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Streaming music to your hi-fi doesn’t have to be difficult – and it helps you rediscover your collection. Jon Myles guides you through the practicalities and explains why it could be the best move you’ve ever made.



Ever fancied having your own personal jukebox? One that contains thousands of your favourite tracks all available at the touch of a button – and better still doesn’t demand feeding with coins every time you want to hear them?

   Welcome to the wonderful world of home music streaming. No more flicking through racks of CDs to find just what to play next, no more searching your memory to try to recall the name of a particular track.
   Instead you enter a wonderful world of discovery, suddenly coming across long-forgotten favourites – alongside some long-forgotten stinkers too! – rediscovering tracks and albums you hadn’t played in an age, but now wish you had.
   Instantly your entire music collection is simply a click away – enabling you to browse through all your CDs from the comfort of an armchair and play any track you fancy. And you can then pack away the original CDs in a cupboard or loft to free up valuable shelfspace.
   It’s relatively easy to do and once the system is up and running you’ll be enjoying it for years to come.
So here’s the Hi-Fi World guide to setting up a home streaming system, one dedicated to playing music and nothing else. We’ve deliberately made this as simple as possible and stripped out all the jargon that can sometimes deter people from taking the plunge into streaming – but see the box-outs for further details of some of the areas involved.



If you’ve been tempted to dip your toes into streaming music but have been put off by some of the jargon and seeming complexity – then don’t be. Essentially, it’s a simple task.
You’ll need four things to start with: an existing hi-fi system, a network, a streamer and a network-attached storage device (NAS).


NETWORK: Not sure what a network is or how it works? Well, if you’ve got e-mails and the internet then you’ve got a network and that’s all you need to know.

NAS: The NAS drive is a slim box that acts as the storage device for your music collection. Some are no bigger than a paperback book and they range in price from around £80 to many hundreds depending on make and storage capacity.
   I use a Western Digital model with 2 terabytes of storage, enough for thousands of CDs. Cost? Less than £100. All NAS drives have software built-in that allow them to communicate with your streamer.

STREAMER: The streamer is the source component for your hi-fi. Think of it as the same as a CD player, record deck or tuner. Connected to your existing set-up, it retrieves music from the NAS drive.
   Here again prices vary, decent models starting at around the £200 mark, while high-end companies such as Linn, Chord and Naim have models costing thousands of pounds. That might seem expensive, but if you view the streamer as a source component on the same level as a CD player or record deck, then it begins to make sense.



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