CD music storage on outboard hard drive...................... - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 10-14-2012, 03:19 PM - Thread Starter
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I was looking for some technical advice in putting together a digital music system for my cabin in the desert. I want to load approximately 250 CDs on a outboard hard drive, and leave it down there. That way I would have access to my music in both places.

I noticed that you can buy a 1TB USB 3.0 hard drive for about $100. That would seem to be big enough for my needs. What I don't understand is:

1. What would I use to control the hard drive (select, play or record music, etc)? Someone said I could use an application available on my Android based cell phone to do that. I also have an Apple Ipad. Do they have an application to control an outboard drive??

2. How would I load all the music? Are there commercial services that I could take my CDs to that could load them for me? I figure they might have a disc changer that could do it automatically.

3. What is the best format for storing the music? I would like the highest sound quality possible and have been advised that the "Apple Lossless" format is the best? What do you think? I have also heard the highest bitrate setting for MPEG3 is not too bad, but not as good as "AL". Opinions?

4. Finally, I would need an outboard DAC. Musical Fidelity from the UK makes a pretty good one. Any recommendations?

Thanks in advance for any information you my have on this subject!
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post #2 of 3 Old 10-15-2012, 02:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tweak48 View Post

I was looking for some technical advice in putting together a digital music system for my cabin in the desert. I want to load approximately 250 CDs on a outboard hard drive, and leave it down there. That way I would have access to my music in both places.
I noticed that you can buy a 1TB USB 3.0 hard drive for about $100. That would seem to be big enough for my needs. What I don't understand is:
1. What would I use to control the hard drive (select, play or record music, etc)?
A computer.
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Originally Posted by Tweak48 View Post


Someone said I could use an application available on my Android based cell phone to do that. I also have an Apple Ipad. Do they have an application to control an outboard drive??
No, you need a computer.
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Originally Posted by Tweak48 View Post

2. How would I load all the music?
You need a computer with some sort of music software like iTunes or Windows Media Player. They'll handle the loading (ripping) and library management.
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Originally Posted by Tweak48 View Post

Are there commercial services that I could take my CDs to that could load them for me? I figure they might have a disc changer that could do it automatically.
Google: CD Ripping Service

Here's the first hit: http://musicshifter.com/
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3. What is the best format for storing the music? I would like the highest sound quality possible and have been advised that the "Apple Lossless" format is the best? What do you think? I have also heard the highest bitrate setting for MPEG3 is not too bad, but not as good as "AL". Opinions?
The "best" depends on a few other things. IF you want the highest quality, then a lossless format. IF you want it to be playable on a specific device, then the format you pick has to be compatible with that device. For example, if you want to play your lossless files on your iPad, then you'll want Apple Lossless. But since the iPad has limited storage, you might want slight compression, so pick AAC, choose a high bit-rate. If you want the music playable on anything, and the files to not be huge, then pick .mp3, highest rate you can.
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4. Finally, I would need an outboard DAC. Musical Fidelity from the UK makes a pretty good one. Any recommendations?
Thanks in advance for any information you my have on this subject!

You may not need one, it depends on what device you plan to play out of. Some computer on-board DACs are good enough to satisfy most listeners, others not so much. You also have the option to stream out of your library to a playback device of some kind. Again, no DAC needed. The driving force behind outboard DACs is high performance, but so far, based on your questions, you should try it without first, you might be happy. Don't spend much on your first DAC, though. Most of the issues with on-board sound cards are solved by the entry-level DACs.

As a possible alternative to your hard drive idea, how about one of these:
http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_ipod/family/ipod_classic

That would hold your entire collection if ripped with the highest rate AAC files. You'd rip (or have ripped) your CDs on your home computer, sync the iPod, then take it to the cabin and leave it there. Plug it into a dock, possibly one with a remote control, and play it out to a stereo system.

You could do that with just about any .mp3 player that has tons of storage, but I think the iPod Classic may be the largest capacity device out there right now, except for custom modified units.
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post #3 of 3 Old 10-15-2012, 02:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tips. The guys at MusicShifter were really helpful.
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