Storing and streaming classical music

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Storing and streaming classical music

First my apologies if this has been covered elsewhere.  I want to build a high quality selection of FLAC music files on my NAS drive, to send to my DAC connected to my hi-fi system.  Firstly, how do people save files in a database where you can access a particular work, and from that select or play particular movements?  What software and catalogue method is used please?  Secondly, how do you stream/send it to your hifi?  Sonos can't stream FLAC files.  I can run my web connection through the power sockets to enable an ethernet connection to my hi-fi but my DAC doesn't have an ethernet socket.  So, what equipment do I need to add to enable me to play FLAC files through the hi-fi - which is in a different room from my main computer and wi-fi router? Any thoughts or advice please?

RE: Storing and streaming classical music

Hi
I have been using flac for over a year now and use a logitech duet connected to a quad 99p (cd player with digital preamplifier) and I store my data on a netgear readynas. I cannot tell the difference between the original cd on the quad player, using the flac format. Although I also have a iPod and have ripped cd's using apple lossless format, I feel that flac is much better.
I use media monkey to help rip, and catalogue the discs. This is a really excellent piece of software that is free. However, I have taken the enhanced version that is chargeable as it offers a few more features that I have found useful. The software has some vey good editing facilities for editing the tags. The downside is that the automatic track lookup is not as good as iTunes.
I find it frustrating that there are a lot of inconstancies how the track information is captured by even the same person, but that is human nature. It would be great if there was British Standard document that would help users, but I know my comments here are over the top! Perhaps the gramophone could propose a format, or perhaps the BBC could come to our rescue, as they must have a lot of experience of cataloging?
I am looking forward to the future of higher bit rate, and higher sampling rates, but at present, my system is limited by the duet.

RE: Storing and streaming classical music

g8vju wrote:

Hi
I have been using flac for over a year now and use a logitech duet connected to a quad 99p (cd player with digital preamplifier) and I store my data on a netgear readynas

I also use a Logitech Squeezebox Duet to stream, but keep my files on a "homebrew" NAS (basically a few-years'-old small-form-factor desktop, with 1GB RAM and a 2TB disk running FreeNAS and SlimNAS - it's cheaper and faster than a purpose-made NAS, if perhaps a bit more power-hungry).

Quote:

I cannot tell the difference between the original cd on the quad player, using the flac format. Although I also have a iPod and have ripped cd's using apple lossless format, I feel that flac is much better.

Curious as to what you mean by "better" (and "feel", for that matter) - lossless is, after all, lossless, so it doesn't matter whether it's flac or Apple.

There may be various reasons for prefering flac over Apple Lossless - range of support by mp3 players being the main one, perhaps - but fidelity to the original source isn't one of them, since both will, by definition, produce identical decodings.

Quote:

I use media monkey to help rip, and catalogue the discs.

Fwiw, I use Exact Audio Copy (EAC) for ripping my CDs, and generally foobar2000 for tagging.  But I know MediaMonkey has a lot of fans and is highly regarded.

Quote:

I find it frustrating that there are a lot of inconstancies how the track information is captured by even the same person, but that is human nature.

Yes, it's very frustrating, isn't it :-)    I'm always amazed at the number of people who seem to 'confuse' the composer's name with the artist's/performer's.

Quote:

It would be great if there was British Standard document that would help users, but I know my comments here are over the top!

The main thing is to tag them sensibly to your own requirements - once the information is captured you can do pretty much what you want with it.

You can also add your own custom tags - and use extensions to Squeezebox like Custom Scan and Custom Browse to index/browse them.

 

"Louder! Louder! I can still hear the singers!"

- Richard Strauss to the orchestra, at a rehearsal.

RE: Storing and streaming classical music

Have you read the guide on music streaming - http://www.gramophone.co.uk/features/focus/listening-wirelessly

I think you'll find Sonos can indeed stream FLAC but only up to CD standard, so look elsewhere if you want to use hirez FLAC downloads from Linn etc.

How to catalogue classical music for browsing & search when using music streamers is always a challenge and people have different views on the best way to do this. You need to know there's no database as such, every FLAC file contains within in it 'tags' which name artist, composer, genre etc. All the players have some way of scanning the files, 'reading' the tags and providing a way to search and & browse based on the content. Players like the Squeezebox have 'plugins' which support browsing by composer, soloist etc.

There are also catalogueing programs which will scan the files present you with a complete catalogue to search, plus feature such as looking by date added. I used Orange CD Catalogue as it has specific support for classical music - http://www.gramophone.co.uk/forum/general-discussion/software-to-catalog...

I use EAC to rip and mp3tag to define the tags.

RE: Storing and streaming classical music

Thanks for some interesting and helpful comments.  I will investigate streaming FLAC via Sonos, but it seems a high quality streamer might be the way to go.

RE: Storing and streaming classical music

Thought I should point out that the Naim isn't, as I suggested in the review, the most expensive streaming client of its kind: it's been pointed out to me that the Linn Klimax DS is – ulp! – £12k.

Audio Editor, Gramophone

airplay

The simplest and cheapest way to move data wirelessly from a computer to a dac with optical input is to use the Airplay protocol and an Apple TV receiver connected to the DAC (less than 100 euro). You will need to have wifi, of course, and an airplay app on your computer/tablet/smartphone if it is not a MAC. Also, Airplay does no support resolutions over and above CD red book. Whether that makes a sonic difference or not is hotly debated (I believe there is no scientific proof for the sonic superiority of HD audio). I have no idea how to integrate this with a NAS drive, but I guess it will depend on the computer you are using, and the NAS. On the bright side: even budget gear like the Denon Ceol mini system or a Yamaha network reciever like the R-N500 can do it.

Willem

Storing and Streaming Classical Music

Actually I wouldn't bother with downloading at all.   It always was a dead-end.     As far as I can see, the only reason to download music as a file is to get greater than CD resolution.    (Of course off-line use when mobile is another, but not relevant here).     As most people's systems are not capable of getting the best out of CD resolution, higher resolutions are mostly a waste of time.     Having said that, using very high quality headphones, I think you can hear (a bit) more definition with hi-res audio, but for me it's not worth the hassle and expense.

And why waste your life ripping CDs to a hard disk?      Streaming is clearly the way forward - they already have virtually all your CDs online now.    You don't need multiple terabyte NAS drives cluttering-up the house that then need to be backed-up.       CD quality streaming services like Qobuz or Tidal already have enormous databases set-up.    You don't have to waste any time, just find what you want to hear then play it - in seconds.

I wouldn't buy a proprietary streamer, open source is much more flexible (and safer, pace BBC R3 HD earlier this year).    These days you just need a computer, a DAC, power amps (you don't need a pre-amp), and speakers or headphones.

What is best for whom...

CI, there is not only one way to go ahead...these days. By all means, one can recognise that the way, which you descibe in your post, works perfectly fine for you and, most probably, for others too, but that is not "clearly the way forward" for anyone anywhere.

From your post, the key words is this "virtually" and "then play it" in the second paragraph. Some people might need more items than the "virtually all your CDs" (the details of the Devil or...God) and they might wish to file them, so that they can play them at will and at their convenience (a sort of virtual collection).

Finally, at the end of your post, as for the reference of what is needed...these days, you may bear in mind that there are people who abhor computers or the dependence on them, internet service is not affordably and stably available everywhere, while quality streaming services are available to few "fortunate" countries...yet. So, the quest will go on and on. To have options is of paramount importance than resorting to the..."obvious" one.

Parla

no more libraries either?

This is strange logic. It is akin to saying that the research scholar should avoid using Harvard's Widener library or the Bodleian in Oxford because they may not have one or two books that he needs, and should rather invest time and money in building his own private library.

The real solution, as with libraries, is to use streaming services for what they can offer, and have a Bluray player for the odd cd not available on the chosen music streaming service, and for Bluray. Unlike with audio streaming services, video streaming by e.g Netflix only offers a small and pretty vulgar selection that does not have much to offer the opera/ballet lover, or the serious lover of art movies. I think watching opera or ballet on a really good screen adds a valuable dimension to the enjoyment of the music. This is how it was meant to be enjoyed, after all. And as for movies, it is an altogether different thing of course, but I happen to like good art movies. The time will surely come when we will have a wide selection of streaming video as well, but right now it has not happened yet.

Willem

The right to choose and the benefit of options.

I believe I was clear enough in my post. I said there is not only one way to go ahead with listening to music and I put the question what is best for whom. I abhor computers and I detest internet services, particularly when I have to listen to the Music in my listening room (I listen always as in a concert hall, hands-free, always sitting and focusing on the program I created for the particular case).

Besides,  there are much more than few "odd CDs not available on the chosen music streaming service" (I do not think any streaming service can add some hundreds of new Classical Music releases from all over the world, per month), but that is another story, already covered, to some extent, in previous threads.

Parla

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