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RE: Premium grade music server

It depends slightly on what you mean by a music server. It could mean software installed on a computer (if done correctly this is most definitely high end). Alternatively it could mean a box devoted to ripping, storage and replay.

I use the first type of solution. The server software is JRiver MC22 (MC23 is waiting ). Bit perfect ripping is included in this solution although my preference is to use dbpoweramp for its accuracy, flexibilty and its metadata capabilities using its associated software PerfectTunes (comes as part of the package). You can store the music files on the computer, in a NAS set up or with direct attached storage using HDD or SSD.

The separate box idea has a couple of variations. One is a server box connected to your DAC having storage facilities itself, the other relying upon external storage ( NAS or DAS again). Many of these do not have ripping facilities and rely upon the ripping being done elswhere ( e.g on a PC or Mac) with the files then transferred to the storage. Some do have ripping facilites BUT I have found the abilty to correctly identify metadata ( both text and album artwork) with such components far less reliable than with dbpoweramp. The importance of this aspect will depend upon your attitude to metadata and, partly, to your favoured music genres. I have a "rip once and rip correctly" attitude as I don't want to have to go back and re-rip in a few years. If you like chart type music then that is the easiest to satisfy but if your tastes are in less popular areas then the inbuilt ripping software is less likely to be succesful in this respect. One main reason is that they usually only connect to a single database for track information. By way of example I was loaned a ripper/storage/streamer unit last month and it failed to find any data at all for over 60% of the classical albums I tried to load. It couldn't even find data for the new 50th anniversary Sgt. Pepper apparently because that was too new!

Anyway good all-in-one boxes in general are upper range Innuos or the Naim Uniti Core ( for the latter you insert your own preference for disk storage). However I would use external ripping instead of the inbuilt option for the above reasons. Good boxes without ripping are e.g. Melco or Aurender.

You also need to take account of the (remote) control software as some servers or streamers do not have their own e.g. Innuos or Melco and you need to use a general type such as Orange Squeeze for Innuos. Other control apps may be inadequate for e.g. classical music having no field for composer (e.g. Naim Uniti). You may need to use work arounds which again makes a case for ripping separately.

All of these solutions will deal with hi-rez formats.



Edits: 07/10/17

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