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Finally Thinking of Going Digital!

Discussion in 'audio' started by MVJ, Aug 5, 2019.

  1. MVJ

    MVJ madvinyljunkie,Professional Plonker & PFM Member

    I hope I have put this thread in the right place Looking for some advice please...

    I have finally decided to put all my cds on a hard drive and then box them up put them in the loft until I am happy with what I've done.

    What I need to know is what the best kit is that will be most importantly idiot proof + pretty much bullet proof maybe reasonably future proof and how easy is it to do for an old gormless luddite. can I have the display on a monitor rather that a laptop.

    I don't really want to go down the streaming route although I will do so for new music & download it into my collection as our connection to the internet can be quite hit & miss sometimes.

    Thanks in advance MVJ.
    clap likes this.
  2. Darth Vader

    Darth Vader From the Dark Side

    Volumio! You can either buy an out-of-the-box solution i.e. plug in and go or utilise any PC hardware that you may have around. If the latter you simply download the volumio.iso (its free!) and follow the instructions to 'burn' it to a USB stick then plug it in to whatever machine you plan to use and off it goes, For this latter approach you'll also need a DAC.

    You can access volunio either from a screen attached to the server or via any device that has a web browser such as your phone, tablet or laptop or wot eva.

    Volumio also supports internet radio etc so if in future you change your mind. Its a good all around solution.


    MVJ likes this.
  3. Whatsisnaim

    Whatsisnaim pfm Member

    It might help if you tell us what your existing system is, and what sort of budget you have in mind for a digital source. My go-to suggestion for one box that does everything is an Innuos Zen Mini. This will rip your CDs, store them, play them via its analogue output (if you get the current Mk3 model) or via a separate DAC should you choose to add one. It will also allow you to add online sources if you want to use internet radio or subscription streaming services.
    clap and MVJ like this.
  4. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    Can't suggest or comment on specific 'commercial' or 'closed box' methods beyond making one general point. Make sure that the system you choose puts the resulting files somewhere, and in a form, that you can access them by *other methods*. e.g. so that, at a later date you can change the hardware/software you are using *without* having to 're-rip' all the CDs again. Similar comment about ensuring the files can be and are 'backed up' to avoid loss due to something like a device failure.
    MVJ, radamel, adamdea and 1 other person like this.
  5. Purité Audio

    Purité Audio Trade: Purite Audio

    Before you rip anything I would give one of the lossless streaming services a try.
    John55, Dozey and MVJ like this.
  6. AndyU

    AndyU pfm Member

    The most important thing is to ensure your rips are future proof, rather than your kit. Ripping takes a long time, it’s worthwhile making sure you get it right. So I would suggest

    1. Rip to a lossless format such as FLAC or ALAC. ALAC has advantages if your are into the apple ecosystem, FLAC is better if your are non-apple. Choosing which is not a big deal because you can easily convert between them should you want to later. The important thing is a lossless format.

    2. Make sure you choose ripping software which rips and stores plenty of file tags accurately, and ideally gives you the choice to edit them. I’ve found dBpoweramp to be very good. If your rips are badly tagged you won’t be able to search or organise them effectively.

    3. After you’ve ripped a few dozen CDs, but before you rip the rest, play with your chosen play back software. Are your CDs arranged in a way that suits you? Can you navigate easily? Are boxed sets and compilations treated sensibly?

    If you do this, you can use whatever kit the future might bring confident that you haven’t lost any musical information or information about the music.
  7. mattgbell

    mattgbell Stop worrying!

    In addition to this sensible advice, make sure you have a back-up routine in place before you've ripped many CDs. Backing up to an external (and portable) hard disk makes good sense (portable, because you can then keep the drive somewhere burglars won't find it). I'm not sure about Apple, but for Windows systems there are some good freeware programs that can sync files over a network or direct from your PC to a USB drive. I use SyncBack to sync music on my NAS drive to a portable hard drive and also to another NAS at a separate location (in case of fire or flooding!)

    Bear in mind: storage is very cheap, but having to re-rip CDs if you've lost them due to disk failure etc is very expensive -- in terms of your time!
    Dougunn, MVJ, AndyU and 1 other person like this.
  8. adamdea

    adamdea You are not a sound quality evaluation device

    As pointed out by others, "future proof" mainly measn that the music is in an open source format like flac and on a harddrive where it can be backed up.
    After that it's up to you how you play the music. You can have a screen or a laptop or a phone or anything else you like. There are many different permutations of device to get the data to your stereo and the best one for you may depend on how you want your room set up. Perhaps the simplest way would be to have all the files on a pc with a monitor and a usb output to a dac connected to your stereo.

    You could then play around with various types of software till you find something you like.
    Alternatively you could just buy a sonos, conect it to your stereo, have it on wifi and control it from your pc. All of this is fairly manageable by anyone who can turn on a pc and operate a web broswer. If you have a go you might even find it fun. If you don't want to roll up your sleeves at all, then you can buy an expensive turnkey solution from a dealer who will no doubt be glad to supply it and charge you lots of money.

    The principle diffulty is the range of choice.
    MVJ and mattgbell like this.
  9. MVJ

    MVJ madvinyljunkie,Professional Plonker & PFM Member

    Thanks everyone for the good advice, I meant to say any music I rip must be lossless it all seems a bit complex for a numpty like me so I've had a chat with my Son & he is going to oversee the project for meuntil I get the hang of it.
    blossomchris and AndyU like this.
  10. Dozey

    Dozey Air guitar member

    If you can find all your music on Tidal or Quobus it will save you a lot of time and worry because you will not have to rip the cds.
    John55 and whatsnext like this.
  11. AndyU

    AndyU pfm Member

    That’s becoming increasingly sensible advice. I ripped my stuff years ago, I am sure I have never listened to a large chunk of it. And now I have Qobuz I am even less likely to listen to my own rips. So maybe I’d add to my advice to look at your cd collection and ask yourself which ones you would buy again if they were all stolen. Rip those first. Get a free trial of Qobuz or Tidal. Can you really be arsed to rip the rest?
    matt j and MVJ like this.
  12. Theo

    Theo pfm Member

    The other problem I had when I started ripping my CDs about 13-14 years ago, is when I transferred the files to larger drives, plus the back-up files, as the collection grew (now on a 4Tb NAS plus 2 x 1Tb back-ups). Many years later, I have probably 20k files in three locations, and multiple copie of the same songs. The truth is, I don't know which is my most complete 'collection'...

    I suppose I could invest in some duplication software and have a proper tidy up, but I suspect I'll 'lose' songs in the process. Nightmare.

    Which is why I stick to streaming or physical formats.
  13. adamdea

    adamdea You are not a sound quality evaluation device

    As long as you haven't altered the files it shouldn't be difficult to combine and de-duplicate
  14. Darth Vader

    Darth Vader From the Dark Side

    Same here however you could copy all to a single location and not allow duplicates.


  15. Theo

    Theo pfm Member

    OT (and apologies to the OP), but what method would you recommend?
  16. sq225917

    sq225917 situation engineer

    Why not try the volumio primo streamer.
  17. mattgbell

    mattgbell Stop worrying!

    One way to start out would be to use the freeware SyncBack program I linked to above. Set it to synchronize any two disks/folders and to delete older versions of files with the same name. That way you'd be sure of not deleting any unique files by accident.
  18. adamdea

    adamdea You are not a sound quality evaluation device

    It depends whether there are differences of folder structure. I might be tempted simply to copy one hard disk (or the music folders on it) to another (assuming latter has plenty of space) and see whether it reports duplicates (which it will ask you whether you want to skip) If it's just a case of one machine having a few mor files and the other having a few others, that should be pretty simple. If the machines are in different locations you could take a portable drive from one of them and do this by plugging into the other. I've done this to combine libraries from my work machine and home server in the past.

    If there are difference in the metadata or the folder structure then you may have to weed out duplicates once you have copied over. I remember there being a program that does this in windows (I'm sure a google would do it.)
  19. adamdea

    adamdea You are not a sound quality evaluation device

    I think ccleaner has a duplicate file finder.
  20. Theo

    Theo pfm Member

    Thanks all for the advice. I might have a crack this weekend. I wouldn't mind trying Volumio, as I'm using a fairly old version of JRiver and it's not terribly stable (crashes regularly).

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