What Is a NAS and Should I Use One?

Many customers of ReadyToPlay plan to put their digitally ripped music on a PC or Mac in their home. Some plan to use a USB drive connected to their computer to serve the files. Others want to use the internal drives on their PC or Mac to host the files, but they don’t take into account the storage requirements to hold all their CDs digitally (350MB per CD for lossless encoding, 150MB per CD for Mp3 320). So for a 500 CD collection in lossless, you’re talking about 177GB or in Mp3, 75GB!

The primary caveat to answer before you consider storage is: ‘How do you plan to play your digital files in the home?”.  There are several alternatives most consider around where you store the music files:

  1. If you are planning to use a PC or Mac to serve the files to your system then understand
    1. That PC or Mac has to be ‘on’ all the time
    2. That you have to have enough storage to put the files on that machine (disc drive space)
    3. That it is best if it is Ethernet connected to your network
    4. That this is best implementation for loading iPods or serving music to an Apple TV
    5. Remember, hanging a USB drive off the PC or Mac will draw more power and have an additional ‘hop’ from USB to PC and then Ethernet to playback device!
  2. If you answered a ‘no’ to any of the above you should consider a NAS.

Read more about NAS devices in my next blog!

digital music nas

What to Expect With Digital Audio in 2013

Digital audio has been around awhile now. It seems like it was just yesterday that the first iPod was introduced and with it, the first music download store (2003). So digital music has been mainstream for over 10 years now.  Much has changed and what were once constraints are now ‘a given’:

In general, keep the following ‘truisms’ in mind and go for the whole house audio solution that that fits for you.  You’ll love it.

  • Music downloads/purchases are now ‘encryption free’ and with cloud technologies, music is available almost everywhere and on any device.
  • Whole house audio does not mean that you have to settle for any loss of fidelity from the CD quality you were used to with a dedicated CD player.
  • Disc drive storage for higher fidelity ‘lossless’ versions of your music is not as large as you think, it’s cheap and easy to implement, so don’t sweat storage.
  • Controlling your music system is as simple as downloading an application to devices you ALREADY USE each day (smart phones like iPhone, Android, Apple’s iTouch & iPad etc.). So control of your whole house library is easy and relatively inexpensive.
  • Existing speaker systems can be utilized with digital technology and new speaker pairs for ‘additional zones’ are inexpensive, portable and can be wireless.
  • You don’t need expensive remodeling or wiring into a vertical rack in the basement anymore.  Distributed wireless audio is the new paradigm and can be leveraged around existing house constraints like hard walls.  If your home installer is trying to sell you a big rack for audio, make sure it’s doing more than just audio like TV, video, energy control etc.
  • It has never been cheaper or easier to implement digital music in your home.  Just go for it – you and your family will love it and wonder how you ever did without it.

For whole house audio options and professional CD conversion services, visit www.readytoplay.com now!

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Is Wi-Fi the End All, Be All?

cd to mp3

Wi-fi is always touted as the solution to all your problems.  The good news is that for those of us who have split level homes, brick or steel reinforced construction and other heavy infrastructure, wireless will cut costs instead of pulling wire through impossible walls. By wire, I mean ethernet wiring from device to device to connect your network together.  However, with heavy construction you may encounter wireless issues.  As you may know, wireless communication sends packets of data (music or otherwise) – wirelessly through the air from a signal source to a receiver.  Anything that breaks up this signal will cause devices to not work properly.  Lack of connectivity will impact the ability of your home audio system to do the same.  SO before you go any further with whole house audio, make sure you consider the realities of your home and plan for necessary wi-fi repeaters or boosters. But as with all things wi-fi: if you can wire devices directly to your network, do so, it will operate as advertised all the time.

When should you always ‘go wired’?  For example, if your router is in the basement and you have 2 floors above that – and you can’t figure out why your network connection is failing on the 3rd floor.  Or you’ve got your router placed behind a brick wall and can’t receive data a mere 6 feet away on the other side of the wall.  Hard walls, height and distance contribute to wireless issues.

Deciding on how you want to use your music to be in your home and combining that with the realities of the house situation will lead you to choose the right products. Visit Ready To Play to see what products are available for your home audio.

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Whole House Audio – Part Two

Form Follows Function in Whole House Audio Systems

Your home layout, technical infrastructure and existing audio or media systems have a big impact on the products you will choose for your whole house audio system.  Let’s start first with house configuration.

The configuration of your home is a big consideration.  I’ll provide more details in future specific blogs for each scenario, but generally:

If you have a smaller house, a wireless music implementation from Apple or single zone/speaker combo from Sonos will do the trick.

If you share a dedicated entertainment center/family room with a TV, then Apple TV is a great bet if you also use iTunes.

Many audiophiles invest in a dedicated listening room.  If this is you, then you most definitely want your digital system to interface with a digital audio converter (or DAC) and then feed audio to the stereo system.  More on that in another post.

If your house has a lot of rooms or areas to play music (family room, back yard, living room, kitchen, master bedroom) then you have multiple “zones” and you’ll want a multi-zone system like Sonos, Savant, or Control 4. Each implement their systems using either wired or wireless technology. Understand the wi-fi capabilities given your house configuration and decide if a wired or wireless implementation is the answer.

Convert CDS to MP3 or digital technology with ReadyToPlay.com – We rip CDs to Lossless format and are the best CD Conversion service on the web!

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