Which external SSD for music streaming?

My new music streamer has a USB socket to connect an external Solid State Drive. I am thinking of getting one with 2 or 4 TB storage capacity to store my whole CD collection on it. What I don't know is how fast such an SSD needs to be. I was thinking of a Crucial X6 (up to 800 MB/s), or X9 (up to 1050MB/s). Or is any SSD fast enough to stream music smoothly? Thanks



@benanders So then I assume that any current SSD will work as they all are 3.0 or higher, while audio devices have 2.0. I counted my CDs, 2tb will suffice (my vinyl collection is larger). Cheapest around here is the Crucial X6. Not sure if I will need a better usb cable, as with everything in audio and in life, opinions go in all directions. Thanks

@stievus I do not recommend that Crucial X6 because it is spec’ed USB 3.2. Any USB type C device like this may require a bit more power (for its greater read/write speeds) than your USB 2.0 audio device can provide. It would surely require a different USB cable because audio devices spec’ed for 2.0 will not have USB type C-in’s (usually type A or B-in’s).

I use bus-powered external cases for SATA III (internal) drives spec’ed for USB 3.0/3.1. No issues on USB 2.0 audio devices. It is the Transcend 25S3 2.5” enclosure - Audiogon will not allow me to post the company link; it’s useful for understanding some of these differences in USB spec’s. With a basic computer I/O understanding this becomes a bit easier, I promise 😉

To sum up:

Most audio devices - USB 2.0

Most external HDD’s - USB 2.0 (a few are 3.0/3.1; still “slow”)

Some external SSD’s - USB 3.0/3.1 (probably fine)

Increasing # of external SSD’s - USB 3.2 / type C (maybe problematic)

Internal SSD’s - SATA III or M.2; require USB-adapter/converter like what’s built-in for external drives’ cases

SATA III 2.5” internal SSD in USB 3.0/3.1 external case tends to work with 2.0 audio device inputs (type A or B)

No guarantee that USB 3.2 / type C devices (drives) will be backwards-compatible with audio USB 2.0 due to differences in power spec’s


  • If it's an SSD, it'll be plenty fast.
  • Go for the 4tb. You'll likely fill it faster than you realize, especially if you begin to add hi-res files. A single SACD disk image can take up well north of a gigabyte.
  • You may want to go for even larger if your streamer will recognize a larger drive.
  • Definitely keep at least one backup. Keep your backup offsite if at all possible. I keep three copies: one on the SSD in my streamer, one on an SSD in my desktop computer and one on a portable SSD that I keep offsite (except when I'm backing up additional music).

@roccity Makes sense, but the question will also be 'To stream or not to stream'. If the quality of streaming Quboz, in my case, is good, then how necessary will it be to have the same music stored on an ssd, except for rare irreplaceable and new works. @audphile1 suggested that to me, which makes sense too.

@stievus Then there's always the possibility that a particular album or artist that you love suddenly becomes unavailable on Quboz or whatever your current streaming platform of choice. Given the minimal cost of storage, I feel it doesn't hurt to at least have your CD collection and any other digital audio files you may have on an SSD with an HDD backup.