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Thread: To NAS or Not to NAS

  1. #1

    Default To NAS or Not to NAS

    hi everyone,

    i'm a music collector, and i want to stream my music or play it digitally

    would you recommend a NAS or a All in One pc with a bunch of external harddisks?

    when going on a All in One PC i can run Kodi, and play it that way...

    what would you do?

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by HeronimusM View Post
    hi everyone,

    i'm a music collector, and i want to stream my music or play it digitally

    would you recommend a NAS or a All in One pc with a bunch of external harddisks?

    when going on a All in One PC i can run Kodi, and play it that way...

    what would you do?
    I built a NAS (actually my second, after I outgrew the microserver 36L, which could only support 2TB drives and didn't do jumbo frames). HP microserver Gen8 Celeron with an 8GB /boot USB drive (internal port), 120GB SSD system drive on the 5th ATA port (with a floppy-to-SATA power plug adapter), and currently 2x 6TB WDC "Red" drives in a RAID1 mirror and two open drive bays. Thing's a beast, redundant, UPS protected with auto shutdown, and incredibly flexible (running CentOS Linux).

  3. #3

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    Caveat: It's not clear from your post what your ultimate goal is. If, by streaming, you mean creating your own on-line version of Sirius and sending your playlist to the world, my solution doesn't apply at all. On the other hand, if you're listening in your own space at home, I offer a somewhat ethnically-engineered, cheap genes solution that was mostly determined by equipment that I had at hand, rather than searching out ways to spend more money. And it works pretty well for me. Bear in mind that I still drive a car with manual transmission and window cranks... when I'm not on a bicycle.


    I can't imagine the massive amounts of data that would require that much space. Well I suppose I can in a business, government or research situation, but at home?

    You must be stashing everything in uncompressed formats at really high bit rates. Your sound system must be unbelievable to warrant that level of fidelity in your recorded files.

    The determining factor for playback fidelity is going to be the d to a converter in your computer (sound card), and/or the means you choose to amplify and listen. There may also be limitations depending on your original source.

    A significant portion of my music collection is derived from the crates of vinyl in my closet. Using a good quality turntable and stereo amplifier with a phono input, I converted a lot of that vinyl to mp3 format for convenience. The unparsed .wav files are stashed on an external drive. In .mp3 format, my collection only amounts to maybe 100gb. Between my old ears and old analog amplifier, I can't really tell the difference. By all means, feel free to sniff haughtily, look down your nose and call Ol' Maxx a Philistine. I still have and occasionally play the albums, but it's so much easier to call it up on the computer and create a playlist. For years, I had an older computer connected via analog line to the pre-digital era stereo amplifier. More recently, I acquired a Chromecast Audio. Plugged into one of the analog line-in's on the old amp, that lets me run playlists or individual recordings from any device in the Maxx network. The music files all live on my main computer's hard drive, but I can access and play them via my tablet or one of the other computers and laptops laying around. That's particularly handy for sitting out on the patio where I've got some decent speakers tucked up under the eaves and hardwired to the amp in the basement. I can control everything from my android tablet outside.

    P.S. Thanks for the hint about Kodi. I may look into that since I haven't yet decided what media player to use on my Windows 10 computer. I've been using ES File Explorer on my tablet, and Clementine on Ubuntu. If I can go to the same look and feel on all 3 OS's that would be a bonus.

  4. #4

    Default

    Hi Maxx !

    i just want a sollution to view my photo's on TV, and play music on my HIFI set, and as you mentioned create a playlist and go from there !

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by HeronimusM View Post
    hi everyone,

    i'm a music collector, and i want to stream my music or play it digitally

    would you recommend a NAS or a All in One pc with a bunch of external harddisks?

    when going on a All in One PC i can run Kodi, and play it that way...

    what would you do?
    I wouldn't recommend an all-in-one PC to anyone. A normal PC will be cheaper, easier/cheaper to repair, and have many more upgrade options.

    A NAS will mean that you won't need to have your PC turned on to play music. If that isn't important, I'd just get hard drives. Unless you need to carry your whole music collection with you, it would make sense to get internal drives rather than external ones.

  6. #6

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    Another caveat: Please don't think I'm a shill for Google. I'm as suspicious of them as the next guy.

    That said, it just happens that they came up with inexpensive solutions for things I wanted to do. We have a regular audio/video Chromecast on the upstairs TV. I don't have cable, and get my regular TV via antenna. The chromecast lets me put Netflix (or youtube, or any other chromecast enabled app) on the big screen from my tablet...or Mrs. Maxx's tablet, or any of the other computers in the house. As for photos, same thing applies. When Junior comes over, he can cast photos and videos of the granddaughter from his iphone to the big screen. I also have a surround sound system connected to the TV, so the chromecast lets me get some decent digital sound from netflix, youtube, or other sources.

    Downstairs, its the audio only chromecast attached via analog line-in to the mancave stereo. The D/A converter in the chromecast is no doubt the limiting factor for sound quality. Audiophiles would sniff at that, but it works well enough for me. When Mrs. Junior is over with Juniorette, she can play her Pandora Disney channel over my stereo via her android phone. Pretty much any device I let into my network can drive it.

    Yes, there are very nice bluetooth enabled wireless speakers available, and bluetooth enabled stereo amps. Someday, when my old equipment expires, I'll go that way. For now, a $35 Google product solved my problem. If your HiFi set is relatively new, its worth looking in the manual to see if it's bluetooth enabled. If it is, problem solved. Just about any computer, laptop, or tablet you get these days is going to have the ability to work with external bluetooth devices.

    P.S. I have a pretty good (but old) set of headphones, but I don't care much for headphones or earbuds, and only use them if I don't want to wake up Mrs. Maxx... or Juno (Junior's dog).. or the birds... or Juniorette.



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    Quote Originally Posted by tiny View Post
    A NAS will mean that you won't need to have your PC turned on to play music. If that isn't important, I'd just get hard drives. Unless you need to carry your whole music collection with you, it would make sense to get internal drives rather than external ones.
    That distinction didn't occur to me. I turn my computer on when I get up, and turn it off when I go to bed, or leave for extended periods. FWIW, its a desktop living in the basement in cool, temperature stable conditions. Overheating isn't something I need to worry about. I've never had a computer or hard drive die... I've had to replace or retire several over the decades as they've gone obsolete.
    Last edited by Maxx; 17-Jun-2017 at 14:35.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maxx View Post
    That distinction didn't occur to me. I turn my computer on when I get up, and turn it off when I go to bed, or leave for extended periods. FWIW, its a desktop living in the basement in cool, temperature stable conditions. Overheating isn't something I need to worry about. I've never had a computer or hard drive die... I've had to replace or retire several over the decades as they've gone obsolete.
    I'm similar, which is why I also don't have NAS.

    A NAS is just a computer that you leave on all the time as a file server. If you have another computer that's on all the time (or all the time that you'll be wanting to listen to music), then you don't need a NAS device.

    I've had four hard drives die. My graphics card just died (which is a first). So it does happen, but I've owned a lot of hard drives in my time. Like you say, they rarely die, so I just buy more when I need the space (or run out of room in the PC). I'm currently down to six hard drives in my machine! No need to buy a single large drive when my ancient ones are working just fine (and are backed up regularly enough).

    I've also had a couple of PSU's blow (but they were super-cheap unbranded junk).

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