Hello Guys & Gals,
New member here.
I am just getting into streaming and I am seeking some helpful advice on the server and drives to buy for a NAS. I plan to buy a very nice DAC/streamer and use Roon to stream music from my NAS and over the Internet (probably Tidal).
I just purchased an Acronova Nimbie and the dBpoweramp batch ripper software. Hopefully I can rip all of my CDs in a matter of weeks. (If I have to rip one CD at a time, manually, then it will take me forever.) The Nimbie machine arrives today and I should be ready to begin ripping CDs this weekend.
This leads to my first few questions . . . about file formats, and brands and types of servers and drives.
A. Which server and drives should I buy to store my music? For the server box, it seems that Synology and QNAP are typically ranked as the two best (with Western Digital a close third) among “regular” servers for home users. Have you all found that one is better than the others for serving music to a DAC/streamer?
B. I’m also being told about the supposed benefits of “audiophile-grade” servers like the Music Vault by Sound Science and the Vault and Vault II by Bluesound. But, dang, these are much more expensive. I’m told (by a dealer, of course) that one of these “audiophile-grade” servers will make my music sound noticeably better compared to a regular home server. Any truth to that? Are there any real benefits to using an “audiophile-grade” server over a regular home server like Synology or QNAP?
C. Which hard drives should I buy to populate the server boxes? It seems that a lot of people are using solid state drives now. Is that the way to go? From your experience and research, what is the best type of drive to use? Is there any particular brand that you consider better than the others? In other words . . . If you were starting over from scratch, which server and drives would you choose today?
D. File format. From what I’ve read, and for my purposes, I think FLAC is the best format. I definitely want a lossless format. I don’t have any Apple products, hence FLAC over ALAC. The cost of storage is so low that it didn’t seem to make any sense to choose a lossy format. But the real question is compressed (FLAC) or uncompressed (AIFF or WAV)? I’m told that uncompressed eases the strain on the DAC and allows it to perform better. Any truth to this? Have you all found any audible difference between using compressed lossless (primarily FLAC) and uncompressed lossless (WAV or AIFF)?
I’m told the dBpoweramp can rip multiple formats in the same session, so maybe I should just rip three formats to cover all bases: FLAC for my daily listening, WAV or AIFF to have an uncompressed backup, and a high bit rate (320 kbps or better) MP3 that I will use in my portables and for thumb drives in my car.
E. WAV or AIFF? I am leaning WAV here, again only because I’m not an Apple guy. But do WAV files support metadata? I’m getting conflicting info on that.
Anyway, thanks in advance for any insight and guidance you can provide.