Best standalone music server?


So I am considering dipping my toes into the full digital world and was wondering what people here may consider as the best standalone music server, and here I am going to be specific.
I do not want to consider a home pc or mac based type of system at all!
Looking at adding one of the standalone models like for example the Wyred4sound ms1 or cocktail audio.
High on my list is ability to rip my cds directly at the unit itself, access to internet radio and other music apps (Pandora etc). High quality built in dac would be nice but if not then high quality digital out to run to an external dac. I will not be needing to access music files stored on another pc as my home pc is pretty old but fully functional for my simple needs. The only music looking to access from it right now are ripped cds and internet available music in whatever form.
So if it worked out well, yes it may be a replacement even for a cd player completely

Thank you
uberwaltz
I am in a very similar situation as you.  I have hundreds of CDs that I would like to begin transferring to a server and would like to access online streaming services at some point.  My dealer has recommended the Bluesound Vault 2 as a simple one box solution for ripping CDs.  I think their streaming hardware is called the Bluesound Node 2.  
I too am looking for something of that ilk and my dealer aso recommended bluesound vault2. Do not have one , though i listened at the showroom.  Seemed simple and straightforward and sounded quite decent and very inexpensive, as far as audiophile stuff goes. I am eager to read others opines.

"High on my list is ability to rip my cds directly at the unit itself, access to internet radio and other music apps (Pandora etc)."

How you rip your CD's is very important. If you're not open to ripping your CD's using a computer, keep what you have.

https://www.smallgreencomputer.com/collections/audio-server/products/sonictransporter-ap-8tb-roon-se...

Get this guy and Roon. You’ll never look back.

"Get this guy and Roon. You’ll never look back."

It looks like an excellent product, but he would still need to get a dac? Also, what OS does it run on? I'm guessing Linux.

I was going to recommend this piece from Resolution Audio.

http://www.resolutionaudio.com/?page_id=63

The only issue is that you need to rip, tag and setup on a PC. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. You'll get the best possible rips and tagging will be faster and easier. When you use an auto tagger, it never gets all the metadata exactly right, so you'll need to edit tags manually, and that's much easier to do on a computer with your choice of tagging app. Once the setup is complete, you control everything with a smart phone or tablet.

A couple other things worth mentioning is that this unit comes with a built in high end CD player. You can't rip with it, but its nice to have because you can rip at your own pace and still be able to use it for everything. Also, this is where Steve Huntley from ARC, Wadia and Great Northern is now, so you know you're dealing with one of the top digital designers in the world. There's only a handful of people that are in his league.

Integrated ripping in the same box is a foolish requirement. Rip from any desktop or laptop using XLD(mac) or ExactAudioCopy(windows) to a network attached storage drive(aka NAS). I would argue that if you have a computer at all with a disk drive, then a built-in ripper is a detriment. With a laptop you can rip in other rooms while watching tv etc. Cheers,
Spencer
Foolish maybe but it is what I am looking for right now.
There are a number of higher end units that rip right to themselves and I would be surprised if ALL of them made a bad job of it?
But maybe I will have to revise my position on this, that is the point of asking opinions.
Not foolish at all and what I wanted. Call Neal at Sound Science and you will be happy. I wanted to do the same as you, but I am not a computer guy. I hate computers, working with them that is. Did not want a stressful situation with my music playing. Neal set me up perfectly with a Music Vault dedicated music computer, Roon, Tidal, cd ripping and storage and back-up....

Load the cd to be ripped and the computer takes it from there using SOTA ripping software and automatically backs it up and puts it in Roon. In Roon I see all of my ripped cds and all that Tidal has to offer! All in one spot! 

I use my ipad and/or phone as a remote to search and play my music. What a joy and Neal made it so easy.  Not one problem in over a year now, 
@grannyring
EXACTLY!
Sounds just the sort of deal I am trying to work out, likewise I know just enough about computers to be dangerous...to myself that is! I have wasted enough hours previously just to get a darn Squeezeboz to co-operate on my home network, think I was secretely glad when it just died!
I was also very keen on the idea of a system I could access through my phone as well.
I will be looking deeply into this, thank you!
Best digital sound I have experienced to date and all at a tap or two on my iPad. I am a happy camper. Neal builds his computers to maximize sound quality, speed, and ease of use. I own the Music Vault II ...
Sorry about your experience with the Squeezebox, uberwaltz. Mine is still working fine using JRiver on my Surface Pro with external hard drive, but it can be a real PITA to set up and sometimes requires, um, attention. Haha!

Directly to your question, I have heard the Naim and it sounds excellent and is easy to use, a one box solution.

I haven't heard the Sony HAP-Z1ES, but it has gotten good reviews. Worth investigating.

My Wyred4Sound DAC-2 is quite good, so I'm guessing their server might be, too.

"Best" is probably too broad a request. Some cost parameters would help. The Blue Sound seems like it could be a cost effective solution.

Of these, I would bet the Naim would be "best."

Good luck!


You should offer what price point ,unless you can afford over $10k
for under $3k the Aurender 100-H. Is about as good as you will need
ith the Custom excellent  conductor music app. 
A 120 Gibyte  memory buffer,and a internal 2 Terabyte hard drive 
can be purchased for around $2300 . Compare ,who else has a  
120  gigabyte memory buffer.  And a Linear  power supply. Check them out.
@ncarv
I feel 2 to 3k SHOULD get me something to work with?
I did look at the Naim unit and read a few reviews, one for sale right here for just 1100 atm so a fair price indeed.
And lol to the Logitech, when it worked it worked well but when it decided it could not find my network any more, it tried my patience indeed!
I ripped all of my CDs, to an external HD, and then transferred the files  to my Aurender N-100H server. The process was very easy and very happy with the end result. My main goal was to move to a digital front end system, but I did not want a lap top in my room, but a tablet is just fine. 
Not finding your network should be able to be solved, though I know it is not always easy.

I'm using Tidal for digital so much lately that I rarely use my cooked up server, neither of which sound as good as my CD transport, all running through the same DAC.
I have the Antipodes DX; it automatically rips CDs to uncompressed FLAC, runs the Roon core natively and the sound is simply amazing.

If you can swing it from a budget perspective, you won’t be disappointed.

I’ve also had an Aurender N100H, for the money it was also a big upgrade--sin sound quality and ease of use-- over my previous Mac mini + NAS + Audirvana solution.

Both the Antipodes and Aurender have Tidal integrations and can be controlled by an iPad.
For sound quality the Aurrender and Antipodes are excellent. The Antipodes makes it easy with a CD ripper, the Aurrender doesn't. I also think Teac makes a player/streamer that uses Roon and doesn't require a separate computer for Roon. 
I worked in computer hardware/software interfaces for most of my career and I think a good laptop, Windows or Apple, with JRiver set up correctly, feeding a USB DAC, is neither a bottleneck nor a compromise as a digital source, and should be superior or equal to any CD player. Plus, you have access to anything on the Internet to download or stream.  The only complexity is running the interface remotely.  I know the strawman arguments about laptop/operating system noise and chatter, but find those arguments spurious and ill-informed.
Part of my "requirements" is that it just fits in with the rest of my equipment sitting in the rack, hence the reasoning behind an all in one box, not a laptop or home pc based solution , even if that might give a much cheaper and possibly better audio experience.
Also I do not have the time or patience to troubleshoot any network or connectivity issues as I work very long hard hours and when i flop and want to listen to music, well that is ALL i want to do and not fiddle with anything

"Foolish maybe but it is what I am looking for right now.
There are a number of higher end units that rip right to themselves and I would be surprised if ALL of them made a bad job of it?
But maybe I will have to revise my position on this, that is the point of asking opinions."

That's not what he's saying.

You wouldn't (not would) be surprised if all of them made a bad job of it. Why? Because you'll never know. With a standalone music server, you have very little control as to what is going on. If you use a PC, you do.

Here's the difference between a PC and music server.

Music Server: You use a computer to rip, tag and store your music files on a hard drive.

PC: You use a computer to rip, tag and store your music files on a hard drive.

As to how much all of this will cost, you'll need to buy a music server that has built in ripping. Depending on what you pick out, you're talking hundreds on the low side and thousands on the high side. If you go with the PC option, its free. You already have the computer, and all you need to do is download this free program.

http://www.exactaudiocopy.de/en/index.php/overview/features/features-of-eac/

Just to see what were talking about, click on the above link and it will take you to a page listing the features of EAC. No music server has this level of ripping quality. It even calibrates the optical drive that you're using to do the rips.

So, just to clarify, the process is identical either way. You put a CD in the drive, hit a button, and then the rip begins. When its done, the drive opens automatically. When you're done ripping your CD's to an external hard drive with EAC, you unplug the HD's USB cable on the computer, and plug it in to your music server. Also, if you don't get a network player with built in ripping, your choices go up exponentially. You'll have a huge selection of players to choose from.   



Check out the auralic Aries. There is no internal disk because you don't want one in the unit. You get a 2TB disk now and what happens when you need more storage? How are you going to back it up? Another hard disk drive? Noise noise nois. Also, why would you ever need a 120GB buffer? You don't. You can load a song in memory in about a second. The Aries has an external power supply and a femto clock. Check the reviews from HI-FI+. The Aries also has the ability to connect external hard disks/ssd's. But you shouldn't have any hard disks in your audio room.
i setup a mac OS X server 100ft away from my audio room which has 10TB of usable disk space setup using raid 1. The Aries connects to this server by way of minimserver that runs on the OS X server. I use a GIg switched network so the latency is very low. I use xld to rip my songs and use Bliss to update the metadata. I use the OS X server for many other things besides running the minimserver. 
I also have the auralic mini in my living that connects to the central minimserver.

Thank you to all who have suggested computer based systems but I am not going to go that route for my aforementioned reasons whether it may be superior or not.
I have zero desire to fight ANY setup issues beyond plugging things in!
Luddite?
Probably.....lol

"Thank you to all who have suggested computer based systems but I am not going to go that route for my aforementioned reasons whether it may be superior or not."

You don't have a choice. There are no non-computer based options. You're just getting hung up on what the box looks like, and believing sales literature. One of the biggest misconceptions is that "appliance" style solutions are easier. When you have an issue with one of those things, its usually far more difficult to deal with. They remove all the options on them so when something happens, you can't do a simple fix even if you wanted to. Also, most use proprietary apps that pretty much forces you to send the unit back in for any type of issues. Don't take my word for it, look at what happened with Olive. Its considered to be on of the best ones. If owners haven't already, a class action suit will be brought against them because no one can get them to work. Not even Olive.

I know this is not what you want to hear, but to be fair, you can't show me one system that's not computer based.  

@mgreen27

in that case I will probably stick to what I know which will NOT include any pc based systems, its not like I actually NEED to do this, was just a thought.
my present system is superb to my ears and it was just a fancy to possibly move forward
thank you all
Personally, I really LOVD the LampizatOr DSD Komputer music server.  You can read my review on it at the link below:

http://ayllonmedia.com/news/the-lampizator-dsd-komputer-an-audio-expo-in-your-living-room-or-not

Even if you buy a dedicated music server, it is usually NOT a simple one-box solution and you will still need to hook it up to the internet to get downloads of metadata on the albums and tracks you download onto the server.  That means a switch and router, plus most will require a controller (can be your phone or iPad with suitable apps), perhaps a separate NAS, perhaps something to rip CDs and it is usually handy to have a PC or laptop (to configure the system, troubleshoot, edit metadata, etc).

But, once you are set up, the convenience and accessibility of your music collection makes a server well worthwhile to have.  This becomes more and more important as your collection grows in size.  I am just guessing, but, I think I would not want to be without a server if I had 1500 CDs or more (I have ripped more than 4,500).

I already have home network and ethernet cable down to my "man cave,lol" for streaming netflix , Pandora etc through the Samsung tv whose sound is fed through my stereo rig so would be no big deal to connect said cable to an all in one box for metadata etc.
My music collection at this point runs to maybe 500cds as my music tastes are pretty narrow and a 2tb built in hard drive would be more than ample for storage.
Most of the all in ones I have looked at can be controlled via an android app from my phone.
So as my initial post, was more looking for comments from people who have gone the same route as I was thinking rather than being trying to persuade me I should go a route I am not comfortable with right now.
Not saying my ideas are the best but it is what I was considering.

"Not saying my ideas are the best but it is what I was considering."

Your ideas are perfectly reasonable. its just that these new all in one boxes are not always as easy as they look. They can be a real PITA. To be honest, even though I have a computer setup myself, most of the time I just use my CD player. 

Bryston BDP-2
@uberwaltz,

With ethernet already wired into your room and already having an existing network, you are well on the way to a network based player solution. It's no big deal to connect a NAS(network attached storage) drive to your router. It's no big deal to connect a network player like the mentioned Aurelic Aries, Sonore microRendu, Bluesound, etc. to the ethernet cable and your DAC.

The difference between a standalone music server and one that lets you store the music on a NAS is just the additional choice you get in terms of storage capacity and expandability. 
Either way, you rip discs to a hard drive, one with "their" software which is probably OEM licensed, & supporting a small user base or the other with free software of your choice, EAC & XLD which have thousands of happy users and proven support.
Either way, metadata will need to be edited by typing edits using a piece of software chosen by you or "the box guy".
When playing music you will use a remote control with some and an app with others. Your should try out or look for youtube vids by real purchasers to see the interface before you buy. 
The Olive example is a good warning. Proprietary stuff leads to many dead ends. 
Have you looked at any system pages here of rigs with network based solutions? IMHO most are pretty clean looking and the network aspect makes it almost invisible. For example, mine is here...
https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/133

Just food for thought...good luck. Cheers,
Spencer

I'm no expert and a relative noob, but Naim has been doing the whole 1 box ripper/dac/pre/amp thing for quite a while. They are just releasing their new Naim Uniti line of product. Take a look.
I am intrigued by the Musical Fidelity Encore Connect which does what you are looking for. I have had good luck with Musical Fidelity components in the past and suspect that the sound would be a step up from the Vault 2, although with a $3000 price point. Like you, I want a single box I can plug into my existing rack, connect to a router, and be done. Maintaining marital bliss by getting all of the cd's out of our family room and back into my man cave would be a life saver.The challenge is finding a Musical Fidelity dealer in the South.
I have the Sony Hap-z1es. Great build and sound quality and control app. You can rip direct to the unit or to a computer and sync to the unit. They list for $2k and you can usually find them cheaper. 

Once its it's loaded up with music it's easy for everyone in the house to use. You can find reviews from various magazines if you search. 
Rip directly to the Sony Hap-Z1ES ???  Umm.... i don't see a CD drive on that thing.  I'd likely buy one if it functioned as a CD player too.

Audioaanzee anyone. Would like to hear some opinions

"Rip directly to the Sony Hap-Z1ES ???  Umm.... i don't see a CD drive on that thing.  I'd likely buy one if it functioned as a CD player too."

If you want one with a CD player, look at the new Resolution Audio. I'm probably going to get one myself. The only issue is that the CD drive can only be used for playback, and not ripping. And you really don't want to rip using an internal drive on a piece like that. High quality rips are very hard on the optical drive, and wear out quite often. Its best to just use external drives.

I ripped my cd's on my laptop using dbpoweramp it was super quick and easy, 800 cds but I did it in spurts over time. All not on a 4TB Synology NAS. I hear what you are saying uberwaltz but trust me and others, do it right and do it once. You may end up ripping all your stuff on some box and having to rip it all again. Its not hard at all and its very intuitive and 500 cds are not really that many to rip. Happy owner of an Auralic Aries Mini here.
The Sony Haps are great units, but only stream Spotify as far as I know.  Future services maybe in the works.  You might look into the Auralic Altair.  It's a DAC streamer and if you add an internal HDD or SDD it becomes a very versatile server.  You can also use it as a preamp connected directly to a power amp.  It sells for under $2K so would fit in your budget.  Good luck with your search.
Since you already have the cabling, you could get a Denon Heos link for $350 and run an ethernet cable from the router to Heos and then either analog or digital to you pre or DAC. Then get a Tidal subscription for $20/mo. Done.

If you search Tidal you may find most of your CDS are there. Heos has all the subscriptions, including Tidal, Tunein, Spotify, etc. Bluesound Node does too.
I've used an Oppo BD-103 with an external Western Digital hard drive tucked behind it. When I need to update new music, I attach the drive to my laptop for downloaded or ripped files. It doesn't eliminate the computer completely, but it is capable of network streaming so you could have a NAS drive in another room. As far as the equipment rack goes, the Oppo fits in nicely. It allows CD/DVD/Bluray playback, but could be used nicely in a music only system. It has great DACs already, which I use and feed via analogue RCAs into the back of my Denon 3802 receiver. It is used for both music and home theater and allows 7.1 decoding. However, for a music only system, and depending on budget, the Oppo 105 has better audio capabilities (and video if you want it). The Oppo can work as the media server, preamp, DAC and CD drive. One minor annoyance is that for gapless playback, you have to hit a menu button and select gapless for ripped files. If it would default to it, I would think this would be an ideal setup for minimizing various "boxes" in my audio rack. Just the Oppo and an amp would get the capability to play any audio disc and ripped files. I am looking to upgrade to Oppo's new UHD player in the near future, but from what I understand it does not offer Pandora, Tidal or other services built in, so the 103/105 would be better since they do have them. I've tried computer based with XBMC/Kodi, Plex and others and all were a PITA to set up correctly. Plex worked the best at the time, but it has been a while since I've tried any of them. I'm sure they've improved since then. 
So I thought I would at least give exact audio copy a try out on my pc, but after the results I am going to assume it is very dependant on age/speed of pc and drive etc as results were very poor tbh.
The very first cd i loaded ( polyester zeal by red sun rising) it did not find the metadata, however it was easy to edit and add myself.
Then it took 17 minutes to rip as wav files.
I did a compare with windows media player which not only found the metadata right away but ripped to same wav format in 7 minutes.
Files were ripped to the pc,s own internal hard drive, is it possible to get these fast EAC rip speeds it would need to be ripped to an external drive or is because my cranky old hp all in one is just too old and slow?

I listed to both versions through my tv which feeds via toslink into my esoteric into my arc into my bat and could not tell any difference.
Obviously this is less than state of the art but all I had to experiment with right now.
@uberwaltz I would very seriously recommend getting dbpoweramp or similar ripping software that will allow you to rip flac and not wav files. You will be grateful that you did wav files are very large relative to flac and to me at least sound identical.
@jond 
Oh I agree totaly on the flac vs wav point
Just pointing out the fact that on my computer it took twice as long with the EAC software compared to windows media player on same format of wav.
I truly think my old pc and drives are more the stumbling block on rip speed
In fact I think I have dbpoweramp on my work laptop just to play music back on those long nights in the hotel while away for work
Maybe your test would be different with FLAC, both should go faster. FYI, flac does much better with metadata than WAV. Cheers,
Spencer
@s
You could be right Spencer, I will try another cd tonight and see
But do you think it would be any faster writing to an external drive over usb2?
@uberwaltz that won't be faster write to your computer first then transfer your files to an external drive if you want to. Writing directly will likely slow things down further.
And when you finish ripping everything look at Goodsync or similar backup management software to make sure you don't lose it all. Physical backups in a different place are a really good idea. Cheers,
Spencer
has anyone checked out NAD's new M50.2 ? does everything without the dac... I'd like to get it but out of my price range.... $4000 new