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Help - Build a Music Server or just buy one? Escient for $2000............

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I need help on building a Music server…..


I am into Hi-end audio, so I want perfect bit to bit sound. I was looking to purchase an Escient Music server for ($2000) and rip everything in FLAC. However, is there a better and cheaper alternative?


I prefer to use a windows based system. My other idea was to purchase an HP laptop with a P.S. Audio DacIII – rip everything in FLAC using win amp or media Monkey. OR, just use an ipod with a Wadia Transport, but I really want excellent sound and an on screen interface to hoop-up to my flat screen.)


What is the best rout and most feasible?

Any help is greatly appreciated.






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I am in a similar situation as you.


As proof of concept I have done the following:


Mediamonkey on an old desktop PC, wirelessly streaming to an Apple Airport Express (AE). I use an old laptop to control the desktop PC. This removes (from the music room) the fan noise, monitor and all the other issues that accompany a desktop computer.


This has worked very well and reliably; my goal was to see if I enjoyed computer-based music and the answer is a resounding yes due to the ease of use, searchability, etc, etc. My listening time is up substantially.


I am now going to start working on the sound quality issue. An AE seems to not be the best quality based on discussions on this web site.


Whether a DAC will improve the AE substantially or not appears to be the typical $terofool question. Having said that, I have had some fairly sophisticated users who do not think that AE sounds substantially inferior to a high-quality CD player. As always, it is what sounds best to you.


I have found Mediamonkey to be reliable, stable, easy to use and able to deal with large libraries (2TB). It has multiple ad in software widgets that make it very usable. The little laptop gives me a remote control I can actually see, the ability to see lyrics, album art and control what/which song, etc.


my 2cents worth.


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I would think so.


As I recollect the software interface was problematic with Escient , some zones had to be wired, etc. There was hardisk in the room. I believe you has to decide on disk size at the outset. And some other stuff that bothered _me_ (but perhaps not others) that I can't remember.


It is possible to have multiple AE's and stream to all simultaneously.


EAC to rip - free

An AE(s) (~$100.00 each)

A PC - cost = probably have one. A laptop as a remote (?$) - not required

Eric Milles software to stream - $25.00

MediaMonkey $25.00

A drive for music - $100.00+ (each)


Your cost can be very nominal


Once again, the AE _probably_ not be top of line for sound but I have not really listened critically in comparison to other devices, I have not tried a DAC, etc.





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