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New to FLAC, archiving, streaming etc.
saxguy
post Jul 18 2012, 00:50
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Keeping it lean.

I have a Kenwood Amp with RCA inputs, Kenwood CD player, Mission speakers.

I’m trying to archive my CD collection to a server in the home, and use the FLAC system (this is all new to me)

I then would like to be able to call up my music library and play whatever.

I admit to being totally confused (i'm not a young fella), and despite trying to glean the information from various sources, I am somewhat bewildered and lost, especially given the amount of differing opinions and whatnot.



After reading many other threads on this forum, I sort of felt that maybe the members here may be able to give me good advice. My first post wasn’t allowed, as I may have asked too many questions or included info not required (I apologise). So my other questions I will ask later.

Thank you so much.

PS I don't normally like to just join a site purely to ask questions, but on this subject I have very little I can contribute to I'm afraid.
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mixminus1
post Jul 18 2012, 01:38
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Just a few "qualifying" questions first:

1) What's your primary computer - Windows or Mac?

2) Do you have any "iDevices" - iPhone, iPad, iPod touch - that you use on a regular basis?

3) How many CDs are you talking about?

4) Do you already have a server/NAS (network attached storage) on your home network, or do you also need some info on that?

This post has been edited by mixminus1: Jul 18 2012, 01:39


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saxguy
post Jul 18 2012, 02:15
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Hi Mixminus1

Thank you for the reply.

QUOTE (mixminus1 @ Jul 18 2012, 12:38) *
1) What's your primary computer - Windows or Mac?
I have a Windows desktop, which will remain my primary comp. However, I also have a MAC that I plug in to the Hi-Fi sometimes, to play directly, which is nice as the MAC has a remote which I use to control the volume.

QUOTE (mixminus1 @ Jul 18 2012, 12:38) *
2) Do you have any "iDevices" - iPhone, iPad, iPod touch - that you use on a regular basis?
I don’t have any devices such as these, but we may get an Ipad at some point (seems we are all going that way)

QUOTE (mixminus1 @ Jul 18 2012, 12:38) *
3) How many CDs are you talking about?
Maybe three hundred… always adding to the collection mind!

QUOTE (mixminus1 @ Jul 18 2012, 12:38) *
4) Do you already have a server/NAS (network attached storage) on your home network, or do you also need some info on that?
No, at the moment I dont, and yes please, I will take all the info I can get.
All I have done so far is wire CAT5s throughout most of the house in preparation to “set up” a system.
I will have a data point adjacent the hi-fi.

I’m sorry its all vague at the moment, but as I know so little, I don’t want to set off on the wrong foot.
And, I am very grateful for any good advice that anyone would care to share with me.

This post has been edited by db1989: Jul 18 2012, 10:38
Reason for edit: deleting unnecessary full quote from top; adding quote tags to (repeats of) mixminus1’s questions
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Porcus
post Jul 18 2012, 10:12
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300 CDs, that would take about 100 GB (give or take quite a lot of percents) in FLAC. You might have friends who (or you might yourself) have unused 120 drives lying around (remember a backup!). And an old computer (anything from this millennium should do), which you could use as server. No need to build anything expensive unless you want a silent HTPC (noisy server --> another room).


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Apesbrain
post Jul 18 2012, 13:28
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Welcome saxguy, the issues to be addressed before you can put your CDs into the attic are:

1. How to get your CDs into audio file format
2. Where to store your audio files
3. How to get computer-based music over to the stereo
4. How to control your music selection and other things such as volume.

While it might be possible to "set off on the wrong foot" anything you do is easily corrected with the exception of one thing: the format and process of your initial CD conversion. The most flexible solution is to use a lossless audio file format; you've already indicated that you wish to use FLAC. The next consideration is that you use a secure ripper.

Have you ever "ripped" a CD? If so, what software did you use and did it work well for you?

This post has been edited by Apesbrain: Jul 18 2012, 13:47
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garym
post Jul 18 2012, 17:45
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Much more to learn and explore, but a thought about the mechanism for getting your digital music from where it is stored delivered to your stereo: Consider Logitech Squeezebox Digital Music Players. A Squeezebox TOUCH would be a good start. I have several SB players feeding my whole house audio. SB TOUCH deals with almost every file type (FLAC, mp3, m4a, etc.) and deals with 24/96 files natively.

In simple terms:

a computer holding digital files on your LAN > feeds (via ethernet or WIFI) > SB TOUCH > feeds your stereo (amp/preamp/receiver) via analog out.

One can instead feed an external DAC from the SB TOUCH and the the DAC feeds your stereo.

If you have multiple SB Players, they all get their music from the single source (computer holding your files). And you can play the same thing in all locations (synched) or different things at each location.

I can control all these players and my music database with any computer on my local network or an app on my iphone or ipad. I use mostly FLAC files, with a library of about 70,000 tracks.
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saxguy
post Jul 19 2012, 07:28
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Thank you thank you…. So much great advice. I will try and answer the questions.

Porcus… I have a old PC somewhere in a box in the attic. Anyway, it isnt a big cost to get a old one from Ebay or similar…. And I have a WD My Book 1Tb drive that is as yet unused (which I bought to use as a backup and haven’t gotten around to yet). Also, the server will be in a upstairs unheated linen closet. On its own shelf away from the linen, clean power supply etc.

Apesbrain… and thank you.

I have downloaded EAC, which seems to be recommended hereabouts. Storage, as above (server/HD)
I love the idea of the SB Touch, that Garym suggests (big thank there Garym) .. just been reading up on it, and it sounds exactly what I need!! I guess that will do the music selection, but the differences in volume, I’m not sure.
Garym, not sure what a DAC does... i mean is it essential to a good sound?? I will read up on them, but seeing as you mentioned it, just thought i would ask.

It seems that things are coming a little clearer now, thanks to all of you guys.
I suppose I must get a server (old comp?) built first, maybe even order a SB Touch, as this will take a while to get here.

Still not sure about EAC, but I guess I need to spend a bit of time using it. So, will I need a program for the server, like windows home server or something? Or should I just stick a copy of windows on it, as if it is just another PC?...

Hey thanks again guys (great forum!!)

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Porcus
post Jul 19 2012, 10:44
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What do you intend to use in your living room? A laptop? A HTPC? A dedicated device type Squeezebox?


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JJZolx
post Jul 19 2012, 11:04
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saxguy, When you begin to look at the playback side of the equation, I don't think I could recommend the Squeezebox Touch highly enough. Some people are put off by its client/server configuration, but to me, that's its very beauty. You can run many Squeezeboxes in your home from one single computer and one copy of your music library. And those player can be time-synched, which gives you a means of doing multi-room or whole-house audio. Very good stuff.

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Apesbrain
post Jul 19 2012, 14:41
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Squeezeboxes control playback volume as well as music selection. You don't necessarily need a DAC as they already have one built-in. All you need:

1. Squeezebox Touch ($220 on Amazon)
2. Server PC (free, in attic)
3. Large hard drive (you already have one)
4. Vortexbox server software (free: http://vortexbox.org/content/123-downloads)

If you install Vortexbox on your server it will handle everything from ripping your CDs to serving music to your Squeezeboxes.

I suppose an equally compeling case could be made for an Apple solution:

1. Airport Express ($97 on Amazon; $85 for older version)
2. iMac/MacBook (you already have; with Airport Express it no longer needs to be near/attached to stereo)
3. Large hard drive (if needed for music storage you have one, or use it for backup)
3. iTunes (free, and probably already on your Mac; use "Apple Lossless" as your encoding format)

iTunes is not a "secure" ripper in the same way as EAC. If this is a concern, you may prefer to use XLD to rip your CDs. If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can use it as a remote control for music selection and volume.

(BTW, there are also iPhone/iPad and Android controller apps for Squeezebox that do remote music selection, volume, album art display, etc, over your wireless network. I've had a very good experience with SqueezeCommander on my Kindle Fire.)

This post has been edited by Apesbrain: Jul 19 2012, 15:34
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garym
post Jul 19 2012, 14:55
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QUOTE (Apesbrain @ Jul 19 2012, 08:41) *
Squeezeboxes control playback volume as well as music selection. You don't necessarily need a DAC as they already have one built-in. All you need:

1. Squeezebox Touch ($220 on Amazon)
2. Server PC (free, in attic)
3. Large hard drive (you already have one)
4. Vortexbox server software (free: http://vortexbox.org/content/123-downloads)

If you install Vortexbox on your server it will handle everything from ripping your CDs to serving music to your Squeezeboxes.


Agree, DAC already in TOUCH is pretty decent. Think about the Squeezebox Touch as sorta a replacement of a CD player that you plug into your stereo. You do the same with the ToUCH, plugging into AUX in, CD in, etc. (just don't use PHONO IN if your receiver has this...it is only for turntables). Good helpful squeezebox forums here:
http://forums.slimdevices.com/

One note on Vortexbox system. I use this myself. But note that if you install this on your old PC, it wipes out everything that is on the disk, and turns the PC into a "server" for your home audio/video needs. You can also use it as a NAS for storing other files (pictures, documents, etc.). The nice thing about Vortexbox (essentially a specially tuned OS based on Fedora 16, linux) is that it is plug and play. Install and you'll have a server setup with Logitech Media Server all ready for feeding your Squeezeboxes.

info on installing vortexbox here:
http://info.vortexbox.org/tiki-index.php?page=ISO+Install

good forum help here:
http://vortexbox.org/forum.php

Re: EAC. This is a good program. I personally found dbpoweramp easier to use in my ripping. It is not free, but well worth it. helpful forum as well. See here:
http://www.dbpoweramp.com/

And I'm a use of mp3tag (yes it does more than mp3...flac, etc.) for tagging needs after the fact.
http://www.mp3tag.de/en/

Have fun!
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Apesbrain
post Jul 19 2012, 16:15
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If you want to get familiar with Squeezebox you can do so without making any investment other than your time. Get your old PC out of the attic, plug it into your network and install Vortexbox* on it. Then, rip some CDs. Finally, install SqueezePlay (download) on your Mac. Now you can use SqueezePlay to listen to your ripped CDs on your Mac or on anything it is plugged into. You also can listen to internet radio and some streaming services (like Pandora).

*If you're not comfortable with this and the attic PC has a working install of Windows XP or newer, download the Logitech Music Server software and use EAC to rip your CDs. It's not quite as turn-key, but it will give you the same result. (I'm assuming the attic PC is a Windows machine; you'll see at that link that the Logitech server is also available for MacOS and some flavors of linux and NAS boxes.)

This post has been edited by Apesbrain: Jul 19 2012, 16:34
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greynol
post Jul 19 2012, 16:19
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Do the recommendations change if he has a dumb NAS (dumb meaning that it is only storage and can't run any type of OS)?


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Apesbrain
post Jul 19 2012, 16:27
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QUOTE (greynol @ Jul 19 2012, 11:19) *
Do the recommendations change if he has a dumb NAS (dumb meaning that it is only storage and can't run any type of OS)?

As far as Squeezebox is concerned, so long as there is a PC somewhere on his network where the server software can be running all will be fine. Just point the server to the NAS as the music library source. IIRC, when using Windows as your server OS this works best if the NAS is assigned a permanent drive letter.
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greynol
post Jul 19 2012, 16:47
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There must be a simpler solution that doesn't require running an additional box (PC/Mac/laptop/server/etc.).

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garym
post Jul 19 2012, 16:48
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QUOTE (Apesbrain @ Jul 19 2012, 10:27) *
QUOTE (greynol @ Jul 19 2012, 11:19) *
Do the recommendations change if he has a dumb NAS (dumb meaning that it is only storage and can't run any type of OS)?

As far as Squeezebox is concerned, so long as there is a PC somewhere on his network where the server software can be running all will be fine. Just point the server to the NAS as the music library source. IIRC, when using Windows as your server OS this works best if the NAS is assigned a permanent drive letter.


And there are some powerful NAS units that can actually run logitech media server (LMS) software just fine. But one has to be careful because there are also many low-power NAS units on which LMS can be installed, but it runs badly....

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greynol
post Jul 19 2012, 16:52
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My specifying a "dumb" NAS wasn't an accident. smile.gif


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garym
post Jul 19 2012, 16:59
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QUOTE (greynol @ Jul 19 2012, 10:47) *
There must be a simpler solution that doesn't require running an additional box (PC/Mac/laptop/server/etc.).


With the SqueezeBox Touch, it does have a built-in server ("TinyLMS") such that one can simply plug in a USB drive with music files to the TOUCH itself, allow it to scan and add to internal database, and then play these files (or play internet radio, pandora, mog, siriusXM, etc.). But it turned out to be somewhat underpowered (for large libraries) and also picky about which USB drives it worked with (how they are formatted, how many partitions, etc.). So it was a "not so successful" attempt to remove the PC from the equation.

It *can* work...my brother uses a TOUCH with attached USB HDD containing about 50,000 mp3 files. And he can control this from the SB Touch screen, from the IR remote, or from an app on his iphone. No other computer needed. But for me, with about 70,000 FLAC files, I use a barebones atom based headless computer running the Vortexbox (linux) software. The computer is on 24/7 and is stuck in a back closet. I can manage it (transfer files, etc.) via a webbrowser GUI from any other computer (my laptop) on my network. The Vortexbox system also has a built in USB backup system (using a version of rsync) to keep current files and backup files matching.
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Apesbrain
post Jul 19 2012, 17:01
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Squeezebox can also play internet radio and leading music services without a server. If you are connected to the net, you can use Logitech's "MySqueezebox" online server which provides access to internet radio world-wide as well as many free and paid music services. Think about it: you can buy a subscription to Mog for $5/month and never rip a CD again.
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greynol
post Jul 19 2012, 17:02
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Sure and there are quite a few devices that can stream data from the cloud.

There must be solutions that don't involve a Squeezebox since it obviously can't handle a dumb NAS filled with music without having to run software on an additional device, no?

When you have a hammer everything looks like a nail, I guess.

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Apesbrain
post Jul 19 2012, 17:19
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QUOTE (greynol @ Jul 19 2012, 12:02) *
When you have a hammer everything looks like a nail, I guess.

Ha, point taken! But if the "solution" you are seeking is how to manage and get music from a "dumb" NAS to a playback device (stereo, PC, iDevice), then you have to have a control point and DAC somewhere in the chain. It could be hardware (Squeezebox, Sonos) or software running on a PC (iTunes, foobar2000, Windows Media Player, WinAmp, whatever). The only alternative I can think of is a "networked music player" component such as this. (Or a receiver/amp with a USB input to which a large external hard drive could be attached; not really a NAS solution, though.)
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eahm
post Jul 19 2012, 17:36
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QUOTE (Apesbrain @ Jul 19 2012, 06:41) *
1. Airport Express ($97 on Amazon; $85 for older version)

Is there a reason why everyone keep suggesting Apple routers? Not because you like/buy Apple you have to get EVERYTHING Apple, there are better alternatives:

ASUS RT-N66U
Cisco Linksys E4200 (v1)
Cisco Linksys E3000
ASUS RT-N16
etc.

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greynol
post Jul 19 2012, 17:39
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While the AirPort Express can be used as a router, that is not why it is being suggested.

There's this as well:
http://www.apple.com/appletv/

Same price but receives video streams in addition to audio and doesn't have router capabilities. The audio output is optical, however.

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eahm
post Jul 19 2012, 17:51
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Still, these routers cost less (not the RT-N66U) and are better even as Access Point / Gateway / Repeater / Adapter.

Talking about the AppleTV, I rather get a Boxee Box.

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greynol
post Jul 19 2012, 17:59
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QUOTE (eahm @ Jul 19 2012, 09:51) *
Still, these routers cost less

Can they output audio to a receiver or DAC?

If not then who cares if they cost less?


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