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Matrix Audio Element X - the quality of sound when playing from USB HDD as source

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#1
Has anyone compared if playing FLAC files from a portable HDD produces exactly the same quality of sound as playing those same files from say small USB stick or NAS? There must be the difference, but audible?

thanks.
 

PaulD

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#2
Why would they be different? It is digital data... The beauty of it is that the medium does not matter. My document looks the same regardless of the media it is stored on. My sound files sound the same regardless if they are on an external spinner, or any other medium. Do not believe audiophile BS about files sounding different when stored on different media. (yes I have compared them, properly controlled, they sound the same.)
 
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Thread Starter #3
Why would they be different? It is digital data... The beauty of it is that the medium does not matter. My document looks the same regardless of the media it is stored on. My sound files sound the same regardless if they are on an external spinner, or any other medium. Do not believe audiophile BS about files sounding different when stored on different media. (yes I have compared them, properly controlled, they sound the same.)
I would think the same, but I been reading on different forums that there are differences, and very audible at times. As here, for example (Naim NDX2),
https://community.naimaudio.com/t/sound-quality-usb-vs-ethernet/8429
See the post by the op, as summary done on May 25th.

Hans Beekhuyzen also states there are noticeable differences when playing the same files from various sources,

So I wonder if anyone has actually done and can share the measurements, and how those compare sonically and in numbers.

Just trying to decide what the best way to go about it; is it fine to play from SSD or if I should buy a small NAS, or even better something else.
 

BDWoody

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#4
Has anyone compared if playing FLAC files from a portable HDD produces exactly the same quality of sound as playing those same files from say small USB stick or NAS? There must be the difference, but audible?

thanks.
No difference...

Read more here, watch less Hans.
 

PaulD

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#6
So I wonder if anyone has actually done and can share the measurements, and how those compare sonically and in numbers.

Just trying to decide what the best way to go about it; is it fine to play from SSD or if I should buy a small NAS, or even better something else.
BDWoody is right.
I did the test at least 15 years ago, so no I don't have the data, and that is how long this bullshit has been circulating. Please do not bring it here. Apart from the listening tests, I also did a null test with an AIFF file on one media and a FLAC file on other media, decompressed the FLAC into a memory buffer, opened the AIFF into a memory buffer and inverted it, summed them - complete silence and a file full of zeros. So no difference.

I would suggest that if you want to continue this, do a test, find evidence. A null result in a properly controlled test is good evidence. Hearsay from youtube videos is just nonsense, it is not evidence. I have no idea why people bother with it. Do as BDWoody said.
 

somy

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#7
with my element m I do notice the sound from usb input (connect to computer with Audirvana player) a little cleaner than network source. I didn’t brother to test more as the difference is not day and night.
 
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Thread Starter #8
BDWoody is right.
I did the test at least 15 years ago, so no I don't have the data, and that is how long this bullshit has been circulating. Please do not bring it here. Apart from the listening tests, I also did a null test with an AIFF file on one media and a FLAC file on other media, decompressed the FLAC into a memory buffer, opened the AIFF into a memory buffer and inverted it, summed them - complete silence and a file full of zeros. So no difference.

I would suggest that if you want to continue this, do a test, find evidence. A null result in a properly controlled test is good evidence. Hearsay from youtube videos is just nonsense, it is not evidence. I have no idea why people bother with it. Do as BDWoody said.
I would like to believe this is true, sincerely. Does the quality of the cable the hdd is connected via make difference?
 

VintageFlanker

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#9
Does the quality of the cable the hdd is connected via make difference?
Hans says it does, so it must be true.:)
I would like to believe this is true, sincerely
Joke aside: This forum is not about "believe in", or "opinions". It's just about facts, not fiction.;)
 

BDWoody

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#10
I would like to believe this is true, sincerely. Does the quality of the cable the hdd is connected via make difference?
If you base your understanding of the world in known physics, you can feel perfectly comfortable believing it.
Many in the audio world do not, so they will always feel uncomfortable when almost anyone anywhere suggests a difference from anything, no matter how implausible.

The quality of the cable can make a difference, but it is not an esoteric threshold... Simple competence is all that is needed, and that does not have to be more expensive than Amazon basics.

The industry counts on ignorance. Education is the cure.
 
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Thread Starter #11
Hans says it does, so it must be true.:)

Joke aside: This forum is not about "believe in", or "opinions". It's just about facts, not fiction.;)
Well, he has tested quite a bunch of equipment, whereas I have tested none.
As to believing, I do not think I could pass the blind test on the source comparison, and so I asked what other opinions are out there.
 
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Thread Starter #12
If you base your understanding of the world in known physics, you can feel perfectly comfortable believing it.
Many in the audio world do not, so they will always feel uncomfortable when almost anyone anywhere suggests a difference from anything, no matter how implausible.

The quality of the cable can make a difference, but it is not an esoteric threshold... Simple competence is all that is needed, and that does not have to be more expensive than Amazon basics.

The industry counts on ignorance. Education is the cure.
And what exactly does the world of known physics tell you, that adding components on the same power supply is perfectly ok when it comes to the quality of the sound? - I do not believe it does. However, the unit may be so well designed that it isolates and filters every speck of noise that it is impossible to tell if it was even there. Does it? - is all I am asking.
 

BDWoody

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#13
And what exactly does the world of known physics tell you, that adding components on the same power supply is perfectly ok when it comes to the quality of the sound? - I do not believe it does. However, the unit may be so well designed that it isolates and filters every speck of noise that it is impossible to tell if it was even there. Does it? - is all I am asking.
Are you talking about grounding issues? I'm sorry, I'm not sure exactly what you are saying. If you have an adequate power supply, how would adding components impact sound?
 
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#14
This is getting aggravating. Believe believe.
The USB cable just has to built according to standard and not be [damaged] as in compromised joints (as in wire to terminal/connector.) I think sometimes people hear a difference because they had a bad/semi-faulty cable. Thing is, many cheap USB cables are fashion items, pink and blue and so on, manufactured with minimal QA.
 
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Thread Starter #15
This is getting aggravating. Believe believe.
The USB cable just has to built according to standard and not be [damaged] as in compromised joints (as in wire to terminal/connector.) I think sometimes people hear a difference because they had a bad/semi-faulty cable. Thing is, many cheap USB cables are fashion items, pink and blue and so on, manufactured with minimal QA.
I actually do not bother about the cable, as BDWoody said Amazon basics is good enough, but I was wondering 1) if putting more drainage on the power supply affect the overall performance of the unit and 2) if there is noise (or any other irregularities) introduced from the hdd itself, that could affect the output. Perceivable is relative, but if anyone has made any measurement, that would be interesting to know.
 

tw99

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#16
I actually do not bother about the cable, as BDWoody said Amazon basics is good enough, but I was wondering 1) if putting more drainage on the power supply affect the overall performance of the unit and 2) if there is noise (or any other irregularities) introduced from the hdd itself, that could affect the output. Perceivable is relative, but if anyone has made any measurement, that would be interesting to know.
I'd suggest you stop worrying about imaginary problems...
 
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