Starting over: Uiniticore, Zen mini or Streaming

Hi,
So starting over having lost music on a ZoneRipper. I would like to rip approx 350/400 CD’s, store them and serve to NDX (2012). Although, given the cost of the Uniticore, this would also provide a number of years of streaming. Would they have all the older CD’s I’ve accumulated over the years.

I’ve read quite a number of other posts, and my head is spinning with tech!! Most of which has gone over my head ….

I like the idea of the removable hard disk on the UC, and it’s Naim

Sorry if it’s been ask before, Uniticore, Zen mini (or stream) ?

For me the Core is just too limited in its ability to manage metadata and serve music files in the way I would expect, so I would go for the far more versatile Zen Mini.
First I would sign up for a free trial of Tidal. If you find it reliable and if it has the music you want that could be all you need.

Chris, thank you that does look a good option. My NDX is with Naim currently so can’t stream. It’s just the price rise with Naim on Monday, if I went that route buying prior would save me £200.

It’s strange because generally I can detect little differences between cables, support, isolation devices….but found no meaningful differences between FLAC and WAV. And still strangely I prefer a very little bit Flac vs WAV, and the most AIFF. but it’s really very minor.
I use an NDS and stream files from Melco.

Yes that was some of my concerns with a lot of 80’s / 90’s CD’s. It would be annoying if I stream albums that it then disappear off the streaming site. Good shout re the WAV files, thank you

I’m pretty sure you can’t do this with a Core.

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Wouldn’t the core rip to WAV by default. ?

I also considered the core some months ago, is an interesting piece of hardware, but is very limited in functionality and for the price I don’t find it very attractive.

But I have to admit is a beautiful unit built like a thank and is a plug and play for Naim devices.

But for the price I purchased a NAS, some hard drives and a Zen Stream, I understand that that’s a very different approach and I rip my cd’s on the computer. I even can understand that the Core can sound better, but it’s limited to the Naim ecosystem and the value/functionality is not that great to me.

But quantifying the value of a piece is different for every one.

A few years ago now I looked at the various options for home streaming. I started off with a QNAP server running Twonky into a NDS. But I grew dissatisfied, largely because I was using the QNAP to host my work and research as well. I listened to various ripper / servers (Naim, Moon, Zen, Innuous etc.); in the end I went for a system from the Audiostore that offered better value for money. It took a month to rip my music, classical and stuff from the 1970’s, ‘80’s and ‘90’s; now I rip using the server or buy downloads from Bandcamp or artists’ web pages.

As suggested above I tried Tidal and Qobuz for their free periods, and although great for discovering new music, I bought very little. Now I get recommendations from friends, this forum, and Radio Paradise before downloading or buying CDs.

You are right. You can’t tell the Core to transcode from whatever the files are in. It just serves those files.

By default it rips to WAV, but you can tell it to rip in FLAC if you want to. It’s intended to be a once off choice, but you can change it easily enough. It then rips in the last format it’s been instructed until you alter it again.

In addition to better functionality cost wise the Zen Mini is attractive, approx 50% of the Core.

Another vote for the Zen Mini, (full disclosure Zenith Mk III user), or failing that and depending on IT skills, a QNAP or Synology NAS with one of the (very good) streaming apps added.

KR, J

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Thank you all for your very helpful views and advice. I don’t have a computer with CD drive, so ripping that way is out. So looking at a stand-alone ripper to serve UPnP as I have done previously via Ethernet- the Zen Mini is looking good at functionality and cost. I’m only ever going to stream to Naim so the Naim ecosystem is ok.

Don’t forget that you can get an external CD drive for a computer for about £20 or less if that’s the only thing stopping you from using a computer to rip your CDs.

Now that’s a thought , thanks

Hi Dr-J,
Thank you for this - Could I ask the difference between the Zen mini and your Zenith - is it better SQ ?

Ah, I was looking at the Zen mk3 - I can see the Zenith is a significant step up in SQ

SSD storage up to 4TB so no moving parts aka hard drive, much better power supply (an add on for the Zen Mini, making for a larger footprint similar to Zenith), and you can change the LED colour to match your system :grinning:.

Oh and yes, much better SQ.

ATB, J

I’m delighted with my Innous zen mini. The sound quality has improved further with the software changes and the app is lovely.
Absolutely no problems at all mechanically, software or connection in 2 years and I’m glad I bought it. It’s simple to rip discs and has found 99% of album artwork itself.
It works as a library for sonos products to work with it and plays spotify as a connect device well (https://innuos.com/kb/configure-the-spotify-streaming-service-innuos-2-0/) A small usb hard drive is plugged into the back and it auto backups.

One of my best hifi purchases in decades.

Yes the Zenith is better sound quality, more local power supplies etc, also £1700 more expensive, there is also a Zen model in between. If you check the Innuos site they provide a general overview of the ZenMini/Zen/Zenith and Statement. You really get what you pay for.

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