External storage connection to network bridge

I am a bit confused about using a 1TB hard drive storage for playback through Bridge. Is it preferable to plug it in USB input on back side of unit or should it be plugged into, in my case, the same AT&T portal for my digital access that the Bridge is plugged into? I am currently using Mosaic but considering trying Roon. Input appreciated.

Joe, I’ve been researching the same thing myself and I believe the answer is that you plug the usb storage device into the bridge, at least with a Vivaldi. I think the Rossini will accept it direct. There might be issues with the filesystem used (NTFS, FAT32 etc., but I could easily be wrong about that).

dCS say very little about connection via usb. From the info I’ve been able to glean from documents on this site the Mosaic display of the contents of the device will be very simple (probably just a list of all tracks), and isn’t searchable.

Please post what you find. I’m intending to do the same experiment when my local dCS dealer re-opens.

Simon.

Joe, in general, with storage capacities as large as 1TB, plugging it directly into the dCS is not the preferred way to go (for power draw reasons, as well as track browsing reasons).

I’m not familiar with what an “AT&T portal” device is (any URL to it?), but if it supports USB storage and UPnP Media Server capabilities, like a Netgear or ASUS WiFI Access Point does, then that should work well enough with dCS Mosaic for local streaming within your home.

Hi,

If you consider using ROON, then you can forget the idea of connecting directly storage capacity to the NB. You should better connect storage capacity to any device running the ROON server or any device running an upnp server (Minim server is the one recommended by dCS).
If you do that you shall enjoy playing music flawlessly on your dCS gear.
I use a Qnap 453dx as Roon and minim server, I use both Mosaic and Roon. It works great and it is 100% silent.

I agree, this is not what the USB input on the Bridge is intended for . It is really there for convenience if a friend brings a flash drive with some tracks on it that he wants to play.

However presumably Joe could get around the power draw issue by not using an external drive that takes power from the USB bus but is self powered e.g. most 3.5" external HDDs? However the Bridge’s USB input is only configured to accept FAT 32 files and HDD drives are normally configured by default as NTFS. So Joe would need to reconfigure the HDD but then he may run into the file size limitation with FAT32 of circa 4GB. That could be a problem with hi-res programme material.

My personal objection to using external HDDs is borne of much practical experience. For reasons that I do not properly understand they just do not sound as good ( even when using USB conditioning devices) as using a NAS and the ethernet input which is basically how the Network Bridge is intended to be used. Hence its name.

Thanks for that! I now have the 1TB storage in house and, as of this morning have the system back up and running. I will definitely plug into the new access point(Motorola, the latest and greatest used by AT&T now). Will reply after testing.

Yes, dCS informed me about formatting. They said FAT16 or FAT32. I sent it to the guy that made it and he reformatted it but I have not tried to play from it yet. Will definitely try plugging into access point. It is WD Elements basic storage and only has USB out option, no external power access point, so that is not an option. Thanks for your knowledgeable input.
Joe

Just a small but important thought from experience has occurred to me about using external USB HDDs.

These drives are made for general computing purposes not the transfer of music data in ( roughly) real time. The micro USB 3 to USB A cables that that come with them are crap. They cost the drive manufacturer pennies each and even an aftermarket non-specialised cable from, say, Amazon costing a handful of dollars/euro/pounds can see them off ( even in respect of the transfer time of text data ).

In the context of the cost of a Bartok, buying a decent short USB cable from the drive to whatever USB input you choose will pay off. I found that Audioquest Carbon USB A to Micro USB 3 is an excellent compromise between performance and cost.

PAR, that makes complete sense regarding the cables. Now, I have connected the HDD to the USB port on the AT&T supplied gateway and so no real way to access the contents from Mosaic. Selecting the USB input in Mosaic I get the message, “nothing found”. I am lost. ???

What is the output from the AT&T gateway connected to? How is the Bridge connected?

A problem is that I have no idea what the AT&T gateway is :thinking: From info on the internet it looks like what in other contexts would be called a router. Is that right?

Yes, I think so. I get confused with the terminology for devices in the digital chain. It is connected to the Bridge the TV receiver/recorder the Oppo BluRay player the wifi transmitter all with wired ethernet.

OK it therefore sounds like some kind of networking problem of a kind that I have no experience of. At face value it ought to work. You are not using the USB input on the Bridge and the router ( AT&T gateway) should be using its USB input to share via the network connection. Maybe someone with better knowledge than mine can pick up on this.

Ah, I have just realised that you say the output from the AT&T device is ethernet not USB although you have selected USB on the Bridge :

So it looks like you need to select the ethernet port ( USB into the router, ethernet out).

Depending on the features of your specific Gateway device, the files on an attached USB HDD are usually made available to the rest of the network in two possible ways;

  1. As a network shared drive (usually via SMB protocol)
    or
  2. With a built-in UPnP Media Server for file access

What’s the model of your AT&T Gateway? Hard to tell what it supports without knowing the exact model.

As Anup ( who knows a lot more about such things than I do), says there is a need for the data fed to the Bridge via the RJ45 ethernet input to be in a format that it comprehends.

dCS’ specification for this input is " Network interface on an RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet connector – Acts as a UPnP™ renderer operating in asynchronous mode, streaming digital music from a NAS or local computer over a standard Ethernet network, decoding all major formats. "

So as it is a UPnP renderer it needs to see data from a UPnP server e.g. a NAS running ( in this particular case) MinimServer.

The Bridge’s class 2 USB port is specified as " USB 2.0 high speed interface on type A connector operating in asynchronous mode, streams digital music from external drive. " Which is where your drive needs to be connected, not via the network. However we also know from the user manual that the drive is to be a flash drive in FAT 32 format and is to be a drive that has a low power draw ( as flash drives are powered from the USB bus).

So you could try your HDD into the USB port to see if the reformatting of it to FAT 32 is accepted. However I would only do this with a self powered HDD ( usually 3.5", all of the 2.5" portable drives I am aware of are USB bus powered). It might work if recognised but the user experience ( navigation etc) will not be of the standard that you would normally get using the Bridge + Mosaic.

If it were me I would cut my losses and use the Bridge as intended i.e . with that UPnP source. If you keep it simple then all you need is a small NAS with a 2 bay enclosure ( e.g. Synology DS220J) and a couple of 1TB discs ( if 1TB is the capacity you need). Plus a download of MinimServer. Then copy from your HDD to the NAS and scan that stored data into the UPnP server software. If that sounds a bit daunting in practice it should not be as a NAS like the one I mention has been designed for home users not professional network managers and is already configured for RAID 1. The latter ensues continuity of data if one drive fails ( hence 2 discs). You then keep your existing HDD as the essential backup, though I would recommend keeping more than a single backup.

I remember doing some experiment with that connection a couple of years ago. I do not remember why but I remember that it was a bad idea to make the router (a good one, from the internet service provider) take on yet another chore. The sound quality was worse than in the other alternatives. And that makes sense – often the router is not just a router but also a Wi-Fi access point, an ethernet switch, and so on. I changed my source for music to a 1 TB WD Mybook which I connected via USB to dCS Network Bridge. The WD Mybook had external power. Much better SQ, but very impractical when trying to find the music I had squeezed into the already too small place. No way to sort or organize files. And if I wanted to put more music on the hard drive, I had to disconnect it from the NB and connect it to a computer. So, the best solution appeared when I did what I have described before – I connected my NAS (Synology 216+II with 2x4 TB) via an 6a UTP ethernet cable to the same switch as the Network Bridge. And now I am incredibly happy with that solution. Minimserver 2 on the Synology takes care of organising the files and the Mosaic app presents them to me on my handheld device and lets me control the choosing and playing of files and lists, from NAS and from internet (Tidal, radio, etc.). Sound quality? Best ever!

Okay, gentlemen. All of this makes my head spin. I have only a vague idea about what you are saying. I will try and educate myself a bit and come back to this later. Thanks for all of the input from all of you!

My AT&T supplied gateway(their terminology) is a Motorola BGW-210-700

Joe, when I came to this stage of things I was a total newbie and I found this very helpful:

https://www.whathifi.com/how-to/how-to-build-nas-to-store-your-music

It is now 8 years old but nothing has changed much, just that the models of equipment that the author gives as examples have been updated by newer versions ( as would be expected over time). It remains a good primer guide.

So all you basically do is configure your NAS, install Minim Server,load your music library on to it , scan it into the server, connect the NAS and the Bridge to your AT&T gateway ( i.e router) and , hopefully, away you go.

If, for example, you choose a Synology NAS:

https://minimserver.com/install-synology.html

Well, thanks for that! Makes it all seem simple enough. At least, it did not take long to read it. I will devote some time to and see if I can understand it enough to jump in and try it. (IF it is not too costly. I spent all my mad money and some I borrowed from my wife purchasing the Bridge.)

Joe, unfortunately, a quick scan on AT&T’s support forum seems to suggest that for all intents and purposes, those USB ports on the Arris BGW210-700 are functionally disabled - they will power USB device you plug in, but that’s about it. You won’t be able to access the HDD you plugged into it.

You’re better off taking Pete’s advise and installing a separate NAS with a UPnP Server into your home network. :+1:t3: :slight_smile:

ps: I just happened to see your post on the Roon Community forum about this same issue. If you’re intending to use a Windows computer, you could plug your 1TB HDD onto it and enable DLNA on Windows and then stream your music via dCS Mosaic (without you having to buy/install Roon if you don’t want to - although Roon would be a better longer term option).