Dipping toes into the NAS (world) with no clue and getting rid of the CD player

Hi folks,

please forgive me for my lack of knowledge, I don't frequent here much because I don't really understand the computer world that much to be completely honest. I do find it daunting.

At the moment, as far as this streaming malarkey goes, I just subscribe to qobuz via my PC laptop via a Jitterbug and into a USB DAC. I'm toying with the idea (in my day dream world probably) to buy a Network Attached Storage device to replace my CD player.

I need advice as I'm not computer literate by any stretch of the imagination and I can't quite afford a Naim solution at this moment in time, I wish I could have a Naim but I can't, other pressing priorities are dictating right now.

I have looked at a Qnap device on Amazon, do I just get one, plug it in and then go from there? as I say, i'm out of my depth here with any confidence or knowledge. I will have around £1000 to play with to replace my CD5si into Nait 5si with Neat motive SX2 speakers . Are there other options to look at that are better? I've only picked bits here and there from other threads, put two & two together and probably come up aready with five. 

Top sound quality with what I've got is what i'm after. I just use a basic PlusNet servive provider via a landline, no switch or anything like that. I only have a smart TV connected via a Ethernet cable and that's about it.

Qobuz is streamed wirelessly and runs faultlessly via my laptop but...

Thankyou kindly advance guys for any guidance and info that maybe offered.

Original Post

Stephen

i moved over from CDX2/XPS to an NDX in 2014, do I regret the move No, do I play the system a lot me now, YES

my dealer was a great help - he suggested i get a QNAP NAS with WD red storage - these are avialable on interweb - mine then cost around £500 total

ripping the CD's i use a programe called dBpoweramp - its very easy to do, again advice Rip once Rip right

another very nec is to make sure you have back up!

either Asset (recommended) or Twonkey will control the UpNP - and off you go

there are lot's on members on here with far more experience than I, but it's fairly easy to get the hang of

 

Hi Stephen,   like Antony D,  I moved from CDX2/XPS to NDX/XPS (also in 2014).   My NAS is a Synology with WD Red HDD's.  I also rip with dBpoweramp but although most purchases are downloads, dBpoweramp is an excellent metadata editor for these.

Getting your head around this is quite simple,  but too many advisors can make it confusing,  I advise to spend time with a dealer or possibly better with a person who has a system who is willing to spend time with you to explain it & answer questions.  I've done it that way for others twice now,  a couple of hours with the bits & wires in view all works well.      I see HH asked the question about you living near Portsmouth,  but if you are nearer Oxford you are very welcome to my system.

Hello Stephen,

Computers are nothing to worry about - easy for me to say, I guess, but you’ll be fine, it’s not as bad as you think!

The NAS is the place where you’d store all of your music (either downloaded or from extracted CDs), but you’ll also need something that can access that music and turn it into audio - something like the ND5xs.  £1,000 budget is too low (second-hand ND5xs seem to sell for upwards of £1,300-1,400) so have a look for streamers from other brands, perhaps?  As for the NAS, I can recommend Synology, after running one for a few years with little problem, and QNAP also seem well regarded. 

Once you have both of these, they need to be connected to your home network (wirelessly or with network cables - cables best) and will usually detect each other.  There’s not a lot more to it, although a bit of configuration on the Synology to install some software (Minim) will be needed. If you want to import your CDs, you can do this on your laptop, usually finding that your NAS is showing up as a place to save the CD’s contents too.

Hope that helps for starters? 

Seth :-)

Stephen, like you I really am computer shy despite using one all day at work.

My situation was different in that I needed a NAS to back up my music files after a near failure of my Unitiserve. In summary I got advice from my local Naim dealer. They must see this sort of situation all the time. They advised me about the type of NAS and hard drives to get. They then set it up for me at home and it was hassel free. They also put a few extra music albums on the NAS for free. Great service, so see your friendly neighbourhood Naim dealer.

You don't need to spend more than about £350 for a NAS drive, and it can be a little as £180  (Synology or QNAP are known reliable).
A couple of Cat6 cables will cost about £12 (I tested several cables and the best I found cost just £6!).
For software (PC*), EAC to rip disks is shareware (free), as is MP3Tag, but dBpoweramp is better and just £25
A switch (optional) will cost about £25.

Apart from that you just need the streamer and interconnect cables.


* There's equivalent software for the Mac, I think it's called something like XLD.

Regarding the NAS:

Do you know your way around IP addresses, DHCP, subnet masks, gateways, uPNP, port 9000, port 80, shared folders, mirroring, backups?

If yes to the above, go for a NAS and set it up yourself, you;ll be fine.

if not, ask a friend to set it up for you.

It's nowhere near that bad.

Yes you need to know about shared folders, and like any computer user you need to know about backups; however, for the rest...

Just plug it into the network and let it take care of itself.

 

(It will already be configured for DHCP and that will take care of : "IP addresses, DHCP, subnet masks, gateways, port 9000, port 80" for you, all done automatically!  Mirroring is unnecessary; and when you need to configure it, it's done through a web page - if you don't know how to access one of those, how did you get here?  ).

 

FWIW - At the time I purchased a ND5XS and I then bought Synology DS716+II 2-Bay NAS Server Kit that had 2 x WD 4TB Red 5400 rpm SATA III 3.5" Internal NAS HDD. I had also bought a Cisco SG110D 110 Series 5-Port Unmanaged Network Switch at the same time. The cable setup as it sits today. I have ran a ethernet cable from the router to the switch and a second ethernet cable from the switch to the NAS, and then a third ethernet cable from the switch to the ND5XS. I also have a MAC desktop with a ethernet connection to the router. 

From this point on I can not remember exactly how the NAS got installed but my faint memory is that when the NAS booted up I recognized it on the workstation and loaded the client software, choose the NAS associated software and somehow it got installed and worked. From there is was time to rip CD's  to the NAS. I obtained a copy of dBpoweramp's ripping software and loaded on the MAC workstation and then started the journey of ripping approximately 1200 CD's over several weeks (months). The Naim App software on the iPad recognized the NAS when using the UpnP icon. Choose the album and play music, no muse, no fuss, no clutter once it is up and running.

I did a lot of reading through threads on the forum prior to doing this, I may have read the instructions that came with Synology I really do not remember. All I am sure is that it is something that can be accomplished without being a super computer wizard.

Best of luck with your journey. 

It also looks like you have some helpful forum members who are willing to help out........

If you are new to this, it is important to understand the different parts of the process, and associated terminology. Playing from stored music files involves the store (e.g NAS or computer hard drive), rendering software (‘renderer’), yours presently being something installed in your computer, whether part if the standard laptop package or something you have installed (do you know what you use?), and a DAC, feeding an analog signal to amplification and speakers.

The three stages before amplification can be in separate boxes, or commonly the renderer and DAC combined, commonly called a ‘streamer’, or the renderer and store combined (as in your computer), variously referred to as ‘player’ or ‘transport’, or all in one. 

A NAS as a store, addressing your specific question, as others have indicated need not beparticularly expensive, well withing your budget for something very good - and you can do for less without compromise to sound quality, (though my experience of a cheap NAS was intrusive noise from its fan, something to be aware of, whereas, for example, QNAP has no fan). However, you need something to do the rendering (converting the file to a digital music stream), which NASs don’t do - your computer could do that as it does now with online streaming, but if you have to have the computer running for playing music, you might as well store the music on it if capacity is enough, or an attached hard drive, rather than a NAS. If you don’t want the laptop running to play music then something else has to do the rendering, and keeping within your budget for NAS and a renderer starts to get more challenging. 

Incidentally, in terms of sound quality a significant component is the DAC. It may be helpful for people making suggestions to identify what DAC you use.

And in terms of storage capacity, how many albums do you envisage? (Is it transferring (ripping) a an existing CD collection to hard drive storage, or for future purchases?) it is significant to the size of drive you need, whether in NAS or a computer. I have about 1200 albums at CD or higher resolution in lossless format (.flac), with some space to spare on a 1TB drive - I consider it quite a large collection, but some people have far more.

Also worth bearing in mind is that provision of another drive external to, and removeable from, the NAS or computer to use for backups is wise, at least unless you have all the music stored on CDs.

What you will find from people’s responses is likely to come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, so be prepared for sometimes apparently contrary opinions and likely confusing options, and give yourself time to pick through it all before making a decision. As has been suggested the advice of a dealer can be valuable, if that is practicable.

I switched to streaming when my CD player needed replacing, seeing it as the medium of the future, and whilst with hindsight and improved knowledge I could have made better choices in terms of value for money at first, I have never regretted it in the slightest.

I forgot to add, before ripping lots of CDs, or downloading lots of music, there’s a little matter of the metadata to be aware of, important for managing and browsing music files. Not difficult, nor a major issue, provided that you are aware of its importance from the start and check as you go along - it does become a problem if you discover you have hundreds of albums with missing or incorrect metadata. A simple example is the artist name: Beatles or The Beatles? Beethoven or Ludwig Van Beethoven? Possibly more risk of oddities is with classical music where rpther can be many different recordings of the same piece by different orchestras and conductors. Just something to look into before you get ripping and downloading. 

Stephen - a good move and it's really not as complicated as some will make out. You're already half way there with your PC setup now. To get started i'd get a good CD ripping program installed onto your PC (DB Poweramp as recommended above), rip a few CDs onto your PC hard drive and play them back via your USB DAC. See how you get on and then if happy look at the next steps - Network players (such as the ND5XS) and a standalone NAS (as a music store and UPnP server) to replace the need for the PC for playback. 

Plenty of advice available here and online to help you along. 

James

 

Huge posted:

It's nowhere near that bad.

Yes you need to know about shared folders, and like any computer user you need to know about backups; however, for the rest...

Just plug it into the network and let it take care of itself.

 

(It will already be configured for DHCP and that will take care of : "IP addresses, DHCP, subnet masks, gateways, port 9000, port 80" for you, all done automatically!  Mirroring is unnecessary; and when you need to configure it, it's done through a web page - if you don't know how to access one of those, how did you get here?  ).

 

We will have to agree to disagree on this!

I recently installed an ND5 XS and a Synology 216j on someone else's network.

I plugged in the Synology, connected the Ethernet cable and turned it on.  After a minute or so I ran the Synology disk on her laptop: it found the NAS, I made sure it loaded the Media Server, and it sorted it all out for us.  I ripped some files from the laptop to the local disk,  I setup a network share from the laptop to the pre-defined 'Music' shared folder on the NAS then copied the files to the NAS.

Then I connected the ND5 XS via WiFi (as a physical connection wasn't possible until a little work is done on the house), and getting a reliable WiFi connection was the most tricky part of the whole process.  We then loaded the Naim app on her 'phone.

When we had the WiFi connection sorted, the ripped files played fine.  It was that simple.

Hi Huge,  100%,    I did much the same last christmas for someone.  They had an all wired network already installed for AV.   The Synology was an upgrade from a creaky old Netgear to work with his new Linn.  I plugged it all in, followed the install prompts & bingo, I'd forgotten how simple it was.  I left him happily transfering files into the new NAS.

Huge posted:

I recently installed an ND5 XS and a Synology 216j on someone else's network.

I plugged in the Synology, connected the Ethernet cable and turned it on.  After a minute or so I ran the Synology disk on her laptop: it found the NAS, I made sure it loaded the Media Server, and it sorted it all out for us.  I ripped some files from the laptop to the local disk,  I setup a network share from the laptop to the pre-defined 'Music' shared folder on the NAS then copied the files to the NAS.

Then I connected the ND5 XS via WiFi (as a physical connection wasn't possible until a little work is done on the house), and getting a reliable WiFi connection was the most tricky part of the whole process.  We then loaded the Naim app on her 'phone.

When we had the WiFi connection sorted, the ripped files played fine.  It was that simple.

when I started with streaming, at which time I has a network but no NAS, and only other source was CD. I already had a bunch of files on a computer hard drive, being rips of LPs that I had burnt to CD a couple of years earlier. I, too, bought an ND5XS (ex-dem), and a cheap NAS (Zyxel NSA325, cost something like £60 without drives).I did have a spare ‘switch’ (junction box) with which I linked NDxXS, NAS, and main router/internet access point. Copied some music files from my computer to the NAS, connected ND5XS to preamp, loaded the Naim control app on an iPad, and hey presto, it worked! And sounded as good as my failed CD, as far as memory of sound could tell.

Leaving aside the noise from the NAS that I mentioned in a previous post, the network seemed fine, however occasionally there were odd glitches (I don’t now remember what), that required me to go into the NAS’s media serving software, which was something called Twonky. I dedn’t like Twonky(and apparently I’m not alone), and soon installed an alternative that was available free, Logitech Media Server. That worked a treat - and no more glitches with the NAS.

The ND5XS is indeed a good place to start with streaming, particularly if you don’t plan to upgrade that side of it in the near future. It takes music from a NAS or other networked store, and feeds it to your amplifier. It also allows you to stream from a few online sources (confined to Tidal and Spotify IIRC), and from internet radio stations. There may be as good sounding, or even better sounding, systems available for the same money, but those of which I am aware are rather more techy-oriented, requiring more knowledge to set up and a willingness to play about a bit to get it right. If that is for you, then there are people on the forum who can assist, and indeed other forums specialising. When I came to upgrade my ND5XS, I did find an alternative that improved the quality of sound more than the power supply route, at that point replacing the ND5XS and NAS. Again, much on the forum about things like this if/when it may be of interest.

Unfortunately, I think an ND5XS alone even secondhand is somewhat above budget, without adding in the cost of a NAS. Secondhand prices might drop a bit when Naim’s updated streamer range is released, anticipated later this year, so it might make sense to hold back a bit - though that need not preclude getting the NAS now, playing through your computer and existing DAC, with the limitations that may impose.

incidentally, ND5XS with both Twonky and Logitech Media Server on te NAS happily found my music that was stored in a library-like file structure, effectively using that structure to browse. That lulled me into a false sense of security with metadata - all my LP rips had none at all, and there was nothing highlighting any oddities in downloads or ripped CDs. But some music handling software relies wholly on the metadata, and when I changed my system and ended up with something that does just that, I had no end of problems, and it is still a hassle now, several years later, because I simply don’t have the time to go through hundreds of albums adding metadata and hunting out inconsistencies. That is my reason for my earlier cautionary post about metadata.

 

It's too easy to over-complicate this. For streaming you need a source to provide you with digital music, and something to convert that digital source to something your amp can shovel out through the speakers.

Source can be streamed from the net like your qobuz service, or Spotify or Tidal. Or others presumably. Tidal & Spotify integrate into Naim streamers so are a good choice for simplicity. 

Or your source is your own music stored somewhere on your home network, and made available by the media streaming software installed on whatever device holds your music. That can be a Mac, PC or a NAS drive. A NAS drive is a hard disc with a basic operating system that can run the media s/w. Seagate provide their own s/w, so do WD, Plex [and others] is an independent server s/w package that can be installed on most NAS drives or PCs / laptops. You need the s/w to serve up the source to your chosen streamer.

Which leads to the streamer. This converts the source data stream either from Tidal, qobuz etc or from your NAS into an input into your amp. An ND5XS is a good choice, but is more than your budget. A Cambridge Stream Magic falls within your budget but isn't as nice. The streamer needs to connect via ethernet cable to the same network that the NAS is on, and if you use Tidal etc it obvs needs an internet connection on that same network.

You don't need to worry about network protocols or all the other things. Plug you NAS drive into your router and it'll be available via your PC or Mac. It makes life easier if you map a drive letter to it, but you don't have to. You can always access it via its IP address e.g. \\192.168.1.1\Public\MusicLibrary, and the streamer won't need to be told where it is - the server s/w communicates its location without intervention on your part.

Rip your CDs with DBPowerAmp - it's recommended for a reason, and is easy to use. Before ripping each CD check the metadata to eyeball all the track names and artist data that it'll include with each file. Too many track names include unnecessary info like [12" bonus mix on Deluxe version]. Fine if you want that info but I never do and always delete it before ripping.

You might find it quicker to do a larger collection by ripping to a local folder (C: drive) instead of direct to a NAS drive; adding a minute or so onto each of 700 CDs is a lot of additional time. I find it quicker to rip locally and check the metadata using the excellent free MP3Tag editor then copy to the NAS drive, all whilst the next CD is ripping. Once it's on there your media s/w should react to the new folders being added, or you can force it to rebuild the library at will. The library is what it ultimately presents to your streamer and app (see next) to allow you to choose what to listen to.

Finally you'll need the Naim app on your phone, tablet or iPad. This finds your media server and lets you drill down through your music or Tidal etc to play whatever takes your fancy, with an easy prod & play interface. Other than an initial prod to confirm that the streamer it sees is the one you'll be using, it's hassle free to set it up.

Plusnet are as good as any as an ISP. I'd be hard pushed to be convinced that the choice of ISP has any bearing on sq.

Streaming is all quite simple, it's a simple case of joining together a few well established technologies to present the end user with a simple means of accessing digital music. Once you've got it up & running you can start to tweak it, but doing the easy bit first - getting it up & running - is the first thing to do, then worry about improving it.

You probably won't use your CD player once it's on a NAS drive. Mine is a sadly unused piece of kit these days, forlornly sitting on its shelf in the rack but untouched most of the time.

reAnimate posted:
Huge posted:

It's nowhere near that bad.

Yes you need to know about shared folders, and like any computer user you need to know about backups; however, for the rest...

Just plug it into the network and let it take care of itself.

 

(It will already be configured for DHCP and that will take care of : "IP addresses, DHCP, subnet masks, gateways, port 9000, port 80" for you, all done automatically!  Mirroring is unnecessary; and when you need to configure it, it's done through a web page - if you don't know how to access one of those, how did you get here?  ).

 

We will have to agree to disagree on this!

The OP's ISP will have supplied a router that will serve up IP addresses as required, plug the NAS in and and it will be viewable on the network. They'll be instructions with the NAS device to then log on and configure it.  Sure it takes a bit of work but it's all doable - especually with people on here to help.

Hold on everybody, Stephen states that his budget is 'around £1000'.  This is not enough to buy both a NAS+Hard Drive and something like an ND5Xs, even used.  I think you'll find that something like a used Unitiqute or (shock, horror) a non-Naim streamer is a more viable option.

Like the last contributor, I have removed my CD player to its box and it now sits on top of a wardrobe.  As good as my CDS1 was, the NDS is IMO better.

Wow!! what excellent responses from all forum members - I cant believe the useful information you guys have given me right here, a lot to chomp through...

I need to sit down and come up with a plan - I've just been so busy with my work load this last 24 hours and have only just now found the time to read this thread 

Again, thank you so much for this really useful information guys, i'll have a gap this evening to be able to respond

Stephen, looking at the system in your profile, I think you need to choose between one of two possible routes. Either improve the PC based setup you already have, and rip and save your CDs to a drive on your computer, or get a NAS and a streamer. The latter option is going to be well above your stated budget if you go down the Naim route, although you could get a NAS and a cheaper non-Naim streamer.

For the former PC based option, you could rip and store your CDs on the PC using DBpoweramp software, and either the internal hard drive, or a USB drive. Then add a Naim V1 DAC, which is very much designed for computer sources. If you get a used V1, you could do this within your budget.

If you want to be free of the computer, I would also consider an Innuos Zen. This will rip your CDs, store them, and play them into your existing DAC, or a V1, or a Naim streamer. It will also play from Tidal, Qobuz and Spotify.

the cd player when it was introduced in the 80s anyone with a reasonable system noted its poor performance  .  ,now the sales and use of the player is dead  ,. get your self qnap drive/assett rip and put your cd in its box  good luck ,it is an easy task.  suggest to wipe clean the cd before the rip.  

Ok thanks all, very appreciative indeed. I understand some of these comments but not quite all.

So from what I can gather so far, I will need to download some software like dBpoweramp on to my laptop...then connect this into my USB DAC and after doing this I can then start ripping CDs? I have a 1TB hard drive. It seems I do already have software on my Windows player to rip CDs, is this not that good?, I take it I need the dBpoweramp software for the Mete-data (slightly confused here)?

Or...

I can purchase a Qnap or  Synology NAS drive and then set this up via the laptop with dBpoweramp on board which all from a switch and Ethernet cables.

or...

Purchase a ND5 XS or a unit that is similar (instead of using a laptop) connect this to the NAS and then control all that from a smart phone or tablet.

One problem I do have is that I don't use a smart phone or a tablet, I just use a PC laptop but I will be open minded if I have to be in terms of ease of use, so purchasing either of these can be an option.

Please bear with me folks, I'm still finding it all a little confusing.

I have looked at an Auralic device on-line where you just plug everything into that, is this the same as a ND5XS?

Steve

 

 

 

I do like the idea of using a NAS as I have a separate cupboard that it can reside in and I can use an i pad (when I have one) with a streamer of some sort whilst sat in the listening chair.

I do think my laptop connected via USB into my DAC and then into my Nait 5si is a rather 'scruffy' arrangement, I can't walk around 'freely' selecting my favourite tracks which I rather quite like the thought of being able to do.  

I will probably need to read this whole thread again and then maybe again...until it all sinks in

P.S. I have noticed that my CD5si player has started skipping towards the very end of a disc on all discs and I don't know whether I have the heart to continue with this format although I do enjoy it's sound and simplicity. It's just that times seem to be a moving on... hence thinking of the migration to all out streaming.

Again,many thanks.

ChrisSU posted:

If you want to be free of the computer, I would also consider an Innuos Zen. This will rip your CDs, store them, and play them into your existing DAC, or a V1, or a Naim streamer. It will also play from Tidal, Qobuz and Spotify.

Thanks Chris,

Yes, this does seen to be the kind of solution I have in mind until I can afford something better. You have now got me thinking about thinking about a V1 too!

I'm sure I have read on here that a NAS device connected to laptop is better sounding than using a laptop via the USB DAC. I do like the sound of getting rid of the USB cable connection.

Mike-B posted:

Hi Stephen,   like Antony D,  I moved from CDX2/XPS to NDX/XPS (also in 2014).   My NAS is a Synology with WD Red HDD's.  I also rip with dBpoweramp but although most purchases are downloads, dBpoweramp is an excellent metadata editor for these.

Hi Mike,

I have looked online and I only really need a NAS - 1TB or 2TB absolute max, more than plenty for what I will ever need. This must be a highly regarded solution if you went from a CDX2/XPS to a NDX/XPS or in my case a possible V1?

Hi Stephen

I agree with most of the posts above except possibly Reanimate's.  I have been streaming to my 272 from a QNAP NAS for more than a couple of years now in spite of having no idea what a subnet mask, gateway or port 9000 is.  However, I did buy my NAS from Ripcaster rather than Amazon.  I'm sure I paid a bit more but the opportunity to discuss my requirements over the phone and the fact that the NAS came ready to connect to my network and worked straight from the box made it well worth while.

Roger

Stephen Tate posted:
ChrisSU posted:

If you want to be free of the computer, I would also consider an Innuos Zen. This will rip your CDs, store them, and play them into your existing DAC, or a V1, or a Naim streamer. It will also play from Tidal, Qobuz and Spotify.

Thanks Chris,

Yes, this does seen to be the kind of solution I have in mind until I can afford something better. You have now got me thinking about thinking about a V1 too!

I'm sure I have read on here that a NAS device connected to laptop is better sounding than using a laptop via the USB DAC. I do like the sound of getting rid of the USB cable connection.

A NAS is really the ideal partner to a streamer, with both devices connected to your network, where they find each other. You wouldn't connect a NAS to a laptop, just use either its internal drive or a USB drive. These are the two distinct ways to build a system that I was referring to earlier. If you stick to using a DAC as you are now, it's possible to connect it to a dedicated computer optimised for audio, rather than using a general purpose PC. A Mac Mini is a popular choice for this, with a bit of software called Audirvana on it to optimise the audio.

Stephen Tate posted:

.

I do think my laptop connected via USB into my DAC and then into my Nait 5si is a rather 'scruffy' arrangement, I can't walk around 'freely' selecting my favourite tracks which I rather quite like the thought of being able to do.  .

I dont think you’ve identified your DAC yet?

 

Stephen Tate posted:

Yes, this does seen to be the kind of solution I have in mind until I can afford something better. You have now got me thinking about thinking about a V1 too!

I'm sure I have read on here that a NAS device connected to laptop is better sounding than using a laptop via the USB DAC. I do like the sound of getting rid of the USB cable connection.

If you consider DAC, also consider Chord Hugo, or Mojo which is significantly cheaper.

Nothing wrong with a usb DAC - the problem is RF from the computer. You need good RF isolation, unless the DAC is exemplary in that respect. Provided the Renderer is bit-perfect, and the DAC is asynchronous (generating irs own ‘clock’), then I believe that RF is  the biggest cause of differences with different rendering solutions. When I used a Mac Mini as store, running Audirvana as its rendering program, into a Hugo DAC I found an isolator called Gustard U12 to be very effective in blocking the RF (Hugo has no RF isolation of its own, but otherwise is an excellent DAC for the money).

ChrisSU posted:
Stephen Tate posted:
ChrisSU posted:

If you want to be free of the computer, I would also consider an Innuos Zen. This will rip your CDs, store them, and play them into your existing DAC, or a V1, or a Naim streamer. It will also play from Tidal, Qobuz and Spotify.

Thanks Chris,

Yes, this does seen to be the kind of solution I have in mind until I can afford something better. You have now got me thinking about thinking about a V1 too!

I'm sure I have read on here that a NAS device connected to laptop is better sounding than using a laptop via the USB DAC. I do like the sound of getting rid of the USB cable connection.

A NAS is really the ideal partner to a streamer, with both devices connected to your network, where they find each other. You wouldn't connect a NAS to a laptop, just use either its internal drive or a USB drive. These are the two distinct ways to build a system that I was referring to earlier. If you stick to using a DAC as you are now, it's possible to connect it to a dedicated computer optimised for audio, rather than using a general purpose PC. A Mac Mini is a popular choice for this, with a bit of software called Audirvana on it to optimise the audio.

Thanks for the clarity Chris. 

Can I now assume that a Naim streamer with a Qnap or whatever NAS drive is a natural progression from the Mac Mini & software solution that you describe above.

Innocent Bystander posted:
Stephen Tate posted:

Yes, this does seen to be the kind of solution I have in mind until I can afford something better. You have now got me thinking about thinking about a V1 too!

I'm sure I have read on here that a NAS device connected to laptop is better sounding than using a laptop via the USB DAC. I do like the sound of getting rid of the USB cable connection.

If you consider DAC, also consider Chord Hugo, or Mojo which is significantly cheaper.

Nothing wrong with a usb DAC - the problem is RF from the computer. You need good RF isolation, unless the DAC is exemplary in that respect. Provided the Renderer is bit-perfect, and the DAC is asynchronous (generating irs own ‘clock’), then I believe that RF is  the biggest cause of differences with different rendering solutions. When I used a Mac Mini as store, running Audirvana as its rendering program, into a Hugo DAC I found an isolator called Gustard U12 to be very effective in blocking the RF (Hugo has no RF isolation of its own, but otherwise is an excellent DAC for the money).

Got you IB. 

I take it you have now progressed onto now a Naim solution ?

I'm warming to the idea of a Mac Mini.

Thanks.

Innocent Bystander posted:
Stephen Tate posted:

.

I do think my laptop connected via USB into my DAC and then into my Nait 5si is a rather 'scruffy' arrangement, I can't walk around 'freely' selecting my favourite tracks which I rather quite like the thought of being able to do.  .

I dont think you’ve identified your DAC yet?

 

I'm only using an Arcam irDAC  now for about three years but only for streaming Qobuz.

Stephen Tate posted:
ChrisSU posted:
Stephen Tate posted:
ChrisSU posted:

If you want to be free of the computer, I would also consider an Innuos Zen. This will rip your CDs, store them, and play them into your existing DAC, or a V1, or a Naim streamer. It will also play from Tidal, Qobuz and Spotify.

Thanks Chris,

Yes, this does seen to be the kind of solution I have in mind until I can afford something better. You have now got me thinking about thinking about a V1 too!

I'm sure I have read on here that a NAS device connected to laptop is better sounding than using a laptop via the USB DAC. I do like the sound of getting rid of the USB cable connection.

A NAS is really the ideal partner to a streamer, with both devices connected to your network, where they find each other. You wouldn't connect a NAS to a laptop, just use either its internal drive or a USB drive. These are the two distinct ways to build a system that I was referring to earlier. If you stick to using a DAC as you are now, it's possible to connect it to a dedicated computer optimised for audio, rather than using a general purpose PC. A Mac Mini is a popular choice for this, with a bit of software called Audirvana on it to optimise the audio.

Thanks for the clarity Chris. 

Can I now assume that a Naim streamer with a Qnap or whatever NAS drive is a natural progression from the Mac Mini & software solution that you describe above.

Naim have certainly developed their streamers as the main digital sources in their product range, but I wouldn't automatically assume that this is the only way to go. You may find that you can get more for your money by staying with the Mac & DAC (or PC and DAC) setup you already have. Take Naim's reference DAC, the NDAC - it costs about the same as their entry level separates streamer, the ND5XS. There are many different ways to go. Like you, I started out with a computer and a cheapish DAC connected to my Naim amp, but jumped ship and bought a streamer, which I've been very happy with, but it isn't the only way to get good sound. 

Do you have access to a decent dealer? You might find it helpful to compare, say, a V1 (with your laptop) to an ND5XS so that you can get a feel for all this stuff. (The dealer, of course, will say buy the streamer!) 

Christopher_M posted:

Stephen, this is a sad day!

Hope it turns out.

Chris

I know Chris.

My CD player has now started playing up towards the very end of discs, it's already on it's second mech and because I have had a few players in the past replaced with new mechs (which is not cheap), I don't know if I can be bothered anymore, especially if I now start to factor in the price & popularity of an alternative streaming solution. 

If my CD player was still soldiering on faultlessly I would of just carried on because of the simplicity alone but I've now started to question the reliability of the Compact Disc player in general. 

 

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