Musical NAS Drives

General HiFi discussion, using the Tune Method to evaluate performance

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Musical NAS Drives

Post by u252agz » 2019-12-23 09:44

My trusty Zone-ripper has given up the ghost after almost 10 years of service.

It sounded pretty good with Linn DS units, and certainly better than my back up My Book Live NAS.

Can anyone recommend a good replacement - I would like one of the most musical ones on the market as I am becoming increasingly aware of how important everything upstream of the streamer is in the digital domain.

A built in ripper would a useful feature but I would not sacrifice musicality for this.
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Re: Musical NAS Drives

Post by donuk » 2019-12-23 14:07

Melco

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Re: Musical NAS Drives

Post by anthony » 2019-12-23 15:45

Innuos.

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Re: Musical NAS Drives

Post by David Neel » 2019-12-23 16:01

Hakai NAS?
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Re: Musical NAS Drives

Post by Spannko » 2019-12-23 19:08

Ha ha! 3 answers and 3 different options. It must be a first for the forum :-)

In the new year, I’m going to be looking to upgrade my Melco NAS too. I’ve not done any Direct comparisons yet, but I’ll be making sure I have a good listen before I buy. I’m prepared to go up to the Melco N10 (which I’ve heard sound great at a show) but I’d be much happier with the Innuos Zenith due to its built-in ripper and great software.

Anthony, which Innuos would you recommend, and have you compared them to the Melco’s?

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Re: Musical NAS Drives

Post by u252agz » 2019-12-23 19:19

Thanks everyone

I will also look at the Innuos - although I was hoping the Zen mini would be good enough -

my drive sits on a midi HI Fi shelf in the study and the mini would fit the space( and the budget!) nicely.

I have heard that the expensive solid state Melcos are not as good as the cheaper N1A and the range is now quite expensive and without built in rippers.

I neither have the computer skills nor patience for a Hakai NAS although I suspect this may be the best.
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Re: Musical NAS Drives

Post by anthony » 2019-12-23 20:05

Spannko wrote:
2019-12-23 19:08
Ha ha! 3 answers and 3 different options. It must be a first for the forum :-)

In the new year, I’m going to be looking to upgrade my Melco NAS too. I’ve not done any Direct comparisons yet, but I’ll be making sure I have a good listen before I buy. I’m prepared to go up to the Melco N10 (which I’ve heard sound great at a show) but I’d be much happier with the Innuos Zenith due to its built-in ripper and great software.

Anthony, which Innuos would you recommend, and have you compared them to the Melco’s?
I have the Zen mini 3, which is competing with tidal but not beating it. I have heard the £2000 model which is better. I need to try it at home before I make any claims.
I heard a melco a while ago and wasn't blown away, it may well have improved now, certainly has a big following. So far my Dell xps running on Vista beats everything, although much less practical.

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Re: Musical NAS Drives

Post by Matteo » 2019-12-23 21:35

u252agz wrote:
2019-12-23 09:44
Can anyone recommend a good replacement - I would like one of the most musical ones on the market as I am becoming increasingly aware of how important everything upstream of the streamer is in the digital domain.
Tidal
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Re: Musical NAS Drives

Post by Spannko » 2019-12-23 22:01

anthony wrote:
2019-12-23 20:05
Spannko wrote:
2019-12-23 19:08
Ha ha! 3 answers and 3 different options. It must be a first for the forum :-)

In the new year, I’m going to be looking to upgrade my Melco NAS too. I’ve not done any Direct comparisons yet, but I’ll be making sure I have a good listen before I buy. I’m prepared to go up to the Melco N10 (which I’ve heard sound great at a show) but I’d be much happier with the Innuos Zenith due to its built-in ripper and great software.

Anthony, which Innuos would you recommend, and have you compared them to the Melco’s?
I have the Zen mini 3, which is competing with tidal but not beating it. I have heard the £2000 model which is better. I need to try it at home before I make any claims.
I heard a melco a while ago and wasn't blown away, it may well have improved now, certainly has a big following. So far my Dell xps running on Vista beats everything, although much less practical.
Thanks Anthony. Your comment about the Zen not being able to beat tidal is interesting and mirrors my view that there appears to be something either fundamentally wrong about the way NAS’s deliver music to a streamer, or that it’s an unbelievably delicate process which almost needs ‘lab quality’ equipment to achieve true musicality.

Update: After more critical listening (see post below), it’s possible that the signal processing side works ok, but the PS side is corrupting the mains supply for the whole system.
Last edited by Spannko on 2019-12-25 08:30, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Musical NAS Drives

Post by u252agz » 2019-12-23 23:54

This is getting very interesting and getting to the root of what is the most musical way of delivering data to the streamer.

Many of us seem to be spending large amounts of money on these devices yet could be providing them with a suboptimal signal with which to work with.

A 5 year lifespan of the NAS drive would mean £200 a year to £500 a year for ‘ high end ‘ NAS drives whereas Tidal could be better, cheaper and with far fewer IT maintenance issues.

So the question for me know is :

Tidal or High end NAS drive


PS

I know nothing of how Tidal works with Linn streamers but am assuming it is quite straightforward ?
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Re: Musical NAS Drives

Post by macrotech2 » 2019-12-24 00:28

u252agz wrote:
2019-12-23 23:54
I know nothing of how Tidal works with Linn streamers but am assuming it is quite straightforward ?
Basically you sign up with Tidal and then use a control app (like Kazoo) which has Tidal built in. You enter your login details once into the app and then choose the Tidal "input" when you want to steam over the internet from them.

Personally I use Qobuz rather than Tidal. I've never compared the two though.

Interesting that Anthony prefers Tidal to streaming from the Innuos. Is that using the Innuos as the Tidal source or using Tidal "direct" Anthony?
Last edited by macrotech2 on 2019-12-24 00:37, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Musical NAS Drives

Post by David Neel » 2019-12-24 00:30

Temperamentally, I'm completely unsuited to Tidal. I tried it, and decided not to subscribe, the two main reasons being that I want to "own" my music, making conscious choices rather than butterflying across what is suggested by an algorithm, and the experience that my own CDs ripped to my LSNAS sounded much more musical than via Tidal. Disclaimer: this was several years ago; Tidal may have improved since, and my LSNAS certainly has.
I don't see Tidal vs NAS as being to do with cost, rather how you choose to explore new music, and your experience of the music quality. And whether you are prepared to pay for what you find best...
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Re: Musical NAS Drives

Post by anthony » 2019-12-24 07:42

macrotech2 wrote:
2019-12-24 00:28
u252agz wrote:
2019-12-23 23:54
I know nothing of how Tidal works with Linn streamers but am assuming it is quite straightforward ?
Basically you sign up with Tidal and then use a control app (like Kazoo) which has Tidal built in. You enter your login details once into the app and then choose the Tidal "input" when you want to steam over the internet from them.

Personally I use Qobuz rather than Tidal. I've never compared the two though.

Interesting that Anthony prefers Tidal to streaming from the Innuos. Is that using the Innuos as the Tidal source or using Tidal "direct" Anthony?
I am using Tidal direct.

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Re: Musical NAS Drives

Post by anthony » 2019-12-24 07:46

Spannko wrote:
2019-12-23 22:01
anthony wrote:
2019-12-23 20:05
Spannko wrote:
2019-12-23 19:08
Ha ha! 3 answers and 3 different options. It must be a first for the forum :-)

In the new year, I’m going to be looking to upgrade my Melco NAS too. I’ve not done any Direct comparisons yet, but I’ll be making sure I have a good listen before I buy. I’m prepared to go up to the Melco N10 (which I’ve heard sound great at a show) but I’d be much happier with the Innuos Zenith due to its built-in ripper and great software.

Anthony, which Innuos would you recommend, and have you compared them to the Melco’s?
I have the Zen mini 3, which is competing with tidal but not beating it. I have heard the £2000 model which is better. I need to try it at home before I make any claims.
I heard a melco a while ago and wasn't blown away, it may well have improved now, certainly has a big following. So far my Dell xps running on Vista beats everything, although much less practical.
Thanks Anthony. Your comment about the Zen not being able to beat tidal is interesting and mirrors my view that there appears to be something either fundamentally wrong about the way NAS’s deliver music to a streamer, or that it’s an unbelievably delicate process which almost needs ‘lab quality’ equipment to achieve true musicality.
Yes it's strange that a streaming service and all its associated processes can sound so good.
I am also surprised at the quality of some of the radio channels, in particular some of soma fm originating in San Francisco

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Re: Musical NAS Drives

Post by anthony » 2019-12-24 07:50

u252agz wrote:
2019-12-23 23:54
This is getting very interesting and getting to the root of what is the most musical way of delivering data to the streamer.

Many of us seem to be spending large amounts of money on these devices yet could be providing them with a suboptimal signal with which to work with.

A 5 year lifespan of the NAS drive would mean £200 a year to £500 a year for ‘ high end ‘ NAS drives whereas Tidal could be better, cheaper and with far fewer IT maintenance issues.

So the question for me know is :

Tidal or High end NAS drive


PS

I know nothing of how Tidal works with Linn streamers but am assuming it is quite straightforward ?
Tidal is relatively straightforward, enable it in konfig, you can even have a free trial.
You will find some albums are replicated with an option of a digital remaster, which are generally worse.

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Re: Musical NAS Drives

Post by Catweazle » 2019-12-24 14:15

Back to NAS drives (as I also like to 'own' my music. And when I need convenience, I can always use a rip of my LP's): Melco's are pretty much loved by the community at my trusted dealer. So I borroughed one to audition it in my home, and compare it against my allegedly bad source (a regular PC which is connected via PowerLine Ethernet to my KRDSM).

First I tried to connect the PC (after the signal went throught the PL) signal directly (my regular setup so far)vs through the Melco in front of the KRDSM. The idea was to test, if the Melco can 'cleanse' the signal from the alleged network noise. The result was: I could'nt tell a difference.

Then I searched the Melco's disk for some music, that I own as a digital copy. The next test was to play this music via my regular setup vs this music from the Melco disk. The Melco was connected directly to the KRDSM, and the PC / PL disconnected, when the Melco was used.

The result was overwhelming in some way: The music from the PC sounded way better, than from the Melco. This was an completely unexpected result. Trying to make some sense out of it, I looked deeper into the sources. The album on my PC was 24/48, while the same album on the Melco was 16/44.1

My first conclusion was, that I (unwantedly) just proved Ivor right. ;-)
My second conclusion was, that I saved the 3k Euros and stayed with my regular setup. I' m not saying, that the Melco is *not* a better NAS than others. But the effect of a good souce did beat the effect of the allegedly better NAS. In consequence I went back to rather buy vinyls than lower resolution digital files. Anything below 24/88 is considered questionable, and I try to get a vinyl copy.

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Re: Musical NAS Drives

Post by u252agz » 2019-12-24 17:33

That is my concern regarding a new NAS - if it is not as good as my zoneripper , or as good as Tidal streaming - I will feel quite upset.

At anywhere between £1000 and £5000 it is quite a gamble.

Maybe take up Anthony’s suggestion and try Tidal and compare with my back up My Book Live NAS.

I could invest the funds for a high end NAS towards a KDS3 upgrade instead

One advantage - I would hope with Tidal, would be one less IT issues in the house - the zoneripper had to go back for running repairs twice in its life.
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Re: Musical NAS Drives

Post by Spannko » 2019-12-24 18:23

I think Anthony may have opened a can of worms here (hear?).

I’ve been listening to Qobuz 320k this afternoon, with and without the Melco in circuit. I need to do more experiments, complete with videos, but my initial thoughts are that the Melco is having a slight adverse musical affect on the system just by being plugged into the same power outlet as the rest of the system. Playing a 42/16 version of the same track resulted in everything sounding quite a bit cleaner and tighter, with better resolution throughout the frequency range which amounts to quite a seductive improvement.

However, as mentioned, just having the Melco plugged into the same power circuit (and not using it) appears to have a detrimental effect that even going up to 42/16 can’t overcome. Everything appears to be slightly more discordant and poorly timed, resulting in a less enjoyable listen.

When I bought the Melco I compared it against the cheaper model in the range and heard the ‘improvements’ described above. A typical case of B being better than A, but B still not being good enough, I think! TBH, I’m really pissed off that I’ve fallen for the HiFi improvements yet again - I really need to take more time before buying.

On a good note, at least my system is sounding better, even with 320k material.

I need to try putting the Melco on a different power circuit before making any final conclusions though.

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Re: Musical NAS Drives

Post by u252agz » 2019-12-27 12:40

David Neel wrote:
2019-12-24 00:30
Temperamentally, I'm completely unsuited to Tidal. I tried it, and decided not to subscribe, the two main reasons being that I want to "own" my music, making conscious choices rather than butterflying across what is suggested by an algorithm, and the experience that my own CDs ripped to my LSNAS sounded much more musical than via Tidal. Disclaimer: this was several years ago; Tidal may have improved since, and my LSNAS certainly has.
I don't see Tidal vs NAS as being to do with cost, rather how you choose to explore new music, and your experience of the music quality. And whether you are prepared to pay for what you find best...
I have been thinking about this and suspect that I too may prefer ( at the moment) to continue with a NAS drive.

However, I should also use Tidal for a few months to see if I can get used to it and compare and contrast the quality.

I think a Zen Mini III will not break the bank and allow me to try Tidal, whilst being able to flip back into my comfort zone, whenever I choose.

This time, I will probably only rip the CDs I actually listen, to as opposed to all 500 or so which largely just clog up my Kinsky/Kazoo interface and have, to date provided me with a thoroughly underwhelming experience .
Maybe upgrading to a KDS3 will change this?

Spending any more money on a NAS drive , will increase the annual costs significantly ( assuming 5 year shelf life of computer equipment) and from what I have experienced with an expensive Melco some time ago, it is not necessarily guaranteed to give you a musical result.
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Re: Musical NAS Drives

Post by macrotech2 » 2019-12-27 13:23

You don’t need a Zen Mini 3 to try Tidal!

Just set it up in Kazoo and save your money.
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Re: Musical NAS Drives

Post by Spannko » 2019-12-27 15:32

macrotech2 wrote:
2019-12-27 13:23
You don’t need a Zen Mini 3 to try Tidal!

Just set it up in Kazoo and save your money.
+1

It’s very easy and it’s much more convenient to use Kazoo too.

I’m just getting all the parts together to set up a comparison between the Netgear GS108T, the Cisco and the Melco, all used just to “clean up/reassemble” the bits and pieces coming down the Ethernet cable (in my room) from the master switch (GS108) which feeds the rest of the house. All switches will be powered off the same, but separate to the HiFi, power circuit.

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Re: Musical NAS Drives

Post by Defender » 2019-12-27 16:26

very much interested in hearing your comparison
maybe also with files in the Playground ... especially the Cisco - Netgear comparison (as my Cisco was not the 100% right one)

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Re: Musical NAS Drives

Post by u252agz » 2019-12-28 12:34

I am now on the one month Free trial of TIDAL

All I can say is wow - this is a revelation.

The quality is superb - much better than my back up NAS drive- although I can’t compare to my broken zone ripper.

I have a feeling however that it is better; and it’s making me seriously think of the KDS3 upgrade.!



Interface looks good and so far working seamlessly - only issue is my two older sneakys do not appear to have Tidal - the newer Sekrit does.

No real problem As I can use the back up NAS drive for now.

I suspect TIDAL is going to be a keeper and it may not be worth going for a zen mini III for now at least.

Thanks to everyone for their contributions to this thread.
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Re: Musical NAS Drives

Post by Spannko » 2019-12-28 13:15

Since taking the Melco off the hifi’s power circuit I’ve been thoroughly enjoying Qobuz too, and that’s just in 320k. NAS’s are so last year!

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Re: Musical NAS Drives

Post by u252agz » 2019-12-28 16:07

Now I have listened to a few of my favourite CDs on Tidal - it is clear that this is definitely better than my old zoneripper.

I would go as far as to say that this is the biggest digital upgrade I have done since going from KRDS/0 to KDS/1.

Everyone with a Linn streamer and a NAS drive should certainly try the free months trial.

My daughter has since Told me that Tidal are doing £ 5 a month for 5 months before Dec 30 th- may try and get on to this.
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