Setting up a local music server for Mom.

S

Sanyobusiness

Enthusiast
Title pretty much says it. My mother is in her mid 70s and has over the years accumulated a few hundred CDs (maybe 2-300). Her CD player recently went kaput, so I got her the Denon CEOL as a replacement, but with the intention of possibly setting up a simple home server that can hold at least her top 100 list (I'm sure even the smallest NAS type device would hold a few thousand more, but even getting 100 of them saved to a hard drive is an ambitious goal) so that she can use Heos and her ipad to play her music without fumbling through all the broken cases.

I've gone through a few days of obsessively searching about how to go about this online, but figured I'd come to you guys for some tips about my specific situation. I was hoping to find a relatively cheap and smallish device, or even a program that could run on her desktop computer and wirelessly play the CDs she saves to it. I even tinkered around with doing it on my Marantz just to make sure I could do it before I go visit in a couple weeks, with intermittent success... Sometimes heos finds the shared music server on my Mac, and sometimes it doesn't (Mom has a PC)... Anyway, my mother really does like her CDs and I'd like to make it easier for her to listen to them.

Budget wise I was hoping there would be a solution in the couple hundred dollars on down to free. Odds that she decides that she prefers fumbling with discs that no longer snap into the CD jewel boxes is pretty high.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
For that many cd's why not just use the hard drive of her computer you rip the files to and use software like Foobar2000 to play the files over your network? Just have those files backed up....
 
S

Sanyobusiness

Enthusiast
That was kind of my plan, but this whole area is pretty murky for me. Didn't know about Foobar, so I'll definitely give that a look. Will it wake her computer from sleep if she wants to play something? Hoping so, because if she has to go wake up the computer that sort of kills a lot of the convenience.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
That was kind of my plan, but this whole area is pretty murky for me. Didn't know about Foobar, so I'll definitely give that a look. Will it wake her computer from sleep if she wants to play something? Hoping so, because if she has to go wake up the computer that sort of kills a lot of the convenience.
Don't know anything about apple, am a pc guy but don't "wake" my computer, I just use the computer to direct the music to my systems (also the phone app), and if I need the files on the pc to manage from another device I just leave the computer on......
 
S

Sanyobusiness

Enthusiast
Right, what I mean is the computer goes to sleep after an hour or so of inactivity so this would need to run in the background. I was intending this to be kind of a local jukebox that she could look through her cds and play them wirelessly through the heos app. If she has to go upstairs and "unsleep" the computer then it's not really that convenient. Or if there was some kind of simple, small, relatively cheap SD card drive that could connect to the wifi network and stay on all the time, that would work too.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
In my pc I have a wide variety of choice as to if/how long it takes for the pc to go into sleep/hibernation/standby etc, but never looked into what can wake it up other than an update. Do you have the option of a usb input for a thumb drive on the CEOL (RCD-N10 model ?). Not familiar with what's available in network drives (or what type of drives are available now for such). I was also thinking the computer was at hand rather than elsewhere in the house....
 
V

viorelc

Enthusiast
I copied my former CD collection to a USB thumb drive, playable on my (now old) Denon AVR. What I have on the thumb drive is in MP3 format, converted down from the lossless version I keep on my computer. While I had various forms of sharing from the computer, having the small thumb drive all the time on with easy browsing from the AVR was the most convenient option.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
MalVeauX

MalVeauX

Full Audioholic
Hi,

Does it have to be via HEOS?

I would avoid using a computer (PC) as a source to stream from. Just adds complication. A NAS is a better approach. Or local media, as in an external 1TB drive or something like that (or even flash drive) with the music on there in whatever container you prefer (MP3, FLAC, etc) and just access it that way. A basic NAS on the network (wifi) would be fine, always on, always accessible. Can rip the CD's on the PC or whatever she's using and transfer the files to the NAS on the network and then HEOS would access the NAS as a source for the music files.

Ripping CD's is pretty easy with Exact Audio Copy (EAC). It's free. It will label the albums and songs and get album art. Just plop in a CD and start the process and it will do the work. All you have to do is take out the CD and put in the next one. Very easy, not hard to follow the GUI. Lots of options to customize or just let it do it auto with a Wizard after questions for super simple setup.

I do this with a NAS server and Plex for my server and streaming platform. This way a Roku or any other device, can access my Plex server and see the music with album art and everything and stream that way from my server.

Very best,
 
S

Sanyobusiness

Enthusiast
Hi,

Does it have to be via HEOS?

I would avoid using a computer (PC) as a source to stream from. Just adds complication. A NAS is a better approach. Or local media, as in an external 1TB drive or something like that (or even flash drive) with the music on there in whatever container you prefer (MP3, FLAC, etc) and just access it that way. A basic NAS on the network (wifi) would be fine, always on, always accessible. Can rip the CD's on the PC or whatever she's using and transfer the files to the NAS on the network and then HEOS would access the NAS as a source for the music files.

Ripping CD's is pretty easy with Exact Audio Copy (EAC). It's free. It will label the albums and songs and get album art. Just plop in a CD and start the process and it will do the work. All you have to do is take out the CD and put in the next one. Very easy, not hard to follow the GUI. Lots of options to customize or just let it do it auto with a Wizard after questions for super simple setup.

I do this with a NAS server and Plex for my server and streaming platform. This way a Roku or any other device, can access my Plex server and see the music with album art and everything and stream that way from my server.

Very best,
The main reason it "has to be" Heos is that I just replaced her old CD player radio with the Denon CEOL. Since it comes with Heos, I figured that would be the easiest thing to get a tech adjacent senior citizen accustomed to. Further looking into this has revealed that I can connect a USB connection flash drive or sd card drive to the back of the wifi router and (hopefully) get it to show up as a shared drive on the network (which I guess makes it an NAS) .

To be honest, I find the Heos app a little bit clunky and not quite as intuitive as it should be, but I'm at least familiar with it, so that's my current plan. I've never used Plex, but it sounds like that's kind of the favorite option out there, so I'll keep that in mind. I've found that some people have problems getting the album art to show up in Heos, which is kind of a deal breaker for me. I only use it via having Alexa turn on my music.
 
MalVeauX

MalVeauX

Full Audioholic
Heya,

For a quick media server, you can get an nVidia shield (instead of using a proper NAS or PC on the network, which is just added complication) and install plex server on that as a super easy solution. Then just put the plex app on any device (tablet, phone, streaming box like roku, shield, smart TV, desktop too for PC has it). It's glorious for album art, playback, etc. Super easy to use. My 7 year old can get through it all and find her stuff no problem. You could have the Shield plugged into the receiver for playback and control from Plex app on her tablet.

Very best,
 
jinjuku

jinjuku

Moderator
If she's used to CD's and that suits her for usability reasons, why not another CD player?
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Spartan
If she's used to CD's and that suits her for usability reasons, why not another CD player?
Not that anyone else is wrong, but if this isn't something you plan to maintain or get calls about when it doesn't work, a new CD player might be your best bet.

If I was to set this up for my parents, I'd go the streaming service/sonos route or something along those lines. Make it as user friendly as possible.

A streaming device is a good idea too, but that will totally depend on her comfort level with technology.

Ripping all her music (CDs being what they are, might be scratched so you can't get a good copy) and making sure the hosting software works and is easy to use takes a lot of effort. Then you'll have to deal with hard drives that will eventually die and need replacing, so some sort of NAS (as @MalVeauX said) is the best bet so there is some sort of data protection when a hardware failure occurs.

This can be a bit more complex than you think.

Either way, happy to help with whatever you decide to go with.
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Warlord
I'm with some others on here. While ripping all the music makes a lot of sense. Make sure it is in a format that is also compatible with her phone and get her some music on her phone for sure. But, beyond that, it may not be any easier to just let her run with what she is used to.

I will say that my father in law is starting to rip his CD collection so that he can put it on his phone. He's not an audiophile and his hearing is bad. So, the 320kbs rips will be more than enough quality for him, and storage space is basically nothing in cost these days unless you have a massive audio collection. So, about 16GB of storage will hold her entire collection in extremely good quality or perhaps even a lossless format.

I might consider that if HEOS (I'm not all that familiar with it) will stream right from her phone, then one of the best places to put the audio is right on her phone. Then she has her whole collection with her always. She can play it through HEOS or she can play it in the car or elsewhere.

While my father in law may look forward to being able to travel with his music, he still prefers the CD player.
My father also prefers CDs and he put together a 200 or 400 disc changer from Sony to use for his collection. Those can be had relatively inexpensive on eBay.
 
Bucknekked

Bucknekked

Audioholic Field Marshall
I wish I could say "here's how you do it" and have a firm answer. As several of the brethren have pointed out, there's more than one way to skin this cat. And being clever or leading edge in tech isn't always the best solution.
My wife turns 70 this month so I know something about how the person using the solution is probably the most important element. What does she want to do? What would she be most comfortable with? Because when you're not there, she will probably default to what she's comfortable with.

It sounds like she can spin CD's just fine, so that may be your path of least resistance and greatest acceptance.
Media servers are great, I have setup several from CD collections. But, if the user isn't up for it, it is largely a waste of time. Apple devices are wonderfully easy to connect to a media source and play. I haven't had an Android phone in years and years but I have to imagine they can do it too. I would find out what she would really prefer and then be all over that.
 

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