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Stream Magic 6 with USB Hard drive?

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HDNumpty's picture
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Joined: 18 Jan 2008
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Hi all

I'm considering going to or adding a streamer/NAS (CA Stream Magic 6 or Naim) to compliment or add to my existing set up, can anyone answer this question for me?

I have a Verbatim 500GB external hard drive - can I use this over USB as a music server with something like the Stream Magic 6?  I have no idea whether it's uPnP (though my laptop recognises it immediately when I plug it in) or would I need to buy a purpose-built NAS?  Would it work but just cause me a massive tech-headache? doh!

At the moment all my PC/iPod music is in iTunes (99% in Apple Lossless) but I would be willing to transcode it or re-rip it all to FLAC or WAV if this will help?

Thanks in anticipation

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Music: Stream Magic 6, Apple Airport Express, CA 840a, B&W CM1

Movies: Pana 37" plasma, Denon DBP-1161ud, Humax YouView HDR, Sony DA-2400ES, MS surrounds, REL Sub

Mobile: iPhone 5 64GB, Audio Technica ES7, Sony XBA3, Monster iBeats

SomersetGuy's picture
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RE: Stream Magic 6 with USB Hard drive?

Hi HDNumpty

 

I asked myself the exact same question (before deciding on whether to buy the Stream Magic 6), and the helpful guys at Richer Sounds allowed me to plug in one of my portable HDDs directly into the USB port of the SM6 to see if the FLAC files on the drive would play OK. They did, and so I bought an SM6. I have used a 500GB Seagate Freeagent Go, as well as USB memory sticks (e.g. iBoutique 128GB), and they both work fine. You might be advised by Richer Sounds or Cambridge Audio to use a NAS, since this allows better functionality with some features, but I have found that using the streamer with a portable HDD works just fine, and I didn't want to have to have a NAS or other computer running all the time. You may well find the same thing, depending on how you want to play back tracks. For my purposes, I wanted simply to be able to play back an entire album or a selected track/s from an album (I have all FLAC files on my drives), and this works just great.

 

I guess then the short answer to "Would I need a purpose-built NAS?" would be: no, an HDD works just fine, if you need simple album playback. Another bit of advice: make sure all tracks on the drive have been correctly tagged (I used DBPoweramp, though other software is available(!)). One caveat: the iPad app, in my experience, does not always work seamlessly (see my and others' posts) with the SM6, but I imagine CA are working on an update.

 

Hope this helps!

HDNumpty's picture
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Joined: 18 Jan 2008
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RE: Stream Magic 6 with USB Hard drive?

Thanks that's really helpful.  Can I ask though, what functions would be disabled?  I currently enjoy shuffle all, artist and track search , playlists etc. via my iPod, would all this be disabled?  Also would I have to re-rip the lot to FLAC or will DB Poweramp do this for me?

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Music: Stream Magic 6, Apple Airport Express, CA 840a, B&W CM1

Movies: Pana 37" plasma, Denon DBP-1161ud, Humax YouView HDR, Sony DA-2400ES, MS surrounds, REL Sub

Mobile: iPhone 5 64GB, Audio Technica ES7, Sony XBA3, Monster iBeats

SomersetGuy's picture
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RE: Stream Magic 6 with USB Hard drive?

I think it's functions such as playing all tracks by all albums by a particular artist, for example, that are not possible with an HDD (for example, if you wanted to play all tracks in sequence from say 3 albums by the same artist); not sure about random / shuffle. I think I'm right in saying that this should be possible with a NAS (though I haven't tried a NAS with the SM6 — perhaps other users have different experiences?). Also, on the Stream Magic app for iPad (and probably for other tablets), the album artwork doesn't appear when you use an HDD, but it does when a NAS is used.

 

It's worth contacting Cambridge Audio support (http://support.cambridgeaudio.com/) for further info / queries. According to their FAQs, the Stream Magic product does not support ALAC, but WMA, AAC, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC and WAV can be played.

 

It is possible to convert various file formats to FLAC using DBPoweramp.

 

Sound quality and tonality are excellent on the SM6, and better than my previously owned Squeezebox Touch and Denon dnp720-ae streamers, though I haven't listened to any NAIM, Linn, or other streamers(!) to gain a more comprehensive comparison. I leave that to the reviewers ;o)

HDNumpty's picture
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Joined: 18 Jan 2008
Posts: 263
RE: Stream Magic 6 with USB Hard drive?

Ah.  I definitely want artwork so NAS it is!  But should be able to set one up for about £130, maybe £200 for something like a Synology.  Thanks for the responses and good to hear the sound is superior to the cheaper streamers

__________________

Music: Stream Magic 6, Apple Airport Express, CA 840a, B&W CM1

Movies: Pana 37" plasma, Denon DBP-1161ud, Humax YouView HDR, Sony DA-2400ES, MS surrounds, REL Sub

Mobile: iPhone 5 64GB, Audio Technica ES7, Sony XBA3, Monster iBeats