SQ of NAS vs HD connecting to Bartok via USB

Looking for experience whether there is a sound quality difference between playing files from NAS vs from a USB HD directly connected to Bartok. Is one better than the other?


Hello cekm!
I have no experience regarding sound quality with various inputs into Bartok - however, I have now lived two months with dCS Network Bridge (NB) in my system and experimented with input through USB and ethernet cables and with the NAS placed far and near the switch connected to NB.
First I thought that TIDAL through ethernet cable was best. Music from my NAS in the office on next floor (10-15 m away) just wasn’t near the same SQ as TIDAL. Then I connected a WD MyBook via USB to the NB and experienced at least the same quality as when streaming TIDAL. In both instances I used the Mosaic app. Not so practical when trying to browse through hundred of artitsts or albums on the USB connected HDD.
Then came a major shift in my practice. The Mosaic and the NB was updated, I moved the NAS to a cupboard in my listening room and connected it to the same switch as the NB. Suddenly I heard the same or better SQ from the library on my NAS. What a relief! I also learned how to program the Minim Server on my Synology NAS so that Albums, Artists and other variables would be sorted and appear in alphabetic order in the Mosaic app.
Now I have very good SQ from NAS and from TIDAL (and also internet radio of course) and I use the USB connection only for what I read I was intended for - playing music from USB sticks brought by guests.
Best of luck with your system, cekm!
PS. Ethernet cables and switch also matter - but that is another discussion.

Zyberguran, thank you so much for sharing.


I have had a similar experience with the Network Bridge, it definitely benefits from a clean ethernet connection - and by that I mean avoiding noise being introduced from the network swich it’s connected to, or inducted noise picked up on the cable route through the house to the NWB. For the good part of a year I experienced the situation where airplay and tidal were far better than NAS streaming, even of higher-rate tracks from my Synology NAS.
Now I’m in a situation where NAS playback through the NWB is better than the superb CD transport set-up it was to hopefully replace - transients are delicately picked out, sound is wrap around, and production values are all up-front to be appreciated (should one wish to!).
What did I do?

  1. Removed a Power over Ethernet (PoE) network switch and its 54V PSU from being my primary home switch
  2. Used a old 9V linear power supply (Mascot) on the new simple unmanaged 8-port network switch that replaced the PoE switch.
  3. As Goran posted, I also moved my synology NAS out of a network cabinet on the same power ring as the hifi set-up, and put it upstairs - bear in mind a single HDD can draw 1 Amp from the power supply as the motor is moving the read head around. Can create a lot of SMPS noise.
  4. I couldn’t change the routing of the ethernet cabing under the floorboards, this was probably the source of most noise as it ran in parallel to gas pipes, water pipes, and ran over power cables etc… so all sorts of eletrical noise going on down there. But I did buy a modest 2m ethernet cable (Melco) from the wall socket to the NWB, to help avoid picking up noise around the back of my hifi where there are also seemingly far too many cables.
  5. I then put another small network switch where the hifi resides (i.e. after the floorboards), this was an old Netgear 8-port switch running at 100Mbps with it original (linear) power supply. THIS HAD THE GREATEST EFFECT.
  6. Just to top it off I now have a ethernet isolator in place of the old netgear switch. This was a case of diminishing returns.

I just wanted to share that journey as I’d been pulling my hair out and having better-days and bad-days with SQ. Now everyday’s a good-day :smile: I hope you find a set-up that works well.

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My experience tell me that the HDD connected through USB is the worst in terms of SQ. The reason is that when connecting to the HDD, the power supply and music data is going through the usb cabel at the same time and will disturb each other.

Sorry, incorrect post. isn’t there a delete option?