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In the Forum: Didital Things
In the Thread: The commercial music servers.
Post Subject: A deconstructionist approachPosted by jessie.dazzle on: 1/10/2008
I can't see what advantage one of these "music servers" might potentially offer over a small portable computer sitting on the hifi rack next to a couple large external hard drives and a good outboard DAC.

As for quality of sound : Such a laptop-driven rig is the best front end component I have ever owned... Total cost was around $5000 ($3500 of which went for a tubed USB DAC).

Here are some advantages to using a laptop-driven setup over a one-box commercial music server :

Control everything from anywhere in the house : The newest version of the Mac OS (sorry!) gives you complete wireless remote control over a second Mac, allowing you to see the screen of the other computer, and execute ALL functions remotely. This means you can browse your music library, see what's playing, change the music, add notes, etc, all from the couch (it does this via the wireless VPN, or Virtual Private Network). As far as the user knows, the computer that is running the DAC and the hard drives is sitting right there in his lap, not on the hifi rack.

A real screen : The screen of a lap top is much larger than the what I would expect to find built into a hifi component. This is nice when displaying all the information (title, composer, performing artist(s), date recorded, etc) related to files in a music library... Whats more, the screen of a laptop uses COLOR.

A real keyboard : Excellent for adding your own notes to the file in the space for "comments" (make some use of that keyboard). What about when you transfer files from a CD to the hard drive, and the CDDB (CD data base) gets the info wrong (this often happens with classical CDs); would you rather enter the correct info via a touch screen while standing and sweating in front of your rack, or via a real keyboard from the couch?

I could go on...


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