preventing usb bus overload.

I read that if the music on my external hard drive connects to my PC by usb (which it does) instead of by firewire, then I should not connect my PC to my DAC by usb because it could overload the usb bus and cause some kind of issue. What's my solution here? (a newer PC with optical s/pdif or coax output?)
Can somebody explain in laymen terms? I'm new and "trying to learn cuz I listen". Thanks!
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I would only think that would be an issue if both devices are drawing their power through USB. Even at that, I am not so sure. A good quality motherboard shouldn't have any power issues.
Firewire doesn't engage main computer processor in transfers. It might be irrelevant if you don't do any heavy processing at the same time. There are two different types of USB DACs Synchronous and Asynchronous. Synchronous DAC timing is created (synchronized) by computer's USB bus and traffic on this bus (or computer's activity) can possibly affect timing (jitter). Jitter converts to noise. It is very crude scheme. I suspect that most of new DACs use asynchronous transfer in which DAC is running with its own stable clock synchronizing with computer (to avoid loosing samples) by storing samples in the buffer and telling computer to increase or decrease number of samples per frame. When buffer is too low it sends message to computer "more samples per frame" until buffer is close to be full, then it sends message "less samples per frame".
In this scheme timing of computer is irrelevant, other than overall electrical noise it is creating. Hard disk timing is irrelevant since it contains data (and not the music), meaning - it has no time base.
I have operated two Windows 7 based systems with USB HD's and simultaneous USB feed to asynchronous DAC's with no obvious problems, and no sonic compromises that I am aware of. Of course, YMMV, depending upon a whole lot of variables in computer audio...
You can connect an external hard drive using esata, and use usb for the dac. Also, don't overlook the power supply. Its very important to get a good one.
I am not on Windows,I use a mac mini for music sever.
I have heard the same thing. My external drive that contains the music is Lacie 3Tb USB3.
My mini is only USB2,Firewire800,Thunderbolt.
All other drives except USB are way more expensive,and hard to find.I also have WD My Studio Passport Firewire Hard drive.
I used both, can't tell the difference. Sorry.
I just use my Lacie now, so that means both my dac and hard drive are on USB.
Don't loose sleep over it.Just enjoy your music.
"All other drives except USB are way more expensive,and hard to find.I also have WD My Studio Passport Firewire Hard drive."

You're probably not going to find something in Best Buy. There's plenty of external HD's that have other connection options, but you'll have to get them from places like amazon and newegg. An even better option would be to just buy regular internal hard drives, and put them in external enclosures. (Just to note, all external hard drives are either 2.5 or 3.5 inch internal HD's in an enclosure anyway.) HD enclosures are not expensive. If you live near a Tiger Direct store, you may want to go there as soon as possible. About a week ago they announced that they will be closing all of their stores, and are in the process of liquidating them as we speak. Just be careful and check the prices on anything you buy with other stores first. Some items they lowered the price on, but on other items, they actually raised prices quite a bit. Believe it or not, people seem to be buying the expensive stuff like it was actually on sale.
Thanks for the information,I was actually thinking about buying an OWC external hard drive case,just the other day.
They only cost 77 dollars but then a 4 TB drive is another 170 at least maybe more and I still need to perform the installation. I might just buy an OWC external drive, Firewire800, prebuild, they seem to offer great price comparison to other brands .
I love the Lacie or G-Technology but they never go on sale,damn it.
Have a look at this website. They offer many different solutions.
USB is like a hose - all the water coming out takes from somewhere else. Why not try a NAS drive and connect by ethernet? I have a drobo, 4 terabytes, maybe $450?
Are you suggesting to connect a NAS with Ethernet cable to the macmini. I thought a NAS drive connects wireless, and to be honest I don't like WiFi all that much.
"04-04-15: Yioryos
Are you suggesting to connect a NAS with Ethernet cable to the macmini. I thought a NAS drive connects wireless, and to be honest I don't like WiFi all that much.

You can do it either way. The hard drives need to be connected to the network. It doesn't really matter if its a wireless connection, or not. You're probably thinking of a cloud type setup.
I've heard connecting multiple USB cables is a matter of audio quality/jitter concerns. I know independent labs measured it high. I use a Mac mini as a music server and there was a question of which port to use for audio. Most said the USB port closest to the A/C outlet was preferred as this would eliminate "noise" in an aluminum bodied Mac mini. Personally, I didn't notice noise, regardless of USB port used. Of course, I use a DAC.

But Apple seems to have eliminated audio quality/jitter concerns with the release of the current/uni-body generation of Mac minis.
My experience with NAS over WiFi wasn't very good.
I was using a Sonos with WD MyBook Live 2Tb about two years ago.
The sound was satisfactory but I was getting buffering problems,sound stopping,spinning balls.
Then on someone's advice I bought a powerline device by Dlink. It definitely helped a lot,most problems went away but still on occasion I had music dropouts.
I abandoned that setup in favor of the macmini server.
It works 100 percent with never a hickup since my music files are in an external Lacie 3Tb USB3 drive directly attached to the macmini via USB.
Should I expect an improvement if I connected a NAS drive to the macmini via Ethernet to avoid WiFi or it doest matter.
I ask this because every experiment seems to cost a few hundred dollars, and if don't work I am, left with gadgets all over the house unused.
Correct, George. Hardwire the NAS to your router. You are right about not liking wifi. It really isn't ready for prime time if you don't have some networking experience.
George, if you dont have any problem, stay how you are. I don't use USB except for my mouse and keyboard. I use my NAS drive via ethernet to my router and ethernet from my router to my PC. I have a soundcard and use a 10 metre spdif cable into my sound room next door where I reclock and upsample the sound card to make up for the long cable. I use a squeezebox for tidal streaming. The Lacie is a great drive and I would not change it. I was going wth Lacie but ended up with the Drobo only because it was more practical. Lacie drives are the best you can get (next to drives we don't know about).
A big thanks.As I mentioned earlier,my little setup works like a charm. But as you know,we never leave things alone in this hobby.So this post made me think twice whether I should buy another drive with Firewire800 port and avoid the aforementioned usb bus overload thing.My dac and external Lacie drive are both connected into my macmini with USB.
I already have a NAS, actually two of them. The second I haven't even put to use yet,but if I was to go that route,then I need to run Ethernet cable from router to destination,where my macmini is placed.
The run will probably take 80 feet of cable,going through the wall and ceiling. How long can Ethernet cable be?
Can I buy it raw (what is it the cat6 ) and terminate it once it's fished through.Obviously having plugs at the ends makes it harder to fish.
Other thing I could do is get another Lacie firewire drive for a few hundred dollars and replace my existing Lacie USB3 drive. Having said that,I got honestly like six older drives lying around unused,from previous purchases. It never even ends!
Yioryos, you can easily do 80ft. CAT6 should be good for 100m=328ft. Better drives improve reliability but won't directly affect the sound. I keep 2 backups anyway.
I bought a legato thunderbolt dock from OWC for my Mac mini. On sale for $139. This gives me 3 usb3 powered connections but more
Importantly no I
I bought a legato thunderbolt dock from OWC for my Mac mini. On sale for
$139. This gives me 3 full speed usb3 powered connections but more
Importantly no I only have my dac on the minis USB. I also have a
firewire800 2tb mini stack from OWC for backup. Fantastic products.

The first post sent before I finished somehow and then wouldn't let me edit
it ?!?
My pleasure Yioryos,
CAT 5 is limited to 328 feet (100 meters) w/o signal loss. far as I remember. I went for a drobo (NAS) with a one meter ethernet to my router. I have 5 bays and 3 one tera byte drives (2 empty), fully upgradeable. Th 80 feet should be fine. Wifi is the problem. If you stay hard wired, you should do better. Enjoy,