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DavidL

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  1. Very informative article. A couple of points on using a computer for recording. I started recording using Firewire on a Mac tower many years ago; first direct and then via a RME Fireface 400 interface. Very happy with the resulting recordings. I much regretted the demise of Firewire input on macs but solved the problem by buying a Belkin Express Dock which has a thunderbolt input and Firewire, USB3 and thunderbolt outputs. The RME firewire devices are excellent; their ADCs are very good - the ADI-2 Pro in particular.
  2. If you are seriously considering moving to a NAS as your music source the most effective setup would be to buy a NAS with a sufficiently powerful cpu to run MinimServer (& MinimStreamer), together with an ethernet-to-SPDIF/I2S renderer. Adding an optical fibre element in the ethernet leg immediately before the renderer/DAC can improve performance. Not sure why you posted this question on the Sonore thread as they (currently) do not make this type of renderer - their focus is on USB, as it is for your system. Both approaches can give excellent sound quality AFAIK, but the non-USB route is less complex, easier to manage and makes playing music independent of your computer. You will still need to use the computer for curation of the music library of course. When I started out streaming from a NAS in 2014 I bought the original Sonore Rendu ethernet-to-SPDIF renderer, which is no longer available (though Jesus has hinted at a new potential product in this area).
  3. Interesting question. I started considering which was the best element I'd bought for my system; DAC, power amp, Network Bridge or speakers? Couldn't decide between them - all gave a similar, worthwhile increase in sound quality. Then I realised that actually the best was a Synology DS412+ NAS. Before I bought this in 2013 my music was all over the place: CDs in 3 rooms, LPs (partially ripped) somewhere else, not to mention DAT tapes and cassettes of concerts recorded off-air and stored away in cupboards. Now most of this music (I'm still ripping) is easily accessible and I spend far more time listening to music. Furthermore because I can dial it up immediately I can listen to a specific piece of music as the opportunity arises without the room search and loading stages previously required.
  4. As erasergate indicates it really depends what your priorities are. Are the speakers required almost entirely for background listening while you work on the computer? In that case there are plenty speakers to choose from - I'd suggest a pair that are 'smooth' i.e. not too up-front or analytical in their sound. On the other hand if you are going to do critical analytical listening that could match that typically available from a pair of good headphones I'd suggest high-quality, sealed-box (infinite baffle) smallish monitors. I'm assuming your computer system is not in a large room and there is limited ability to arrange speakers in an ideal position: sealed boxes are less critical as regards positioning. I've tried several speakers for this environment; most recently PMC DB1 and, since 2013, Harbeth P3ESR. I'd strongly recommend the latter as being very transparent and also enjoyable for listening for pleasure.
  5. I suspect the dreaded USB. Have you considered using any other output? I too use a Chord Hugo 2 and have just added a 2Go so I can play the music via ethernet. I've installed Minimserver on my iMac and have the library on an external disc, with BubbleUPnP as the control software. Total lack of clicks, dropouts etc, etc. I suggest you switch to something similar so you can just enjoy the music.
  6. There was at least 1 thread here a year or 2 ago discussing how to set up a database for a music library. I've not been able to find it in the old Computer Audiophile threads so I'll recap. I continue to use iTunes for curating my library as it is mature and meets all my needs. I use the following simple, free process: 1) In iTunes, setup a playlist for all the tracks in the library - for a large library do this for each genre to keep the size manageable. 2) Set up the view options for this playlist so only those required for the database are visible, probably Album and Artist (or Album artist). 3) Click on a row and select all, and copy this. 4) In Excel, open a new worksheet, highlight the first cell and paste the data copied in iTunes. 5) Delete the first column (the track title) 6) Insert a header row before the first music record e.g. Album in col.1 and Artist in col.2 if that's how you copied the data. 7) Select all the records and use the advanced filter command (Data>Filter>Advance Filter) and check the 'Unique records only' box. Click 'OK'. Copy the resulting columns to a new worksheet (as the repeated rows have only been hidden not deleted) and edit this if required. This database can be used direct or exported to a mobile device. To manage this database I use Tap Forms Mac on an iPhone, iPad and iMac with syncing via dropbox. I also keep a separate list of Album 'wants' in a similar format.
  7. Just like to add that you could buy a NAS to be dedicated to music serving and install MinimServer software on it. I use a Synology NAS in this manner, which I found very easy to set up and maintain, Cost of this (say 2 bay NAS) + dCS network bridge would be less than some of the all-in-one servers listed above. It might not give you some of the fancy extras they offer but the sound quality should be at least as good, probably better if you include optical isolation in the final ethernet link to the dCS Bridge.
  8. £3250 - if you have a dCS dealer in your vicinity I think you will find it worthwhile giving it an audition. Happy listening!
  9. If you have a "few grand" to spend in UK/Europe I'd very strongly recommend the dCS Network Bridge. I replaced a PS Audio Bridge II in their DS DAC with this and got a substantial improvement in SQ. Pricewise it is competitive in UK with the alternative of buying a collection of US boxes, power supplies, cables etc.
  10. Under 5. ; "Other reasons/answers are welcome ...." I currently have a Synology DS412+ NAS. With RAID about 12 TB of the installed 16 TB is available. My music library is ~2TB (103k tracks) and is certainly growing more slowly than in the past, however I'm in the process of moving from storing home videos in (poor) DVD quality to streaming files (HD quality) so I'm looking at replacing the 412+ with a later model having a more powerful cpu (918+?) and larger storage (some SSD). This will enable streaming of HD video and should improve the response time for serving music (Minimserver running on the NAS cpu).
  11. I must be totally thick but what is wrong with the most obvious solution - copy everything within the iTunes folder to the disk connected to the second computer? After the first copy which will take a long time, use a back-up program (e.g. SuperDuper! for local or ChronoSync for cross-network copying) for subsequent updating which will be quick.
  12. OK I'm thick: do you mean converting data packets to a data stream?
  13. While I agree with your selection of Sonore for the hardware accolade you do them an injustice. They were well ahead of the curve. I bought a Sonore Rendu ethernet-to-SPDIF converter in 2013 to convert my Bel Canto DAC to a streamer - excellent sound quality. Sonore followed up this product with a Signature version which (so I understand) gave outstanding sound quality. I guess Sonore chose this type of renderer because it had the potential to give the best SQ. Unfortunately this ethernet-to-SPDIF/I2S/AES renderer product line was terminated in 2015(?) and replaced by the current series of ethernet-to-USB renderers, presumably because most computer audiophiles wanted to connect their computers to a DAC by USB. My personal opinion is that this is an inferior concept, requiring a high quality USB interface and associated power supply upstream of the digital to analogue conversion, but the line has certainly sold well. It will be interesting to see whether Sonore will revisit their original idea and implement an ethernet-to-SPDIF renderer taking advantage of subsequent technology advances. I enquired if this might happen when I wanted to upgrade my renderer this year - no such luck yet, so I opted for a dCS Network Bridge instead. On the software front again I agree with your choice, Roon, as it is so comprehensive in its features set. I'd like to add (as runner-up?) an equally valuable piece of software which is particularly appreciated by owners of large libraries of classical music: MinimServer (with MinimStreamer and MinimWatch). As most will know, this software can run on both computers and NAS boxes. It is mature, very reliable and well supported, with an active user forum.
  14. Two Apple Airport Extremes: no longer available but these continue to provide a very reliable wireless bridge after years in place. If and when I need to replace them I'd probably look at the several 'mesh' products now on the market.
  15. I'd suggest keeping it very simple if you already have a wired ethernet LAN. Buy 2 ethernet-to-optical converters and connect them back to back with fibre optic cable, and insert this immediately upstream of your renderer (or server containing a renderer) with a short wired ethernet connection. This has worked well for me for several years and improves SQ. All my hifi system is separated from my modem, router, NAS and computers by a via an ethernet wireless bridge.
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