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Ottoa62
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Hello, I'll begin with an apology... I have searched through the site for an hour...I need a simple Kindergarten guide how to start with computer audio. I plan on using a Laptop as the interface...I'd like to store ( rip all my cd's ) to a NAS ...harddrive...I have Tidal...I read through J River *** since I am Windows based. I just want to store all my cd's on a hard drive, to access.. I am pretty good on the PC...but just cannot get my brain around this subject... if someone could please point me to some how to guides or a book or how too's I would very much appreciate this... Thank you, Otto

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Welcome to the site Otto. There are plenty of knowledgeable experts and enthusiasts you'll come across while searching here. I'm not one of them. What I can tell you is that, take your time ripping your CDs properly the first time. Here's a great article written by the site founder Chris Connaker. Computer Audiophile - Computer Audiophile CD Ripping Strategy and Methodology.

 

While your ripping your CDs, read, read, read, all about the different ways you'll want to play back your music, it's endless. There are several inexpensive ways to start. Purchase an Audioquest Dragonfly and output to powered speakers or connect to a receiver/preamp/speaker setup. There are other products like the Dragonfly but it's the most common. Next and I think the golden standard here would be a stand alone DAC. Once again, here you can start off cheap to get your feet wet, then when you discover what you like you can upgrade.

 

There's endless software programs and standalone products that can do it all in one box, including the ripping. Having a NAS is great start.

 

Others will chime in, it just takes time. Don't rush into it. Ask questions, keep it simple. Towards the top left of the home page is a heading titled CA Academy. Skim through all the titles and read the corresponding topics that may help you, this is often overlooked by newcomers.

 

You may want to add, are you going to use speakers or headphones. Or do you have an existing system that your going to connect to. Good luck.:)

 

Shawn

PC/NAS/JRiver/Roon - PS Audio P5 Regenerator - KEF LS50 Nocturne - Rel 328 subwoofer - PS Audio AC5 Power cables 

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Welcome to the site Otto. There are plenty of knowledgeable experts and enthusiasts you'll come across while searching here. I'm not one of them. What I can tell you is that, take your time ripping your CDs properly the first time. Here's a great article written by the site founder Chris Connaker. Computer Audiophile - Computer Audiophile CD Ripping Strategy and Methodology.

 

While your ripping your CDs, read, read, read, all about the different ways you'll want to play back your music, it's endless. There are several inexpensive ways to start. Purchase an Audioquest Dragonfly and output to powered speakers or connect to a receiver/preamp/speaker setup. There are other products like the Dragonfly but it's the most common. Next and I think the golden standard here would be a stand alone DAC. Once again, here you can start off cheap to get your feet wet, then when you discover what you like you can upgrade.

 

There's endless software programs and standalone products that can do it all in one box, including the ripping. Having a NAS is great start.

 

Others will chime in, it just takes time. Don't rush into it. Ask questions, keep it simple. Towards the top left of the home page is a heading titled CA Academy. Skim through all the titles and read the corresponding topics that may help you, this is often overlooked by newcomers.

 

You may want to add, are you going to use speakers or headphones. Or do you have an existing system that your going to connect to. Good luck.:)

 

Shawn

 

Shawn, Thank you so very much for taking time to reply to my post. I do have a DF version 1 which I use on my desktop. I have a very decent Audio " Rig" and I will mostly be using it to listen. I have an outboard DAC a Musical Fidelity V90... I am very well versed in audio....its just the next step to rip my CD's for convenience and not have to spin them anymore..or at least have them ripped for convenience. I spent time on Pure Music's web site....there seems to be more alternative for MAC users and more software for MAC... who knows maybe one day, I'l give in and go MAC based LOL...for now...all my PC's are Windows 10. I figure I can rip the CD's then store them....thats the next step,,,to what and where? Access is next... I can use a tablet to control the "software" in the laptop ( Bluetooth Apt X? )... or I will just have to keep getting up from my listening chair to change playlists etc. Trying to figure this all out. Tying in the PC, storage, and listening software ( J River ? ) all through my audio system. Ive heard its called an "eco system". I'll keep reading and learning. I do 'stream" Tidal to my rig with a USB out from the PC to the V90... and it sounds pretty good... it depends on the track and how well it was recorded to begin with. I am a musician with 45 years of live music in my brain. I mainly have been listening to cd's digital out to my V90..and this seems to be the best sound. I see there is many opinions about ripping to FLAC vs WAV..WAV being preferred... then someone said just just iTunes and rip to AIFF lossless....not a bad idea really... again...I need to decide what will sound the best,,,do this exercise once, hopefully...thee enjoy the music. Not sure if Itunes AIFF would sound better on a MAC than a PC... then there are the aftermarket products to consideer..Amara..Pure Music... Bit Perfect... and now Roon... yikes..... Otto

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What format you use for ripping depends on how big a collection you have. Given that you're a musician and want to keep it simple, just use iTunes to rip your CDs to AIFF. (WAV files can pose tagging problems, I believe.) You can always convert everything to Apple Lossless later if you need the room. You can control iTunes from your phone or pad, so no jumping up and down. :-)

 

Don't worry about W10 or Mac. W10 sounds great. Buy a 4TB WD My Cloud. That will hold several thousand albums. Connect it to your router and tell iTunes to use it for your library. Rip away and enjoy. Don't get hung up on this other stuff. You can always experiment with fancier things down the road. That's my .02!

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If it helps here's my story. I got started because I bought a iPhone in 2008. They said I could put music on it using Itunes, sweet. So I ripped my collection, I use a PC. I had all these songs but it didn't sound that great compared to my home system. No biggie. I found this site and learned that iTunes by default compresses everything in order to fit all those songs on the phone. I didn't care about how many songs I had so I re-ripped everything to AIFF from ACC.

 

Then as I read every article on this site, It took about a year at the time. I was curious about how do I connect to my system. That's when I researched all sorts of DAC's and other software alternatives.

 

I choose Then Peachtree DACit and Jriver. It took me a year to decide on Jriver I was nervous because I lack any computer skills. Not knowing I could convert all my files with Jriver from AIFF to anything I wanted, I re-ripped my collection to WAV. But WAV sucks at meta data. So guess what, I re-rippped everything again to FLAC. I'm an idiot at this point. I've ripped my collection of about 2000 CDs 4 times, each time taking about 3 months to do. This time around I used dbPoweramp for my ripping, and I bought an external blu-ray player to handle the work load, I liked it alot. My dvd drive was getting a little fussy.

 

With Jriver I was and have been very satisfied. There's so much you can do with it. Visually it's far better then iTunes. You can run minilyrics and have scrolling lyrics. They have a theater view where images of the artist taken from the internet time lapse as the music plays. The programming of the software is endless, for me it was daunting. A few threads here taught me a lot. Ted_B has a few videos on how certain things work with Jriver on this site.

 

Then this year I was very interested in Roon and I wanted to try Tidal for its lossless streaming. I bought a lifetime membership and I've never been happier with all this new content at an instant. I play guitar, so to have access to songs that I have sheet music for but never had the source material has been a godsend. I've pulled out 25 years of guitar magazine and have relearned music that at the time I was never interested in or had no reference for the material. Plus there are several sites that will give you all the sheet music you want, at a price.

 

Yes, there are sound deference's between all programs, you can alter those things as you go. Many have added HQplayer on top of Roon for better quality. Your choice of DAC, I believe will make the biggest difference, given that you already have an existing system to work with.

 

My only cause for concern is if Tidal goes away, will Roon be worth the price. I'm hoping both will last.

 

If I was brand new to the HOBBY, I would go with Roon/Tidal. You have almost everything you want. Endless content and a great browsing program. Add HQplayer for better sound.

 

Everything I've mentioned has a trial period. Rip a few cds and see what you like

PC/NAS/JRiver/Roon - PS Audio P5 Regenerator - KEF LS50 Nocturne - Rel 328 subwoofer - PS Audio AC5 Power cables 

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If it helps here's my story. I got started because I bought a iPhone in 2008. They said I could put music on it using Itunes, sweet. So I ripped my collection, I use a PC. I had all these songs but it didn't sound that great compared to my home system. No biggie. I found this site and learned that iTunes by default compresses everything in order to fit all those songs on the phone. I didn't care about how many songs I had so I re-ripped everything to AIFF from ACC.

 

Did you re-rip from your CDs or from your AAC files?

The way you wrote it makes it sound like you just converted AAC files to AIFF and if that's the case then you gained nothing sound wise but lost storage space and wasted time...

 

R

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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You're safe, then.

But the time it takes is painful...

 

R

Computer audio is based on 3 functions. Library, renderer and control point.

 

The library usually is software residing on a NAS or computer. This controls your music library and if asked sends music to the renderer. The library uses the tracks tag info to present the music on the control point. I use Minimstreamer as library. With it you have control over your library in detail.

 

The renderer is usually hardware also called a streamer that gets music in bits from the library and turns it into a music flow that a dac can handle. Clocking and minimization of electronic noise is important here. The small microRendu really does this much better than my former Pioneer N-30.

 

The control point is software. Look at it as a remote control or user interface. The control point software defines how the library is presented. For example just text or with album art. I use Bubbleupnp on my Android phone. It's a great non proprietary control point.

 

If this is to complicated you can use iTunes on your computer. It's a library, renderer and control point in one. It organizes the music, it plays the music and it is your interface.

 

Between your NAS and dac you can buy a streamer or use a computer as renderer. But a computer is noisy unless it's optimized for music playback. Mac (f.e. Amara) and Windows (f.e. HQ player and JRiver) computer have their own dedicated control point software.

 

Often library and control point software comes as a media player audio/video package like f.e. PLEX. But media player packages are less suited (less adaptive) for a dedicated audio system.

 

Hope this helps.

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Good post if I can butt in here. I am in the same boat as the original poster.

 

Is the renderer part of the hardware that stores the library? Eg QNAP or Synology box.

If so, does the renderer generate the stream itself, without going through the router?

The renderer is essentially a separate, high-quality sound card with minimal OS that receives the audio stream via ethernet or wifi and outputs it to the DAC via one or more digital output options. When ethernet DACs become more common, this step may be obsolete, but for now it's a necessary step between storage and DAC.

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The renderer is essentially a separate, high-quality sound card with minimal OS that receives the audio stream via ethernet or wifi and outputs it to the DAC via one or more digital output options. When ethernet DACs become more common, this step may be obsolete, but for now it's a necessary step between storage and DAC.

True, however Audiostation on Synology NAS can act as renderer. If you plug in a usb-dac it works. But the accompanying control point ds audio is almost unusable.

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True, however Audiostation on Synology NAS can act as renderer. If you plug in a usb-dac it works. But the accompanying control point ds audio is almost unusable.

 

So here is my plan(s). Rip CD's to FLAC files.

 

1) WD MyCloud with Bose or Sonos wi-if speakers.

 

or

 

2) Synology 251 with Bose or Sonos speakers wi-if speakers.

 

Where does the DAC fit in here? I'm a little confused....

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Where does the DAC fit in here? I'm a little confused....

The Bose or Sonos speakers have an internal DAC and amplification. All they need is to be attached to your network.

 

Sonos will automatically seek out and index all playable music files on your network. I don't know the Bose system but it must be similar.

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The Bose or Sonos speakers have an internal DAC and amplification. All they need is to be attached to your network.

 

Sonos will automatically seek out and index all playable music files on your network. I don't know the Bose system but it must be similar.

Thanks so much. I was hoping that would be the case.

 

I am almost ready to commit on this but I have one more loose end to clear up. Is the NAS (whatever one I decide upon) physically connected to my router (via USB) or just one of the components in my wireless network ie like another PC?

You can tell that I am new to this :)....

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Thanks so much. I was hoping that would be the case.

 

I am almost ready to commit on this but I have one more loose end to clear up. Is the NAS (whatever one I decide upon) physically connected to my router (via USB) or just one of the components in my wireless network ie like another PC?

You can tell that I am new to this :)....

 

Yes, the My Cloud will show up on your network just like one of your PCs.

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I would encourage you to connect your NAS to your router using a wire: USB or Ethernet, whatever it supports. Avoid using wireless for this link.

 

Also, if I were just starting out and considering buying into one of these hardware solutions I'd want to know whether it can play "hi-res" files and does it properly play "gapless". In the case of Sonos, for example, the answers are no and yes, respectively. You may need to do some additional research and decide if this matters in your use case. I for one could not be happy without gapless.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi...I started this thread LOL, to recap a bit: I am PC based... I have not bought a WD cloud yet...but this seems to be the way to go...the NAS is a piece of "hardware" and can fail...w/o another NAS or USD hard drive...there goes the whole collection! If I rip to my PC... I'll be tied to it for control...I think I read that Iriver has a remote feature? My goal is to sit at my "perch" and control listening with either my Droid phone or a tablet using Bluetooth to communicate with the host PC were IRiver is residing along with the Cloud connected through wired internet connection...sound good? Oh my main DAC is a Musical Fidelity V90.2 LOVE it fro 299.00 its 32 bit and a not brainer...it sounds great...if I were to upgade it would be a Schiit 1 multi bit Bitfrost.

 

Last...PURE MUSIC has good advise ( although by their own admission a bit dated )...buying a separate compeuter CD drive to RIP the 100's of Cd's instead of ripping through the stock DVD drive inside a pc... any comment about buying a BLUE RAY player to do this chore as Shawn did?

 

Sorry last question: I thinking of NOT USING THE PC to be the Brains...and buy a "Bluesound " oir Aires mini to do the processing or "rendering" I DO Listen to Tidal... allot..Roon/TIDAL? hum... still thinking IRiver because I am PC based... Thank you for your patience with my flea brain.

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Hi...I started this thread LOL, to recap a bit:

 

It's up to you if you want to use a PC/Mac (whatever). I have 2 computers, both with 2TB of storage. I keep exact copies of my files on both computers. I use a portable hard drive to update one of the computers. Why? why not, its there. I use the mycloud NAS as strictly another form of back up. Plus with it, I have my own cloud for everything on my computers. Access anytime, anywhere. I don't use the NAS for selecting my files for Jriver or Roon. I use one of the PC's for this. Western Digital myclouds are nice but a dedicated NAS from Synology or other brands would be better for music distribution.

 

Jriver has a remote called JRemote $10. Works great.

 

I bought the external Blu-ray player because I had a lot of CDs to rip again and my player in the computer was acting up. I was also going to rip my DVD and Blu-ray music (music from live concerts) on to the computer.

 

Lots of people use laptops. I would suggest getting a tower. There cheap, powerful and hold lots of storage. Get Jriver and your set. When your ready to invest get the NAS of your choice. I suggest this because Jriver is only $50 and your in. Roon costs a lot and might not be exactly what you want yet. Of course Tidal works seamlessly with Roon. I use both.

 

Unfortunately there's so many ways of doing things with computer audio. So many choices to make. It took me 2 years of reading everything on this site before I bought Jriver. I should have dug in right away. For $50, I blow that every night I go out for dinner and pull-tabs.

 

As for Aries and other like products other CA members will have to chime in.

 

Good to see ya back :)

PC/NAS/JRiver/Roon - PS Audio P5 Regenerator - KEF LS50 Nocturne - Rel 328 subwoofer - PS Audio AC5 Power cables 

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