Need advice on what to purchase to hold 1TB of music and connect to my new Innuos Pulsar.

I just need 1TB of file space and won’t ever need more.  I am most interested in sound quality and staying under $500. The less money the better - if possible.    It will be hooked up to an Innuos Pulsar that has no internal storage.  The Pulsar is streamer only. My music, only 1100 CDs, is already stored on a Raid and I will only use this Raid for backup. 

No idea what I need. Don’t think I need a NAS, but may. Do I just buy a 1TB SSD drive? Which one? Connectivity? This is not an area I am well versed on as in the past I have always owned servers which had on board storage ( Innuos Zenith 3).  

I am a little lost here fellow Agoners. Thanks for your help.  Bill 



Bill @grannyring

I suggest buying a Samsung SSD + AQ USB A to C from Amazon. I am currently using this drive with my Merging +player. Load up your music and connect directly to one of the USB ports of your player.


@lalitk thank you so much for this simple answer. I assume the Samsung SSD only takes a type C connector. Which AQ cable do you use? The one linked? 

@antigrunge2 what specific NAS do you suggest and why do you think I need this added cost/complexity? Thank you.


Yes, Samsung SSD has USB C connector. The AQ USB C and A linked above works great. A direct connection is always better to avoid network induced noise, possible latency issues not to mention NAS requirements for LPS for optimal performance.

I agree with lalitk. I am using a Samsung 1tb SSD, but use a simple, affordable USB C to A adaptor ( less than $10), and hanging it off the back of my music server on the USB input. It sounds better than most USB A to C cables, uses no wires,  and cost a lot less than a good quality cable. Sounds fantastic, and better than my costly NAS drive. More reliable too! 

Do a google search for the adaptor using:

 rgzhihuifz Type-C Male to USB3.0 Male Adapter

You get a TWO pack on Amazon for $8. 

Wouldn’t an external audiophile server give a better sound than a cheap ssd drive?

My music, only 1100 CDs, is already stored on a Raid and I will only use this Raid for backup. 

This indicates you already have a connection from your current storage to the server and you are interested in something to use as a backup of that primary working storage.  Is this a correct interpretation?  If so then you only need any decent stand alone drive to make a manual backup to and be put away in a safe place.  

Thank you @drrsutliff and everyone else here. Looks like I am all set to purchase the Samsung SSD linked above. Easy and cost cost effective. Perfect!


I will either build my own usb cable and add the adaptor to C or buy the AQ.  

Since audio is a low bandwidth data transfer and USB thumb drives do not use noisy motors, why not use an inexpensive USB thumb drive?

 @vonhelmholtz  that is an interesting option.  I assume, not sure, the sound quality is not as good? 


Both USB drive and SSD are SSD.  The USB drive is usually much slower and uses the 5V of the USB for power.  Audio transport doesn’t require the speed of a traditional SSD and most work great for 4K video streaming, which requires a much higher bandwidth.

i learned the hard way not to cheap out on a hard drive when i lost almost 2tb of hi-quality files stored on a generic ssd. my tech guy said to use only samsung and that even the better known wd and sandisk drives are prone to failure.

I have a Samsung T7, T5, and T3. The T7 is the latest and greatest and comes with both USB-C to C and USB-C to A short cables. 

Get a NAS

I use my Pulsar with a QNAP NAS and the Sense App is amazing. Also love my NAS to stream music videos to my TV using Plex

I use a 2 bay Synology NAS disc station (you want to run a pair of drives in RAID configuration) and a couple of WD  NAS drives.

In my experience 1TB just isn't enough.  A 2TB thumb drive using the USB 2.0 port will work just fine.  It doesn't require an additional power supply and use the money you save to purchase more music.

  I second the thumb drive.  Have the whole collection in 1 very portable device .  I doubt that you will notice a difference in SQ between this and a dedicated SSD

Are you 100% certain you can use the USB ports for playing/storing files?

Innuos only states it works with a NAS, no direct storage option.

I’ve ready it anecdotally over the net, but never got a certain answer.

Even innuos site only ever states it’s a ’network music player’, and
’In Standalone mode, you can use the Innuos Sense app to play streaming services, Internet Radio and music stored on a NAS, to a multitude of audio systems.’

Got the answer.. directly from Innuos. no direct storage allowed:
“we do restrict those ports from being used as a direct playback method from a USB attached storage. We added the additional USB ports for potential future use as well as the normal DAC connection.”

Ok now I am even more confused. How does a NAS hook up? No direct storage, meaning no external SSD drive? I just ordered an SSD as linked above.  Oh my, Innuos really!

Seems I have to use a NAS? If so, it must connect in some manner. Perhaps an Ethernet jack? Innuos should have built this thing to allow for simple direct SSD or thumb drive.  Big miss in my opinion.  



Can you provide me with a link to NAS you purchased? Seems I have to return my Samsung SSD and USB cable.  


@grannyring NAS (Network Attached Storage) is connected to your network via Ethernet. There is no direct connection to the Innuos. as long as the two are on the same home network the Innuos will see the NAS. You’ll need to make sure the folder with all your music is “shared” to the rest of network from your NAS.

Another good simple NAS is Synology. I use a DS920 (4 bay), but the basic 2 bay models are great for simple things like streaming/storing music/video.

@grannyring : how are you streaming from the PULSar? Assuming via Sense? (not Roon or similar). From the website


– In Standalone mode, you are able to use the Innuos Sense app to play streaming services, Internet Radio and music stored on a NAS to a multitude of audio systems. In this mode, the network player becomes the centre of your audio system, enabling also to use the Sense app with other streamers on your network. 

The other option (Endpoint mode) would require a ZEN series server, which appears you no longer have. So I am afraid a NAS will be needed. But then in your OP you say:

My music, only 1100 CDs, is already stored on a Raid and I will only use this Raid for backup. 

What do you mean by “Raid”? It can mean different things. Maybe you already have a NAS? A NAS is simply a storage device connected to the network that can be accessed remotely in that same network from other devices



That’s a shame that Pulsar won’t support playback from a portable SSD drive via one of the USB ports. A glaring oversight that they better address soon. 

@lalitk : it depends on how one looks at the situation. For obvious reasons, Innuos would love the Pulse to be part of its echo system that would also include an Innuos server like ZEN series. The Endpoint mode. On the other hand, in standalone mode, nowadays most people just use Tidal or Qobuz. And for those with a library of ripped CDs, a NAS is a common feature to have in the house, or if not, fairly easy to add, not expensive, with added benefit for other usage in the house, not just music storage 

no direct storage allowed”


My criticism may seems bit harsh but It was quite surprising to see a player costing $7K, doesn’t offer such a simple functionality. At the end of the day, it’s not a deal breaker for anyone who loves the sound of Innuos.

Beware of buying an SSD that is running USB 3.0. it may be incompatible with your system if it's running USB 2.0. 

I initially bought a Samsung 2TB SSD. It was not compatible with with my Marantz or Cambridge units. A NAS is overkill in my opinion just adds cost and setup complexity. I ended up getting an external 5TB HDD that uses USB 2.0 and connect that directly to my Cambridge CXN V2. Search and playback are very quick. No delay. Back up is done via my laptop using the Samsung SSD as the backup.

Why only 1TB?

If you're going to go through the routine of setting it in place, I'd opt for 2; better 5.

As per Devo, "Duty Now, For the Future"...

And TB drives and SSD prices continue to drop....

What a stupid decision by the manufacturer to have usb ports that can’t be used used to play stored files.  That is such a basic feature of most streamers.  I won’t recommend Innous going forward until they change that 

I have a lifetime Roon membership, but only use Sense because it sounds so much better. Therefore, I have no need to use my Pulsar as a Roon endpoint only. Really am disappointed I have to buy a NAS with the added complexity of processing built inside these NAS units. Probably also need to power the NAS with an LPS to get the best sound and avoid introducing unwanted noise. 

I really feel Innuos needs to offer direct connectivity of a nice SSD. I have owned the Zen, Zenith and now the Pulsar so I am a big Innuos fan.  The Pulsar sounds better than the Zenith and by a good margin when streaming. I would still buy the Pulsar knowing this issue, but it is unfortunate.  



I don’t see me ripping anymore CDs or buying music files in the future. Since I have 1100 CDs ripped only using some 60% of 1TB, it seems reasonable to buy a 1TB. I will look at 2Tb since it is only a little more money 🙂.



My Raid is simply two HDD drives storing my music. The second redundant drive is a backup in case the first one fails. No ethernet connection so won’t work with the Pulsar. I purchased this for backup only, not intended for daily use.


Tbe Samsung SSD drive cost me $69 and if direct connectivity was allowed that would be my cost. Nice.

A NAS will cost me at least $300-$400 and many cost upwards of $600-$700. In addition, I will need to buy an LPS to power it if I want the best performance. So much added cost and complexity compared to a simple direct USB thumb drive or SSD. Am I missing something here? Learning fast now 😬.

Love to see links for a 1-2Tb NAS in the $200 range. Is this possible for a good one?

I did contact Innuos and shared my disappointment in a constructive manner. 

@grannyring : I hear you. I am perhaps biased myself as I already have two NAS devices, with redundant storages, which honestly don’t currently use for streaming audio, just for back up. I use them for file storage in my house, including family photos, video files, documents and so on. So general use, not exclusively audio.

Love to see links for a 1-2Tb NAS in the $200 range. Is this possible for a good one?

Maybe those simple WD My Book or My Cloud NASs? They carry them at Best Buy (I think), or they used to.


Actually I looked them up:


But granted, I don’t know if they work with Innuos. So do your own due diligence.


I did contact Innuos and shared my disappointment in a constructive manner. 

Good! You are right, such added functionality should have been easy to incorporate 







@grannyring I’m not 100% certain but you might be able to configure Innuous to read that Samsung SSD when it’s connected to a computer on the same network same way you would configure it to read NAS. I did this when I had Auralic Aries G1 and it was reading the external drive connected to my mac mini. 

Innous appears to have the ability to play files that are on a USB drive installed in a networked computer.  The trick is to get the music folder on the USB drive configured as a shared folder.  For me, it was easy to set that up on a MAC and a pain to get that working reliably on a PC.  If you have a desktop computer, you could add an SSD hard drive to it and you could easily set up a shared music folder and you would be set up.

In is inexcusable that Innous sells a high end streamer with USB ports and none of them can be utilized to play music from USB devices. 

In their defense a Pulse with the ability to play files from a local SSD would essentially be a Zenith with the Phoenix USB re-clocker (or something like that). There was a thread a few weeks ago where some of us lamented the product strategy as many details are not well understood. No question their marketing falls short to explain various use cases and how they align to current product offers. Given the propensity for audio folks to upgrade, it would be helpful for Innuos to publish their vision of "a customer journey" for users that want to stream and others that want streaming and server capabilities and provide the upgrade paths for both lines. Personally I would love to see a SQ comparison of Pulsar vs Statement vs Zenith with Pnet and PUSB when used strictly as a streamer.

“I'm not sure how adding LPS to a NAS would help with sound quality”

You may want to check out discussions on wall wart vs LPS. 

@chilehed that was my thoughts too. They have to differentiate the two lines or end up cannibalizing the Zen/Zenith series.

I was considering a Pulse as an 'upgrade' to my Zen MK3, but once I found out it didn't support direct file playback via connected SSD, I stopped looking, and will probably go the Zenith route. As 90% of my music is FLAC files. I stream qobuz when I'm discovering new things, but get the albums if I like them. 

The Pulsar is like a Zenith 3 plus Phoenix in sound quality or so I read. Not sure this is really true. I loved my Zenith 3 and will miss its ease if use with internal storage. The Zenith 3 also rips CDs and auto loads them. The Pulsar costs some $1100 more than the Zenith 3 with no CD ripping ability or storage. Not too much to ask for the ability to plug in a USB thumb drive or SSD. No cannibalizing worries here in my opinion.

I have always owned Innuos units with internal storage so I did not have to deal with all this stuff I am now researching. I suppose it’s good to learn something new!


To discern SQ differences when using a LPS on a NAS with your music files you posses extraordinary hearing and a high end system

Congratulations on both


That is the big question here. My experience with those cheap switch mode wall warts is they inject noise into your digital front end without fail.  Will this also play out on a NAS? I’m not sure why it wouldn’t! 

@grannyring, out of curiosity, what happened to you Zenith? Is it gone? If you still have it I believe you can access your Zenith music library from your Pulsar. 

Im lot saying that a LPS used with a NAS doesn't make a difference in SQ

I am saying to appreciate it that far upstream from the audio components would take a system and ears beyond what I have on both things