Solid Snake-Oil Storage: this SSD is aimed at audiophiles
If you thought an audiophile-focused $ 2,500 Ethernet switch was weird, then you’ll be amused by this NVMe SSD designed specifically for audiophiles as well. Last known to be in the sampling phase, the new device was posted to Audiophile Forums. Supposedly, the player can boost the audio quality and give you real 3D sound as well as an experience that only comes from vinyl recordings, but don’t look for this player in our list of the best SSDs anytime soon – its impact on the audio quality is questionable, to say the least.
The developer claims to have designed and built the device from scratch in close collaboration with an unnamed SSD controller maker. The device shown has a Realtek SSD controller, a company best known for its sound processors, although it started making SSD controllers a few years ago.
The drive comes with 1TB of TLC 3D flash, but it only has 333GB of usable storage capacity. This is because the SSD operates in pseudo-SLC (pSLC) mode, which swaps usable capacity in favor of performance and endurance. In particular, there are already SSDs on the market that use pSLC modes for certain tasks. The manufacturer claims that using this mode increases the sound quality, surpassing the standard TLC mode:
“The sound quality is only our test experience, this test is performed under the same standard product (PCB, external power socket, crystal oscillator, capacitors, etc. have not been changed)
TLC Mode: It sounds like background music, no features and powerless, everything flattened, lacking in extension and density.
PSLC mode: there is a special natural feel, it becomes smoother and calmer, the thickness is slightly increased, and overall it is more resistant to hearing but still slightly dry. “
As for the rest of the player’s specs, it is equipped with a Crystek CCHD-957 femto clock oscillator, two Audionote Kaisei 220uf capacitors, an external 5V DC power input, an eight-layer PCB with 2oz copper, Milspec PCB stiffness, 300% grounding area, 5u gold plated connectors and CNC copper heat sink.
In addition, the manufacturer claims that this SSD is powered by an external power source (the power supply is not from the motherboard) to further improve the sound quality. You can see the power socket in the lower left corner of the device.
Readers were apparently sampled by several forum members, many of whom subsequently “lost contact” with the manufacturer after receiving the product. However, a sampler left a bit of feedback on the device, saying, “I’m still trying the reader, just got it 2 days ago. First impressions are positive, it’s easy / pleasant to use. live as the operating system boot drive, unlike the Samsung 970 Evo plus NVME. “
Browsing through the forum thread, it appears that this experience is based on subjective measurement of users, meaning there are no actual measurements of sound quality. That’s normal for many insanely priced devices for audiophiles, however.
Honestly, we highly doubt that the fancy gadget offers any additional sonic improvements over a “standard SSD”. Regardless of the technology surrounding chips, at their most basic level SSDs store data in binary 1s and 0s, which means you can only have 1s and 0s of data. Simply put, adding extra gadgets or power isolation to an SSD can’t change those 1s or 0s to something better, and all rarely eAny errors found are immediately corrected using various types of error correcting codes.
If anything, the SSD should be really fast just due to the nature of pSLC, and have insane excessive power conditioning. On top of that, it’s hard to believe that it would provide a better audio experience. This is because SSDs are incapable of altering audio quality – everything is done by your computer’s audio processing unit.