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rPi + Volumio: hard drive versus thumb drive?
rPi + Volumio: hard drive versus thumb drive?
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Old 21st February 2019, 02:45 PM   #1
bugbear is offline bugbear  United Kingdom
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Default rPi + Volumio: hard drive versus thumb drive?

Is there a FAQ or prior discussion on the pros/cons of these two (obvious?) ways to store/play your music?

Pointers gratefully followed.

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Old 23rd February 2019, 10:49 AM   #2
Indiglo is offline Indiglo  Australia
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I use a couple of usb flash drives for the convenience and because they're cheap.
If you use an external hard drive find one that has its own power supply separate from the RPi. Not much else to it really.
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Old 24th February 2019, 02:39 PM   #3
diyiggy is offline diyiggy
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To make it short, USB thumbs is a good idea while not being the first improvement on the Rpi roadmap for a better sound. It stays a whole thing.

Having a flawed layout design Rpi needs to have the less current consumption level for audio applications. Thumb drives is a way but the USB from the Rpi stays flawed by design (noisy). In the real world not all the hifis are good enough to hear it and proof stays in the pudding. It's cheap to test the both ways and a possible other answer is you souldn't mess up too much with such choices (that also what I understand from Indiglo's answer...convenience first!).

Had we better connect any USB powered thumb or 2.5 HDD/flash to the Internet provider box through its USB input and stream through DLNA to the Rpi to let it electrically quiet?

Of course it needs extra hassle to let it clean by connecting a 5V powered Wirelless network mini receiver through a very short 5" rj45 cable. soundcheck's - audio@vise: networking - my audio data highway

But I'm not aware if the main Pi audio distros are DLNA compatible able to reach the todays Net provider boxes USB port.

The Allo Pi clone has a less noisy design with its USB inputs as GPIO outputs either. You might notice less audible difference between USB thumbs or 2.5 USB hdd/flash drives. Or simply uses both boards: Allo Pi for the Dac hat and the former Rpi for NAS application.

If staying with the Rpi it's a good idea to power a clean 5V trough the Gpio header instead the mini power usb. An isolator/Fifo/clock (aka: Allo Kali or Iancanada FiFoPi) is a further improvment.

So to make it short, USB thumbs is a good idea while not being the first improvement on the Rpi roadmap for a better sound. It stays a whole thing.

Why according to you SDcards streamers have a better sound ? Answer is low current cunsumption, short ground loops as short data link to the dac board.

FiFos stuff with an isolator and further reclocking helps to do that with Rpi. BUT despite the theory, the noise in the bandpass of the digital signal stays a mess which can be heard. Priority is to do all you can to reduce the Rpi current consumption and provide to it a clean 5V (yes despite all the Fifo, isolator hats, etc) then isolate it from the dac hat by an isolator. The hats must have their own power supply then. Putt the whole in a copper case to reduce IME from the outside. Notice some makes their best to switch off all the unecessary things with their ausio distros in order to reduce to the best the current consumption of the Rpi (again all not have the good enough hifi to hear it).

Hope that helps.
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Old 25th February 2019, 04:08 AM   #4
Indiglo is offline Indiglo  Australia
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Not sure you would classify the RPi as having a flawed design as the board layout would be consistent with principles for high speed digital microprocessor circuits. Being used for predominately as a education platform audio playback would be a secondary purpose.

The storage medium whether usb flash or usb hard drive doesn't determine the audio quality, audio is stored as 1's and 0's. The same with SDcard streamers.

Why complicate things by streaming via DLNA, its just easier to plug storage directly into the RPi. Audio quality will be the same.

Re-clockers and isolators are not required, whilst they may provide measurable improvements you probably wont hear the difference playing music.

Current consumption has nothing to do with audio quality, disabling operating system services doesn't reduce current consumption if they are not being used in the first place, playing audio doesn't stress the CPU.

How will the Wifi work if the RPi is inside a solid copper case ?

I use a RPi with a hifiberry dac+ and find the audio quality excellent and its mounted in a plastic case.
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Old 25th February 2019, 10:45 AM   #5
diyiggy is offline diyiggy
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Default It's not about corupted datas i.e 0s and 1s


I just said it is flawed for AUDIOPHILE applications and it's a well known fact.

The USB ports power supply scheme shared with some other ICs when used gives more noise and even worse with the embeded wifi. The I2S outputt has jitter and is noisy too. That's why a FiFo is usefull. Allo itself is providing two FiFo/isolator/reclocking solutions...

But again I didn't say every hifi systems are good enough to hear such differences or the wifi has to be inside a copper case either (one should not use the embeded wifi for the same reason than the USB ports).

In fact your are true it's a good enough devices for most people... but maybe not for most of the audio people here hence my post.

All being relative as here people are hard to please. I agree your conf should be good enough and in fact the op should use the usefull solution for him in the same spirit you said to him. And if wanting to improve then it's not the first thing to worry about with a Rpi hence my post.

Copper case insulation is indeed maybe too much for such a device despite Allo also provides an alum case for both cooling and shielding (Its USB streaming solution).

People likes to improve their audio systems and it's always usefull to beginn with the most hearable changes. Maybe the op already made it, I really don't know. If not many people have said the cheap Kali provides to them a significant enough improvement. Certainly more usefull than the difference between a big capacity USB thumb or a cheap USB 2.5 hard drive.

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Old 27th February 2019, 11:21 AM   #6
CallMeMike is offline CallMeMike  United Kingdom
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The discussion is going away (isolators, GPO pins, etc) from what the OP has simply asked: " Is there a FAQ or prior discussion on the pros/cons of these two (obvious?) ways to store/play your music? " The main advantage of using an USB HDD/SSD against the use of a USB flash memory is that you can get for the same amount of money spent a much larger amount of storage space. Please note that in case you are tempted to feed the required 5VCC for the RPi via the GPO pins (as per a previous advice) you should be aware that in this way the RPi is not protected anymore against over-voltage and the in-built fuse is bypassed as well.

Last edited by CallMeMike; 27th February 2019 at 11:24 AM.
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Old 27th February 2019, 12:23 PM   #7
diyiggy is offline diyiggy
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Hi callmemike,

I do believe it stayed on topic as Big Bird asked both store & play. I assume we are on an audio forum and the op is able by himself to check the price of the different storages and his question was according to me not related to your first point which is going more away (your freedom )

My bad if I gave too much or false informations wether the spirit of the question was maybe not about sound quality of the playback.

We can read here and there many threads about USB Thumb and what it is perceived as better SQ results when used as storage source(but is it that important ? I just pointed out towards what I readed). Notice some people like ECDESIGNS developped a device especially for USB thumb as he noticed and measured better results than HDD/SSD storage source. Always from a SQ point of view I pointed out that the Rpi USBs were not the best way to store. Indiglo disagree and I myself say surely all the hifi systems being not able to let hear such difference. If it's about storage only SDD & Flash technology today is more consitant in time than mechanical HDD which can corrupt some datas with destroyed sectors when agging(5 years seems to me a safe time for a mechanical HDD but it could be wether less or more).

Your second point is a good one. Notice it was only about a SQ perspective I answered and it is advised by experienced members here as Iancanada, Soundcheck, etc. I was assuming a simple Rpi wall wart is good enough and not producing an overvoltage which could destroy the Rpi as other linear power supply made with the spec asked to supply a Pi (5V/3A iirc).

Perhaps Big Bird should add some inputs to his former question in order to help him even more ?

Last edited by diyiggy; 27th February 2019 at 12:25 PM.
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