Using an external HDD on Atom USB port

Hi all,

I’m in the process of ripping my entire CD collection. Originally my plan was to use my PC as a NAS and MinimServer to stream to the Atom. But the connection to the server is intermittent for some reason and I can’t be bothered to turn my PC on each time I want music from my collection.

Is there anything stopping me from connecting a large external HDD to the back of the Atom via USB? I have a 32GB flash stick but in case I need some serious room I’m thinking of buying a 128/256GB WD drive for music with the Atom in server mode.



Thats what I do. A 1TB external drive powered by the USB. You have to format it first to configure it as a music store, (through settings). You can then add stuff you’ve ripped through a pc. I then use MP3TAG to sort out missing artwork etc if needed. All your Music wil then be seen in the app as the music database.

Yes, it will work fine. View it through the Server input rather than the USB input and you usually see the metadata properly.

Great! My next question would be: why the hell does anyone bother with DLNA music servers and NAS drives then? I’ve had constant issues with mine, things like it playing a track (showing it is connected) but being unable to search or view any other albums etc… I realised USB is a much better way!

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Because they have more than one streamer in different rooms for one reason.



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If not using multi room or maybe streaming video/photos to a TV/media player a local connection is far simpler provided the device handles it well - server mode is optional.

On the old Naim streamers, the USB input does not allow you to browse metadata or view artwork, so you just see a long list of tracks. Useless for anything more than a handful of tracks. So you really needed a NAS or networked computer and a UPnP server. I have to say that for me, once set up, this has been a reliable setup.
Naim’s solution with the new streamers is to run a version of their own UPnP server on the streamer itself, so you no longer need to set one up on a separate device on the network. It may be a bit less versatile than a standalone NAS running a server, but it removes the vagaries of network setup from the equation completely, and all you need is a cheap USB drive. To me, it seems like a neat solution.

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A 500GB Samsung T5 USB SSD is going for just under £80 at Amazon (£113 for 1TB in black) - almost half what I paid in 2018 for one.

I assume you’ll be going for a bus powered drive, I think you’ll find small hard drives below 500GB less common these days, and probably marginal price differences for larger capacities.

I suspect someone has compared bus powered 2.5" drives vs bus powered SSDs vs powered external hard drives for differing sonic merits.

I have a 1TB WD drive attached to my Atom, which cost me £35. I could potentially get rid of my Unitiserve and Synology NAS and just use that.

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Nice, that is the answer then! Perfect. Now to find out how the hell to do some acoustic treatment in my room… Got a nasty bass boom around 50/60Hz right where I listen from :roll_eyes:

That’s a tricky one. Room treatment for bass issues often requires very bulky bass traps cluttering up the corners of the room. You can help by adjusting speaker position and adding soft furnishings to the room such as heavy curtains, cushions etc. but there is a limit to how much that will help.
If you really want to understand what’s happening with your room acoustics, there is some very good free software called REW which can be useful.

Yes I figured it wouldn’t be easy. The room does lack curtains (although all the windows are perpendicular to the speaker/listening axis so I’m not sure how much this would help). I’m limited how far away from the (large and bare) wall I can get the speakers, which are Piega Classic 5.0 about a foot away. I will have a look at REW, sounds interesting. I’m probably luckier than some having plenty of space behind the sofa (enough for a baby grand piano!) to avoid bad rear wall reverberation but I figure this is the single most effective thing I can do to improve my listening.

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