SSD Drives / Music Server?


#1

I apologize in advance for seeming dumb. In all the years I owned a PWT and DMP all I have done is play discs with it. Some Redbook, some hi-rez. Some store bought, some I downloaded and burned. Lately I have been thinking about modernizing the way I listen to and store music. There are many ways to go here.

First, I’ve looked at buying a music server like the Aurender N10. Obviously that bypasses the DMP and it ain’t cheap. The second option could be hooking up an SSD to the DMP. My question is if I were to do that, how do I manage my music? A server like the Aurender comes with an ipad app that allows you to choose albums, tracks, a playlist, etc. Is there an app that can interface with the DMP and an SSD device so I can find and select my music quickly?

The other condition is that sound quality has to be better or equal to the DMP with discs going into the DSD.

Thanks in advance.


#2

The option that I have is to run a NAS in a raid configuration with Roon. With M.2 SSD’s for caching and an SSD for running Roon. I use Roon to manage my large library of ripped disks. It’s fairly bulletproof in execution. If you’re careful with the details streaming will sound very good. In my case so good that I’ve sold off my turntable and phono gear.


#3

You are actually asking a few questions here, and depending how you answer them, then branches to other issues.

Let’s assume you want to rip your CDs to files, or buy files directly online…

You have to rip your CDs to files first. You have many ways to do this… I use Exact Audio Copy (EAC) a program that ensures a bit-for-bit transfer… program is a bit fiddly… you can use Windows media player… you need to set the rip settings to be the highest quality, lossless, and rip to WAV files.

Once you create or buy files, you need to store them somewhere. You can save them on your PC hard drive, an external hard drive attached to your PC (usually via USB) , or a device attached to your network… these are usually call Network Attached Storage Devices… or NAS for short and this box is usually connected to your router via an Ethernet cable. If you are not computer savvy, and you are only looking to store your music for playback, you should keep away from a NAS as you now are getting into “computer and music networking”… yikes.

Regardless of where you store them, you must back them up… so whatever you do, buy two disc drives and keep one as a copy to the other… at a minimum.

Organization… regardless of where you store them, you must organize your files. I recommend the following:

  • Folder called “Music”, then within that folder,
  • Folder for each artist or band… for example “Rolling Stones, The” and within that folder,
  • Folder for each album “Exile on Main Street” and within that folder,
  • Folder for songs… start each song with the track number “15 All Down the Line”
    Organizing in this way will make managing your collection with Windows easy. Your ripper like Windows Media Player, will automatically add on the song number in front of the name so they appear in album order.

Now you must play them… you need a program on your PC or whatever to play them. I use Foobar, it is free (Ted uses it) but it is fiddly. Roon is another popular player. You install the software and then tell the software where your library is… each player program will do different things to “manage” your music collection and allow you to choose what you want it to play.

Now you must send the music from where it is stored to your PS Audio DAC. The player software does this by the way you set it up. There are two common ways… 1) a USB cable from your PC to the DAC (works no matter where you store your music and is the easiest and least fiddly), …or 2) Ethernet cables between your DAC and router, your router and NAS (where music is stored) and your router and PC (wireless can be substituted for an Ethernet cable here). NAS storage via Ethernet to your DAC can be a challenge if you are not IT savvy…

So the simplest configuration that always works and is easy to setup is:

  • USB cable between the DAC and your PC
  • USB cable between your PC and external disc drive (two of them) where your music library is located
  • A player like Roon or Foobar to play and control your listening

Lots to think about, not a simple answer… once you get this simple system up, you can then consider a NAS. A quick note about a NAS… usually you use a NAS for more than just a music library… it is a storage device on your network that any device, phone, tablet, PC can access. You can also put many different files on it so again, others on your network can access it. And, lastly, it can be a backup for all your PCs and devices… but it needs a backup too… so it can get complex.

Peace
Bruce in Philly


#4

Bruce,

Thanks very much for the in-depth reply. Here’s what I was looking to accomplish

  1. I’ve got about 30 or 40 hires albums. I’e also got about 300 or so CDs I know I’d have to rip. I’m comfortable with Windows technology so that’s not a problem, though it will take a lot of time.

  2. I wanted storage device located next to the DSD/DMP. I can plug in a SSD drive to the DMP and play my hires files. The problem, of course, is that DMP isn’t setup to manage hundreds of albums. I assume there isn’t any software that will allow you to choose artists/songs/albums from an SSD drive connected to the USB input on the DMP. I liked that idea because it sounded like the simplest way to do it, and I could buy a 1TB SSD for $300.

  3. Another, much more expensive way, is to buy a music server device like an Aurender or Lumin or PS Audio Octave when it’s released and hook that directly to the DSD. That effectively makes my DMP obsolete, assuming I spend the time to rip everything I own.

I think I’m leaning toward #3 since option #2 doesn’t really seem feasible (no way to really manage albums through the DMP). I could also get the Bridge II which I understand maybe close to an Aurender or Lumin standalone appliance. I am tied to the DSD that way though I really like that unit and have no plans to replace it.

Thanks again for taking the time to reply.


#5

Connecting anything direclty to the DMP is not something I am familiar with - no comment.

With disc storage, there is no constraint as to where you put it. If you want it “out of the way” and not near your PC for some reason, then you must install the music on a NAS. If you do, then you can co-locate the NAS with your router. I don’t at all recommend any wireless for these important connections… I am old fashioned… nothing beats a wire. Now you can connect your DAC directly to the router via an Ethernet cable. Most routers provided to you by cable companies should have four Ethernet ports to plug these cables into.

You still need a player like Roon or Foobar.

BTW, it took me maybe six months to rip my CD collection… sheesh. But you really want to make sure you get bit-for-bit rips so I highly recommend learning how to use and configure EAC for ripping… nothing better out there.

BTW, if you co-locate your router and NAS, you can put these devices on a dedicated battery backup for both protection from electrical anomalies and power failures.

Peace
Bruce in Philly


#6

Another program to use for ripping is dbPoweramp CD ripper. You can set it up so that it rips to Flac and mp3’s at the same time. Flacs for the main system and mp3’s for ipods etc.

I have my music ripped and stored on a NAS which is connected by ethernet (agree with Bruce in Philly on wired rather than wireless). I use Sonos connect for playback and managing.


#7

dbPoweramp for me too. Been using it several years now. They even have a program called “PerfectTunes” that’ll go back and make sure their still perfect copies. Great program(s).


#8

Get a NAS and run it directly into your DAC (you did not mention what you use) Don’t spend too much money, you can run ROON on a QNAP NAS via an app on the NAS. Wait for the new PS Audio Server, the Octave, which is currently being developed. You can still use your NAS as your main file storage.


#9

If sound quality is a concern the Aurender will sound light years better than the PC or Bridge II option. The N100H is not crazy expensive and it’s great or wait for the PSA Octave and check that out. Paul mentioned that early testing of the Octave was pretty impressive and a sonic step up from the DMP.


#10

I have used an Aurender X100L music storage/player for three-and-a-half years and can recommend it without hesitation. (Actually, the “L” model is overkill for me and the smaller disc capacity “S” model would have been fine). It is silent and has been completely trouble free. It updates itself automatically and the iPad app has also been totally reliable. (The Android app is only a “light” version that I use in emergencies). The app is unique in being able to display both front and back cover art, which I mostly scan in with Photoshop. I also use dBpoweramp for ripping and I keep a duplicate copy of the music database on my PC. Automatic tagging from online databases is abysmal! Getting the tagging right is vital if you are ever to find anything and I use mp3tag for that.

I ripped all my CDs at a rate of around 10 per day, taking nearly two months over the complete job! The library is mostly classical music and I split albums when CDs contain two or more major works - like two symphonies, maybe by different composers. I file things by Genre-> Composer->Album , with around 35 custom genres (eg. Concerto-Piano, Concerto-Violin etc.)

You can certainly manage with Bridge and a NAS running Minimserver and controlled by the mcontrol app, but I have found the user experience tends to be not quite so smooth and trouble free. I don’t hear any differences in sound quality, but my ears are 79 years old and past their best.


#11

You’re correct, there is no software interface to the USB input on the DMP front panel. So #2 is a non-starter unless you want to manage everything from the DMP touch screen.

Since your music collection is not large, the easiest way to get started would be to rip everything to an existing PC HD, get the Bridge II for the DSD, and then use any PC-based control software you like to stream direct to the DSD. DMP is still useful for playing SACDs and any CDs you haven’t ripped yet. The DSD supports both RAAT (Roon protocol) and UPnP (Foobar and may others use), so you can try different software to see what you like. Roon is the easiest to use and has the best UI IMHO but it’s not free like some of the others. If you get a bigger collection or want the security of RAID protection of your collection you can always add a NAS later but for <400 albums, you don’t really need one.


#12

I don’t doubt you’re correct. OTOH I read someone on Audiogon forum that has a Bridge II bought a Lumin U-1 and after A-B said they were equal in performance.

It’s pretty funny because after posting that he listed the U-1 on Audiogon and basically said it killed his CD setup. I guess he didn’t want to get stuck with a $5k paperweight.