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Newbie question on music storage

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I'm currently running a mid-2011 iMac which has a 500GB HDD, all my music is stored here. I'm looking into a new Mac Book Air or Pro which would have a 256GB SSD, my total music library is roughly 180GB mostly in ALAC. What would be the best option to store music if I did not want to use the SSD in the laptop? I'm not familiar with NAS or iCloud storage solutions such as WD My Cloud Home HDD. I use Sonos throughout my house and Bluesound in my dedicated 2ch listening room. I may also get back into Roon which I hear runs great as a boot drive. Just want to get some ideas where if I could I can start right now before upgrading my iMac. Thanks


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I have been using a low-end, single drive (HDD) Synology NAS unit for several years and it works great for the most part. You can certainly go with high-end NAS units with multiple drives running RAID set-ups but for my purposes of storing and accessing music files, my Synology DS115j works fine.

 

There is a bit of a learning curve on setting up a NAS but the NAS guys have software that make it fairly easy to do.

 

If this is of interest, I would suggest something like:

 

Synology DS119j or QNAP TS-128A

 

You can always upgrade to higher end units once you feel comfortable using a NAS. Both of these are relatively inexpensive ($200) even when the cost of a HDD is included.

 

Speaking HDD, they make special NAS HDD that are supposedly a bit more durable in the NAS duty such as the Western Digital Red HDD.

 

You also need to consider how to backup all of your music files. I have a separate USB drive connected to my NAS unit that backup the files once a week. I actually have a pair of the USB drives where one of the drives is kept offsite (bank security box) to guard against theft (someone breaks into your house and steals your equipment) or fire (house burns down). About every two months, I swap out the USB drives so one is always offsite. Overall, you can't have too many backups.

 

Backing up to the cloud is also an option but if you have a large music collection, it can be painfully slow depending on your Internet connection.

 

As for Roon, you just point the Roon storage to the NAS unit, works like a charm.


Eric


Ubuntu Studio Linux music server (i5, 4 cores, 16GB RAM, Roon, HQP) > fiber > QNAP QSW-804-4C > fiber > opticalRendu (HQP NAA) > TP Buffalo IIIse Pro > Ncore NC400 mono blocks > Klipsch Forte III

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6 hours ago, HDMan72 said:

I'm currently running a mid-2011 iMac which has a 500GB HDD, all my music is stored here. I'm looking into a new Mac Book Air or Pro which would have a 256GB SSD, my total music library is roughly 180GB mostly in ALAC. What would be the best option to store music if I did not want to use the SSD in the laptop? I'm not familiar with NAS or iCloud storage solutions such as WD My Cloud Home HDD. I use Sonos throughout my house and Bluesound in my dedicated 2ch listening room. I may also get back into Roon which I hear runs great as a boot drive. Just want to get some ideas where if I could I can start right now before upgrading my iMac. Thanks

 

I have several Raspberry Pis running piCorePlayer, Volumio and Raspbian/Plex in the house. I have a portable USB hard drive connected to one of my Pis running on piCorePlayer with the Logitech Media Server with 700GB of ripped CDs and other music. Works great, and I made the drive a Samba mount so it's shared on my network.

 

A new Raspberry Pi 4 is pretty cheap and you have a lot of flexibility in terms of what to run on it, as well as using the new USB 3.0 connections for portable drives.

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2 hours ago, skikirkwood said:

 

I have several Raspberry Pis running piCorePlayer, Volumio and Raspbian/Plex in the house. I have a portable USB hard drive connected to one of my Pis running on piCorePlayer with the Logitech Media Server with 700GB of ripped CDs and other music. Works great, and I made the drive a Samba mount so it's shared on my network.

 

A new Raspberry Pi 4 is pretty cheap and you have a lot of flexibility in terms of what to run on it, as well as using the new USB 3.0 connections for portable drives.

 

6 hours ago, ericuco said:

I have been using a low-end, single drive (HDD) Synology NAS unit for several years and it works great for the most part. You can certainly go with high-end NAS units with multiple drives running RAID set-ups but for my purposes of storing and accessing music files, my Synology DS115j works fine.

 

There is a bit of a learning curve on setting up a NAS but the NAS guys have software that make it fairly easy to do.

 

If this is of interest, I would suggest something like:

 

Synology DS119j or QNAP TS-128A

 

You can always upgrade to higher end units once you feel comfortable using a NAS. Both of these are relatively inexpensive ($200) even when the cost of a HDD is included.

 

Speaking HDD, they make special NAS HDD that are supposedly a bit more durable in the NAS duty such as the Western Digital Red HDD.

 

You also need to consider how to backup all of your music files. I have a separate USB drive connected to my NAS unit that backup the files once a week. I actually have a pair of the USB drives where one of the drives is kept offsite (bank security box) to guard against theft (someone breaks into your house and steals your equipment) or fire (house burns down). About every two months, I swap out the USB drives so one is always offsite. Overall, you can't have too many backups.

 

Backing up to the cloud is also an option but if you have a large music collection, it can be painfully slow depending on your Internet connection.

 

As for Roon, you just point the Roon storage to the NAS unit, works like a charm.

 

Currently looking into this option as it sounds pretty much perfect for my needs.

2 hours ago, skikirkwood said:

 

I have several Raspberry Pis running piCorePlayer, Volumio and Raspbian/Plex in the house. I have a portable USB hard drive connected to one of my Pis running on piCorePlayer with the Logitech Media Server with 700GB of ripped CDs and other music. Works great, and I made the drive a Samba mount so it's shared on my network.

 

A new Raspberry Pi 4 is pretty cheap and you have a lot of flexibility in terms of what to run on it, as well as using the new USB 3.0 connections for portable drives.

 

Thanks for the suggestion but I don't need a Raspberry Pi. Id rather keep my Sonos and Bluesound streamers setup. 


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Pioneer SP-BS22LR

Gateway PC W10 JRiver Media Center

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9 hours ago, HDMan72 said:

I'm currently running a mid-2011 iMac which has a 500GB HDD, all my music is stored here. I'm looking into a new Mac Book Air or Pro which would have a 256GB SSD, my total music library is roughly 180GB mostly in ALAC. What would be the best option to store music if I did not want to use the SSD in the laptop? I'm not familiar with NAS or iCloud storage solutions such as WD My Cloud Home HDD. I use Sonos throughout my house and Bluesound in my dedicated 2ch listening room. I may also get back into Roon which I hear runs great as a boot drive. Just want to get some ideas where if I could I can start right now before upgrading my iMac. Thanks

 

You may want to consider turnkey music server from Small Green Computer https://www.smallgreencomputer.com/collections/audio-server Those no-brainer solutions come with built-in support for Sonos and Roon, and within Roon there's support for Bluesound and Sonos endpoints as I'm sure you know. I have the lowest-cost server on that list, the microJukebox, but I only run LMS. Basic Roon features will run on the microJukebox, but most Roon users would go for one of the more powerful choices I'm sure.


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2 minutes ago, HDMan72 said:

Thanks for the suggestion but I don't need a Raspberry Pi. Id rather keep my Sonos and Bluesound streamers setup. 

@HDMan72

I got the impression, the RPi/PiCorePlayer/LMS/HD/Samba idea was intended to meet your Roon requirements (as a file server/NAS equivalent) with minimum investment, rather than get you away from Sonos or Bluesound. The LMS box sans player (I. E. squezelite) is recognized in the ROON ecosystem, and I would assume that you could use it via Samba to provide your music to your Roon output device.

I've understood you were looking for such a solution. Short: Rpi4 as a file server.

Cheers, Tom

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5 minutes ago, DuckToller said:

@HDMan72

I got the impression, the RPi/PiCorePlayer/LMS/HD/Samba idea was intended to meet your Roon requirements (as a file server/NAS equivalent) with minimum investment, rather than get you away from Sonos or Bluesound. The LMS box sans player (I. E. squezelite) is recognized in the ROON ecosystem, and I would assume that you could use it via Samba to provide your music to your Roon output device.

I've understood you were looking for such a solution. Short: Rpi4 as a file server.

Cheers, Tom

 

Yes, that was my point. I actually have 4 Sonos systems in my house as well. :)

 

Raspberry Pi 4's with locally attached external drives make great file servers for audio distribution within a house. I thought about more sophisticated options (e.g. NAS) but really didn't see the point. I have one Pi with an IQAudio DAC hat board running piCorePlayer, Squeezelite and the LMS, but really only use it as a file server.

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@DuckTollerand @skikirkwood, thanks for clarifying the usage of Raspberry Pi. Still, it looks like it will take a lot of time setting that up with all the different configurations. I'm not to comfortable with that. The NAS systems seem a lot easier for someone like me. 


Marantz PM8004

Oppo BDP-105D

Music Hall MMF 5.1

iFi iPhono

Pioneer SP-BS22LR

Gateway PC W10 JRiver Media Center

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11 minutes ago, HDMan72 said:

@DuckTollerand @skikirkwood, thanks for clarifying the usage of Raspberry Pi. Still, it looks like it will take a lot of time setting that up with all the different configurations. I'm not to comfortable with that. The NAS systems seem a lot easier for someone like me. 

 

The systems I suggested would be even easier. I really like mine. Hope you're looking at those right now.


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... or install new 512GB/1-2-4-8TB SSD, use installed 256GB drive as second (long term) backup, and (after testing) put current 500GB drive in external case for use as working/traveling copy until it shows signs of dying.  :)

 

 

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On 9/30/2019 at 8:14 AM, HDMan72 said:

I'm currently running a mid-2011 iMac which has a 500GB HDD, all my music is stored here. I'm looking into a new Mac Book Air or Pro which would have a 256GB SSD, my total music library is roughly 180GB mostly in ALAC. What would be the best option to store music if I did not want to use the SSD in the laptop?

 

You do not want to use your laptop's boot drive for music storage.  Putting music files on a drive other than your boot / OS will minimize or eliminate file access problems and ensure smooth playback of even the highest res.  SQ won't be any different unless the main drive is being hit by enough other demands during play to cause stuttering, dropouts etc.  But there's no good reason I know of to clog a boot drive with music files.

 

Your options start with a simple external USB HDD and run through the world of network storage devices.  I've used a 4T (dual 2T drives) WD MyCloud MIrror for a few years now with great performance. But I also have simple Seagate USB HDDs that work well on secondary systems, along with a Buffalo Station NAS I use for experimenting.

 

You really need to back up your music files off site.  Anything that physically destroys your hardware (e.g. fire, flood, etc no matter how unlikely) will also destroy on-site backups like a second NAS or USB drive.  I've used Livedrive (a British company) for several years and am very happy with them.  I haven't lost any music over the years, but I did lose hundreds of important photos some years ago when a power outage took out multiple drives at home despite "protected" UPS.  So if I were you, I'd get a nice NAS and a subscription to an online backup service.

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One good reason I know of to clog a boot drive with music files is poverty.  Otherwise...


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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Now that I'm getting a better understanding I'm looking at USB HDD. thanks for the many ideas! I do have a backup HDD but yes, I don't have an off site backup yet. Thats is on my to do list asap.


Marantz PM8004

Oppo BDP-105D

Music Hall MMF 5.1

iFi iPhono

Pioneer SP-BS22LR

Gateway PC W10 JRiver Media Center

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Going an external USB HDD is a simple solution. One reason people don’t go that route (vs NAS) is that you are using USB for both incoming and outgoing data (increases the amount of data being handled on USB).  Obviously, USB has the bandwidth but it is constantly switching back and forth between devices vs being dedicated to one task.

 

This assumes you are sending out music to DAC using USB. 
 

You could start with an external USB HDD and see how it goes. If you decide to try NAS route later, then the USB HDD could serve as backup drive.


Eric


Ubuntu Studio Linux music server (i5, 4 cores, 16GB RAM, Roon, HQP) > fiber > QNAP QSW-804-4C > fiber > opticalRendu (HQP NAA) > TP Buffalo IIIse Pro > Ncore NC400 mono blocks > Klipsch Forte III

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I very very rarely have a hiccup on my iMac (3TB Fusion drive & 40 GB RAM) which is a general purpose computer.  I use iTunes/AirPlay for Redbook.  This is simple, cheap and works fine.

 

Have you thought of buying a used mac mini and only using it for music storage & playing?  Time machine can do on disk backups.  You can do off-site backups to an external drive periodically and put them in a bank box, and/or use a cloud service.

 

Just match the output to the available inputs on your DAC and maybe use an opto-isolator if you use USB (assuming your DAC doesn't do that internally).


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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