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I am just getting into the idea of putting about 400 CDs on a hard drive. I also have DVD-audio's and DVD's but that's not as much of a priority. I would like to use my preexisting equipment if possible. I am not willing to sacrifice any sound quality either.

Currently I have a Denon-991 Networked Receiver and a Playstation 3. I will have to buy either a new laptop or an external harddrive as my current laptop is full (80gb).
 

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Hard drive prices are really high right now. I would suggest waiting until the new year before spending any money on one. Three months ago you could get a 2TB drive for under $100 now they cost as much as $250 because of the flooding and other natural disasters in the areas where they are made.
 

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How do you suggest hooking up an external hard drive to my system? Directly to the receiver? To my laptop? to a new wireless router? Should I look into buying something so as to have a nice interface and an easy way to search my library?
 

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I did the external hard drive route... bought a 600G Maxtor drive that plugged into my computer. Ripped all my CDs (500+) and started this obsession. After several years, the Maxtor reached capacity and I lost one of my internal drives, which started me thinking about getting a more secure storage solution not only for my music, but my movies and digital photos too.

I bit the bullet last year and bought a NAS (NetGear ReadyNAS NV+) which has the ability to accommodate 4 internal drives and the ability to RAID them. I purchased 4 750G drives that were compatible with the NAS and have moved all of my files to it. I have used RAID technology at work for years and hoped this solution would be what I needed.. Just to be safe, however, I have a backup of all my files on an internal drive on my computer.

A few months after getting everything set up, one of the NAS drives failed! I had purchased an additional drive, so I pulled the bad one, installed the spare and the NAS rebuilt the contents of the drive from the other 3.. just like it was supposed to. I sent the bad drive back to Seagate and they returned a new one to me.

I think this whole setup cost me about $600 and I'm pretty pleased with the results. I don't leave the NAS powered on all the time, as it has become my backup... I stream music to my Squeezebox from the internal hard drive on my computer and if I want to watch a movie, I'll power on the NAS.

Hope this helps....
 

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What Tom has there sounds like a great idea... especially if you want to protect the potential loss of all those CDs after copying them to the hard drive.

I just purchased a Seagate FreeAgent Go 500 GB USB from Amazon for about 100 bucks... and hooked it up to the USB port on my E4200 wireless router. I haven't been able to get it setup right yet. However, Tom has me thinking about a RAID backup system now. My purpose for the drive is basically the same as you are looking to do. We have tons of CDs and I was putting them on my laptop, but realized I would not have enough room when it was all said and done... nor would it be as easy to share from my laptop as it would a network drive.

I load all my CDs onto computer with CDEX and convert them the MP3 using the "Very High Quality" variable bitrate setting, if there is really such a thing. Music sounds fine to me, but I am not as critical as some may be.

You can use Window Media Player as a library, playlist, etc.
 

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Personally, I've helped too many customers through really bad data loss incidents with every kind of NAS on the market to fully trust any of them. Data recovery services charge obscene amounts of money for straight NTFS data... Raid recovery, when even possible, makes obscene look downright PG. Exotic non-standard RAID formats make things even worse. Plus, Raids only protect from hard drive failures... Ever consider what happens if the Raid hardware itself fails? SOMETIMES, you can get identical hardware (if it's still available) and get them up and running again... and sometimes that doesn't work put as expected and the new hardware automatically reformats the "new" (to it) drives. Just too much potential for hinkyness.

Hard drive prices have indeed gone up lately, and will go down eventually, but meanwhile it's not the end of the world to pay an extra $50 (less, with some legwork) for a 2 tb drive.

So my preferred solution is to simply buy plain, no frills USB hard drives (USB2 has plenty of bandwidth to supply multiple full-bandwidth HD video streams so USB3, while great, isn't really needed for this application). The fancier the hard drive, the less interested I am. My current favorites is the Western Digital Elements 2tb hard drive. Add a USB hub for $10 if you need more ports. (again, cheap and simple to replace if needed)

The key is to buy in pairs. With two drives and either a script or simple software (like robocopy or second copy), you can mirror the data with a simple file level copy every night. If one drive dies, you still have all your data on the second drive... Just like in a raid, and no hassle, and concerns about hardware failures since its just a simple USB drive. (should the drive electronics fail, just rip out the hard drive and plug directly into the computer, or into any cheap external enclosure) Dead silent, too, and easy to plug/unplug as needed should I decide to save energy... Although generally I just leave them on (spun down, in the case of the copy drives).

Two terabyte drives hold LOTS of data. Expensive Raid setups make bigger "virtual" drives, but why is that so important? The front end software manages the actual data files anyway, who cares which drive the files are on?

I use iTunes to stream music (and videos) from 2 two terabyte drives (each with an identical clone that is updated nightly). If one drive dies, easy enough to pick up another and copy the data back from the copy drive (or to simply replace the copy drive). It's not a hot spare situation like a Raid, but this is music and movies, not mission-critical data for a corporation. Need offsite backup? Another drive is easy to add, and rotate offsite.

I like iTunes, as it does a great job of juggling lots of music and videos in an easy to use format, streams to AppleTVs and other computers running iTunes (great TV interface, too). It works with MP3s, purchased or ripped M4As (AAC-based format native to iTunes and the iTunes store), WMAs (of which I have about 6), and ALAC (Apple lossless, similar to FLAC, both true lossless formats), all but WMA work natively with iPods and iPhones and iPads as well. It manages ripping very well, too. Oh, and it has some seriously kick-butt vizualizers built in, too. :) It's a bit resource heavy, certainly, but with today's computers is this really a serious consideration anymore? (unless you're trying to game on the same system and need every spec of performance?)

Raid setups are a GREAT idea, in theory. They add significant expense (I'd rather spend that money on drives, not enclosures), however, and significantly complicate all but the most simple recovery. I think the KISS policy has a lot to offer for systems that are already overly-complex.

That's my opinion anyway. Lots of people have systems that work well for them, and even recover gracefully from problems, like Tom's system above. (I've seen the same systems fail miserably, unfortunately) So it all depends on where you want to roll the dice... I choose the cheaper and simpler option. :) YMMV
 

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I got my Seagate drive working now... so maybe I just need a duplicate of it with a USB hub, then I can copy over to it each night.

Thanks for the info... :T

Nate... be sure to let us know what you end up doing.
 

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If you think you are going to grow and do more of this, let say all your DVD movies and BluRay. Then I would just build your self a sever right of the bat. Around $400 (+ drives) you can build a sever that will run the UnRaid software, you can even use the free version if you have 3 drives or less. You can figure about 5gig for DVD and 22gig for BluRay if you just rip the main movie
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I appreciate everyone's suggestions. I downloaded EAC and put a cd on a flash drive in FLAC format. It played just fine on my Denon. Now I'm waiting on a hard drive. Just bought a 1tb WD Elements on Ebay for $29. !!! Obviously much cheaper than it's supposed to be but Ebay has a good buyer protection plan. So, we'll see. 900 more available.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The $29 ebay hard drive got canceled. I ordered a 500GB WD Elements drive for $69. Should be coming today. I'm simply going to plug it into the USB port of my reciever. I can't afford to buy any additional equipment right now.

I've been trying to Rip Dvd-Audio discs to FLAC. 2 channel plays fine on the Denon-991, but when I tried 6 channel, it played as stereo. That one was Porcupine Tree-In Absentia. Another track, Seal-Loves Divine only played for 2 or 3 seconds. Another Any suggestions?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
So, everything is working well. I am accessing my music through the USB port of my Denon 991. I ripped my CD library to the 500gb hard drive in FLAC format. It only took up a little over 100GB's. I can't do the surround stuff because the Denon apparently only plays stereo through USB. But I'm happy because I was able to move a rack of CD's to the basement. And pressing buttons on a remote is a LOT easier than getting off of the couch to put a CD in! :)
 

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Hello I'm sorry if I am on the wrong site.
I would like a detailed description on moving j river files on c drive to external hard drive. I don't understand file paths.
Thanks Hotrize
 
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