Originally Posted by Esteban Medaglia
I've been experimenting (and immensely enjoying) the Oppo's front panel USB input, with various high-resolution downloads (24/96, 24/192, etc) and also with plain old regular rips of my own CD's, some of them as WAV files and some as FLAC. Even 320 kbps files sound terrific this way! What they say about the absence of a spinning drive and a disc transport mechanism is true: the sound simply "flows" in a much more natural, definitely much more enjoyable and relaxing manner. Listening to Alan Silvestri's "Beowulf" soundtrack (in lossy 320 kbps mp3 format!) was quite shockingly GOOD, with effortless dynamics, razor-sharp focus and imaging, and lots of details everywhere.
And my set-up is nothing extraordinary by any means:
- Oppo 95 (source for CD's, SACD's, BD's and DVD's)
- Marantz SR-5005 receiver (amplification, and also USB source for regular 44/16 files, to avoid one additional interconnect step)
- Sonus Faber Toy Tower speakers.
- Emotiva cables (analog)
- Audioquest Type 4 (speaker cables)
- PS Audio Duet (power conditioner)
- Pangea Power Cords
- Assorted HDMI cables.
Using the above equipment, I am astounded at the level of quality I am getting via a relatively simple, semi-affordable and straightforward set-up. I have to admit that now, after discovering USB-based playback (yes, I am aware I am late to the game), there really is no turning back for me. This is, quite simply, a whole new universe. And what is even better: this set-up is now making me re-discover my entire music collection all over again, including 100 gigs worth of downloaded music that I never really sat down to enjoy due to my previous computer-based audio limitations.
I also compared the quality of a standard CD played back via the Oppo, vs. the data from the exact same CD ripped to my PC as WAV files and then played back from an 8 gig USB stick. Again, same content, but the sound was evidently "smoother" and more natural coming from the USB drive.
Using an external Toshiba USB 500 gigs portable drive (with NO power source of its own), my luck was not that great. Specially with high-res files, the disc would skip and stutter from time to time, plus the "spinning" noise coming from the drive was distracting. I suppose this being a regular rotating and spinning hard-drive, the transfer rate is not as smooth and effortless as with an USB stick. Obviously, the problem with an USB stick is that anything larger than 32 gigs will cost you and arm and a leg (for now).
So, my question is, does anybody have any specific brand and model of a good-quality external USB drive that's, say, around 1 TB or so (meaning that I won't have to swap a million smaller USB drives back and forth), and that has a great data transfer rate, doesn't skip, and that has also been proved to work great alongside the Oppo? Would a drive with its own power supply make a difference?
Do you guys even have a similar set-up?
Thanks in advance for any suggestions.