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Do You Use a Music Server for Most Listening?

I've been talking a lot about music servers lately. It's the subject of this week's Home Theater Geeks podcast with Jon Iverson as well as today's Ask Scott blog. This leads me to wonder how many of our readers use music servers rather than physical-disc players for most of their music listening.

As always, I really hope you leave a comment about your choice. If you use a server, which one? Why do you like using a server over a disc player? If you don't use a server, why not?

Vote to see the results and leave a comment about your choice.

Do You Use a Music Server for Most Listening?
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uavtrparry's picture

Almost all of our music listening at home is from an iPod in a Crestron docking station. I would like to move to a better platform but so far have not been impressed at the options that will support a multi-room environment with multiple streams. I've recently been introduced to Autonomic Controls MMS-2 Music Server and this one may be an option. I am looking for a server that will work well with Crestron, support multiple streams and provide cover art, track info etc. Open to suggestions

loop7's picture

I still buy CDs and rip them to Apple Lossless in iTunes. Like your recent HTG guest, I'm a fan of used CDs sourced via Amazon and bay area used CD stores like Amoeba and Streetlight. I manage the library in iTunes on a Mac Mini with a 2TB external drive; the mini feeds my DAC/Processor via optical. I consume either by controlling the Mini with the Remote app on my iPhone but have been comparing sonics with my Apple TV which also leads to the DAC optically.

I chose Apple Lossless because I wanted to stay in the Apple ecosystem and I'm not convinced there's a difference between AL and FLAC but there are many that disagree.

Sooloos would be great but I have a mortgage in the bay area so I'm priced out of Meridian.

cbono's picture


Scott Wilkinson's picture
...I'm asking about playback hardware, not media. So vinyl is included in the "I mostly listen to a disc player" option.
David Vaughn's picture

I use a Windows Home Server and a Squeezebox Touch to stream music and podcasts to my listening room. I have the majority of my music stored as WMA Lossless files, although if I do purchase music I generally use versus iTunes.

uavK.Reid's picture

I mostly listen to tracks stored on my computer streamed through my Squeezebox Touch. I also listen to the variety of internet radio stations streamed through The 'Touch. Unfortunately, mostly all tracks on my computer are downloaded through iTunes as David Chesky's HDtracks does not have latest contemporary Dance, Pop, R&B and Jazz tracks I like to listen to.

The 'Touch is so easy and fun to use. I only wish the screen was larger and that there was an HDMI out. Currently, The 'Touch sends all signals via coaxial digital cable to my A/V receiver's D/A converter.

wstruth's picture

I use iTunes on a G5 PowerMac with three libraries - one for general iPod sync, one dedicated for a iPod used in my car under USB control by the car's stereo, and the third having Apple Lossless version files of each of my 700+ CDs. The desktop computer is linked optically via a Toslink interface to my family room system - a McIntosh MX120 Proc-Amp. Thus I used the Mx-120's D/As to reproduce lossless compressed files of my entire CD library. The desktop can be remote controlled either through share screen app on my laptop or via Apple Remote app on a iPod Touch using the house's WiFi network.

morrismrinak's picture

I currently use a computer feeding the digital signal from a USB port to a Musical Fidelity V-Link. From the V-link I use a toslink to connect to a PS Audio DAC III and then Kimber interconnects to my preamp. I could detect no difference between coax & toslink cables. I prefer the sound of this setup to my OPPO disk player for stereo material. 24/96hz downloads through this setup sound great(to me) but I don't have a killabuck system either.

aforms's picture

Currently I use a Mac Mini with a toslink connection to my Denon AVR-4806CI HT receiver. I use Remote App with my iPad to control iTunes on my Mac Mini. I also use a AppleTv and Oppo BDP-93.

gaslight's picture

I have a whole-house wired gigabit network. A Buffalo NAS contains my library of Apple Lossless music. One room has a DIY HTPC connected via coax. Main room has an ASRock HTPC connected via HDMI.

MartinLoganFan's picture

Music: Ripped WAV 44.1khz, and Hi-res 96/88.2/176.4/192 downloads
Storage: Dedicated PC based Server
Media Player: Windows 7 running Foobar, XBMC
Soundcard: ASUS Xonar Essence STX
Remote: iPad app for XBMC and Foobar
Music Streamer: Sonos
Remote: Sonos Controller and iPad app.

I use a custom built PC based Server for all my media. The server was custom built for the purposes of listening to high resolution downloads from Linn and HDTracks. I use Windows 7 to run Foobar into an ASUS XONAR STX soundcard running ASIO bit perfect drivers that support Sample rates: 44.1 / 48 / 88.2 / 96 / 176.4 / 192 kHz.

In addition to HDTracks and Linn, I also use iTunes to download music, but create Apple Lossless versions of the files that I download.

I have ripped my CD's into Wav files.

cbono's picture

TURNTABLE!! :) It's just hard to think of LPs as discs - cylinders would be an easier leap :)

applebyter's picture

I mostly use a Squeezebox Touch reading uncompressed FLAC files off of a ReadyNAS Ultra 6. I feed the coax digital out from the Squeezebox to a Lexicon MC-12 to use both its DACs and room correction software. I'm happy with the sound quality compared to a Sony CD's digital out to the Lexicon. I keep wondering about the potential improvement with using something like a Linn DS. If I do listen to discs it is usually an SACD or DVD-Audio in surround sound from a Oppo BDP-83.

treblid's picture

Music: Ripped FLAC using EAC
Storage: NAS (DLNA Server: Twonky Media)
Player 1: Win7 Pro running Foobar and Asus Essense STX
Player 2: Marantz NA7004
RemoteControl: Android mobile phone (Android2000 Controller for player 1, and web browser for Player 2).

The main reason for using a PC solution is the ease of music selection. All music is available at my finger tips and can be sorted in any way I like - e.g. year, genre, artists, folders, etc.

Amadeo's picture

netbook running Foobar + musiland monitor 01us + tubemagic D1 DAC (with the GE tube)

malota's picture

in our household we have gone for iTunes and now have a plethora of idevices with iTunes match. I'm also running multiple airport expresses to be able to deliver music into additional rooms just for background noise. The bulk of our music is now the standard 256k iTunes downloaded variety but there are a few apple lossless tracks we hold onto. I've even got both cars kitted out with ipod\iphone adapters so I can control our advices music library directly from the head units in the cars.

For my sound system I stream to my ATV2 which is connected via both HDMI and toslink so we can choose between the "DVD" input (set to HDMI) and "CD" input (set to toslink). NB:Our Yamaha receiver reports HDMI errors when we leave the TV off and try to just listen to audio hence the two inputs.

One thing I'm trying to determine in my setup now is if an external DAC will provide a better sound quality over the inbuilt DAC's on a lot of the AV receivers?

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