Ripper/Server suggestions?

Hello all, while I am a long time music lover and have been a fan of Naim equipment for the past two decades I have yet to dip my toes into the digital side of the spectrum (although I guess my CD5 does qualify up front). At the core of my system I still have my Nait 5i (the original iteration of this integrate amplifier) that I am incredibly fond of. I also have the CD5 as previously mentioned that is powered by a Flatcap2. As far as the big black discs are concerned I have a Rega Planar 6 with an Ania cartridge and am using a Parasound JC3 Jr. phono amp. I also have a Headline that is also powered by the Flatcap2. There are a variety of cables connecting these peripherals to my little Nait which in turn is driving a pair of Rega RX3 speakers via NACA5 cabling.

I mention my system details to give you all some type of idea where I sit in terms of my expectations. I used to participate on the old “HiFi Corner” forum many years ago. I am assuming that things are little different know in that the goal of most people on a Naim-specific forum were primarily interested in working their way up further and further along the Naim ladder of offerings. This has just hasn’t really been my approach. Like I said, I love what the 5i brings to the table and am also really happy with the CD5. I am not looking for the very last drop of detail or the ultimate in “hifi” experiences. I just really dig music in general and the way the Naim gear I own serves it up to me in particular.

As I write this, I have a used DAC V1 on it’s way to me. This represents my first ever outboard DAC purchase. After doing a bit a research I think (and am hoping) that I’ll like what it brings to the table. Only time will tell on that front of course. The reason that I am starting this thread is to ask for opinions regarding servers. I know that the UnitiServe would be a match with my system for a timeline / classic series perspective and the plug 'n rip advantages that it offers are very appealing. But after just a small amount of research it doesn’t sound like this would be a wise purchase for me for a variety of reasons. The Uniti Core looks like it might work but those appear to be too pricey for my needs.

Finally to my question. While I love my CD5, it is obviously getting a bit long in the tooth and I’m not sure how much longer it will be happily playing music. I have a few thousand CDs that ultimately I would like to rip and store on a server that would be connected to the DAC V1. Given my system above, and what you can tell of my sonic preferences given my equipment choices, what might you recommend as far as used or new devices that would fit my needs for around $1,200 (£1,000) or less. Are devices that rip and store both still even an option or have these two bits of functionality pretty much been separated these days with people using their computers to rip CD’s? I am open to new or used options and am primarily concerned about system synergy. Any and all recommendations and/or advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance, Bill.

Hey there.
I recently purchase a UnitiServe at a very good price. Before buying it I read everything about it, good and bad but I still decided to go for it.

I finished TODAY of ripping all my CD´s (1600 aprox), took me around 3-4 weeks in a very effortless work of doing it. It works very good.

I guess if you can afford the UnitiCore it´s wiser to go that way, it´ the latest. In my case the UC was way beyond budget, it was like 5 times what I paid for the US.

Keep having fun!

Grx8, I’m really glad to know that the UnitiServe is working out for you so far. After reading quite a bit about that particular unit I am sad to say that I just don’t think it’s the right choice for me for a few different reasons. The lack of accessing/storing certain metadata association with each recording is a concern although I’m not sure how much impact this has in actual practice. The bigger concern is the reliability issues mentioned in so many of the reviews. Frankly the repair process involved when the hard drive goes out was enough to scare me away from the UnitiServe. The Uniti Core actually sounds like it’s a great product. I like that owners can choose and change out the hard drive themselves. But as you’ve mentioned it comes at a high price, quite a bit beyond what I am wanting to spend.

jmtennapel, So far based on the research that I’ve done the Bluesound Vault 2i is at the top of my list. While the media reviews are all pretty positive sounding when it comes to the Vault 2i, I tend to take such things with a grain of salt without reading some owner reviews. But it does appear to meet all of my criteria. Either I haven’t done enough digging so far or there just aren’t a lot of other options at play with the particular combination of functionality that I’m in search of. At any rate, my favorite local dealer carries Bluesound products so that’s another plus. Do you yourself have experience with the Vault 2i? Anyone else here by chance?

Thank you both for your input, it is very much appreciated.

I’ve had a Unitiserve for 7 years, and I’m still happy with it. I would be a little wary of buying an old one given that the hard drive could eventually die, although it can still be serviced by Naim. Also remember that you need a backup. The US has a good automatic backup, but you will need a NAS to run this, not just a USB drive.
Another option I would highly recommend is the Innuos Zen Mini. The current Mk3 version has an SPDIF digital output, as does the Unitiserve, which would be a good match for the V1. This will also give you internet streaming services such as Tidal, Qobuz, Roon etc.

Thanks for that jmtennapel. While I am “fairly” computer savvy, when it comes to most matters involving hifi and listening to music I much prefer those solutions that give me the most performance in what amounts to a plug 'n play solution. While I have had a Linn LP12 in the past, I prefer my current P6 in part of Rega’s philosophy when it comes to their approach with turntables.

I record my own guitar music and in that case I am importing .WAV files from my digital recording device into my Mac. I then use Audacity to trim the beginning and end of each clip. From there I use iTunes to add Metadata (if I wish to bother with it) and convert the recording to a lo-res .MP3 file to share with family & friends via my website. (For the intended purpose crappy MP3 file works just fine.) This process is okay considering that there are very few songs that I actually create & end up recording. But in the case of ripping my CD collection I’d prefer to keep it as simple as possible. That said, if a separate items might make sense for some other reasons I’m all ears. Knowing me though, I’ll more than likely go for the one box solution.

ChrisSU, thanks for the heads up regarding the Innuos Zen Mini. I’ll be sure to look into it. Much appreciated!

I’ll second the Zen Mini, Effective, inexpensive and a doddle to use

I’ll “3rd” the Innuos Zen Mini, I don’t have one myself but have used one & similar machines owned by others. Simple well structured software that does the job, all I know with them rip to FLAC.
When I first started I ripped on my laptop with a desktop DVD read/writer using the excellent dBpoweramp software straight into my Synology NAS & once I got going it was a production line & very much like & as fast as using the Innuos type machines. But the added advantage with this setup over the ripper machines was I could preview the CD pre-rip on screen & could make metadata tag changes if I chose. And that’s the way I do it today & would not want to do anything different.

Last year I looked at replacing my NAS that held my ripped and downloaded music. I used an ancient MacBook so wanted a new ripper, and I wanted to be able use Roon on my NDS.
I auditioned Moon, Zen, and Naim Core. In the end I went for an Audiostore Prestige - it’s performed well on all fronts and I consider it good value for money.

It’s not the most flashy of sites, but Martin who runs it is very knowledgeable and helpful if you want things explained.

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Grx8, I meant to ask in my first reply — how much storage space did your 1600 CD’s require by the time you finished with all of them. This would be very helpful information to me.

I feel the need to add a comment at this point to let you all know that this is absolutely the greatest number of direct, helpful responses in such a short period of time that I have ever received throughout my many years spent participating on a variety of audio forums (Audio Asylum, the old Naim HiFi Corner, Steve Hoffman’s, Pink Fish Media, AudioKarma, etc., etc.), to be fair some of them only briefly.

I do understand that the current situation we are all facing regarding COVID-19 likely has something to do with the high participation in this particular case as we all find ourselves spending much more time indoors. Still, the outpouring of help is an incredibly nice surprise and I want to apologize in advance should I not be able to keep up with thanking everyone appropriately for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences with me. Even more so as this portion of the audio spectrum is all so completely new to me despite the fact that it long ago became so commonplace for so many others.


Camphuw, thank you for bringing the Audiostore Prestige to my attention. I will be sure to look into this option as well. This is awesome as I would much rather be faced with having too many options to compare and consider rather than too few.

(I dig your avatar image by the way.)

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Hi Bill, similar dilemma here a few months back but I ended up with the Uniti Core. Not the cheapest as many mention but it is sooo dam easy. Pop in a disk, do something else for a few mins, then pop another in. I left it by my desk and just changed the pile of disks sat next to it every few days until all were done.

Most SSD disks should be fine too, standard SATA so I went for a Samsung 860. As SSD disks age in write only, not in read, these should last longer than I will and consume little power with no moving parts. Don’t worry about scary stories about SSD flash dying over time. Buy a decent one and it should be fine.

I also have a Synology that I use for various tasks, the Core simply copies its contents to it overnight, instant reliable backup straight from the Naim App. Overall for me the value is in time saving, not just the music function.

A note on WAV vs FLAC, lots written and many opinions and yes in theory WAV does offer some potential benefits for not much extra storage space - big but - I copy my rips to portable players and here FLAC is pretty essential as it carries meta data that WAV does not. I use FLAC, the benefits are too great for anything else to be considered.

Have fun!

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Regarding the space requirements: my files in FLAC format take up less than 400 MB per CD.
A 1 TB disk would give you space for at least 2’500 CD’s.
I use EAC to rip my CD’s in FLAC-format. I store and stream them from a Synolgy disk station using Minim server. For the editing of the metadata I use MP3tag.
As you can see I like to keep things under my own control :wink:

Hi Guth,
Both @Camphuw and I went for an Audiostore Prestige in the end, though Martin does sell more affordable equivalents to the Innuos Zen ripper/server.

I started with a Synology NAS drive, ripping music to it via a mac mini with the excellent XLD or dBPoweramp software, before moving on to Martin’s Prestige ripper/server.

May I recommend a quick call to Martin before you make your final decision? He is a most helpful goldmine of information, as well as a thoroughly decent person.

Happy hunting, BF


+1 to both @Bluesfan and @Camphuw 's comments about the Audiostore Prestige and Martin Smith. I bought the earlier Prestige 2 (currently 3’rd gen) and have been delighted with its flexibility. Martin is very helpful and knowledgeable. Just make sure you’re ready for a long chat when you call him. Once he gets going there’s no stopping him. He’s great !


Captura de pantalla 2020-04-05 a la(s) 13.16.09

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Grx8 - Wow, that’s pretty eye opening. Thanks for sharing!

I should have thought to point out in my original post that I am located in the States (Portland, Oregon more specifically). If possible I’ll try to find a product that I can purchase from one of the brick 'n mortar shops here in the Pacific Northwest. My two favorite such retailers (one shop is located here in Portland and the other one is up in Seattle) both carry an incredibly impressive array of used and new equipment and they both have an unbelievable selection of used equipment with constant turnover. The shop in Seattle carries a lot of my favorite brands, including Naim and is where I obtained the DAC V1 from. The shop here in Portland carries the Bluesound Vault 2i and I passed on purchasing a Naim nDAC from them when I opted for the DAC V1. Ideally I would buy something from one of these two sources and would love to find a solution with my favorite shop here in Portland to spread the business around at a time when these stores can really use it. But I obviously owe it to myself to investigate all of the many options already mentioned before making any kind of decision and will be sure to do so. Thanks again all!

Ah, in that case you may wish to discard the Audiostore/Martin Smith idea, as he is based in the UK.

His US technology partners are Small Green Computer who make the Sonic transporter music servers.

Best regards, BF

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