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TOPIC: USB connected Hard drive, Moode and Wifi on SHD?

USB connected Hard drive, Moode and Wifi on SHD? 2 weeks 1 day ago #50655

  • mikeburnsnz
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Hi there everyone. I am still waiting for my SHD to clear customs (and to pay the import duties - sigh) and have a couple of specific questions that I hoped someone could answer.
1. I was doing some reading and noticed someone mentioned that if you plug a usb hard drive into the SHD then that stops the use of the wifi dongle and therefore wifi access for the SHD and I assume internet streaming - spotify over volumio etc. Is this true?

2. I currently use Moode on an RPi4 with a ssd connected via usb and it outputs audio via usb to my dac. It works really well and is wonderfully responsive and I have it configured so it looks really nice. I never bothered with volumio as it had so many mediocre reviews. One aspect of the SHD that interested me was using volumio to do spotifiy as well as play files off my ssd and being able to reduce the box count of my system. I also thought that if I didn't really like volumio I could go back to using my RPi4 with moode and just plugging it's usb cable directly into the shd (as I had done previously with my DAC. Would that work? Or would volumio still be receiving the sound and outputting to the dsp side of things and therefore affect sound quality and number of programmes involved?

3. If I cannot plug the SSD into the USB port of the SHD as it removes wifi connectivity (I do not have a LAN cable that I can connect in that part of my lounge) then what is the best option for streaming the music files from my SSD to the SHD? I have read somewhere about NAS (using a Rpi) and using Logitech Media Server as another option (with a Rpi). I do not have any other PCs other than a laptop and that is not on all the time. I thought maybe I could purchase another RPi4 and set up some kind of server to send the music to the SHD and volumio. That way I could keep the wifi dongle on the SHD, use volumio for spotify and for playing my music files (mainly flac and hires audio). What do people use and is there a simple option?

Thanks very much in advance for any advice you can give me. I am relatively new to streaming (other than with a chromecast audio). The Rpi4 was a big step up for me (previously only vinyl and spotify) so I need to do some reading and learning it seems.
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USB connected Hard drive, Moode and Wifi on SHD? 1 week 6 days ago #50677

  • FeathersMcGraw
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Hi Mike,

Congratulations on your purchase of the SHD. I very much like mine and
hope you will too.

I think the single board computer integrated into the SHD series is a NanoPi
NEO2 and is where Volumio resides. It connects to the motherboard of the
SHD via an I2C interface.

There are two USB connections on the back panel of the SHD. The USB type
A port is provided by the NanoPi NEO2 and is thus used and managed by
Volumio. The USB type B port is not part of the NanoPi NEO2 and is instead
somehow integrated with the SHD motherboard and its SHARC processor.

The USB type B port is used both to control the SHD and can also be used
as a digital audio input source, labeled as "USB" by both the front panel display
and the SHD product documentation. The USB type B port also provides
four channels of digital audio out (output channels 1 through 4 of the SHD).

As a partial answer to your first question, I think the principle reason for
having to choose between using the WiFi dongle or a USB mass storage
device is due to the NanoPi NEO2 having only the one USB port, the
type A port. I don't know if using a USB hub would work reliably to
connect both. I suspect doing so is likely problematic but will defer to
others and the miniDSP support team.

For question 2, yes you certainly can use something like a Raspberry Pi to
send two channel digital music into the SHD via the USB type B port. The
NanoPi NEO2 running Volumio will not get in the way. You simply change
the SHD's source selection to "USB" instead of "LAN". You could conveniently
toggle between the two streamers via the input source selector of the SHD.

The one set of functionality that you might be giving up if you use an outboard
streamer (connected via the USB type B port) is the fact that miniDSP has
worked with the Volumio folks to enable some extra communication between
the NanoPi NEO2 and the SHD over the I2C interface that connects them.

Recent SHD firmware and Volumio version upgrades (as well as the new miniDSP
remote) have enabled an ability to control a few aspects of the SHD from within
Volumio. These include settings such as volume, preset selection, pause/play,
next and previous track, etc.

That's not to say that an outboard streamer connected to the USB type B port
could not have similar controls. It's just that I think adding that functionality
would be a bit of a DIY project. Minutes ago, I cam across a discussion on this
forum where some of those USB control codes were revealed.

On to question 3. You could get one of those WiFi extenders that provides
one or more Ethernet ports. That would leave the USB type A port free to
connect a USB mass storage device containing your music files.

My personal advice is to stick with the use of the WiFi dongle and instead
go forward with your idea of putting your music library full time on your
home network. Doing so will pay dividends throughout your household,
enabling enjoyment of your music everywhere within your home. You could
even put your music library in one of the various brands of cloud storage
and enjoy your music while outside of your home.

Volumio is compatible with UPnP/DLNA, SMB/CIFS and NFS. I think moOde
Audio is compatible with all or most of these same protocols.

Since you asked, here is what I'm doing. I have an Asus RT-AC3200 WiFi
router that I've been using as a WiFi access point. As it turns out, it comes
with a built in ability to share a USB mass storage device via any of UPnP/DLNA,
NFS, SMB and FTP. The UPnP/DLNA server software it uses is the same
miniDLNA implementation that I had been using on my Linux boxes to serve
the same function.

So, it was a very natural thing for me to buy a 1 TB Samsung T3 USB SSD,
load it with my multimedia library, and then serve up its content via the
RT-AC3200. It has been working beautifully and only incured the cost of
purchasing the USB SSD drive. I've been using DLNA as the prefered
protocol and have been very happy with that choice. Because miniDLNA
does not provide the optional DLNA feature of just-in-time transcodiing,
it's impact on the RT-AC3200 is negligible, just servicing HTTP GET requests
for the music files.

If the RT-AC3200 were to prove insufficient, I'd likely go down the road of
something like the ODROID-HC1 and put a large 2.5 inch SSD in it. There's
also its sibling, the HC2 if you prefer the 3.5 inch SATA form factor. One
could always go more upscale, such as Synology, etc.
Last Edit: 1 week 6 days ago by FeathersMcGraw.
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The following user(s) said Thank You: TacTZilla, mikeburnsnz

USB connected Hard drive, Moode and Wifi on SHD? 1 week 6 days ago #50678

  • mikeburnsnz
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Thank you very much. Such a great response that answered all my questions! Will try my router first and if not I might look into a Rpi4 server option. Also the wifi extender is a really good idea! Didn't even think of that.
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USB connected Hard drive, Moode and Wifi on SHD? 1 week 3 days ago #50728

  • mikeburnsnz
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Well just a heads up for anyone coming from a Moode setup to the SHD. Great news. Moode works fine streaming to the SHD via USB connection (just like it would with any other DAC). Due to having a few connection issues with volumio not staying connected on my wifi I will continue to use Moode as my streamer (though assuming there is no reduction in sound quality going through both moode and into volumio/shd).

Eventually I will set up a proper NAS and when Roon gets sorted on the SHD (properly) I will probably go that way. For now I am happy (minus the connection issues). I am familiar with Moode and it is so damn reliable and responsive. Also it looks prettier than volumio on the big screen LOL.
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