Question

External Storage Device


What external Storage Device works best. Historically i had a tower computer which held all my record collections on. I left this switched on constantly so my SONOS linked to and I could play my collection. I have now changed to a Laptop that I switch off so Sonos can't always link to it. What do other people use as an external Storage Device.

29 replies

Pretty much any NAS on the market. I happen to use a WD Mycloud, but mostly because it was on sale.
I am very happy with my Western Digital Live Drive, older version of the MY Cloud. It was easy to set up, checking for updates tot he firmware is easy and aside from dusting it there is nothing else needed.

I've tried a few other brands for external Ethernet connected storage but the WD was not expensive and just works for Sonos storage. Use it as your baseline in looking at other options and you'll end up happy.

If your drive will be visible watch out for ones that have a glaring activity light, that is ugly.
I've been through a number of NAS drives, Buffalo and WD. The latest, a My Book Live bought 4 years ago, long since started acting up. Since my local library has been static for some time -- new music coming from a streaming service -- I simply migrated the FLAC library to a very large flash stick plugged into my router.
ratty wrote:

a very large flash stick plugged into my router.


For some years, I used a USB HDD in this way; it worked fine for most times except when streaming different music to different rooms. I was advised that the lack of a processor in the HDD meant that the processor in my 2011 make router was being overloaded and causing stuttering. Once I moved to a WD MyCloud, all has worked fine. If this issue isn't present with current generation routers, the memory capability of these sticks now is a neat way to meet this need. Very discreet, and one less mains socket needed.
All great suggestions. This link is an overview on how to add a NAS device to your Sonos system.
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Many Wifi Access Points offer the option to make them into a cheap NAS by adding a hard drive. It won't be a speed demon but Sonos' needs are modest.

Given that Sonos continues to rely on SMB1 and NTLM v1 authentication to connect to a local NAS, I would not store anything but a copy of your music on that NAS. That protocol is so old, it's turned off by default on may newer file servers, including Microsoft's, the author of SMB. Enabling SMB1 and NTLM v1 puts your data at risk.

It would be great if Sonos decided to commit to updating the network stack. This is especially relevant now that WannaCry and similar derivatives are circling around exploiting NTLM v1 authentication issues. But in the meantime, I would treat any NAS that has it's SMB access dumbed down to meet the needs of Sonos as burner device.
I don't want to hijack the thread, but I believe my questions are on-topic. Thanks a lot Ratty for mentioning the flash drive option - this answers one of my questions.

How do artists and albums display when accessed from a pendrive/NAS/HDD?

Are there any other considerations I need to make before trying this with a SONOS1?
Argent wrote:

How do artists and albums display when accessed from a pendrive/NAS/HDD?


Just the same as from any kind of network share. The actual metadata text comes from the library index held in the player (having originally been extracted from the files by an indexing scan), and artwork is fetched on the fly either from the file's metadata or a 'folder.jpg' in the same directory.
Constantin wrote:

It would be great if Sonos decided to commit to updating the network stack.


You hit the 'Wishlist for Sonos Controller Improvements' thread with this demand, at some length. It could get tiresome if you posted the same message onto each and every thread which happens to mention network storage for a local library.
Airgetlam wrote:

Pretty much any NAS on the market. I happen to use a WD Mycloud, but mostly because it was on sale.

Airgetlam wrote:

Pretty much any NAS on the market. I happen to use a WD Mycloud, but mostly because it was on sale.


How did you get it set up? When I add \\WDMYCLOUD\Public\Shared Music to my library after a while the answer is that WDMYCLOUD is not answering/replying.
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JoAhl,

Remove the blank space in your shared folder name called 'Shared Music' and set up the library connection again in the Sonos Controller Settings. Let me know if that works for you.
Ken_Griffiths wrote:

JoAhl,

Remove the blank space in your shared folder name called 'Shared Music' and set up the library connection again in the Sonos Controller Settings. Let me know if that works for you.



Ken, Thank you for your theory but it didn't work. I got the same message again.
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My thoughts then is that it is something to do with the SMB/CIFS protocol in use by the NAS .. is there an area in the settings to enable SMB/CIFS protocol on the shared folder and also check it's security setting is allowing guest access.

I'm afraid I don't know the NAS personally, but it might be similar to my NAS, which requires the SMB/CIFS protocol and guest read/write access to both be enabled for every share that's being accessed by Sonos.
Not sure i can help either. I pretty much plugged it in, connected to it with a browser per the instructions, and then set up and transferred my music library over. And of course, pointed Sonos at it. I do indeed have the space in Shared Music, and it works fine. As I recall when I originally set it up, I did mess with the 'always on" settings, but I don't remember if there was anything else. I just read the instructions it came with, and followed that.
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JoAhl,

Are you able to access the shared music folder and play your music from a Windows PC? I was trying to find out some further information and came across this link https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/office/en-US/17c9ea7d-52df-4ef9-95fa-0a961d11bfa3/fix-for-cannot-access-nas-drives-sharefolder-is-not-accessible-or-error-code-0x80070035?forum=w8itpronetworking which again points to security permissions and the read/write access to the shared folder

It would be useful to know if other devices on your network can access and play the files on your WD Mycloud NAS. Have you tried posting the problem on the WD forum as I suspect the issue/problem may lie with access permissions on the share.
I got a Raspberry Pi micro computer to play with and aside from a few other things I set it up to do I added a copy of my music library to it. The Pi has been working well for a couple weeks now and I'm removing the WD Live Drive (see my post above) from my setup, turns out it is electrically noisy and is aggravating the Play 3 I have sitting close to it.

Pi was about $35, a USB to SATA cable about $10 as was a 2 amp 5 volt supply. I splurged on a $8.00 case for the Pi and re-purposed an old, small, slow SSD for storage. Ended up being pretty cheap compared to a ready-built setup but the kicker for me is that the Pi has software updates versus my WD Live Drive that has been abandoned.
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i just uploaded my entire album to google play for free and works perfectly and syncs with iTunes automatically.
Uploading to and playing from an outside location will use some of your network bandwidth and move you closer to your data caps so it isn't suitable for everyone's situation.

Another uploading issue is format conversion, I'd not behappy having my FLAC collection downgraded to MP3 by Google.

Google upload chart: https://support.google.com/googleplay/answer/1100462?hl=en
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Does it really matter on a mono PLAY1 in the kitchen or bedroom??
Ease of use, time to music, access to millions of tracks by streaming is where wifi speakers win.
To build great and savvy external storage, you may use a Raspberry Pi board and build up a NAS (network attached storage) server on it. It includes using a USB HDD. You can look through this tutorial - https://eltechs.com/raspberry-pi-nas-guide/
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I bought a WD My Cloud 3tb for £85 direct from WD, works very well and couldn't turn it down at that price!. I renamed it but it worked perfectly under the orignal settings.

I found the music folder on my laptop, uploaded all my songs then used the Sonos app on the laptop to add the folder. I think Sonos uses slightly different naming than what you would enter into a windows file explorer window? (/ instead of \ or the other way round!). Browsing via the app on Windows found it straight away.
Keithmac wrote:

I bought a WD My Cloud 3tb



Just keep in mind at some point WD will silently quit providing security patched for your drive, as they did for my older version leaving it vulnerable to attacks. My Pi should get updates for many years.
Much like Microsoft no longer patching Windows XP, or Apple no longer supporting OS 6 for Mac. Anything you purchased right now should be good for several years at the least. But yes, technology and software does continue to evolve.
Microsoft's support is pretty reasonable, both in length of time it is offered for and the level of notification they provide for when the support is going away. WD came up short on both of these for me, which is why I warn people.

Now if you got a 5 year, after the purchase support period from WD and they gave you a clear notice on the device that it was out of support I'd be a lot happier with that than the 2 years and silence I got.

You just have to look at a purchase like this WD as a short term deal, one that will have to be made again in a few years or you'll have to live with the risk of known and unpatched bugs. It changes your perception of the value of the device when you realize it has a shorter than expected lifetime.

My WD Live Drive cost me just over $50.00 per year of supported lifetime.

My Raspberry Pi NAS cost me $50 total, not counting the old storage drive I got from my junk box.

A fancier dedicated NAS from another vendor may well cost less per year of supported lifetime than a WD product.

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