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RE: Sound Quality: USB HDD vs. Ethernet NAS/HDD

I've read about some of the same issues re: how different NAS and different HDD's sound different. And this was only the beginning. It was enough to give me a headache. As far as "noise" is concerned, I was also interested in knowing if USB HDD's can add signal noise into the player. So far I am not a fan of USB/DAC connections and don't want to use them if there's a chance a USB connected HDD can inject unwanted signal noise. In re: to HDD noise itself, I plan on using 2.5" HDD's since they seem to generate far less external noise.
Because of my great experiences using a Alesis 9600, I am convinced that a one box player/server might have inherent qualities making it a better route to go. But one box units are few, Sony, Naim, Cocktail Audio.
While I haven't ruled out a separate NAS, I will probably go the route of a Melco N1A (used) vs. Synology or QNAP. A bit more $ but the Melco would allow me to go with an Ethernet connection and bypass a USB connection.

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