I am new to computer streaming audio and am seeking your help.
I recently sold my CD 5 si. I shopped for a Uniti Core and as great as the product seems the price is a little prohibitive for me right now. So I turned my mind to a NAS. I would like to rip appr 400 CD’s to a NAS and then stream them to my NDX 2. I have a MacBook Pro 16 with no CD drive so I know I have to start by buying a CD ripper to attach to the MacBook. After that initial step, I am into the unknown. I have Googled as much as I can but get a million different opinions most of which are outdated. I am embarrassed asking this (and am showing my age) but I don’t even know where to start.
Which NAS would you recommend?
What program do I install on my MacBook to burn the CD’s into FLAC files.
Do I have to install some program on the NAS to enable it to communicate with my NDX 2? I have read about people discussing Asset or Minimserver.
Will all this be too much of a faff for an old codger and just bite the bullet and pay for a very expensive Uniti Core?
I know that these may seem like simplistic questions to most on this forum but please bear with me. I am modernizing…one step at a time.
Get a decent Qnap or Synology. I have the Qnap TS253A if that helps but it’s a few years old now. You want dbpoweramp as the ripper and metadata editor, and Asset as the upnp server. It’s initially confusing but with a little perseverance you’ll get there and once mastered it’s easy. Ensure you have a backup plan for the nas, with the Qnap you can attach a USB drive, press a button and it’s done.
Thank you. I forgot to mention that the NAS will be in my listening room, appr 10 feet from my rack. I am assuming these NAS devices have fans. Are they loud and do they turn on often? Also, will SDD vs spinning disk make a difference in noise and in retrieval speed?
I couldn’t cope with the noise from my NAS in the listening room. I’m sure SSDs will help but would still suspect the fans to be quite noisy. You might be able to find something very quiet with SSD but that will push the cost up.
You need an external CD drive attached to your Macbook Pro to read the CDs. Then a software to rip the audio CD into FLAC or Wav files. A NAS drive e.g. Qnap or Synology to store the files and finally a media server to organise the files.
I am using my 5 years old Apple superdrive to read the CDs. I use XLD, a free software to rip my CDs. The FLAC files are store in a Synology DS918+ running the Synology’s own media server to steam music to my ND555.
So all the softwares are FOC. Maybe you can have a test run and see how you feel.
I have Synology, comparing to friends with QNAP, nothing to choose except Synology has better software & support, but maybe I’m biaised.
The Synology UPnP Media Server software is pants, alternatives are … if you’re a classical music buff, use Minimserver, if rock, folk or jazz use Asset UPnP.
Rip with dBpoweramp, rip to FLAC & if using an old tech streamer transcode (“play as”) WAV. If new platform, it makes no difference, play straight FLAC.
Finally you need a backup, lots of ways to do this, I use WD My Passport USB, I get a new backup every month, maybe more as I load more albums.
@Stag@popeye raises a legitimate option. If you will have one of the newer streaming platforms ie. NDX-2 for example,the SQ with internet streaming especially with Qobuz is closing in on local streaming from a NAS with ripped CDs . I have a QNAP NAS and a Qobuz subscription and find that I’m streaming from Qobuz more than 80% of the time. Just about all of my ripped CDs are available on Qobuz often in Hi Def 24 bit, better than 16 bit CD for the most part.( not always).
Haven’t bought and ripped a CD or downloaded a music file in many months. Definitely worth thinking about.
BTW I’m in my mid 60s . The learning curve is steep but you will get there
Just realized you have an NDX2 already Perfect!!
The simplest cheap solution is to put DBpoweramp on your computer, and rip your CDs using a CD drive connected to a USB port, which is all very cheap. You can fiddle around with a NAS, and if you have a bit of time and patience you’ll get it working nicely, cost around £250. Or you can save the files to a £50 USB drive, connect it to the NDX2, and you’re done.
A potentially easier solution is to buy an Innuos Zen Mini. More expensive, but still half the price of the Core, and far more versatile.
Which program on a Mac? dBPowerAmp. It’s pretty brilliant.
Do you need to install something? Yes, Asset Server is my preference. Although I did find it a bit tricky for my ageing years (nearly 60). I got there in the end though.
If you know your way around a computer to some degree - ( I am by no means a techie), then with a little assistance from this forum and / or friends or children, it should be no problem!
5 (ish) A Core may be simpler but will cost considerably (by a huge margin) more to buy.
@rnyeung has explained things really well. Get a good NAS, I use Synology but QNAP are also very well respected.
Purchase dBpoweamp to rip to FLAC
Also, where is your router situated? You should consider a network switch and connect your NAS to that, much cleaner and can site it out of the room or further away as they do make a bit of noise.
Asset or MinimServer can be added to your NAS at some stage to improve the streaming experience… enjoy!
I am happy to recommend the Qnap NAS.
I use EAC to rip my CDs to FLAC and tweak the tags with mp3tag. The only software on the NAS in terms of music streaming is MinimServer.
In addition I use the NAS model 251+ as a backup device and an NVR for my IP security camera.
For a NAS I use a NUC running windows. I tried a couple of commercial NAS products before settling on making my own with a small, headless, pc. The reason is I was spending so much time trying to tweek software and settings. I love the flexibility running a Windows NUC gives and it’s super easy to add extra software or functionality. Simple to setup and I can do things like easily set scheduled backups and even synch with a backup drive I run on my works pc. I use windows remote desktop to control which means I can even access from work. I’ve been running this setup for perhaps 10 years now and it’s never let me down… okay it has once: The clock started to play up on it about a year ago but easily fixed by an hourly scheduled event to resynch time to NTP. If I was to do this again though I wouldn’t go with a NUC. Although the NUC has been excellent it’s a bit pricey and there are now several alternative mini-pcs available at half the price. In fact I have a ‘spare’ mini-pc sat in a cupboard which is an i5 with windows 10 and 500meg ssd (as the system drive). This was purchased for a different, failed project, but it’s ready to go with minimal work if/when the NUC finally dies. Simply move the music SSD over. Update the software and bingo, up an running again.
I have a Synology DS218play and it’s more than capable of what I need it to do. It has a pair of 2tb Western Digital Red drives (Running in Raid 1/Mirrored) in it. It does come with UPNP software, but I highly recommend getting Asset UPnP software as it’s much better.
I used DBpoweramp to rip my CD’s using an external (USB) CD dive for my computer. I did rip the first 400 or so CD’s with my old computer, and that pretty much killed my old built in DVD drive, I rip with error corrections on, so it takes multiple passes when ripping so it like ripping double the amount of CD’s! I use MP3 tag (which is free) to sort out any artwork/metadata etc.
It’s a very tedious and time consuming process, not only ripping but making sure the metadata, tagging and artwork are correct. My nas has redundancy (Raid 1) so one drive is a mirror image of the other. I also regularly back up to an external USB drive and I have the NAS backup my music to google drive as well. I have no desire to re-rip my music ever again!
I started by ripping a few hundred cd’s, back when I first started using a NAS. It took several days to simply get them basically ripped. However I’m STILL finding some albums that haven’t been tagged correctly - sometimes simple things like the wrong artwork. I have a binge every so often and redo a bunch (for this I use MM4 which has the option to read tag information from discogs, that’s release dates/artwork/catalogue number etc…). Now I’ve got more free time I’ve had a big push over the last few months to get the whole library checked. This a much easier to do using MM4 actually running on my NAS/NUC since the disc access is instant and ten times faster than over the LAN. Saying that I still found another old album last night that was wrong or incomplete and needed sorting.