Idiots' guide to setting up a NAS as music server

Member
 
January 5, 2011 9:36 AM

Can anybody point me at a really simple set of instructions for setting up a NAS as a music server for my planned Naim streamer purchase. I'd like to have a good number of CDs ready ripped before getting the streamer.
I have purchased a Qnap NAS as it is on the Naim "approved" list.
I am using Windows 7 on a desk PC, with dbPowerbase for ripping and Media Monkey for file sorting and playback.
Problem is that I don't understand computer networks. I have the PC and NAS connected to a Belkin router via ethernet cable. The NAS appears on the computer when I click "Network" from the Start button in Windows. But that's as far as I can go. I have installed a Cat6 wired socket for the hi-fi also connected to the router.

How do I rip to the NAS? What file should I store rips to?, How will the streamer "see" the NAS do I have to install "streamer" software on the NAS?

As you can see my computer skills are minimal. Any idea where I should look for help/instructions?

Also, would setting this up be considered by Naim to be part of the dealer's normal home installation requirement for Naim gear? Or would I be expected to have the network up and running first?

thanks

malcolm
 

Malcolm

 
 
View Printer Friendly Format
Member
 
January 5, 2011 10:41 AM

Such a guide would be contrary to the IT workers' code of conduct in making things as incomprehensible as possible.
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Member
 
January 5, 2011 11:27 AM

I used to own a Qnap 209 II, now I run a Synology 209 +.

There should be a number of native stores (folders) on your Qnap, one of which ought to be music.

Install Qnap Finder on your Windows Computer (available on the Qnap website). Then log into your Qnap through Qnap finder. You will need the generic administrator name and the generic password (find that in your documantation). Change the password to your own password. On the Qnap server you may need to install some sort of streaming software (packages). I used Twonky and Squeezebox software. There are other possibilities depending on what hardware you are going to use for streaming/playback.

As far as I remember Qnap has made some guides that you may refer to. They are probably available on their website.

Ripping: Media Monkey worked fine for me as a ripper, tagger. It may also be used for computer playback, although I believe JRiver Media Center provides better SQ playback through its memory playback function. You can rip to a location on your computer or on your NAS once you have it all set up. I rip with "Artist - Album - Track number - Track title" and store in folders under Artist. My Music Playback programmes (Squeezeserver + J River Media Center) have no problem finding track and artist info.

I hope this helps. I'm sure that other good people here will chime in as well.

Best wishes,
Peter
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Member
 
January 5, 2011 1:26 PM

quote:
Originally posted by Rosewind:
...
Ripping: Media Monkey worked fine for me as a ripper, tagger. It may also be used for computer playback, although I believe JRiver Media Center provides better SQ playback through its memory playback function....
Peter


Hi Rosewind -

Am using the same software tools as you, and in the same way!

MM works great for ripping 99% of the time (EAC is my backup for the rare "problem" CD). MM has all of the tools I need to keep my library properly tagged and well organized. JRMC's import facility is quick and easy to use, and as you say, its playback sound quality is excellent!

Hook
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Trade Member
 
January 5, 2011 3:33 PM

Does MM support tagging of WAVs? I just think that if/when I ever get around to doing this properly, I'd want to rip in WAV rather than FLAC as my ears have told me on more than one occasion that FLAC doesn't sound as good. But the only ripper I know of that supports tags in WAV is dbPowerAmp.
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Member
 
January 5, 2011 5:58 PM

Hi Frank.

I once tested whether I could hear a difference between Wav and Flac playback on my livingroom set-up by listening on and on to the same song ripped in Wav and Flac (Blumfeld, "Der Sich Dachte"). I was unable to detect any SQ difference. However, this may be due to my mullet system (Logitech Touch into Aune Dac + old speakers with Nac 252 + Nap 200). An extensive test together with friends would perhaps be in order. And somehow I would expect the major Audiophile communities to pick up this challenge?

As for tagging in Wav, I don't know if this is supported as I have not had any use for it yet. That may change, however, if it becomes conventional wisdom that Wav sounds etter than Flac. Then I will simply batch-convert my entire Flac collection with a program that will tag Wavs. A pain - yes, but it is possible.

Best wishes,
Peter
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Member
 
January 5, 2011 6:53 PM

1. Stick you music on the NAS
2. Tel the NAS to share that music.
3. Enjoy
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Member
 
January 5, 2011 7:18 PM

There are a number of built in "share folders" that come with the QNAP - they are named something like Qmultimedia and Qrecording plus some others. These are basically storage areas for computer data be that music or whatever you like. You can also create and name your own "share folders" via the Access Rights Management menu - do this if you can.

These share folders should appear on your Windows7 machine under "My Computer" as additional drives e.g. F: / G: etc. You may have to map these drives manually via "My Computer" or the QNAP Finder may help you if they don't appear automatically.

Once the share folder is mapped as a drive (e.g. FSmile you can create your own file structure as you would do normally on any PC.

So from a ripping perspective you just need to tell DBPoweramp to write the resulting rip to the drive on your NAS e.g. F:

The format your rip to comes down IMO to how fussy you are about tags (as I can't tell the difference bettween WAV/FLAC although accept some people can) - I rip to FLAC also because FLAC supports tagging very well - you can store the artist and cover art etc actually in the file. I didn't know you could do this WAV files at all but it seems this may be possible (according to one of the above posts). Once ripped I use a separate program (MP3Tag) for writing tags to the files and making sure that are all labelled correctly etc. If you don't sort the tags out then the correct information will not display when you play a track on the streamer.

For the streamer to see the NAS you must be running a UPnP server on the NAS. Twonky is such a server and comes built in to the QNAP NAS. So as long as Twonky is running your Naim streamer will see it once connected - may be some minor config work to do. One key thing is that you have to tell Twonkey which share folder you have ripped all your music to e.g. F:

I wouldn't image your Naim dealer will do this setup for you although you never know - I guess they would want to supply the NAS etc to even consider the config work.

Hope this helped a little - it does help to understand network shares etc - worth a google to get a basic understanding

Jack
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Member
 
January 6, 2011 12:57 AM

quote:
Originally posted by Frank Abela:
Does MM support tagging of WAVs? I just think that if/when I ever get around to doing this properly, I'd want to rip in WAV rather than FLAC as my ears have told me on more than one occasion that FLAC doesn't sound as good. But the only ripper I know of that supports tags in WAV is dbPowerAmp.


Hi Frank -

Just converted one of my FLAC files back to WAV, then used MM to auto-tag it via Amazon.com. Seems to work just fine!

Hook
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Member
 
January 6, 2011 5:49 AM

quote:
Originally posted by ghook2020:
quote:
Originally posted by Frank Abela:
Does MM support tagging of WAVs? I just think that if/when I ever get around to doing this properly, I'd want to rip in WAV rather than FLAC as my ears have told me on more than one occasion that FLAC doesn't sound as good. But the only ripper I know of that supports tags in WAV is dbPowerAmp.


Hi Frank -

Just converted one of my FLAC files back to WAV, then used MM to auto-tag it via Amazon.com. Seems to work just fine!

Hook


Hook

Are the tags actually stored in the WAV-file or 'just' in the MM database?

You could check this with file properties / tab audio properties if you've got dBPoweramp installed.

-
aleg
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Guido Fawkes
 
January 6, 2011 7:58 AM

quote:
Originally posted by Salmon Dave:
Such a guide would be contrary to the IT workers' code of conduct in making things as incomprehensible as possible.
Big Grin
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Member
 
January 6, 2011 8:15 AM

quote:
Originally posted by Jack:
These share folders should appear on your Windows7 machine under "My Computer" as additional drives e.g. F: / G: etc. You may have to map these drives manually via "My Computer" or the QNAP Finder may help you if they don't appear automatically.

Jack



This seems to be the sticking point for me. I don't have any "mapping" option visible from the PC's menu, although the QNAP folders appear on theWindows7 PC Network as shared folders in "another computer". I don't seem able to assign them as Drives with letters from the Windows7 machine. How do I "map" a drive from My Computer?

thanks for all the info so far.
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Member
 
January 6, 2011 9:04 AM

Hi Malcom,

I am at work at the moment where the OS is Windows XP. Here you simply right click on "My Computer" and the map option is then available.

Cannot remember if Windows 7 is different.

Gerry
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Tog Tog is offline. Click for Member Snapshot.
Member
 
January 6, 2011 11:21 AM

Not different just orrible Big Grin

Tog
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Member
 
January 6, 2011 11:51 AM

Doc

On my Windows 7 machine (just horrible as Tog says) I get what you describe. My NAS appears in File Manager as a networked computer. When I click on it the Folders listed on the NAS are displayed as network folders and can be opened as normal to view contents.

regards
Geoff
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Member
 
January 6, 2011 1:39 PM

quote:
Originally posted by Aleg:
quote:
Originally posted by ghook2020:
quote:
Originally posted by Frank Abela:
Does MM support tagging of WAVs? I just think that if/when I ever get around to doing this properly, I'd want to rip in WAV rather than FLAC as my ears have told me on more than one occasion that FLAC doesn't sound as good. But the only ripper I know of that supports tags in WAV is dbPowerAmp.


Hi Frank -

Just converted one of my FLAC files back to WAV, then used MM to auto-tag it via Amazon.com. Seems to work just fine!

Hook


Hook

Are the tags actually stored in the WAV-file or 'just' in the MM database?

You could check this with file properties / tab audio properties if you've got dBPoweramp installed.

-
aleg


Ooops. Sorry Frank, and thank you Aleg. The WAV file's attributes were only stored in MM's database.

Started fresh by ripping a song from a CD into a WAV file. Used MM to auto-tag from amazon.com. Can see the tag info inside of MM, but not when I look at the file using Tag&Rename. If I repeat the process and rip to a FLAC file, all of the tag info is visible using Tag&Rename.

Must try a bit harder to think things through more carefully before posting.... Frown

Hook
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Trade Member
 
January 6, 2011 3:27 PM

LOL, thanks for trying anyway Hook.

Jack, you said:

quote:
Once ripped I use a separate program (MP3Tag) for writing tags to the files and making sure that are all labelled correctly etc. If you don't sort the tags out then the correct information will not display when you play a track on the streamer.


I've often wondered how this kind of thing can work. Example: if you have ABBA's Arrival and then ABBA's Greatest Hits and Sounds of the 70's where you also have, say, Waterloo, how does MP3Tag know that Waterloo in each should be tagged differently? Or does it? How does MP3Tag recognise an album from a bunch of tracks in a folder?

If this is too in-depth to spend the time please just say so. It's just that I used iTunes ages ago to rip a lot of discs to a media player (iomega screenplay) and would now like to use that as a drive only but I don't believe there are any tags in the files.
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Tog Tog is offline. Click for Member Snapshot.
Member
 
January 6, 2011 4:38 PM

A good UPnP (open source of course) would immediately activate a quality control alarm ... Big Grin

Tog
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Member
 
January 6, 2011 6:21 PM

In Explorer on Windows 7, if you click on 'My Computer' then you will get a menu button for 'Map network drive'. The only way AFAIK that it comes up automatically. But if you browse through Network and explore down through the NAS, then you can right click on any of the folders of the NAS and 'map network drive' should be one of the options and allows you to allocate a drive letter to the shared folder. This should then show every time you open 'My Computer' and allows you define the drive to which your ripping program will rip to in it's settings. Take your pick which is easier or quicker. Winker
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Member
 
January 6, 2011 7:56 PM

Frank,

When you rip the CD it knows which CD the Waterloo track belonged to (it does an Internet look up against the information contained on the CD to identify the album) - the ripper will often create the basic tags, therefore the tag written to the file includes the song title but also the album details. I use MP3Tag to add additional information that may not be added by the ripper e.g. album artwork. So when I open the particular folder with the ripped tracks it shows all the tracks and the album details, therefore it's straight forward to determine which album the particular track belongs to.

However, if you just had a folder with 3 versions of Waterloo and no tag information in the files then it would not be able to determine which album the track came from. The other way that often helps get round this is if you have structured your folder names to reflect arist/album then MP3Tag will display the path to the file and from that you can determine which album it belongs to - you then added it yourself manually.

Hope I got the gist of what you were asking - just give it a try and see what tag information comes up.

Cheers

Jack
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Tog Tog is offline. Click for Member Snapshot.
Member
 
January 6, 2011 11:40 PM

If you had three versions of Waterloo you would also be insane. Tagging would be the least of your worries.

Tog
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Member
 
January 7, 2011 12:46 AM

"My, my! At Waterloo I did surrender!" Big Grin
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Member
 
January 9, 2011 10:20 AM

Frank
To my ears Wav sounds fuller and simply better than Flac. I tried both formats streaming to Uniti.
Bobby
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Member
 
January 9, 2011 3:28 PM

quote:
Originally posted by dzambolaja:
Frank
To my ears Wav sounds fuller and simply better than Flac. I tried both formats streaming to Uniti.
Bobby


+1 Agree with that description of the difference
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Member
 
January 9, 2011 4:32 PM

I tried WAV files via USB stick versus FLAC files delivered from RME 9632's S/PDIF (BNC) to Naim DAC/555PS, and could not hear any difference.

"Fuller" usually translates into better bass articulation, correct? I tried specifically to focus on standing bass lines from some jazz records I know well, and was unable to pick one versus the other.

Could it be that my speakers are not full range (Harbeth C7's only go down to 46hz), and that this fullness is being communicated at lower frequencies than I can hear?

I have no doubt you guys are hearing differences, so am trying to think about what is unique in our setups, and may be contributing factors.

Thanks.

Hook
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Member
 
January 9, 2011 5:00 PM

Hook

My Wilson Benesch Square Two speakers goes from 40 Hz to 24 kHz, so only a little lower than yours.

It is always difficult to communicate a difference in sound. But fuller is the correct term, it gets a bit wider and rounder, a bit more body, where flac is a bit narrower, a bit squeezed together.

I experience a similar difference, but even more pronounced, when switching to Pure Audio on my Oppo when listening to SACD. This setting switches off display and all video electronic components in the Oppo player. The effect is also a rounder, warmer, fuller sound.

-
aleg
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Trade Member
 
January 9, 2011 7:44 PM

quote:
How do I rip to the NAS? What file should I store rips to?, How will the streamer "see" the NAS do I have to install "streamer" software on the NAS?

As you can see my computer skills are minimal. Any idea where I should look for help/instructions?

Also, would setting this up be considered by Naim to be part of the dealer's normal home installation requirement for Naim gear? Or would I be expected to have the network up and running first?

thanks

malcolm


I doubt it would be completely included in cost but certainly your dealer should be able to completely set you up if you purchased a Naim Dac from them and then make sure you knew how to run the darn thing.
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Trade Member
 
January 10, 2011 4:39 PM

Jack, thanks very much for the explanation. I must get around to giving it a whirl.

@all, ABBA's Waterloo was merely an example. Sadly I don't have a single ABBA album. I say sadly because I do in fact admit to loving the songs when I hear them on the radio!

@hook

quote:
I tried WAV files via USB stick versus FLAC files delivered from RME 9632's S/PDIF (BNC) to Naim DAC/555PS, and could not hear any difference.


I'm afraid that doesn't really count as a valid test. The problem i perceive with this is that you're trying two completely different routes to the DAC so unfortunately the file processing (reading it off the device and transport to the DAC) may have introduced changes. The correct test would be to have the same track on the same source (e.g. USB stick twice, one FLAC and one WAV). Then, whether you perceive a difference or not, you know that the transport mechanism couldn't have fouled the result since it's the same. As it is, you can't really say.

As for discerning any differences, you should use whatever technique you normally use for demoing equipment. If you usually 'focus on standing bass lines' etc then it's valid but if you don't normally do this then you're altering your perception by focussing on something you don't normally focus on. Just treat it like an ordinary demo.

FWIW, on Saturday I was plying with CDX2/Rega DAC/Naim DAC/UnitiQute and every combination sounded different. Apropos this discussion, I compared WAV files ripped using iTunes via the UnitiQute into the Naim DAC versus the CDX2/DAC. The latter was much preferable (as one would hope) but what really surprised me was a certain 'spitty' nature to the UnitiQute/DAC solution. Since this isn't normally preset I prefer to assume it's to do with the WAV rips using iTunes being sub-par. It's one of those thins I hope to investigate in future, but if they can sound different when they're basically exactly the same thing, it wouldn't surprise me if FLAC were to sound different from WAV since so much extra processing is involved in unpacking the file in real time.
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Pev Pev is offline. Click for Member Snapshot.
Member
 
January 10, 2011 4:57 PM

Streaming FLAC files from my hard drive to the Uniti the stream info display says they are WAV! Does the Uniti transcode when receiving streams? If I copy the same files to a usb stick they show on the Uniti as FLAC. FWIW I can detect no significant difference in sound quality although if I connect to the Uniti by optical cable direct from the pc it seems to lose a little something. Of course none of this is conclusive in SQ terms as my optical cable is nothing very special and streaming/usb differences could confound FLAC/WAV differences. Really puzzled about the streams showing as WAV - but I reluctantly ripped to FLAC for easier tagging so I'm not displeased!
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Member
 
January 10, 2011 5:02 PM

I have a prehistoric (6 years) Sony mp3 player and have never owned an ipod but am thinking of getting one to use with the DAC, so could someone clarify which file types held on the ipod can be read by the DAC? If WAV only, what's the optimum solution for loading your ipod? Thanks
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Member
 
January 10, 2011 7:06 PM

Pev

Could it be that your computer's UPnP server is transcoding the FLAC files to WAV before sending them to the Uniti?
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Pev Pev is offline. Click for Member Snapshot.
Member
 
January 10, 2011 8:03 PM

@Jack - you could be right - I'm using Foobar 2000. It's a nice bonus if that is the case - thanks for the suggestion.
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Member
 
January 10, 2011 8:05 PM

quote:
Streaming FLAC files from my hard drive to the Uniti the stream info display says they are WAV! Does the Uniti transcode when receiving streams? If I copy the same files to a usb stick they show on the Uniti as FLAC.


Pev,

I dont think you can "stream" FLACs. Your UPNP Server most likely converts lossless files to WAV (or even MP3 if not set-up correctly) prior to sending.

I think you are limited to sending along WAV or LPCM (whatever that means). You can then limit it to dither to 44.1 or 48 etc... Or you can ask it to always transcode to MP3 of various quality.

Check out your "Streaming Profiles" In Preferences>Tools>UPNP>Server

I am not an expert on this but I would set all transcoding to "Never". I set resolutions to 24/96 for both "Renderer Capabilities" and "Playback Capture Stream".

You can create different "Profiles" inside Foobar so you can make a few different setting selections and try them out.

To test I simply streamed from one Foobar to another and looked at what was coming into the 2nd instance of Foobar (the renderer). It was only sending along 320 MP3s until I found the right settings.

Lastly, I have it set to "always decode to WAV except MP3".

I hope this helps...

-Patrick
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Member
 
January 10, 2011 9:48 PM

I just wanted to say thanks all. Following your advice I finally got my NAS discoverable as Drive Z, and busy ripping my collection.
Still can't get the Squeezebox software to work in the NAS, but as the Squeezebox is a very temporary measure, am not too worried.
If anyone is interested, I am ripping in WAV, because I often have to extract songs to put on all sorts of other devices for band purposes, and quite a lot of these don't read FLAC.
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Member
 
January 10, 2011 9:53 PM

You certainly can stream FLACs if your renderer can handle them. Some can; some can't. Cheap western digital renderers can; Linn DS can; foobar can, so in these cases there's no need to transcode to either MP3 or WAV. It is not immediately obvious on the Foobar Streaming Profiles screen that there is more than one profile pre-set (cf. Linn DS, WMP, Playstation 3) and also these renderer specific profiles can be overriden by the default profile if the box on the Basic Settings page is checked. Quite probably your Uniti thinks it is getting WAV because it is.. if you'd rather send it FLAC, fiddle with the Streaming Profile.

Some people believe that FLAC sounds worse than WAV because it takes processing to decode it - but you could equally argue that WAV imposes a greater load on the network side of things. It shouldn't make any difference imo.
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Member
 
January 10, 2011 10:01 PM

Interestingly, on the "Squeezebox forum", the trend is moving away from NAS, as they reckon you can achieve better streaming at lower cost by just using a spare purpose built (DIY) PC.
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Member
 
January 10, 2011 10:33 PM

quote:
You certainly can stream FLACs if your renderer can handle them


Gotcha. Like I said, im no expert. I was just going off of the three options in Foobar for playback capture stream, which are:
-WAV
-LPCM
-MP3

I didnt seem [to me] that "FLAC" is included in one of those.

But it didnt seem to matter to me either. As long as the Naim DAC sync light comes on, and I am not dithering or transcoding, I dont care what the UPNP server or renderer is doing internally.

I guess I shouldn't chime in when I dont know what I am talking about.

-Patrick
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Member
 
January 10, 2011 10:35 PM

quote:
the trend is moving away from NAS, as they reckon you can achieve better streaming at lower cost by just using a spare purpose built (DIY) PC.


agreed.... Although you will simply configure those drives in the dedicated PC as "network drives", I am guessing.

Simply a matter of definition i think. (i must stop doing this!!!!! Smile)

-p
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Tog Tog is offline. Click for Member Snapshot.
Member
 
January 10, 2011 10:35 PM

@Rockingdoc yes you can build a more effective server/pc than a dumb NAS device but not necessarily cheaper. In the end it is about flexibility and many (but not all) NAS drives are underpowered with poor quality server software.

@likesmusic
When I stream from Eyeconnect the UPnP software transcodes aiff to wav. Vortexbox serves up flac which appears at the Uniti as flac where I presume it is decoded directly by the machine.

Both sound good - flac to me sounds slightly brighter and clearer.

Tog
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Member
 
January 10, 2011 11:06 PM

quote:
-WAV
-LPCM
-MP3


Which of these options will allow me to stream "FLACs" with Foobar?
 
 
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
 
ClosedAdditional replies and votes are not permitted on this topic.