Solution for playing lossless files stored on an external HDD / network drive (to replace CD collection) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 06-17-2012, 10:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Not sure exactly which subforum to post this in, but here goes...

Basically, I want the simplest solution for my problem: I want to eliminate all my CD's (or at least put them in storage) and rip them to FLAC or Apple lossless format, retaining the best stereo quality possible. I need the best way to port this to my home stereo / home theater setup, whether this be a wired or wireless setup.

I should also mention that I'm building my home stereo / theater setup from scratch and that I want to keep things as minimal as possible. Right now I don't even own an AVR, although I was wondering if I could get by without one for my purposes. This will all go into my living room in a small apartment. I will be purchasing a 32" or 40" HDTV soon, and I want to eventually build a 5.1 audio setup, although I'll probably start with 2.0. I will be mostly listening to music in stereo and then occasionally watch movies on a blu-ray / dvd player or stream content through my wi-fi. I never really watch TV.

I started my research by looking into Apple's Airport functionality--not sure whether to go with Apple TV here or Airport Express. One thing's for sure--I want to retain the highest audio quality possible. Another concern is having a way to play music while my computer is shut off, but if I am using iTunes, then this won't be possible, right?

As far as sound output goes, I've become enamored as of late by the AudioEngine A5 / A5+ self-powered speakers:
http://audioengineusa.com/Store/Audioengine-5-Plus

They might be just what I need for my relatively small living room. I also noticed that they make a wireless sender/receiver called the W3 that is supposed to have a built in decent quality DAC:
http://audioengineusa.com/Store/Audioengine-W3

I'm curious to here how this setup would compare in audio quality to Apple's Airport functionality and perhaps other setups such as the Sonos.

Thoughts?
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post #2 of 11 Old 06-18-2012, 06:21 AM
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Take a look at the Logitech SqueezeBox Touch (Logitech Squeezebox Touch Owners Thread). It works well with all formats, so you don't get locked into any particular vendors proprietary formats. I recommend ripping to FLAC. The Touch has excellent sound quality, with great DAC's for analog output, as well as digital output using S/PDIF optical and/or co-ax. The Touch works very well and seems to be years ahead of any DLNA solution (and I tried quit a few before I went with the Touch).

Very highly recommended.

Mike
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post #3 of 11 Old 06-18-2012, 07:12 AM
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Some BluRay players can work with DLNA servers. But you will need TV to control it.
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post #4 of 11 Old 06-18-2012, 09:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Sargent View Post

Take a look at the Logitech SqueezeBox Touch (Logitech Squeezebox Touch Owners Thread). It works well with all formats, so you don't get locked into any particular vendors proprietary formats. I recommend ripping to FLAC. The Touch has excellent sound quality, with great DAC's for analog output, as well as digital output using S/PDIF optical and/or co-ax. The Touch works very well and seems to be years ahead of any DLNA solution (and I tried quit a few before I went with the Touch).
Very highly recommended.
Mike

What were the issues you had with DLNA? Did you try streaming the music from a network drive directly to your AV receiver, or did you use a streaming device such as Airport Express or Sonos?
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post #5 of 11 Old 06-18-2012, 01:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kalash74 View Post

Not sure exactly which subforum to post this in, but here goes...
Basically, I want the simplest solution for my problem: I want to eliminate all my CD's (or at least put them in storage) and rip them to FLAC or Apple lossless format, retaining the best stereo quality possible. I need the best way to port this to my home stereo / home theater setup, whether this be a wired or wireless setup.
I should also mention that I'm building my home stereo / theater setup from scratch and that I want to keep things as minimal as possible. Right now I don't even own an AVR, although I was wondering if I could get by without one for my purposes. This will all go into my living room in a small apartment. I will be purchasing a 32" or 40" HDTV soon, and I want to eventually build a 5.1 audio setup, although I'll probably start with 2.0. I will be mostly listening to music in stereo and then occasionally watch movies on a blu-ray / dvd player or stream content through my wi-fi. I never really watch TV.
I started my research by looking into Apple's Airport functionality--not sure whether to go with Apple TV here or Airport Express. One thing's for sure--I want to retain the highest audio quality possible. Another concern is having a way to play music while my computer is shut off, but if I am using iTunes, then this won't be possible, right?
As far as sound output goes, I've become enamored as of late by the AudioEngine A5 / A5+ self-powered speakers:
http://audioengineusa.com/Store/Audioengine-5-Plus
They might be just what I need for my relatively small living room. I also noticed that they make a wireless sender/receiver called the W3 that is supposed to have a built in decent quality DAC:
http://audioengineusa.com/Store/Audioengine-W3
I'm curious to here how this setup would compare in audio quality to Apple's Airport functionality and perhaps other setups such as the Sonos.
Thoughts?

Without an AVR forget about it. You need a sound system. Once you get that, then come back and post questions. Otherwise you're just going to have listen to FLAC or Apple Lossless files on your computer.
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post #6 of 11 Old 06-18-2012, 02:24 PM
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^^^

wrong... he can use an ax (as well as any number of other solutions) with active speakers with no issues.... he does not need an avr...

what he does need is someplace to serve the music from...

op, how many cd's are we talking?

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post #7 of 11 Old 06-18-2012, 04:16 PM - Thread Starter
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I will probably end up getting an AVR, simply because I'll need more inputs, but I was thinking I might get away with the Audioengine A5+ self-powered speakers for a minimalist setup. I'll have a Blu-ray / DVD player, and my HDTV, and then I'll want a way to interface with the speakers from my computer or external drive.

I don't really have a huge CD collection--I'm estimating around 250-300 CD's. I do want to keep them in lossless format--either FLAC or ALAC. I guess I have to go ALAC if I am using Airplay, right?

Honestly, my original idea was just to get a 500 MB external drive and plug it via USB into an affordable receiver with USB-capability such as the Denon AVR-1613. But I really don't know how the interface would be like. Hence my interest in turning my iTouch into a remote and streaming from my computer or network attached storage device.

Thoughts?
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post #8 of 11 Old 06-18-2012, 05:40 PM
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I have a computer on, and usually running iTunes, so I also use it as my "NAS".
You are going to have something on somewhere if you want to serve files
(a NAS is basically a computer that only has one job - serve files)

I've never played with a usb drive directly connected to a receiver.
It might work, but would be inconvenient to add content to.

I use a mac based system. It is in a nearby room with direct connection
to my main system. I have and airport express and atv hooked up to
my secondary system. The express does only CD standard 44.1/16,
the apple TV does only 48/16 (so everything has to get resampled).
I've never done an abx compare of the two devices - but doubt I could
tell the difference (I already had the express for audio and wireless
network expansion - added the atv so I could do video) Both cost
about the same - choose express if you need analog out, or optical out,
or wireless network point (I use it to provide internet to my receiver).
Pick atv if you want to do video.

Can control the system from ipod, iphone, ipad, or another mac.
Works for me since I already had that other stuff anyway.

I like having the computer/drives in another room - can't hear them.
So simple would be Mac, express or atv, your existing ipod touch for control.
If you want a receiver, consider getting one you can also control with your ipod.

I'm sure there any many ways to slice and dice this - simple depends
in part on what you are used to . . .

Everything I say here is my opinion. It is not my employers opinion, it is not my wife's opinion, it is not my neighbors opinion, it is My Opinion.
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post #9 of 11 Old 06-18-2012, 09:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dknightd View Post

I have a computer on, and usually running iTunes, so I also use it as my "NAS".
You are going to have something on somewhere if you want to serve files
(a NAS is basically a computer that only has one job - serve files)
I've never played with a usb drive directly connected to a receiver.
It might work, but would be inconvenient to add content to.
I use a mac based system. It is in a nearby room with direct connection
to my main system. I have and airport express and atv hooked up to
my secondary system. The express does only CD standard 44.1/16,
the apple TV does only 48/16 (so everything has to get resampled).
I've never done an abx compare of the two devices - but doubt I could
tell the difference (I already had the express for audio and wireless
network expansion - added the atv so I could do video) Both cost
about the same - choose express if you need analog out, or optical out,
or wireless network point (I use it to provide internet to my receiver).
Pick atv if you want to do video.
Can control the system from ipod, iphone, ipad, or another mac.
Works for me since I already had that other stuff anyway.
I like having the computer/drives in another room - can't hear them.
So simple would be Mac, express or atv, your existing ipod touch for control.
If you want a receiver, consider getting one you can also control with your ipod.
I'm sure there any many ways to slice and dice this - simple depends
in part on what you are used to . . .

So just to summarize, is there any reason why I would pick Airport Express over Apple TV if ATV can video content as well (like streaming Netflix)? And from what I gather, a NAS can do everything a dedicated music computer can do--that is, I can page through my iTunes library via my iPod touch or iPhone while my library is stored on my NAS?

Can someone recommend a good NAS that will allow me to do this? I don't need a huge one, 500 GB should be plenty.
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post #10 of 11 Old 06-19-2012, 06:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kalash74 View Post

So just to summarize, is there any reason why I would pick Airport Express over Apple TV if ATV can video content as well (like streaming Netflix)?

The express can also act as a wireless router (since my receiver does not have wireless, I use the express to provide its internet connection). It also expands my wireless range into the back yard.
The express also has an analog output, so, you could hook a pair of powered speakers to it and have music anywhere you have internet and power.
The atv only has hdmi output, and does not act as a router.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kalash74 View Post

And from what I gather, a NAS can do everything a dedicated music computer can do--that is, I can page through my iTunes library via my iPod touch or iPhone while my library is stored on my NAS?
Can someone recommend a good NAS that will allow me to do this? I don't need a huge one, 500 GB should be plenty.
Don't know, haven't kept up that market since I do not need it.

edit: if you get a NAS and receiver that do DLNA you probably do not need either of the apple things.
Can't recommend specific products, but I'm sure somebody can smile.gif

Everything I say here is my opinion. It is not my employers opinion, it is not my wife's opinion, it is not my neighbors opinion, it is My Opinion.
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post #11 of 11 Old 06-19-2012, 06:48 AM
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There is a whole forum on AVS dedicated to network streaming and media servers. You would probably have better luck getting the answers you need there.

Your questions are answered: Speaker FAQ
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