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Have just awakened to the computer audiophile world and need some basic assistance, please

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My 25-year old gear is beginning to fail, and I need some basic advice.


Silly me, I was going to get a new CD player until I realized that maybe the world had changed and I didn't need one. At this point, I have a new integrated amplifier with a DAC, plus I have a PC, an Apple Airport Express router and a Sonos system (several years ago --before we got Macs -- we used iTunes to load some music onto the PC, which we use for multiple iPods and iPhones and, when lazy, to play music using the Sonos system instead of through the old CD player).


I'm told that what I need to do next is burn my CDs in a lossless format and get some more storage capacity.


For burning the CDs, what format do I want to use? Is Apple Lossless as good as AIFF? Or is there something better than either of those? (Those two are easy options on iTunes, and as you can probably tell I might struggle with a harder-to-use option).


For storage, it was suggested I get a network server to hook up to my router. Is that right, or can I use some other storage technology? Whichever of these technologies I use, are they commodities or are there preferred products? If there are prefferd products, can I get some recommendations? And if I plan to burn about 500 CDs, how much storage space do I need?


Should I keep my compressed files on the PC, or transfer them over to the new storage device? Will Sonos be able to pull from two different places (the PC and the storage device), and if so can you tell me how I would get it to do that?


Maybe there are some more questions like these that I need to ask, but that's the extent of my understanding so far. Any advice will be most appreciated. Sorry to be so clueless, and thanks for your help in introducing me to this great new world.






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I was a total computer hifi newbie a few months ago (& so I guess I still am, really)

I bought a mac-mini & a dac to replace my cd based system.

You already have a pc & a dac in your amp.

Is your PC in the same room as your hifi amp?

I'm not familiar with the sonos gear.

You'll need to RIP (not burn. Thats when you make a physical cd copy) your cds to your computer. If you're using itunes, in my experience either apple lossless or AIFF is fine. You can set your ripping preferences in itunes by going to tunes, preferences & then itunes, clicking on preferences & then the general tab. Towards the bottom you should see a section that says "when you insert a cd". Set it to copy & eject the cd automatically" & select apple lossless or aiff as your preferred format.


Definitely remember that you will need to back up your music library as well.

I bought an external 1 tb HD connected to the computer by usb cable to store my music on. Again, you can select where you want itunes to store your music by going to the Advanced page (I think).

I would hazard a guess that to rip 500 cds using aiff or apple lossless, you would need 500gb storage, but I'd go for 1tb just because storage is pretty cheap & 1tb would future-proof yourself.

My mac-mini computer is in my hifi rack, as its very quiet in operation. Therefore, its all wired into the dac & amp etc. If you wanted to keep your computer in a different room to your hifi, then you'd need to use the airport express & a NAS set-up, which is not something I'm familiar with.


So hopefully thats a few of your questions answered & I'm sure others will be along soon to give you more info.

As I said, I'm only a few months further down the line than you, but what I can say is that computer hifi can definitely work to a very high standard with very little effort & not too much money, especially compared to looking at high-end cd players. You won't regret going down this route!




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