue. But I am now reading that USB is superior for sound quality. Is there any truth to this?
Since the streamer contains the DAC and I expect to use wired networking, what effect will a server have on sound quality?
Will a good NAS suffice? What can I expect from a purpose built device from Innuos or Naim over a simple NAS? They’re much more expensive but since I have a streamer I don’t know if there are any gains to be had.
The 222 does have buffering for streaming services. Does that apply to networking too? Does that nullify advantage of a audiophile server?
We have both a naim Core and a Synology NAS running Asset (and pretty much nothing else). The Core was only bought for the convenience to SWMBO.
Over ethernet (wired) as far as we can tell they sound exactly the same.
We are of course decoupled on streamer/DAC which, to our ears, negates the need for an ethernet switch. We have NDX2 cabled straight to ISP hub. Plenty forum threads on the effect of switches on one box streamer/DAC combos.
How big is your music collection? If it’s not too large it will work fine on a USB drive connected directly to the 222. On my NDX2, which uses the same streaming board, this certainly sounds as good as a UPnP server.
There is a small inconvenience in that you have to remove the USB drive and connect it to a computer to add more music, which may or may not bother you.
If you decide to use a NAS/server I would be tempted to stick with Synology and run Asset on it. I use one as a backup to my Unitiserve and they sound the same. My dealer tried to tempt me with a Core, so I borrowed his for a while and again it sounded no better. So I would certainly not buy any audiophile server without the chance to get a home demo before you commit.
When the cost of power rose I took all my files from my old ns01 and put it on a 1 tb usb flash drive. This works fine but you only get basic views of your files, albums, artist, composer, newest. You can however add favorites, both albums, artist and tracks. What I am sometimes missing is the few extra views the ns01 has, like last played, most played, and top 20 albums. I have a few problems with a select number of ripped albums see another post I will post shortly but other than that this has worked fine for more than a year now.
Both our Core and NAS are only on when used, both with quite quick moves into standby (Core is 15 mins I think).
So not expensive to run compared to the rest of our system which is powered constantly.
You could also consider a USB SSD. A 1TB SSD costs around £100.
my only gripe regarding my Synology NAS (DS218play and DS118) are that they take an age to wake up after they go to sleep. First world problem, yes, but it was enough to get me to go to a USB flash drive.
UPnP servers are designed to be always available, so there should never be a delay - when you open the control app they should be fully accessible with no delay. That’s why your streamer refuses to go to sleep when you set it to network standby mode if it detects an attached USB drive.
I’ve never found any delayed access to any server I’ve run on my Synology NAS. Perhaps you have your NAS set to power down when idle?
Well, it’s set to sleep when idle.
@Steinwerck I have a large music collection on my NAS - I use QNAP, but Syonlog or Innous as also very good
I use Asset on QNAP which converts FLAC to WAV files into NDX2 - always found it very easy to use and maintain QNAP and firmware - as belt and braces I have 2 back ups one at home and one I keep at Mom in laws house to ensure should anything happen
although My main source is LP12 - I do enjoy the NAS also
My Qnap takes about 30 seconds to wake from sleep. If your ‘ages’ is longer, maybe there are alternative sleep settings you could try. Once awake, response is instant, as you’d expect.
I use a 1tb Samsung SSD into my nuc which runs Roon. This feeds into my NSC over WiFi and all works exceptionally well. I’ve been reading lots of threads recently on Core, audiophile hard drives, NAS, etc., and all the rest and I still can’t work out what benefit they would provide over a simple SSD. Think these go to 4tb now.
Depends on the equipment you use. If the streamer doesn’t have the capability to make that search drive searchable on the tags of the music, then having a UPnP server gives you better access to your library. Furthermore, if you have multiple streamers at home and you want to be able to stream the same collection, having a UPnP server is easier.
The advantages of a NAS are that you can serve content to other phones or devices in the household. I often use music from NAS on my phone for instance.
I can use Windows and Ubuntu desktop apps to control music streaming from NAS to naim devices.
Since you have Roon you can already do all that so you gain nothing.
However, we also have our NAS configured for cloud backup - anything ripped gets automatically backed up to cloud.
Yes, that’s what I was coming to realise. I save all my ripped files on my Mac also before loading them onto my SSD so the cloud thing is covered also (although I don’t use it personally).
Naim streamers can serve files to other devices on your LAN from USB storage, so a separate server running on a NAS isn’t required for that purpose.
Will the extra network/internal electronic noise affect audio quality via the streamer DAC?
Hypothetically, you might think so, but to me sound quality via the USB input has always sounded as good as anything else on both 1st and 2nd gen Naim streamers.
There are three levels at which the USB input operates. One is to listen via the USB input. This is the only option offered on 1st gen streamers, and on my NDX and Superuniti it certainly sounded as good as music served from my Unitiserve or Minimserver.
On 2nd gen machines you can access the USB drive via the server input, and the server is then used to browse metadata instead of using the basic folder view you get in the USB input. In this case server mode does not need to be enables. No perceptible effect on sound quality here either when I’ve used it on my NDX2.
With server mode enabled, the built in UPnP server is accessible to other devices on your LAN, so I guess there’s another potential increase in electrical activity. Again I hear no downside to this. In fact it is used by some to keep the unit warmed up when in standby mode, to optimise sound quality. So overall it seems to me that Naim have got their USB and server implementation right
This is what I use on my NDX2. No audible difference from using USB, but its a much nicer metadata interface. I have the same data on a NAS and I couldn’t hear any difference with that either, so I just use the USB drive in Server mode.
So I got myself a Synology NAS. I installed Asset UPNP server and this works very well. Are there any more optimizations to do with this setup?
Things like audiophile switches seems like illogical to me but still some people appear to hear benefits.