I fear I have alienated some readers who believe in a NAS for their music systems. I haven't an axe to grind, and support NAS devices for those versed in setting up network connected systems. Not all of us are so blessed. Me included.
And I haven't any problem with network connected audio, in fact, quite the opposite. August will be the release date of our upcoming Bridge II, a network connected music input for PerfectWave and DirectStream DACs.
My hesitation in recommending a NAS for home music systems is simple: NAS are great for the network savvy among us, everyone else might want to consider a different approach. Networks can be confusing enough without adding complexities, and in my view, keeping things simple and clean has merit.
There's certainly nothing simpler than attaching a USB cable to a DAC, but it is limiting. Many among us are not comfortable with a computer at the other end of the USB cable, sharing shelf space with stereo kit. But, if you'll recall, I said that a NAS is a hard drive with a computer on its front end. That's important because I make my own NAS and that is what I am recommending.
It's likely you have a computer connected to the internet, which means you have a home network, even if the PC is all that's attached. That's a great starting point for our discussion.
My setup is simple. I have a Mac Mini with music stored on its internal hard drive. It could just as easily be a Windows based PC, configured identically. If I wish to access music on my hard drive I open a program designed for playing music, like iTunes, JRiver, Windows Media Player, Ammara, Foobar, etc. If I want that music to play from my DAC, instead of the tiny built in computer speakers, I connect through a USB cable. This is standard practice for many of us.
But what if I want to have my computer in one room, my DAC in another?
We'll pick that up tomorrow.