External HD Changing the quality of the sound?

Hi everyone! It's my first thread i start in this community and i'm willing to go far in the journey of Hi-Fi audio :)
So i was wondering, is it real that if you put your audio file in an external hd it lower the quality on the outline?
I still don't have dac to test it so i wanted to be sure before putting my library in it, since my external hd is a 2tb and the one i have in my imac is a 500gb and is full...
Also, is it true that the type of connection used for my hd is changing the quality (usb 2.0, usb 3.0, firewire800)?
I know how it could affect it, i just want to know if it is all true?
a. Use a SSD for the main OS
b. OK to use an external drive for music
c. use a music player software that does memory cache-ing
I use a Westen Digital 2TB usb3 hard drive connected to my laptop with a dedicated usb3 connection. I use J Rivers Media Player 17, all files are ripped into flac and the sound is unbelievable. There is no loss of quality with an external hard drive. Make sure you set the software to use the memory cache.
Oh, if you are using a USB connection on your DAC, use a FW or Thunderbolt drive. If you are using a FW-SPDIF connection, use a USB DAC.
i have the G-Drive 2tb with firewire800 :)
I use itunes to manage my library (yes i know the bads about it, but i have too many music and the way it's displayed for me is easy to manage how to play my music)
So how can i set it to the memory cache? O_o
and it's better to use a different type of connection for my audio source than a dac or so it will take the power from it, isn't it right?
I too use iTunes. But the Mac version is better integrated with the OS from what I understand than the PC version and it is a great way to organize album meta data and playlist. I just organize them once and it works for my music servers and iOS/iPod devices as well.

To use memory play, try BitPerfect from the AppStore. It's a very simple, very easy to use plug in to iTunes. It bypasses iTunes' playback engine and sounds very good.

It's IMHO a close second to Audirvana Plus (which is still affordable) and A+ provides the option to play DSD files as well, if supported by the DAC (it will convert DSD to PCM otherwise). If you only have primarily RBCD or HR PCM, BitPerfect will work just as well.

PureMusic and Amarra IMHO are much pricier and not worth the added moolah.
so BitPerfect auto-select the memory cash?
cache* sorry
Yeap. BitPerfect (click on the little logo on the top right of the menu bar. Select Preferences. You can adjust the size of the cache obviously limited by the RAM installed but RAM is cheap these days. Our old 2011 iMac already had 4x4GB RAM
Doggiehowser - I am just doing some pre-lim exploration of computer audio...and, in another thread, noted your enthusiasm for a set up that sounds somewhat like mine. Hope you can provide additional insight and guidance here about use of Bitperfect.

If I purchase Bitperfect do I need to install it on my external hard drive where my iTunes music library (and iTunes) resides or will it work properly with iTunes (which is operating from the external hard drive) if BitPerfect is simply downloaded to the MacBook Air hard drive? Hope that is not too ignorant a question.

System is: iTunes & Apple Lossless Files on SeaGate 1TB ext. H/D>>MB Air>> USB out>>M/F V-Link>>M/F DAC>>Pre-amp.

Thanks in advance for your help.
BitPerfect is an app that works alongside iTunes. You use iTunes to manage your library (set which HDD to keep the library in etc, add new songs, add metadata info if needed, create playlists etc).

BitPerfect just takes over the playback engine from iTunes. You install it from the App Store like with most new apps. It will be in the Applications folder.
Thanks DH - I did understand the purpose of BitPerfect, I just wasn't sure about where I had to install it - but it asks about the location of your music library so maybe that was moot. I bought it and think I've got it going now. I have a little BitPerfect icon upper right on the toolbar and it's green. I used it to launch iTunes and am playing the only music files I've got which are on the external drive. Do I need to do anything more to "enable" it? or otherwise optimize what it is doing? Also, am I correct thinking I can A/B with and without BP by clicking "disable BitPerfect"? Thanks for the quick reply.
Adding an external HDD or RAID does one thing for sure: it adds yet another ground-loop to the system. This alone can cause SQ degradation if you are not careful. The power cords should be heavy and use the same outlet as the computer. Adding in power conditioners can help or hurt here depending in their design.

I have a Firewire RAID attached to my Mac Mini and it has no audible effect. Cheap firewire cable.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Thanks for the heads up, Steve. For better or worse, the Seagate external HD is USB powered. I am fumbling my way through these early stages and it's an accomplishment that I can actually copy a cd and play it back from the HD. Haven't yet done any critical listening comparing CDP to computer with or without BitPerfect running. Hope to give that a try this evening.
Ah, Ghosthouse. I get what you mean. BitPerfect just needs to know where iTunes keeps the music files the first time it loads up. The main options are just listed in the drop down menu.

If your DAC displays the sample rate, there is one way to check if it is running, Play some music files in 44.1 and in 96kHz. Without BP enabled, iTunes would resample everything to whatever you set in AudioMIDI setup for the audio device.

So if it is set to 96kHz, even yr 44.1kHz music would be resampled. With BitPerfect set to native mode, it would switch between different sample rates depending on which file you are playing.
If you intend to play hirez files, a higher connection speed is important for hardware protocols. In that case use the fastest hardware connection available (esata, firewire, etc). If you are using a network connection, speed is again important, hardwire Ethernet is faster than wireless.
Thanks DH - The V-DAC is pretty barebones...no display of sample rate, no display at all. I can try some other things messing with sample rate in MIDI to see what BitPerfect does, as you suggest. Davide - (if that was for me) no hires files yet.
When you figure it all out tell me something...what's the sound quality vs the source? I prefer the source as that .wav or .flac will never sound as good unless you get guru with adobe audition :) Piping anything from the pc to your sound system will always suck especially from an external HDD unless you use it as a very low volume for background. Rule of thumb is drag and drop from external to the pc, this is most important for editing or playback.

Even with a thumb drive it will never sound as good as the original source. I convert everything to .flac but use those files as I need. Outside system where it doesn't matter I use wav off of a thumb drive, portable devices .mp3 @ 320, but inside it's definitely source cd/lp :)

Hope you get a lil insight from that post.
Spent time the last 2 evenings A/B 'ing CDP vs Apple Lossless version with BitPerfect through DAC. Listened mainly to Peter Gabriel's "So" that I am very familiar with...especially tracks 3, 6 & 9. Have to say I found it VERY hard to tell a difference. Any differences were subtle if not imagined but with CDP sounding a little more "there" (I did try to make sure SPLs were the same). I'll continue to experiment but at this point computer audio makes sense mainly for convenience. Can fit a lot of CDs on a portable 1TB hard drive. Also good for downloading music files that aren't available in physical format. To me, doesn't seem worth the hassle of "ripping" CDs to hard drive for a superior music listening experience. That's not to say others aren't enjoying something improved by doing so. Just that to me, given what I'm willing to invest $ & time-wise to realize an improvement in computer audio - not worth it right now.
I find that my EMM Labs XDS1 and Playback Designs still sound better with a spinning disc but the software keeps sounding better so I suspect it might overtake it eventually.
Wow - that is some primo, gear you have, DH.