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WHAT FORMAT?
You’ll hear lots of talk about which format to rip your CDs into but essentially there are two main choices: WAV or FLAC.    

                                                                                                                                                                                       

 

There’s still no end of debate about which sounds best and both have their adherents. Having regularly used both, however, I’ve yet to be able to discern any noticeable difference in sound quality between them even using some of the costliest streamers on the market at the moment.

 

Both are lossless formats – meaning that unlike MP3 files, none of the sonic information from the CD is thrown away. Instead you get a perfect copy of the original.
                                                        

 

WAVuses more storage space on your NAS drive, but if you’ve anything over 1 terabyte available that really shouldn’t be a problem. It lacks metadata and cover artwork, unlike FLAC. 

It’s entirely your choice which you use. FLAC is probably the most popular. But the best advice is to pick one format or the other from the start and stick to it from then on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WIRED OR WIRELESS?
A majority of streamers will support both wired or wireless operation. There are exceptions, though. All Linn’s products, for example, are wired only. The company says it prefers this as it gives greater stability and is more robust when transmitting high-resolution files.
The downside is it will mean running cables either under carpets, along skirting boards or even through walls.Wireless connection is more convenient and in most cases is easily capable of handling even high-resolution files, up to 24bit/192kHz.
However do remember that the greater the distance between your NAS drive and the streamer the weaker the signal becomes – and obstacles such as walls and windows can also affect signal strength. Also, the more traffic a wireless network is carrying the shakier it becomes.
So if you have a whole family toting iPhones and laptops or logging into an on-line Xbox game then you might find your music occasionally stalling.
Some people go as far as establishing their own dedicated wireless network purely for music to avoid this and you can also do the same on a wired network. But that’s an article for another day.

 

Naim's Unitilite supports both wired and wireless streaming. Most hi-fi manufacturers recommend wired connection for greater stability – but wireless networks are easily capable of handling 24bit/192kHz files.  

                     

                                                                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EASIER STILL
If you want to make ripping and streaming even easier there’s a number of products out there that can help.
   Companies such as RipNAS, Vortexbox, Computer Audio Design and Naim among others make combined ripper/storaqge devices that will both copy your CDs and store them onto an internal hard disk automatically. There’s no need to bring your computer into play as the units take over all the functions – simply slot your CD in, wait for it to be copied and then take it out. 
   These substantially simplify the task but inevitably cost a bit more as they also include a CD drive. The Vortexbox Essential, for example, equipped with 500Gb worth of storage – enough for approximately 1200 CDs – costs £310 while a 1 terabyte ripNAS will set you back around £1000.
   In comparison, a 3 terabyte Western Digital NAS drive can be had for a £115 but doesn’t have the same in-built convenience.

 

 

Devices like the RipNAS will both rip and then store CDs to a hard disk - meaning there's no need for a computer when digitising your music collection. It'll cost you more than a standard NAS drive but the convenience is useful.


 

 



 

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