11 Jan 2004
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United Kingdom
Wanting to consolidate our music.

We have acres of vinyl, CD's and cassettes and I was thinking of storing them all on a hard drive.

What is the best way of doing this?

Another alternative would be to buy the music in digital format.

Or would you access the music online and not bother buying/ converting?

One of the things we thought about was that we would like music in a few rooms. Would the best way be to use something like Alexa (other systems are available)? In which case, could the system link to a PC where music is stored?
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be interesting to see the replies to this. I want to buy the old fella something that's easy to use and whereby he can transfer his old vinyl to digital... but must be warts and all. (pops scratches crackles etc)
Lots of ways to do this, but I'll describe what I've done. It's not cheap or quick to achieve, but well worth it.

1) Get a NAS drive to store the digitised music files. I use Netgear, but others are available. I also use RAID to guard against data loss (2 drives acting as one to maintain the data). A NAS drive allows access to the music without having to turn the PC/Laptop on. I also use the NAS to store other important files such as family photos etc.
2) For CDs, I have DBPoweramp (paid) to rip & tag the files. This has access to online databases so you don't need to manually add tags for artist, track, cover art etc.
3) For LPs/tapes, I use Audacity (free) to record the raw audio and then use the built in tools to divide and tag the recorded data into individual tracks. This also keeps the pops, crackles etc.
4) For playing the music, I have Sonos in 4 rooms. Fantastic sound quality. All music is accessed from the NAS via a free app on your mobile/tablet/Laptop/PC

Main thing I found is to decide on a tagging regime early on and stick to it to maintain consistency across the entire database e.g. how do you want albums by various artists to be stored, album art size etc. and also what format to store the files in. I use FLAC (losless) for listening through Sonos, but also have an MP3 copy (compressed) for the car (USB stick) and personal use (MP3 Player). Making a copy of the master database into another format is done with the DBPoweramp tools.

I also occasionally use MP3TAG (free) to tidy up or alter the tags on the master FLAC copy (MP3TAG works on FLAC and lots of other formats, not just MP3)

The other important thing is to make backups! I have 2 other copies of the FLAC files and one of them is even stored 'offsite' at a relatives house. I spent nearly 2 years digitising and tagging 6000 CDs/LPs and I really don't want to do it again.
Same here, I have a WD MyCloud 3tb NAS drive, serves my Sonos multi-room setup.

Have a look into Sonos, the Play1's are ideal for bedrooms etc, all wireless (apart from power lead).

As said above FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) is the best bet to convert to imho.

I chewed through 300+CDs.

To be fair I now have a Deezer Premium account and most of my music is streamed from there onto Sonos.
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Put the whole lot on Google Play Music.

Buy some Chromecast Audio devices and connect those to your speakers or hi-fi's. Stream from your phones and tablets. Enjoy the 21st century.
Cheers, Woody.

Bearing in mind I am a Crumbly Old Fart, how do I do that?:)
Wherever the music is stored, NAS, cloud, laptop etc, you've still got to digitise the music in the first place. This is the bit that takes time, especially for analogue LPs. The 'cloud' is just someone else's disk drive...
Sign up for a Google account if you don't have one already.

Download Google Play Music to your devices.

Convert your music to digital files. Or download digital copies.

Optional but recommended - sort out song and album metadata (band, song, album order, album art, year etc). I use Media Monkey software on the PC for this.

Google Play Music will then automatically upload to your online account, any files it finds in designated folders on your PC.

Buy Chromecast Audio devices and connect them to your HiFi or amp aux input. Or to powered speakers.

Steam to them from your device.
slight hi-jack sorry for this, but any recommendations for a good usb turntable (after all the source is the most important piece)
slight hi-jack sorry for this, but any recommendations for a good usb turntable (after all the source is the most important piece)
I dont think there is such a thing. Most seem to be just for the current fad of vinyl revival and have crap electronics and an even crapper needle.

You'll either need a proper deck with a good stylus or cartridge and going through a decent amp, or just get any old USB deck and see what happens.
TD seems to have the best system, but I'll just offer an alternative:
I have a Brennan mainly for playing. I prefer this to a Sonos, as it doesn't rely on a network to play music, which simplifies thing. I have also used it to record vinyl off my old Technics turntable with satisfactory results.

Its hooked up to an amp and goes to some decent speakers. Although you can run it straight to speakers.

Plays MP3s, and most of our are 256kbps, and I can't hear any loss in quality. It can rip CDs but we don't use it for that.

The newer Brennans (B2) also have wifi network connect.

What I like about it is that my collection is there where I want it, and can scroll through almost immediately after turning on. And it scrolls really well, which is useful when you have a lot of albums. Its not without its faults, but I do like it. I use random a lot.

I keep my main archive of music on the PC, and back this up on external drives.

But the only real alternative that I know of for playing music would be the Sonos.

As for vinyl recording, here is a guide, but its been on my favourites for many years, so I don't know how up to date it is:

As for software, we used MediaTagger on the old PC, but haven't used it since. May try MP3TAG.

The only issue I currently have is variations with ripped volume. Some CDs seem to be very quiet when ripped (mainly old ones), so I need some kind of normalisation software. This is something better tackled as its ripped rather than after I would have thought though.
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