Music Servers & Sonos. XiVA Music M8, W4S ?

Getting a Sonos.
Majority of my music is on my Apple MacBook & IPhone.
I do not want to use my Laptop as my music server.
I do not just want to use an IPhone dock or anything like that.

I am looking for something that will be easy and idiot proof!
Something where I can add CD's easily and will easily sync with my iTunes.
Something which will work well with Sonos and its interface.

I will also use a DAC and hook up whatever I get to my stereo.

So far I have been most intrigued with the Wyred for Sound Music Server (coming out) and also the Xiva MusicM8.

Does anyone have any suggestions of other systems I look at?

Sonos is great and easy. Load music to itunes via your laptop and then point to it in sonos to play music anywhere. Not the highest fidelity but pretty darn good. Also, its easy to add new rooms if you plan on expanding. You really should go to target or bestbuy and check it out.
James, thank you...
I am getting the Sonos that is not the ? at all....
I am just looking at options for a server as I do not want
to have to use my IPhone or rely on my computer being
on when I want to listen to music.

Its really just what server am I going to get to compliment the
Sonos system.

Both the W4S and MusicM8 seems like the top options for me so
far.... I looked at Olive but I just do not see it as complimenting
the Sonos system but more doing the same thing with some pros
and cons.

I know many people like to simply run a NAS drive but I want something
that integrates a little easier and is more user friendly than a NAS or even
the Vortex (hear horrid customer service issues from those who are not tech
savvy themselves)
How about just using rhapsody or Mog? You arent going to get great quality anyway from Sonos so dont waste your time with worrying about putting your music on a server. I use the sonos for my ambient speakers in several zones but it cant cut it for discriminating listening. MHO.
Again not wanting to use my computer anywhere in the link.

Also will be hooking the server up to my stereo and I have heard from many you can get pretty amazing sound running a server and DAC through a quality stereo.

Thank you though...
No problem. Just trying to help out. I guess I didnt understand your question. I thought you were considering the Sonos from what your wrote. Btw, you dont need a computer to use sonos. Its connected via wifi to internet for music streaming. If you are looking for a dac be sure to check out the ps audio pwd. I have one in my stereo setup and its crazy good.

I'm with you, kind of. I'm just going to wait it out until I find a great server that does it all, doesn't break the bank and can be controlled by something that doesn't need to be recharged all the time. I think its just a matter of time before someone figures out that need and can keep it cheap so we can concentrate on the music and leave our computers out of the equation.

I'm even willing to have a tethered remote of sorts if that's what it takes. Or something that can hook up to a TV or small LCD screen and use its remote.
To the OP you've missed the point, Sonos doesn't need a server it is the server so to speak. What you want is a NAS to store your music on, with a NAS the only time you use a computer is to rip CD's to the NAS. The Sonos plays your music off the NAS, no computer needs to be on. Also you can control the Sonos with either their dedicated remote or a iDevice or an Android device. I think it would be helpful to you to if you visited the Sonos web site and read up on how the Sonos system actually works.
I am aware of exactly how Sonos works.

My posts says I am getting Sonos thats not the ?

As I said I want a host to hold my music not my computer.

I do not understand what is so hard to get about that.

My post clearly says I am getting a Sonos, I am looking for a server/host to store my music as I do not want to use my computer

My post also clearly says I will hook up whatever host/server I use to my stereo as well.
I'm sorry maybe I wasn't clear.. What you want to hold your music, or as you call it a "Server/host" is a NAS (Network Attached Storage) this is a hard drive that attaches to your router.

The NAS does not "hook up" to your stereo. The only unit that would connect to your system will be a Sonos zone player (now called a Connect, it used to be called a ZP90) there is nothing else that would, unless you plan on using a Dac in-between the Zone Player and your stereo to improve the sound quality, but that's not necessary and isn't a part of a Sonos system but rather an add on. You will also need a Bridge if the Zone Player will not be in the same room as your Router and Stereo. The Sonos will access your music files from the NAS via the ZP90 and play them as you want, with no computer needed past the initial setup and to rip cd's to the NAS.

I'm not try to be rude (as you were) but obviously you should read up on HOW a Sonos system can be designed and implemented because you are most assuredly not "Aware of exactly how a Sonos works" because if you were you'd be asking: "What NAS should I buy ?" not going on about hosts and servers..

BTW I've been using Sonos for better than 5 years and I've installed many many systems so I DO know what I'm talking about...good luck.
Do some research on the Xiva MusicM8 and the Wyred for Sound Music Server and you will see what I am talking about.

A server and a NAS are similar but the servers are more user friendly and usually a stand alone unit.........

I do not want a NAS, I want a server...

My post clearly is about a Music Server & Sonos.

Also yes you hook a music server to your stereo through a DAC

So sorry if you think my response was rude but I was very clear many times about what I am looking for. Also a server is a very known term for the type of equipment I am talking about... McIntosh, Wyred For Sound, Cary all make Music Servers.............
So you're going to use both? Side by side? Because Sonos will not interface with the W4S unit, or any of the others, it is a closed stand alone system, just as the Meridian Sooloos is a stand alone system.

The Sonos is also, as I'm sure you are aware a multi room, multi source system the W4S and the Xiva aren't, in fact it appears the Xiva is a NAS with server/ rendering software built in and needs a Dac) and the W4S which looks really nice (even though not available yet ) also needs an out board Dac, since it doesn't have one built in. The other thing with the W4S is that it's storage is built in 1tb, uses a single drive and can't be setup as as a RAID for back up.. it does look as though it has USB ports for expansion but their sketchy info doesn't elaborate much on it's features. (BTW I have a W4S Dac1 in a system and it sounds great)

You didn't mention cost but the W4S Server with one of their Dac's , i.e. Dac 1 will run about $3000.00

The only peripheral products (besides a router) Sonos will interface with are a NAS (for storage), outboard Dac (to improve sound quality) and of course a Mac/PC. So when you asked your original question it sure seemed to me as if you are confused as to how Sonos works, because it won't interface with anything else and certainly not with the products you mention.
I'd like to correct myself a little. One can input an analog signal into a Sonos Zone player that can be distributed amongst the other zones, so it's not an entirely closed system in that regard. But doing that one also looses a lot of the elegance of the Sonos system. Also in those other zones one would be limited to either playing internet radio and other music services, or what ever is feeding the analog input say the output of the Dac that's being used with the say the W4S music server.. It's not a very user friendly approach and certainly diminishes the beauty, and simplicity of what Sonos is all about.

So again maybe I'm confused since you didn't specify if the goal of this system for you is just a single room system, or the ability to do multiple rooms? If the plan is just for a single room than there's really no point in having a Sonos system since the W4S unit really just duplicates the same functions, abet less elegantly than the Sonos.

Maybe explaining my system will add clarity. I use a PS Audio PWD/Bridge ( similar in concept to the W4S unit, although I use a NAS for storage) in my main system so I can listen to high res downloads and because the PSA system just sounds amazing. I also have running side by side in that room a Sonos Zone Player, along with four other zones in the house. I keep a Zone Player hooked up to the PWD in the main system so I can play the same music synchronized throughout the house for parties.

In any case good luck I'm sure you'll get it all figured out and configured the way you want.

I will be running a DAC, Music Server, and a Sonos Connect to my Stereo.

I will have a Sonos Bridge in my wireless network.

I will have 2 Play 5's in various rooms in my house.

I was told by a Sonos dealer whose a member here that this will work just fine.

I considered a Mach2Music as well but I think the Xiva and W4S look like a easier option.
Now we're cooking! That's as I explained pretty much what I do.. Sonos for the whole house PWD/Bridge for the big system... Best of all worlds, of course if Sonos would just do Hi-Res it would make things much simpler..

And sincerely not to be rude or condescending if you'd explained it that way in your original post we'd have saved many electrons :-)

I really like the W4S server it looks nice, the W4S guys build great stuff at great prices and are very accessible. Of course I'd like it even better if they made a version that excludes the Hard Drive and the CD Rom.. I much prefer to be able to use the ripping software of my choice, and I don't like being limited to the size and type of HD they use in the unit. I also wonder how you edit metadata on the W4S system, trust me you Will have to edit metadata. I'd also check with the W4S folks as to how you'll be able to sync the files that the W4S server creates with iTunes. I didn't see ALAC files listed as an option and iTunes doesn't support Flac natively, you could use Aiff files, but Sonos doesn't work as well with Aiff as it does the others. Since the W4S server uses basically an internal NAS I wonder if you can create a Share and point iTunes and Sonos at it??? .

I still think that if the W4S unit could pull your music files off a NAS that it would be a simpler setup ( I need to call them and ask) then you'd have easier access to all your music on both the Sonos system and the W4S system, in addition to being able to pick the size and type of drives. Thats' how I have my PWD/Bridge and Sonos setup.. I rip from my Mac straight to the NAS and both units can access the files, with no computer needing to be on. I have my music backed up on the NAS as a Raid 1 mirror and I use a second USB drive as redundant backup.. always remember back up ,back up ,back up

As for a Mac Mini your right, if your trying to keep it clean and simple. I also think the W4S is a way nicer unit and will in all likely hood crush that Xiva unit sonically.The other unit to consider is the Bryston file player it sounds great and is stone cold reliable, although it doesn't have the flexibility of the W4S as regards internet radio and other music services.. I love Pandora ..

Just keep in mind with the Sonos the first unit needs to be hardwired to the router.. not a big deal it can be wireless from there out.. also if you can hardwire the Sonos Connect to the router ( if you have or can run a Cat wire to the main system) then you don't need a Bridge, that unit would be the first link of the system, I use a Connect as my first unit.

Anyway good luck, I've been doing the computer audio thing for a few years now (and audio in general as a hobby, passion and vocation for 30 plus years) and I'm always interested and excited about new , and better ways ( and other peoples) ideas and solutions and setups.. one can never know it all, and it's fun to learn.. one of the things that makes this passion so much fun!

And please feel free to email me if you ever have need of another "take" or have any other questions you may feel I could help out with.
Thank you!
Sorry for the confusion, I am fairly
new to the audio world and thought it
was clear what I was trying to say.

I may end up going the NAS route still but
just being very uncomputer savy I am trying
to find the easiest way to do it.

I will be able to run a hardwire from my router to the
Sonos, my main system is downstairs and the drop ceiling
is great for that!
Oh yes...
You mentioned the Bryston and not being able to play
some various forms of internet radio, is that really
an issue as I am really just using the unit as a host
wont the Sonos take care of all of that?
Since you can run a ethernet cable (Use Cat6a) from the router to where the Zone Player will be that's perfect.. you won't need a Bridge, that unit will be your first hardwired link, also since the Sonos unit has two ethernet ports the W4S unit can be slaved off the Sonos so it also has internet connectively and is on the network. As for the Bryston, yes the Sonos will give you all internet radio and music services your heart desires, and more! So you could also go the Bryston route, although the Bryston isn't designed as much for network connectively, it uses local USB drives for storage, not a networked, or internal solution.

As for setting up a NAS, it is chimp simple.. really the NAS just attaches to your router.. virtually no setup.. the Netgear are particular easy to setup , well made and work perfectly with Sonos and other devices.

What I wonder is how to get the music you rip to the W4S server (if that's how you go) off the unit? it appears that the W4S unit has ethernet connectively , so one should be able to copy those files off the unit, if for no other reason than to backup the files.

I'm thinking in terms off access to your music on both systems.. if you rip your music ( I'm assuming you haven't ripped your CD's yet at all?)
to the W4S how does one get them off?? I ask that because you're going to absolutely want any CD's that you rip, also available to play through the Sonos. The best and easiest way to do that with Sonos is with a NAS.. that way no computer needs to be on.

If you can't get the music off the W4S, then I'm wondering if you can load files directly into the unit, and can it be done over your network? If that's the case you could rip your CD's on your PC/Mac to the NAS and then copy them over to the W4S unit.. I'm just thinking about how to reduce as many steps as necessary.. From a simplicity stand point if the W4S lets you (it really should) copy the files off it's HD then you could rip your music with it then simply move a copy to the NAS for the Sonos to be able to access.

Well once you decide what unit (not the Sonos) you're going to use you'll be able to figure out the best way to store/rip your CD's...
I know you are not primarily looking for a NAS solution. I did read the above posts. I considered a Cambridge NP-30 (which I *think* functions much the same as the servers you are looking at?) for a while, but then changed my tune. I went with a Buffalo Linkstation NAS hooked via ethernet (via router) to my Sonos. I find that the Sonos interface is just fine (use iPhone and iPad as a controller) and when I want to add a CD or whatever, I just use JRiver on my laptop. But for the most part I dont ever have to have a computer on in the house.
I think I considered a similar solution to the components that have been mentioned above, however, I decided that I had the most control with the NAS. (same reason I got away from iTunes)
One other thing I was wondering and frankly it never occurred tome to ask, but why do you want the W4S Server?? I assumed all along that it's so you can listen to HiRes downloads. But if you aren't interested in that you only really need the Sonos and a good Dac to get great sound.. The Sonos with the right Dac does sound really good all by it's self.. In fact depending on your budget you could get the new PS Audio PWD MKII which now has class leading jitter reduction, that with a Sonos will sound amazing, and if you decide that you do want to do HiRes you could just add the PS Audio Bridge which turns the PWD into a full fledged music server. You'd still want to keep your music on a NAS, but the Sonos and the PWD would both pull from the NAS. Only time a computer would come into play is ripping CD's. Just a thought.

Thats a GREAT option, I had not been aware of before.

Will the PS Audio work with ITunes?

I will likely still use ITunes for ripping my CDs and buying a majority of my music.

Yes I know ITunes is not perfect but its just easiest and works best for my as I have an IPhone, IPad, 2 Mac Books in the house and going to get a Mac Desktop sometime in the future.
Look into the Bryston BDP-1 digital music player.I hate computers, do not believe in computer based music quality or ease, but this unit is easy to operate and sounds incredible. Simply moved my iTunes music onto a HDD, connected to BDP-1 and voila! I was skeptical but now am a believer.

Erikminer, i agree about sonos pwd. I use the same combo with the bridge. Have you upgraded the pwd to version 2? Did it improve the sonos quality?
The PS Audio will work the about the same as Sonos does with iTunes.. In that neither really "works" with iTunes as I think you're thinking. Sonos looks to the iTunes library and copies an index of it to play.. The PS Audio also uses "shares" I understand your question is based on ease of use so I'll just answer yes, sort of.

If you are on a PC I'd strongly recommend using DBpoweramp to rip.. If you're on a Mac I'd use XLD..there are numerous reason why but the biggest is the way iTunes creates files.. Once you get to that point you can try them out and you understand that ripping with iTunes isn't the best choice, it's fine as music manager.
Jamesw20 I'm waiting on my MKII upgrade.. From everyone who gotten it I'm very excited, sounds like a big upgrade to what was already very good SQ.
I don't know...
Seems it is just easy and idiot proof to
burn my music and buy it from ITunes....

I just need something that is easily going to
take the music from ITunes and put it on a NAS
or whatever and play it.

I do not want to get into running all kinds of various
software etc, I just don't have the patience for various
shareware etc and learning it and dealing with the errors
First off I would not buy any music from iTunes, period. It's all compressed mp3 quality, at the best 256K .. yeech. It's actually cheaper to buy the CD from Amazon.. if you sign up for their Prime membership 2 day shipping is free.. and there's also lots of used CD's there usually less than $5.00

I'm going to suggest that if you're really looking to go simple then start off with just the Sonos System and a real good Dac, a Dac that can grow quality wise with the rest of your system. Sonos will pretty much seamlessly integrate with iTunes, you can use iTunes to rip and manage your music. Just keep in mind that if you don't want a computer on all the time.. then get a NAS.. if you don't use a NAS your music is stored on the computer and it needs to be on in order for Sonos to play the music on it. There are only two places you can store your music, a Nas or the HD of your computer, the Nas is a much more elegant solution; this of course does not apply to internet radio or music services which stream live.

Then once you get comfortable with how this all works.. nothing like real hands on experience, it'll be way easier for you to decide what else you want to incorporate into your system, or what direction you want to take things.
1) What is the best easiest NAS to get for a Mac?

2) I am looking at the REGA DAC

3) OK Lets say I stop buying music from ITunes (its sooo easy and instant gratification factor is nice) will I still easily be able to put my music into ITunes (so I can use it on my IPhone etc etc)

I know I will be having my music on my Laptop (for IPhone, IPad etc) and I will also have it on the NAS, will I be ripping it twice? Once for ITunes and once to transfer to my NAS?


PS My amp just arrived today!! Cary SLI-80 F1!! Leaving it packed though as my wife and I are moving before Feb 1st.
As for a NAS I'd recommend the Netgear RNDU2120 or RND2210 the 2120 has faster processor and dual gigabit ports among other features but the 2210 would also be fine and is a bit cheaper. Both are very easy to setup..pretty much plug and play, read the directions :-) Both are 2tb units, they can be setup as Raid 1, Raid one is a mirror.. it reduces the storage space from 2tb to 1tb but what ever you copy to the NAS is automatically duplicated on the other drive, FYI a 1Tb drive will hold about 3000 cd's

Rega Dac is a nice unit, haven't heard, it but it's gotten lots of good press. Other nice Dac at that price is the W4S Dac 1.

No you won't rip the music twice. In iTunes you pick where iTunes looks for it's "library" you just point iTunes to the NAS. When you rip (a wired connection is best for this) you will be ripping to the NAS not to the HD in the Mac. When you want to put music on iDevices you just hook them up to the Mac/or Mac Book and it's the same as if the files were on the computer. You can also set iTunes to copy music to the idevice in mp3 format so as not to use up all the space on the idevice. You will of course want to rip your CD's as ALAC files (Apple Lossless) this is Apples version of FLAC, these are Lossless codec's (cd quality, mp3 is not) you could also rip to AIFF ( this is Apples version of a WAV file) but Sonos doesn't work as well with AIFF files and ALAC does sound pretty much the same ( I can't hear any difference, some claim they can)
That makes a LOT of sense now.

I still keep thinking the Mach2Mac may be a good option
but in reality it may be more complex than I really need.
Start out with what we've discussed, you can always add more.. The Sonos is the best muti-source, muti-zone system out there.. if you want to go better SQ wise for you main system down the road, there's no reason you can't. Doing it this way will get you going. It will give you hands on experience, and a better understanding of the various options and how they work. Also nothing you might add, short of a multi-kilo buck full blown Meridian Sooloos system will obsolete the Sonos, so you're also not going to end up with anything obsoleted, at least not for a long time.
Erikminer, you are giving great advice! Glad to have you on the gon!
Thanks J...
For what it's worth, I do about 90% of my listening from a Sonos Zone Player. My system is simple. I have the Sonos plugged into my XDA-1 DAC, which is plugged into my preamp. I have a Netgear router that has a USB port on it. I think I paid $60 for it. I plugged a Western Digital 750gb portable drive into the USB port on the router. I got the drive on sale for $50.

I setup my iTunes so that the portable drive is the Library directory and my Sonos is setup to read music from the portable drive. Now, I just rip in iTunes and it goes straight to the portable drive. Ripping is a little slow (via wireless), taking about twice as long as it does when ripping to the internal drive, but it streams more than fast enough for music and video. My setup isn't actually a NAS, but it's been operating fine for the last couple of months.

I did, however, just order a Synology DS111 because it is a "real" NAS because I want to toy around with a Squeezebox for HD files. I'm still going to stick with the Sonos for most of my music. The system is bullet proof. I had it up and running within fifteen minute of getting it home and it's been running ever since, without a hiccup. Now, when I have a party, I just set the volume o n my preamp to about 50% and put the volume control on the Sonos to variable and me, my wife and my son all have remotes that will adjust the volume and the music.
Erikminer, you are giving great advice! Glad to have you on the gon!