A quick question about Music Servers - AVS Forum
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello everyone,

I recently wanted to build myself a Music Server.

I'm pretty comfortable with computers. I just had a question. I wanted your opinions to get the best possible quality.

My goals:

-Play music that I have on hard drives on my A/V Receiver.

My question:

Would I be better of with a external hard drive(NAS or USB) or a whole computer with a xonar sound card?

My other question:

I was wondering, lets say I make a computer with onboard sound card or one with a xonar essence, will there be a difference if im plugging it in the A/V receiver?

Also, how would I plug everything to get the best sound possible.

My thoughts:

I think that having a complete seperate computer with a Raid 1 Drive external ( 2x 1TB drives) plugged in USB3.0 with a xonar ( plugged with Red and White cables) would be best?

Thanks to everyone helping me.
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Old 07-17-2012, 09:38 PM
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That depends on whether or not you want the computer in the same location as the AV gear. While direct connection appeals to many, a networked solution is just as good if not better for the lack of transmission of troublesome EMI from the noisy PC environment. Also if you plan to playback Hi-res content, you'll want to be aware of the limitations if any of the gear in the playback chain. Now as to using the AVR as the network client, not the most useful or ergonmomic option compared to some of the dedicated music streamers out there. My current all Apple solution streams Lossless files from a central PC to 7 zones without ever having to turn on a TV or monitor with iTouch and iPad as controllers.
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:59 PM
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Hi Marcolemec12,

My personal opinion is that a dedicated music PC gives you poor bang-for-buck. And having your music on dedicated USB drives is overly cumbersome. I use a NAS for storage and cheap media streamers for playback.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayhem13 View Post

. . . My current all Apple solution streams Lossless files from a central PC to 7 zones without ever having to turn on a TV or monitor with iTouch and iPad as controllers.
If I was starting from scratch, this is one of the first avenues I would explore.
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Old 07-18-2012, 04:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info.

Now. I wouldnt be able to get all aple since I already have most of my devices already.

So I was wondering if you guys had any NAS preferences. Never bought one before.

Also, what kind of media streamer do you guys use?

Thanks.
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcolemec12 View Post

Thanks for the info.
Now. I wouldnt be able to get all aple since I already have most of my devices already.
So I was wondering if you guys had any NAS preferences. Never bought one before.
Also, what kind of media streamer do you guys use?
Thanks.

What music file format and resolution are you playing? You are looking for a media streamer? What other types and resolutions of media are you talking about? What is the rest of your equipment? What is your budget? How important is navigation/cover art/metadata to you?
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Old 07-18-2012, 09:24 AM - Thread Starter
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I want to to play some flac files.

I have a harmon kardon 3650 av receiver.

I dont really have a budget. Probably under 1000$ if possible but im open to suggestion.

I also have a wd tv live hub.
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Old 07-18-2012, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
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I fogot to add that navigation is kind of important. I dont really need pictures of albums.

Maybe have the name of songs and artist.

Thanks again
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:51 PM
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My Standard answer's:

www.sonos.com

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

www.itunes.com

all of these work great.

you dont want or need a PC or fancy sound card. Just a streamer with a digitial output and an AVR with a digital input.
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Old 07-18-2012, 01:04 PM - Thread Starter
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I think that I'm aiming more towards a NAS box.

Do you guys have any ideas of the good ones? Don't know much about those.

Thanks!
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Old 07-18-2012, 01:37 PM
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The best solution is to have both the streamer and the NAS. If you only need to stream to one place, I would recommend something like my system. I have a HP smartserver NAS box to store all the music and run the squeezeserver software needed by the Squeezebox, and a Squezezebox duet, which consists of a controller that works something like an iPod to control the music and show the album art, and a small box that connects to the stereo to play the music. Its not cheap, around $300 for the duet. The HP smartserver has been discontinued, but an equivalent NAS from Synology will cost around $500, But its worth it to be able to be play any song an your collection without searching through CDs, and listening to podcasts, and radio stations from around the world is fantastic.
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Old 07-18-2012, 02:07 PM
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Cheap solution is Western Digital MyBookLive NAS around $150-$200 (includes 2TB drive), Apple TV $100 and used iPod touch $75. Just convert the FLAC files to Apple Lossless and your set. The Sonos mentioned by Sean is the most elegant and expensive with the squeezebox in the middle. I've had or have all three and from a usability stand point I would rank them Sonos, Apple and Squeeze. Additionally the Sonos and Squeeze products directly support FLAC.

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Old 07-18-2012, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcolemec12 View Post

. . . what kind of media streamer do you guys use?
I've had my equipment for so long that it won't help you much. Except for the Netgear NeoTV, I would not recommend these. But here goes anyway:

My favorites were the Turtle Beach Audiotrons, of which I have three. They only play MP3, so I keep 320kbs copies of my FLACs just for the Audiotrons. It won't play iTune's M4As, though, but I don't have much from iTunes. I get the AudioTrons on eBay for about $30.

My current main player is a Netgear NeoTV-550, which works great for audio, as long as it's hooked to a TV for navigation. It plays all formats and bit-rates that I have. I also use it for DVDs and Blu-Rays. Mine was $80.

Then I have some old Mediagates that I use only for emergencies. They play MP3s and unprotected M4As. Under $40 on eBay.

As you can see, I take the economy route . . .

As Sean pointed to, the Sonos and the Squeeze-Boxes might be the best solution for you, since they are the high-end and are within your budget.

Quote:
I think that I'm aiming more towards a NAS box.

Do you guys have any ideas of the good ones?
I think the best regarded is the Synology boxes. I have a six-year old 4-bay unit, but I also use it for my business. A single or two bay unit would be plenty. A single-bay unit with a USB drive for backup might be the most cost-effective. Maybe two USB drives, if you want off-site backup as well.

If you are only serving music, almost any NAS might do. But if you are using it for other things, then you need to evaluate all of the different features that the different boxes offer. A box that can run SqeezeServer might be important if you go the Sqeeze route.
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Old 07-18-2012, 03:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all your answers.

Now I have an idea of what to go for.

Do you think this would be good?

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822108095

Or

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822108092

The second one has USB3.0 but dont you just transfer over the network anyways?

Once I have that, do I absolutly need a streaming device?

If I do.

What would be the best options?

I'm not really understanding this squeezebox. How would that work?

Sorry for being NOOB.

Thanks!
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Old 07-18-2012, 06:53 PM
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Its the second part of the solution. the first part is "where do I store my music?" The second part is " how do i get the music from my storage to my stereo?" The squeezebox connects to the LAN on one end and the BNC jacks on your stereo on the other. It commands the NAS to stream the music, and sends the streamed music to your stereo.
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Old 07-18-2012, 08:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Alright, im so confused though.

Lets say i buy a synology nas. Is the squeezebox hardware or software.

I really apologize. New to this stuff.
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Old 07-19-2012, 02:53 AM
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The streamer is hardware but it also requires SqueezeCenter (Buggy Software) to be loaded on the NAS/Server. The Sonos on the other hand does not need thi software component and its hardware talks directly to the NAS/Server with no proprietary software like Apple and Logitech. Apples solutions requires iTunes or iTunes compatible support.

NAS alone will do nothing for you.....

go read the Sonos website and the Logitech website. you can download the manuals and it explains it.

You just have to realize that Logitech's solution works but not as well as their marketing indicates.

Sonos delivers but at a cost. Apple delivers a 2nd place solution IMO for the cheapest cost per Zone....

$350
http://www.sonos.com/shop/products/connect

for apple you need an AppleTV or an airport express. both are just $99
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Old 07-19-2012, 04:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Ah i see.

But what i dint understand is:

Why do you need a software installed on the NAS for it to work witht the streamer.

Doesbt it act just like an external harddrive but with mirroring and back up features?

I currently have a WD TV Live Hub and i stream fron my computer to my av receiver.


Wobt connecting a NAS only give me more space with backup like raid 1?

Also. For the media streamer, i just find my wd tv live hub extremely slow when it comes to booting it up and the intergace iant the greatest.


Are these any faster or better?

1) sonos like you mentionned
2) appletv
3) boxee box
4) any other suggestions?
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Old 07-19-2012, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcolemec12 View Post

Ah i see.
But what i dint understand is:
Why do you need a software installed on the NAS for it to work witht the streamer.
Doesbt it act just like an external harddrive but with mirroring and back up features?
I currently have a WD TV Live Hub and i stream fron my computer to my av receiver.
Wobt connecting a NAS only give me more space with backup like raid 1?
Also. For the media streamer, i just find my wd tv live hub extremely slow when it comes to booting it up and the intergace iant the greatest.
Are these any faster or better?
1) sonos like you mentionned
2) appletv
3) boxee box
4) any other suggestions?

Why? because Logitech and Apple designed there streamers that way. Both those solutions require Software on the NAS or PC and communicate to the NAS using a properietart protocol not just using windows file sharing like the Sonos. The Sonos does not. Its simply a choice the designers made. you don't have to like it but its FACT!.

Hold on now you just changed topics.... I am talking MUSIC ONLY and you just introduced video etc....

none of the players on the market do a good job of both IMO. Video players lack the functionality of good music players.

The only compromise is to build HTPC and then run XBMC or MCE.

The Sonos interface is awesome and you dont shut it down. Its always on basically and doesn't get rebooted very frequently.

you can get the Sonos locally at most best buys
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Old 07-19-2012, 12:28 PM
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Squeezebox touch is on sale at Vann's till tomorrow, $219.97 delivered, no tax. I've been using a 2TB HD attached via USB to an Oppo-93, 90+% flac, some MP3. It works fine, but it's difficult to navigate with that many files, even organized by artists it's close to 1000.
Will attach the HD to a little used imac that I can leave on 24/7, hook the SB Touch via digital to my Anthem MRX300. The ipeng apps for idevices are supposed to work great. Can use the analog outs for a second zone outside.
Sonos seems like the easiest to set up, but has some resolution limitations. SB more difficult to set up, good user interface, can play most files except 24/196.
itunes solutions via airport express too limited IMO, doesn't work with Flac, doesn't support highest resolutions.
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