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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here is my situation. My Pioneer 300 disc player is dying and just when it's about time to buy another it looks like I will need to buy two changers. Well that got me to thinking about copying my nearly 300 cds to a hardrive and connecting the computer to my a/v receiver. Now I've been reading on this forum( nearly 8 hours yesturday when I was supposed to be doing some late summer spring cleaning) and others forums to get some ideas. I even talked on Stephen Phillips on this forum. I find myself, however, still not sure of how to do this.


I'll explain what I hope to do exactly. I want to copy all my cds to the hardrive without compression. I don't want to use the inferior sounding mp3 format. That's all I want to do. Not interested in building a entire media server including video and what not. I'm not sure how big of a hardrive I will need for my cd's and future growth. The researching I have done has made me concerned about connecting hardrives. While I'm know dummy and I have connected and replaced ide hardrives, and even though I'm studying to be Cisco Certified, I wouldn't call myself computer saavy. It's looks like if I do something with 200 gb or larger, I need to do something with raid or what ever and I don't know what that is. I have two computers now but I was thinking of buying an older pentium 3 off ebay,I saw several for about 50.00 dollars, and hopefully putting a large drive in there. As for the connection to the stereo Sthephen suggested the Chaintech soundcard. I was also doing some research on the audiotron. I want it to be simple as possible. The computer will be relatively close and my home network is all wired. I just want to be able to put the cds in the drive and ripped to a hardrive use a program to make playist and start playing when I want to listen.


I have another option if trying to rip cds at bit perfect form becomes to complicated. I could just rip the cd's using the highest quality codec, which ever that is and buy a high quality single disc cd player for when I really want to listen to high quality sound. That's what I'll do when I listen to my Sacd dics and Dvd-a disc anyway right.


So hopefully you knowledgable people can lend me a hand and point me into the right direction.



P.S. Can you put three hardrives on a computer. For example and you put two hardrives on one ide cable(you know master and slave) and a Cd-rom and Hardrive on another cable (master and slave). I have two computers one gateway 2ghz 256 ram and another computer(938mhz 128 mb ram) that pretty funky acting. I was messing around trying to put windows xp and a additonal hardrive (a 30 gb) the original is a 4 gb, and somehow I made it that so that the computer boots up the os only if the two are connected. I use it so the kids can play on the internet when the wife or I are on the main one.
 

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look into eac and flac, flac is a lossless codec, which means that you will lose absolutely zero quality, and eac is a ripping utility that, when properly configured, will read a sector as many times as it takes to get it right, meaning sectors bad enough to get your cd player to skip, however minute and unnoticeable, will be read perfectly. Therefore, you could theoretically get better quality from your server. About hard drives, I have an external 300GB, no sweat to set up, also a 200 internal. You will have no problem getting large hard drives set up, or getting enough storage for your music collection.


For ease of use, I suggest setting up xlobby with foobar2000 as your music player, and just using it for music. That's what I do with my laptop right now, it's hooked up to the sound system upstairs. Check out the screenshots at www.xlobby.com It's so user friendly, and my wife even thinks it is super awesome.


I will second the chaintech sound card. cheap and bit perfect with optical out.
 

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also, if you look into some of the documentation of eac, you can set it up to automatically create directory structure for your audio collection, that makes setting up xlobby as easy as pressing a button. Just check the FAQ for it, there are some wildcards you can use for track naming, for example for artist\\album structure, you just use the appropriate wildcards and it will create the directories for you if they don't exist. Makes it pretty easy. I also have some utility to download coverart semi-automatically. Can't remember what it's called, but it wasn't too hard to find, is freeware and works pretty good. I think WMP can do it for you as well, not a big fan of microsucks though.
 

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I also want to do the same thing as the original poster and I also spent several hours researching the forums only to be more confused by the more challenging HTPC setups. I don't need all that, just a simple music server setup (if it even qualifies as such). Basically, the less savvy people need a little help with a simple technological solution to our problem. It's a shame to spend 10, 20 or 30hrs researching and still not have a concrete idea of what scenarios work best.
 

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It doesn't take much of a PC to work. 1GHz or better?


XP for stability.


Any lossless format. FLAC, APE, Windows Media Lossless are all fine.


Most any program that supports these can be used for ripping. Most people use a program called a jukebox. You can find some here: http://www.download.com/Jukeboxes/31...ml?tag=nav_dir


In lossless format, figure about 3 CD's per GB, so a 250GB drive will store around 750 CD's.


Hook the PC up to an amp and real speakers for better sound. Use the line out from the PC, and connect to any available input on the amp (other than Phono). CD, Video1, Video2, etc. will work. The cable will usually need to be 1/8" stereo on one end (make sure it's stereo-- two little black bands, not one) and RCA on the other end.


Anything above could be debated or refined, but you'll learn a lot just starting. Rip a dozen CD's and listen to them a while before you continue ripping, just to be sure it's working right.


Find a forum specializing in audio where you can ask questions. Most software companies who offer this kind of software also run a forum.
 

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Here are some guides for ripping to FLAC with EAC (some also include other codec options)

http://www.high-quality.ch.vu/

http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/...howtopic=30959

http://www.saunalahti.fi/cse/EAC/


And here's a guide to setting up the Chaintech and Foobar (though for my money the 3.10a drivers are the way to go). See this thread for a more in depth discussion of the Chaintech.


p.s. RAID is only necessary if you want absolute redundancy of your data (if a drive fails you have automatic backup). People trumpet RAID around here like its a given, but if you're on a budget or don't really have mission-critical, irreplaceable data, then its really just a matter of choice. I just backup on my FLAC rips onto DVD-R, so if I lose a drive I get another and dump everything back on.


p.p.s don't assume all P3 motherboard will be able to handle large hard drives (>136gb). Older ones won't (at least not without a BIOS upgrade), and though you can always buy a PCI controller card that will give you hard drive support, many older boards don't play well with them either. Just do a little reasearch on that beforehand to save yourself any headache (I recently had two 200gb drives, full of music, die on me on a row because my rusty P3 500 Gateway board hated the Promise controller I put in).


Hope that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I thinking of using my current second computer. A pentium 3 with 933 mhz cpu. it has two hardrives already can I a third on the secondary ide slot along with the cd-rom?. what about an external usb hard drive or a network hardrive? Another question, if decided to keep some songs ripped at lossless and some compressed would it be a problem for some those mentioned programs to make a library of them together?
 

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A library can have a mix of lossless and lossy content.


BTW, lossless is still compressed, when compared to the audio CD or to WAV files. It's compressed about half the size.


Use an internal drive if you can. NAS is nice, but there still may be "issues".
 

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yes, you can add a 3rd hard drive to the secondary ide. I would recommend putting the HDD as the "master" device on the 2nd IDE channel.


Most jukebox programs treat all accepted formats of music in the same way. MP3s or FLACs or WAV files will all just show up as "songs."


One option that nobody's mentioned that I thought I should throw out there is iTunes, which has a lossless AAC format option, and one of the best user interfaces available on any platform, especially if you aren't looking for a full HTPC solution, just something to store music on. It's free for PC or Mac, and compatible between the two. I would say that it's biggest problem is that it is a "heavy" program in the sense that it seems to take up too much space for what it does. Apple software has been more Bloatware since moving to OS X. But other than that, it's a good program with lots of intelligent features and a very streamlined interface. You can also share libraries via your home network between computers remotely as long as all the machines have the same version of iTunes installed and turned on. That is a very nice feature. If your kids have their own music on a separate PC, you can "scan" it without actually getting up from your own PC.


It also allows you to easily put all of your music on one computer and listen to it anywhere in the house without having multiple copies of the files.


If you have a wireless access point, you can also stream your entire music library to your neighbors. If you wanted to do such a thing.


It's not for everyone, but it is popular for a reason. And it does have a lossless mode. I don't know if anything else can read Lossless AAC, but I think it's an open standard...maybe I'm wrong about that.
 

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good advice in this thread. definately watch the old PCs & 127/137gb HDD limit. on an old PC i'd go with Win2000pro instead of XP for performance reasons.


You really should install iTunes and Windows Media Player 10 and test rip a few CDs. When you setup each program it gives you an idea of the file size per cd. From there you can explore other software and codecs.


I would recommend iTunes for your "engine" for ease of use but unfortunately it won't handle all the file types.


RAID is not a substitute for a backup... lightening would zap both drives, as would deleting files... go with DVD-R backup if you need to (iTunes handles this well also).
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Regarding the compatability issue of older computers and larger drives, I was thinking about using a usb drive. I even have seen a dlink device which turns usb drives into network drive. I could just get a usb 2.0 pci card and go from there. As for the programs, man you guys are throwing a lot out there (I like it though it gives me a lot to think about). I've read a lot about J river on this forum and I've done some test ripping with the windows media and music match. and I've seen a folder some where on the xp os that says install itunes. Man all i wanted to do is put my cd onto a hard drive because my mega changer made me fall in love with not having to get up to constantoly change cds
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Update: Here's what I've done since I last posted. I bought a usb hardrive and connected to my main computer in the living room. my older computer is in the theater lobby in my basement and connected to my theater system. I stream from the main computer to the secondary computer and listen that way. I ripped 250+ cds to the usb drive to wma vb. I did it because while I still want decent quality I planned to use the hardrive when I'm just listening while reading or something. I planned to buy a good quality cd player for listening to good quality sound. ( at least that's what I tell myself, in reality it's probably just another excuse to buy another gadget to play with.)


Now the thing is that I need to get a better sound from the computer, ie a better sound card. However, the one thing that I miss from my mega cd changer is being able to switch songs on the fly from my couch. I've spent hours at times just listening to a bit of a song here then to another bit of a song there and so one. I am not sure if one can control a computer via remote control so I've been researching steaming devices like netgear, d-link, linksys, and so-on. I even researched tho network dvd players. The thing is I'm not sure what works or not. Most of the comments that I have read about them is about how well they play divx and other video. Nothing to really state how well it plays music on the hard drives. Another thing is that they all seem to have some short comings. Like one not being able to play higher rate wmas or mp3s, and another not being able to manage a high library of songs. So far I've been using windows media player and it seems to be ok so I guess I hope to find some thing similar. Another Idea that I had was to find a way to use a wire less mouse and keyboard. So what I am asking you guys is to hopefully help point me into a direction. Thanks for the help.
 

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why not add a wireless keyboard/mouse and also a pc remote such as this which can navigate media player (even if you don't have a wireless keyboard/mouse)...
http://www.streamzap.com/


i use both for my htpc which i use frequently for audio. i need to fire up my PJ or remote control the HTPC via my wireless notebook. you could remote control your music server via VNC or other similar remote desktop apps also


regarding sound output, if you're doing digital out most would say it's irrelevant but search around the forum
 
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