Looking for a music server, sans DAC.


For music playback on my primary system I currently use a MAC Mini into a Bryston BDA-1 DAC via an Audiophilleo USB/SPDIF converter. I am considering replacing the MAC Mini with a Music server that can access redbook quality AIFF files from an external hard drive, either downloading them to an internal drive or playback directly from the external one. The ability to download CDs directly onto the internal drive is also desired. I do not stream or download music off the internet except using my Macbook Pro laptop computer on a secondary system.

I look forward to hear from anyone familiar with the Bryston BDP-1 regarding how it will work for my application? I would consider purchasing one used should I be convinced this the best route. 

Also asking for advice on other music servers I should consider given a budget under $2000. If said server has a CD drive for downloading that would be a plus, however I could use the Macbook Pro for this.

Are there servers that can accommodate an external CD drive for downloading?

Thanks in advance for any help with my search.


mesch
Keep the Bryston and add a Bluesound Vault 2. You could use the Bryston as your ext DAC. Now you can rip your CDs, access music files on a HDD and try other features. If you decide to start streaming, maybe you would like to try MQA, you can do that with the Vault. If you decide you like the internal DAC in the Vault (as many have said) you could sell your Bryston. I have a Bluesound Node 2 and it really is fantastic. I was mot prepared for how good it sounds.

If you want to continue using USB, then I would highly recommend the Antipodes servers.  These should be in your pricerange.  Get the one with the good linear supply in it.  This server is well optimized for USB.

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

Sony HAPZ now allows for direct rips via usb hard drive.
+1, 2psyop.  

Vault 2 is one hell of a component. 
I have researched the Vault 2 and have found customer reviews stating that many CDs could not be read (ripped). Has this been addressed by Bluesound? I do think it would make a good candidate for my needs. I believe it would allow for downloading existing files via USB hard drive. 

I have a review of the HAPZ, somewhat dated. Seems at that time the only input was ethernet. I will check to see if they have added a USB input for downloading off hard drive. 

I will check out the Antipodes models.

The use of server represents somewhat of a learning curve for me. Currently my use of computer as server has been satisfactory, however think I will want to get away from that approach in the near future. I am not against the idea of ripping CDs or importing downloads to a USB hard drive via computer and them transferring the resultant files to the server.

I will keep everyone posted as to my findings and likely formulate followup questions.

Thanks to all. 
If you don’t care about DSD capability, the NAD M50.2 is a very nice unit. I’ve been playing with one for several weeks.

Cd ripper, auto FLAC encoding, mobile and desktop apps (windows), AES/Coax/SPDIF and HDMI output, 2TB drives in RAID setup which are automatically network shares. I use the AES output, and even though you don’t stream, it will decode MQA to 24/96 automatically. Your DAC will have to do the rest.  Saves your HDTracks login to automatically download purchases as well as Tidal, Qbouz (sp?), etc. 
Audioengr, I have looked up the antipodes products. It seems the Edge may be what I might want to consider. I believe I could retrieve AIFF files off an external hard drive via USB and send SPDIF to my DAC via coax. The Edge has external LPS I believe. Is this the model you were refering to?
2pysop, Yes I plan on keeping the Bluesound Vault 2on my list. probably keep my DAC in place as I use the XLR inputs on my Pathos integrated. Do you use yours to rip CDs directly? If so have you had any problems?  I have seen user reviews stating they have had problems ripping several CDs. Maybe that issue has been corrected. 
Per some of the other posters the bluesound vault sounds like a good option. If you’re looking for better sound however, I would also consider either an Aurender or Melco music streamer server as well. 
Mesch- I don’t have the Vault 2, I have the Node 2. I have been using Itunes to rip CDs using the drive on my MacBook Pro to a MyCloud NAS. The Bluesound Node 2 picks up my music via my wireless network at home. In my case I had to work on the album art, as Bluesound uses only certain tags in the folder system to marry up the music and art in a folder (cover.jpg). I had not heard of people having problems with the Vault not recognizing CDs. If you are really worried about that, you could get the Node 2 and keep all your music on a HDD or NAS and use whatever cd drive you choose to rip the CDs. I don’t know if the Vault 2 has an option to bypass the ripper and use your own.

2pysop, I  will consider the use of the Node 2 to playback my AIFF file via HDD. I did not realize it would play files off HDD. I could continue to rip cds  to HDD using computer, basically have a backup of all files on the HDD used for playback.

nycjlee, I have read a review of the Melco N1A and have that on my list to research. Thanks!
Hey Mesch, just a quick note. If you go with a Node 2 keep in mind that your HDD must be connected to your network. The Node 2 will connect wired or wireless to your router and have access to the music.
If you have the time I had posted some info on the Node 2 when I was setting up file folders for artwork, Itunes does not do a great job of grabbing artwork for albums.https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/bluesound-node-2-question/post?highlight=%2Balbum%2Bart%2Bblu...
2psyop, thanks for the additional info.  I am not set up with a network. I also don't worry about artwork for ripped CDs as I have the original. 

I will consider a different approach to ripping CDs if that proves valuable to my quest, however still desire a server that will allow use of a HDD containing the AIFF file I already have. Of the Bluesound units, the Vault 2 may be the better choice for me.

I am not in a hurry and will continue to explore the market for the best device.