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I download a lot of music on line and store it on flash drive and a HDD. That's just my preference and it works for me, well mostly. I simply connect the USB drive to my Denon sound system and away I go. I have quite a few USB drives with music on them but I also have an HDD which I attach to my laptop and is where I store the whole lot, in MP3 format.

During my  years of downloading I've noticed that that there are some flash drives that will store and play music better than others and some much better than others. I seem to find that USB3's do the job better than USB2's especially when I load up the drive and ask my Denon to play the contents in random order.  I've also learnt that you can only get so much on a USB drive that they are prepared to play in random order before they start to struggle. I have a fetish for playing my music in random order and I usually don't go over 16GB's on a flash drive for that reason.  

 

What I'd like to ask is whether there is a certain type of USB I should look out for to play my music, like a USB 3 rather than a USB 2 for instance? Something within a pensioners budget hopefully.

 

 

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Only thing I’ve noticed with USB is the better made (sandisk for instance) are reliable. I had a cheapy no name brand and the USB media player in my car would not recognise it without replugging in and out till it finally did. Sandisk is picked up straight away no issue.

 

likewise recent similar experience trying to update firmware via USB drive. Cheap one wasn’t recognised. Better one recognised straight away.

 

Maybe the better ones are better built, better ram???

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I'd have thought player buffer would trump USB thumb drive read speeds after the initial load, but I could be wrong. USB 3 is significantly faster than USB 2 and might account for the behaviour you've observed.

I'll concur with @cafe67 on using a good brand of flash memory.
I have cars that use SD cards for music playback, cheap and generic ones have issues (and are sometimes fake and don't show the capacity that the label says), but Sandisk, Lexar, Kingston,  and Samsung all seem to work reliably and well.

 

NB. Buying on Ebay is prone to being deceived by fakes, good brand labels, but not real.

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I use both SanDisk Ultra Flair, and SanDisk Ultra Luxe in 128GB USB 3 in my car, and always play songs randomly. No problems at all except it does take a bit of time to initially read the drives. The Ultra Luxe does run pretty hot though, and I was a bit concerned at first, but it's still playing after 6 months.

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