Hi everyone, I am looking into throwing the pc out & would like to store roughly 1300 cds on my Naim Uniti via Brennan 3 or maybe Innuos Zen mini? My two questions are 1, which of these is best on sound quality? 2nd how do I connect them to naim Uniti & still get album artwork on the Naim app? Any input would be appreciated. Cheers everyone. Mark.
Hi, the Zen Mini is a great choice. With both devices having a network connection, the Uniti will find the Zen in its UPnP input and you will be able to access your ripped CDs from within the Naim app.
A direct SPDIF digital connection is also possible, but in this case you would use an Innuos app to browse and select music although this will not have access to the Uniti volume control, input selection etc.
I store my music on a Qnap NAS. It very straightforward to access, has a small footprint and comes with backup options for my music too.
The Zen is a very expensive piece of equipment which uses Asset UPnP as the way to serve music files to your Naim.
Most of us have a cheaper option, like a QNAP Nas or a Synology Nas, install a copy of Asset UPnP on that Nas and play music from the Naim app.
It is about 1/10th of the price of the Zen for the same functionality, and sound wise (using UPnP) it doesn’t make that much of a difference.
I once tried a Brennan, though not the latest one. All I can say is that it was a piece of junk. Nothing more than a toy compared to Naim. I wouldn’t touch it with a barge-pole.
The obvious choice is a NAS device. You could use a Melco which should give better results than a typical NAS drive and has a dedicated player port meaning that it can connect directly to a streamer via ethernet. However it’s a lot more expensive and probably overkill with a Uniti.
We have a cheap Synology NAS (£400 2TB) with Asset AND a naim Uniti Core (£££).
There is zero difference in SQ when playing music via either device over ethernet network.
Asset on NAS is far preferable to the poor server built into Core for browsing.
NAS offers benefit of cloud backup and drive RAID redundancy. We actually use NAS as the music store for our Core, so when we rip a CD it gets automatically backed up to cloud,
One thing I would say is that there are people who will tell you that devices like a Melco or Innuos Zen are a waste of money and don’t sound any different to a cheap NAS. Remember that this is just their own particular opinion and value judgement not a universal truth.
Equally there are others who will tell you that they do make a very worthwhile improvement.
So you must listen and judge for yourself.
I used to store my music on a NAS; it worked well, except I also used it for my personal and work files. Then I was persuaded by a dealer that I needed a standalone storage device. I don’t think such a dedicated device improved sound quality but I was happier with it (and it runs Roon).
I agree that a Synology NAS or similar is a much cheaper option, although saying it’s only a tenth of the price is an exaggeration. It also doesn’t have “the same functionality”, the Zen is also a ripper, metadata editor, streamer, Roon Core, internet radio, SPDIF source and a load of other stuff. That makes it pretty good value in my books, and being a complete solution in a single box will appeal to those who are not inclined to set stuff up on a PC.
That aside, if you only want to store and serve CD rips, the NAS is a great choice.
It is literally a tenth if you pick a 2 bay Synology NAS, two 4TB harddrives and buy an AssetUPnP license.
The question was about storing CDs to get rid of a PC, so that calculation is easy to do.
Here is a slightly different and nuanced perspective…
Inherent in the OP is the unspoken issue of the user(s) preparedness for “faffing and fiddling”. That is, to use a NAS and appropriate software, requires some limited knowledge of networking and the learning curve associated with using & learning an application to access, curate, amend and control your archived database store of music or CD’s.
Case for dedicated music server
The reason why dedicated servers exist (albeit they probably cost more compared) is they just quietly do the same job, without any faff or fiddle. It may be worth reflecting on the value of this aspect, regardless of any debate about which sounds best.
UI’s being a key factor. Some UI’s are just so easy and intuitive to use, making the whole user experience such a delight.
In our case, we decided on the ZENmini, as much as anything because of the Innous Sense UI. Plus, the quality of the product and sound quality too.
My own qualification is working in an IT environment and - over 20years - using lots of PC music software and dedicated music servers too, with all their various UI’s.
My own personal opinion, (maybe a bias), FWIW, can’t be bothered with all the faff and fiddle, (when I come home from work, having worked with computers all day). Just wish to enjoy the music. Much more importantly, the dedicated server approach allows everyone else in the household easy access to the same music archive, regardless of prior experience. No faff or fiddle for anyone.
@ChrisSU eloquently describes - above - how the ZENmini might interface with your existing kit. It works fine.
Case for ZENmini
It’s more than a dedicated server. (For storing a CD archive).
The ZM also includes a streamer, allowing users to connect to Qobuz, et al, and stream from online music platforms.
Containing an internal DAC, It’s also a self contained music source, allowing an analogue output, etc. it’s DAC is pretty good too.
Did I mention, you can stream to multiple locations, concurrently, around your house? That’s if you wish to get into multi room?
Is will also work as a “core”, if you wish to add Roon at any point.
The ZM is a fine product, by itself. However, it also offers several incremental upgrade steps, should you wish to go on a hifi journey and improve your system over time. Adding the Innous external LPSU, makes a nice difference. The internal DAC does a decent job. Later, adding an external dedicated DAC helps lift the whole thing to another level.
We’ve had a ZM in our house for 18months now. Not once has it caused a problem, or asked for anything. (Which is contrast to my previous experiences with NAS devices, home networking and all the extra that goes with this approach).
Support from Innous is first class. (If you ever need any). In any case, a decent dealer should offer great first line support too.
Innous Sense is a wonderful User Interface. IMO, much better than the Naim app, which is already fine. Sense is incredibly intuitive.
Here is a post about a new users recent journey with an Innous ZENmini. Hope this is helpful to your research and thinking…
Hope all that helps?
Good luck, with what ever your decide.
You must use different shops to me! A new Mk3 Zen Mini would cost about £1300 at full price for the 2TB model, which allows plenty of room for expansion of the OPs library. I can’t see where you would buy your suggested Synology for £130.
That is certainly part of what drew me to the Melco as a solution. I also bought the matching D100 ripper. I didn’t want the hassle of a computer and related peripherals being part of my hi-fi set-up.
The Melco just works. No fuss, no issues no fiddling. When I want to rip a CD just pop it into the ripper and wait for it to pop out - done! Mine connects directly to my Qutest DAC via USB.
I’ve been extremely pleased with both the sound and the user-friendliness.
Very different prices from here.
Hi to all who replied with their advice & opinions, Thanks for your input. Ridds.