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Improving HDD Connection?

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paulg

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Improving HDD Connection?
« on: 2 Apr 2018, 04:58 pm »
I just made my entry in the MiniMac system description thread (q.v.), and here I have a question (or two):

The LaCie HDD is connected to the Mac USB. A USB filter device such as an AQ Jitterbug could theoretically be an improvement. Does anyone have a thought about this?

How about an opinion as to what similar in-line USB device might be a better choice? I am open to suggestions.

I wonder also about using such a device on the Mac disc drive which is used to rip CDs.

I would not expect these additions would be more than a barely perceptible improvement, if at all, but I don't mind the odd tweak as long as it doesn't get in the way.

zoom25

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Re: Improving HDD Connection?
« Reply #1 on: 3 Apr 2018, 02:54 am »
I have 2 Jitterbugs and have used them on multiple devices and simultaneously. In some cases, you get a benefit, in others no difference. In some cases, the change can actually be negative. It depends on the device and connection. My favourite use is from my iMac's USB output to my DAC. My DAC doesn't need the 5v power though.

As for hard drives, I like using it with externally powered drives. Haven't had the best results sonically with portable hard drives that run off of bus power. Similarly, I have a Teradak U9 LPS with a 5V USB output. Again, I prefer it without the Jitterbug. On my BDP-1, I've tried using a second Jitterbug on an unused port and don't notice anything.

Try it out yourself.

paulg

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Re: Improving HDD Connection?
« Reply #2 on: 3 Apr 2018, 03:22 am »
Well, I had thought to use two, as having two on the same USB bus maximizes their effect per AQ. One would be used for the HDD and the other for the Superdrive.

The HDD is self-powered with a hefty supply.

It is a USB-C v3.0 output, provided with a type A adaptor. I assume downward compatibility with a 2.0 device, but I wonder if I would be implementing a degrade rather than an upgrade.

zoom25

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Re: Improving HDD Connection?
« Reply #3 on: 3 Apr 2018, 03:47 am »
I've read all of AQ's literature and other on the net. I've also tried it on a LOT of devices that I'm not listing here with various USB cables and USB hubs and power supplies. I'd strongly recommend getting only 1 first and play around with it. You can always get a second one later. It's HIGHLY dependent on the particular component whether you will notice a difference. Try one in your main device first.

Where is your DAC in all of this? Are you connecting to your DAC via USB, ethernet, optical?

As far as USB 2.0 vs 3.0. I've used it with USB 3.0 drives on 3.0 USB ports on my Retina stuff. For audio playback pulling data off the drive, USB 2.0 speed is perfectly fine. The Jitterbug slows it down to USB 2.0 for slower speeds and less noise. When writing files, especially in bulk, you might want to remove the Jitterbug and utilize the higher speed of USB 3.0.

paulg

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Re: Improving HDD Connection?
« Reply #4 on: 3 Apr 2018, 11:55 am »
I originally was using a Dragonfly DAC. It was simple and inexpensive. When various changes were made to this system, I decided it was time to start using the DAC in the Cambridge Azur 840C player. This meant switching from USB to optical as the 840C does not provide USB connections. There was an enormous improvement, immediately noticeable. I am not surprised by this as the change in DAC is an obvious upgrade. Cambridge included adaptive digital filters in this model to target jitter specifically. At this point, I have full faith in the promise of optical data transfer, and won't be going back to wires.

This CD player/DAC has selectable inputs for two S/PDIF devices. The new 55" TV's audio out is a Toslink. Too perfect.

From what you are saying, I conclude that inserting a 2.0 device is actually a good thing, or at the very least I should not expect it to cause any difficulty. This is exactly the info I was angling for. Thanks.

This Mac Mini is dedicated to the purpose of streaming music. That is its sole mission.


zoom25

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Re: Improving HDD Connection?
« Reply #5 on: 3 Apr 2018, 03:30 pm »
"From what you are saying, I conclude that inserting a 2.0 device is actually a good thing, or at the very least I should not expect it to cause any difficulty."

- No, ideally you be running as little devices as possible directly on the device that is responsible for generating your audio stream. However, if you had to use USB devices, then it's best to slow them down to USB 2.0 and filter them out. If you were going to be using a USB DAC, then you'd be sharing the USB bus with other devices. This isn't the case for your setup as you are using optical. However, is it possible that cleaning up the USB bus power might make an impact on the optical circuit? Yes.

Since your input is optical, you don't have to worry about electrical noise. You instead have to worry about jitter. To reduce it, you'd want the sending side (iMac) to be as clean and stable as possible. Of course, this shouldn't matter if the DAC is designed to be immune to jitter. However, in the real world, things aren't as simple.

The only way to know is to try it yourself, preferably from a place with a good return policy. I similarly use Toslink from my TV into my DAC (Emotiva DC-1) in one of my rigs.

paulg

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Re: Improving HDD Connection?
« Reply #6 on: 3 Apr 2018, 06:01 pm »
zoom25:

I am in your debt!

Regards

paulg

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Re: Improving HDD Connection?
« Reply #7 on: 25 Apr 2018, 03:44 pm »
RESULTS UPDATE:

After installing a Jitterbug between the HDD and the MacMini, communication was lost entirely. The computer cannot see the drive. Normal operation was restored when the Jitterbug was removed.

wushuliu

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Re: Improving HDD Connection?
« Reply #8 on: 25 Apr 2018, 04:15 pm »
iDefender/iPower combo for the USB, iPurifier spdif for the optical. Done.