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Should I convert my CD collection to stored music?

Posted by Juan on 17 November 2017

After weighing up the pros and cons - I couldn't fault the idea.

Recently when visiting a good friend of mine, he insisted I take a listen to a particular track that he assured me would make his system sound even better than its remarkable looks. So off he disappeared into his CD library which covered the walls of an adjoining room like wallpaper. Upon his long awaited return and well after the last sip of my cupper and bite of Spanish torte, he victoriously waved his right hand clutching a CD jewel case. Swiftly he ejected the draw of his CD player and then. to my surprise he was nearby crying - the CD case was empty!!
After 25 years in the audio industry this is a situation I have heard many, many times.

If this has ever happened to you then I have good news - today you can convert all those bookshelves or boxes full of CDs to a Hard Disc Drive (HDD) for instant playback, all from the comfort of your listening chair and controlled from the convenience of your smart phone or tablet.

Comparing digital copies of my CD Library: do they sound better or worse?

With the right equipment, during the CD ripping process the server software has more time to read the data within than your CD player which is also tasked with simultaneously playing that data and trying to correct for any errors in real-time. Consequently, it has the luxury of being able to repeatedly re-read areas of the disc if errors are present until the data is totally accurate.

Robert Harley editor-in-Chief of the Absolute Sound magazine had this to say in his book The Complete Guide to High-End Audio;

"I've compared the sound of state-of-art CD transports to music servers playing the same music through the same digital-to-analogue converter and digital cable. I first ripped the CD to the server, put the CD in the transport, and compared the two. The sound from the server was smoother in the treble with a more delicate rendering of treble detail. The sound stage was improved when music was sourced from the server more spacious, greater image focus, increased depth, and an overall more convincing impression of instruments existing in space within the recorded acoustic. There was also a greater sense of ease and musical involvement. In short, transferring your CDs to server will improve the sound of your library."

How is it done?

There are a couple of ways to achieve this smart way of controlling and playing your music:

1. Using your home computer - Purchase a NAS (Network Attach Storage) with the capacity to hold your entire CD library. I would highly suggest a NAS with multiple mirror back-up storage, thus you will have multiple copies of your valuable music. Considering that ripping your whole CD music is going to take a great deal of time, its contents should be securely preserved - if performing just one copy it could be lost, damaged, stolen or develop a fault. Once this NAS is filled with music and connected to your home network, it can then 'serve' up your music to your (new) music streamer (see in-store for all the options). Lastly, download the appropriate app to the streaming device in question and enjoy!

2. Dedicated Music Ripper/Streamer -  Whilst utilising your computer to rip your CD collection can seem like a cost-effective solution at first, it's not without its potential downfalls. Firstly, at least an intermediate level of IT know-how is required to create your digital music collection it's a reasonably complex process. Not to mention the fact that ripping your CD collection is a deceptively time-consuming process. Secondly, the software required for the ripping process will have an impact on the quality of the end result and the accuracy of the metadata (artist/album info etc.). Lastly, computers aren't designed for quality audio data based CD drives and mechanical system noise can also affect performance.

Therefore, if you wish to ensure you do it once and do it right that's where a combined CD ripper/music streamer option is a perfect choice. Not only will you be assured of exceptional performance, but it will make creating your stored music collection much simpler and more enjoyable. Here are three highly recommended products available in-store;

BLUESOUND Vault 2 Streaming Player

The Vault 2's 2TB hard drive will let you rapidly rip all your CDs in lossless high-resolution as well as download and store high-resolution tracks. No computer necessary, just insert the CDs into the CD slot. Access and share your digital music library, and stream it in studio quality to multiple rooms in your home with additional Bluesound speakers. Its built-in digital-to-analogue converter allows the Vault to be connected directly to your hi-fi amplifier and can be set up to automatically backup to an external HDD.

Click here for more info.


NAIM Uniti Core Reference Hard-Disk Server

Uniti Core represents the essence of digital music. It is a seriously powerful machine that will allow you to rip your entire CD collection, store up to 100,000 tracks, serve files to Uniti all-in-one players or other Naim streamers and create a back-up for all of your music. You can also use Uniti Core as a standalone digital source simply connect it to a digital-to-analogue converter or an amplifier with digital inputs and control playback via the Naim app. Uniti Core is a fuss-free, no-compromise solution for ripping, storing, cataloguing and playing your entire music collection. Plus, simple in-app file editing means that any missing artwork or artist and track information can be easily user edited.

Click here for more info.

NAD Master Series M50.2 Digital Music Player

The M50.2 Digital Music Player offers everything you need to hear the music you love in the best quality possible. The M50.2 allows you to organize and store your music library, while making it easily accessible thanks to the BluOS app. A high-resolution network music player, the M50.2 was designed to house up to 24/192 files whether it be from a CD or music download site. The M50.2 CD transport can playback or rip to internal storage, and ripping is completely automatic. Plus, you can seamlessly connect to the M50.2 via Bluetooth®, opening the doors to virtually any music streaming service. Not only does the M50.2 bring you closer to your favourite music, it also makes it remarkably simpler to access it as well. A wondrous integration of hardware and software, the M50.2 has 2TB of storage, plus a mirrored backup, ensuring you'll never have to sacrifice any music or worry about losing it.

Click here for more info.

More even more info on taking the stored music collection plunge, simply talk to us in-store!

Author: Juan
Tags: NAD Naim Hifi hi-fi

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