Creating a 'virtual' music collection - AVS Forum
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Old 07-08-2012, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Greetings to all,

I'm quite a bit of a novice at this, but I'm really looking for some assistance and opinions.

I have a considerably large CD collection and I'm an audiophile to the extent that my budget will allow. I'm very interested in today's technology and in turning my computer into a server for holding my music content and being able play it back through my surround sound system which is located in another room.

I currently have both a blu-ray player and an Onkyo receiver unit that are connected to my computer via a wireless router. While it is nice to be able to stream music from my computer to the surround sound system, here are some concerns and questions I'd like to ask:

1. Regardless of the set up, I don't want any of my music compressed-I want the audio played back in as good of quality is available on the media it is on. I don't do a lot of downloading of music-I'll basically be copying my CDs into storage for wireless playback and I want as good of quality as is on the CD (at least).

2. Is there a better set up for having a virtual media library than simply burning all of my CDs into the computer to stream through my blu-ray or receiver? And am I losing any quality or is there any compression when I do this? Would buying a small computer dedicated to this sitting next to the receiver be better for this?

3. One problem I have right now is that I have to have the TV turned on to be able to see what I am selecting when choosing to playback music streamed through the computer. Is there some kind of set-up or equipment that would allow me to access stored music from a server without having to turn the TV on to see the interface to read the titles, albums, etc.

4.If I am streaming from the computer, will using the computer for other tasks while I am streaming affect the playback performance (causing stuttering, drop-outs, etc.)?

5. Is it possible to simply buy a large external hard drive to keep my entire CD collection in and simply connect it via USB or HDMI for direct playback? And would this type of set up show music and albums on the menu of the receiver rather than via the television?

Any input on this would be appreciated. Part of this is to be able to get rid of components like my large CD changer as well as to be able to store all of the CDs and not have them or the storage shelves in the living room taking up space. Another is to have all of my music available to me 'virtually' without having to switch discs in the changer, etc.

Thanks for any help or assistance you could offer and let me know if you need any more information if it would help answer my questions.
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Old 07-08-2012, 11:52 AM
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www.sonos.com

http://www.logitech.com/en-us/speakers-audio/wireless-music-systems

www.itunes.com

check these products threads out here on avs


sorry cant type broken hand
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Old 07-08-2012, 01:50 PM
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Here are a few thoughts that Sean might have mentioned if he wasn't injured. ;8)

The devices that Sean pointed to are lossless for CDs. Beware of wireless solutions that use lossy compression.

Be sure to rip all of your CDs to a lossless format, Like FLAC or ALAC. I like FLAC myself.

As far as copying your CDs to a library, two software packages to consider are dbPowerAmp and ExactAudioCopy.

You should be able to work on the computer without stuttering most of the time. It depends a lot on what you do on the computer and also on your operating system. Email, Web-browsing and word-processing should be fine, but circuit simulations and weather forecasting might cause problems. A server OS should not stutter at all. I use a NAS to store my music and movies.

As far as a USB drive to store the library, I would discourage it. Library size, backup, drive noise and updating are just some of the issues.
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Old 07-08-2012, 04:53 PM
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A great answer from Mark (especially the loss-less recommendation). A server OS or NAS unit would take the load completely off your PC but that may not be possible for you. I'm assuming (perhaps incorrectly) that your receiver / Bluray player receive DLNA-type streams that are "pushed" from software running on your PC. Another alternative might be a media box sitting next to the TV that "pulls" from your PC (or a USB drive attached to your PC). That approach would create almost no load on your PC. Not as great as a dedicated NAS unit but better than actual software running on the PC.

The "how do I manage what's playing without the TV being on" question is a little trickier. Almost any device(s) are going to require some type of display mechanism - or limit you to a few products with small displays like te Sonos or Squeeeze Box mentioned above.
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