Music Servers - Rip CDs or Stream?
For audiophiles creating music servers, any experience with streaming WMA-format files? If so, any comments on quality between high-quality rips, CDs, and a stream to a device like Soundbridge or SqueezeBox?
My recent addition to my system is a Rokulabs Soundbridge M1000. On my PC, I have Yahoo! Music Unlimited (YMU). YMU allows you to 'rent' the downloaded file as a WMA file (192kbps bit rate). YMU costs $60/yr or $7/mo.
I have the PC with YMU launched, running as my music server in antoher room. Via wired Ethernet, it hooks to the Roku Soundbridge, which is connected SPDIF to a Musical Fidelity A3.24 upsampling DAC, MF A3 integrated and Magnepan MMGs.
So far, the result are great, and I have access to YMU's 1MM song catalog. I also can configure Internet radio stations, so I anticipate my tuner and CD player are going to be powered on less frequently. For the price of $60/yr, I'm listening to a wider variety of music.
A minor annoyance - streaming requires a check on digital licenses for each song and if the PC has a background task (enabling screen saver), there's a time-out and the song skips until it gets to a song it can confirm the digital license. Also, when you no longer subscribe to YMU, you do not have access to WMA music (BUT, it's cheaper then buying all the CDs...)