Music Server or USB Flash Drive

Hi All,

First off thanks for this amazing audio community. This is my first public posting on the forums but I have been reading so much of what has been said on here and I have learned a ton in the last 6 months. I love DIY audio. I also have an affinity for Pioneer products new and old. I have two stereo systems set-ups in my house. One dedicated for vinyl and one for HT/Stereo in digital.

I have a question about playing Hi-Rez Audio. I have an ability in my current set up to use a USB flash drive loaded with AIFF, WAV, FLAC and Apple Lossless files and my receivers built in ESS-DAC SABRE32 32-bit audio DAC will play any of those file types from the flash drive. My question is would it be worth while (SQ wise) to buy or build a dedicated music server and hook it up via USB or can I comfortably sleep at night knowing that I’m getting everything (SQ wise) from the files loaded on the USB flash drive.

Going into a dedicated music server would be costly for my means (server, audiophile quality USB cables, proper power cords, USB noise filters, etc…) but I’m like many here and my money goes towards music and gear. For me and the way I’m thinking about it I feel like this simple 128GB flash drive is doing everything a server is doing, (less the ease in interface) for a fraction of the cost.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Welcome to the forums. Much depends on the receiver you mention. If you’re going to stick with the receiver for your DAC, then going in through the USB as a flash drive is probably better sounding that making a music server and feeding USB from that server.

In order for the receiver to read the files on the USB stick you need a basic Linux computer built into the receiver - which apparently it has. That’s likely going to be your best sounding option.

What receiver is it?

Hi Paul.

Thanks for the quick reply. I also appreciate your answer to me in “Turning a Mac Into a Music Server”. The receiver I have for digital/HT is the Pioneer Elite SC-87. With your advice I’ll sleep a little better tonight knowing I’m fine. I’m happy the receiver plays off the Flash Drive.

Now I guess I need to create a fun signature on my account which shows all my toys. :slight_smile: The receiver is driving a set of Pioneer Elite TZ-F700’s. Audioquest Indigo+ Speaker Cables, Pioneer EliterBDP-94HD Blu-Ray/SACD player. Both powered by Virtual Dynamics (Rick Schultz) design DIY power cables. Plugged into separate dedicated power lines going to the circuit breaker. Ill stop there for now, and make a real signature later.


Nice. I am sure this is a fine system. Have fun!