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40 minutes ago, JensA said:

@PeterHawks

Despite your statement 

you have received some quite advanced recommendations (including mine:doh:) which will require more advanced computer skills.

Forget what I said about NAS and Roon 😜

Just adding an external HDD via USB to your Mac Mini as proposed by @frans5508 and @Newton John will be a good first step and increase storage capacity. Just ensure that you are making regular backups.

Minimserver is a very nice tool and there is no need to change if you are happy with it😄

Jens

I think this is easily the most straightforward idea, and economical too. I can't see Windows Server ever being something to recommend to someone who knows little about playing with computers!

As a general comment, RAID's fine so long as the user has up-to-date backups (one of the IT guys at work had a t-shirt with 'RAID Is Not Backup!' on it) but probably overkill for most, as all it does is increase availability in the case of drive failure. The only advantage (for me, anyway) is that it enables a large storage pool, which I built using drives I already had lying around, but large single drives are inexpensive nowadays.

Oh, and to echo others' comments to the OP - please don't get Apple Music involved!

Mick

Edited by MickC
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35 minutes ago, MickC said:

. I can't see Windows Server ever being something to recommend to someone who knows little about playing with computers!

Yes of course, setting up such a solution requires some help from people with IT skills.

But when setup correctly, it is only switching on/off (ok, maybe a little bit more: like MacOS or MS W10 for some Updates).

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58 minutes ago, Ben Webster said:

Yes of course, setting up such a solution requires some help from people with IT skills.

But when setup correctly, it is only switching on/off (ok, maybe a little bit more: like MacOS or MS W10 for some Updates).

I agree, although that initial installation isn't for the faint-hearted (ie not hugely computer-literate) person!

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The best choice is a NAS. If only for reasons of space and power savings. I use a QNAP with 5 hard drives in a raid, so up to 2 hard drives can fail.
I use 2 media servers on the NAS, a Minim for music and the internal one from QNAP for films. I also have a USB3 hard drive for data backup.

The good thing about a NAS is the other things you can use, such as on-the-fly data backup of the computers in the household and much more.
But the most important thing is that everything is manageable even for computer noobs.

P.S. I also use both network interfaces.

Edited by Johannes
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2 minutes ago, MickC said:

isn't for the faint-hearted

Yes, some of my grey hairs are based on setting up several music server...

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14 minutes ago, Johannes said:

The best choice is a NAS.

But not sound wise... especially when we’re talking about standard NAS.

They all run with a high CPU load, which leads to jitter and other noise.

With a server installation CPU load is below 1% and you can optimize several parts much easier.

But regarding 

- power consumption

- easy setup

- easy to use

- total cost *)

a NAS is a good choice. 
 

Several of my Linn friends upgraded from NAS to Server based solution and don’t look back.

*) cost can be from high 3-digit to high 4-digit €$£. A high-end NetCard (e. g. JCat) is about €800,-

Edited by Ben Webster
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So would that mean that Tidal, for example, sounds better?

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29 minutes ago, Ben Webster said:

But not sound wise... especially when we’re talking about standard NAS.

They all run with a high CPU load, which leads to jitter and other noise.

As long as you are using the NAS for music file storage only the CPU load remains close to zero.

I am running the - quite demanding - Roon Core on a NUC i7 with the music library stored on the NAS.

I have not observed any jitter or noise...

Jens

Edited by JensA
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Most domestic NAS boxes have oodles of on board CPU to cover music and video serving needs.   Gigabit Ethernet end to end, is more key to performance.   Having NAS sited as far away from streamer, and on different ring main also makes sense to eliminate ‘noise’  - however one defines that.

I am a NAS salesman BTW.  

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I guess it depends on the NAS.

There must be a reason why people spend € 4.000,- for a MS Windows Server based music server after owning a € 500,- standard NAS.

But as said above: it’s no fault to buy NAS for music storage (because it’s build for that) but if you have the chance to listen to a PC solution it’s worth a try.

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I use a Mac mini and 3 external discs. I plug two into the Mac mini and store the other offsite. I label the disks Music, Music BK1 and Music BK2 respectively. I use JRiver Media Centre on the Mac mini. When I rip a disk it goes on the Music disk, JRMC gets the metadata including lyrics and artwork and analyses the rip. I make a copy on Music BK1. Every so often I collect Music BK2 and copy new files and files that have changed to it (could use drag and drop, but it takes longer). 

I have also used MinimServer instead of JRMC and it works extremely well, but you need to supplement with tools for ripping and maintaining metadata. 

My Mac mini is from 2012 and has worked faultlessly (famous last words). I did try a Synology NAS, but it developed a hardware fault and the support less than impressive (probably just unlucky, but it deterred me from going that way again)

The sound quality was the same with Mac JMRC, Mac MinimServer and Synology. I have also compared the Mac mini to an expensive Melco server and could not tell which was playing. 

If the Mac mini dies then I have a Raspberry Pi to replace it. 

There are reports of JRMC Media Network not being Linn friendly with respect to gapless playback, but I am yet to experience this problem. Perhaps these were legacy issues that have gone, but thought it only fair to mention them. You can try JMRC for a month for free to see if it does what you need. 

JRiver ID is discussed on https://wiki.jriver.com/index.php/Media_Network and comes on a Plug-In and Go NUC. 

I prefer MacOS and Linux solutions to Windows as I find Windows hard work, but that is a personal preference and I’d say choose whichever OS you are more familiar with. JRiver works on all three. 

Edited by Nestor Turton
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I echo much of the above. I started using a 2012 Mac Mini directly, then a modest Synology NAS, later a more powerful Synology NAS.

The more powerful NAS with a faster processor and lots of ram speeds up and smooths things out when browsing.

Presently I use a Mac Mini to rip CD’s through dB Poweramp. Or, download 24 bit, often from Qobuz. I then drop these files into dreaded Apple Music (iTunes) app. The library for this is pointed to the more powerful Synology NAS.

I use iTunes as I maintain music on my iOS devices. Transcoding down to 256 AAC for them. Master files are un-altered by iTunes. The main limitation of iTunes is FLAC. iTunes will not play FLAC and I use dB Poweramp to transcode to ALAC for FLAC downloads or CD rips. I only use iTunes for file management and do not believe it affects the files or sound quality when used in this way.

I used Minim Server 1 to great effect but some niggles. But, later bought Asset Upnp from the same people who make dB Poweramp. This is more start and forget...

The main NAS is RAID with single fault tolerance. The old NAS is elsewhere in my network and automatically backs up my music files weekly. Again to a RAID disk. This backup NAS is my general NAS. The powerful one is dedicated to media.

Once setup this all works well and requires minimal input. Literally drag files to the iTunes icon and everything else happens in the background.

Have fun.

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I have a QNAP, others speak well of Synology.

There is a well kown saying "If I was going there, I wouldn't be starting from here". This can be turned around, now that we are arrived here, why go back to the beginning?

I not only have ripped CDs but also a lot of downloaded albums, fine I keep my server. My internet connection is fast and pretty reliable so increasingly I use Qobuz. Some of my purchased albums have a bit more meaning, orchestras or soloists that are favourites or who I have seen. Were they to be deleted from a streaming service then I've still got them. Otherwise I have almost stopped buying albums.

You might seriously consider keeping and playing the CDs and spending the server money on a Qobuz subscription.

Keep backups of downloaded music, don't forget if you rip your own CD you still have the CD.

I also keep photographs and some videos on my QNAP, perhaps I am a bit more computer skilled. Having said that it often seems to me that QNAP have a target audience of computer professionals and not just determined amateurs.

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