500 CDs: rip or play?

I have inherited 500 odd classical CDs. They came with a NAD C542 CD player which is fine with it’s dedicated 3240PE amp but doesn’t cut the mustard in the full system.

Should I:
a) buy a new CD player, if so which? Saturn R? CD5Si?
b) rip via superdrive to Apple computer and play through system using specially connected iPad as I do at the moment
b.1) Add a DAC to the above?
c) buy Uniti serve/core?
d) buy streamer?
e) use old Mac mini as server?

Classical CDs are often not tagged well in the online databases. Better in paid for services than free, but you can expect to edit a lot of tags.

On the other hand, when they are on CDs they are not tagged at all :slight_smile:
If the OP also uses online streaming, I recommend to take a look at the new Roon version 1.8 that will come out in a few days. They seem to have made a lot of improvements for classical metadata. There is a Roon 1.8 thread with links to preview articles. A one month test is free, but start it when the new version is out.

The rest of the OP question: First question is simply, are you willing to rip 500 CDs and do at least the minimum work, where necessary, to add some tag information. May be just a little with the new Roon (to be seen) or quite a lot with common free sources.

(Roon doesn’t need online streaming, but it’s probably overkill for 500 CDs)

Will you listen to the music? If so, decide whether streaming will be for you long term, and if so stream them and don’t worry. If not streaming, but you like the music, then rip them (lossless) which will make them available however you move in the future. If you might well not listen to them at all, then keep the CD layer in the system in case you do, and review after 6 months?

Naim ripper/servers are hopeless when it comes to dealing with Classical music, especially the Core, so in this case I would forget them. If you want a dedicated ripper/music store/server you could consider an Innuos Zen Mini. A computer with a CD drive and ripping software will do a good job too.
What hardware you use to play them will depend on what else you want from your system, and of course, your budget.

Although not a popular view, my advice is to get a decent CD player. Realistically, how many times do you expect to listen to each of those 500 cds which you did not personally choose? Ripping only makes sense for favorite disks, in my opinion. A CD player obviates the need for obsessive concern with ethernet cables, switches, and so on, let alone metadata problems…


I have ripped probably close to 1,000 classical and opera CDs with my Mac using dbpoweramp. Had very few issues with the tagging. Where it did struggle a bit was with the cover art, especially on those exotic bootleg live recordings. But you can add any picture you want.
Transferred everything on a NAS for ease of use with my streamer (272), but I admit I still like to use my CD5xs. I like physically touching the CDs.

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Innuos rips and stores and runs roon core

Hi @Loki What a super situation, to inherit 500 CD’s. No doubt you will now have some fun exploring all that music. After all, it’s all about the music :notes:

Fundamental question here is “rip or play”. Looking at your system, suggests you have options for both. (Having tried both, I prefer to play CD’s)

My vote would be option (a) play.
Both the CD players you mention would give good service. For similar money, suggest you consider a pre-loved Naim CD5XS, which would be a great choice and a little step up from those other options. Also, offers the ability to go further with the addition of a pre-loved Naim nDAC.

No doubt other suggestions and options will follow from others too. Good luck with an interesting project.

Thanks chaps. I am certainly leaning towards the CD player as the simplest most cost effective solution, although it will necessitate an extra level of Fraim unless I plump for the half box design of an Apollo.

Would an Apollo and DAC outperform the Saturn R? or, indeed, an Apollo Saturn V :rocket: :innocent:

One more question…
… the option of a CDX2 mk2 has arisen. Game changer?

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I have done similar, using dbpoweramp to rip about 800 CDs (and another 100+ bought since then). But it was an extensive labour of love (and I have had to learn a lot about dbpoweramp settings and tagging software) and definitely not worth it unless you want to maintain and listen to that library a lot.

But I have enjoyed the process and I don’t miss my CD player at all. My NDX streamer has been a revelation in terms of ease of browsing, use and playing, and the sound quality is just brilliant (in conjunction with the rest of the system of course).

But ripping 100s of CDs is not a quick and easy job.

I ripped around 1000, mostly classical, CDs a few years ago. I love the convenience of local streaming and my CD5XS very rarely gets used these days. But your situation is different. If you want consistent and useful metadata, you will very likely need to edit the metadata that, say, dBpoweramp gives you and this takes time and, at least initially, some thought. Since your CDs are an inherited collection rather than carefully accumulated over several years, I wonder if the hassle is worth it. Getting a CDX2, provided the price is reasonable, seems like a great solution. Just beware the upgrade options it opens up!


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I have a flat capped cd5xs and have just moved it into my main listening room. It was previously used else where.
Together with a super nait 2 and hi cap dr it is my favourite music maker. NDx2 came and went because of problems and it’s slot is filled by a Nd xs 5. This now ends up as an expensive radio.Quobuz has gone and I use free Spotify to find cds.
To these old lugs the sound is fuller and more rounded, richer. But 50% of what I listen to isn’t streamed and I do love looking for cds which are currently very cheaply available on Discogs etc.
My half penny worth. Of course it might all change next week.:wink:


Have you tried playing the CDs through your Pioneer Blu Ray? How would that sound?

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Well sleuthed Mike. I don’t know, although that blu ray player has awesome sound, albeit that it was a mid priced £200 affair.

The NAD CD player from the study sounded absolutely dreadful when it auditioned for a role in the Naim system!

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I think you’ve touched on a few of my qualms about ripping Nick. And likewise other posters’ worries about metadata gives me cold feet.

I think it is safe to say that bangs for buck I’ll go with the CD player option, and as you say, the media are dirt cheap and there’s no subscription to pay!

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I am aware of those options! But to me, that’s a plus, and at least the CDX2 mk2 is not going to be beaten by another technical upgrade, unlike the tech world of streamers.

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Well I auditioned the Saturn R at home against a CDX2.2 and… absolutely no contest. The Saturn sounded very beefy and clean with plenty of warmth, and then the CDX2.2 just cleaned the audio window and created a musical sound where a double bass sounded like…a double bass rather than a few random bits of code: speakers disappeared and oh such sweet clarity. And this particular unit has not yet been run in as the innards are entirely new. Both second hand and £5 between them: a no brainer in choosing the Naim. And how much better is it going to sound when I get round to adding an XPS? The LP12 still slaughters it though :sunglasses:

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