Newbie to digital streaming looking for advice on next steps

I'm thinking of buying a Cambridge CXN streamer, and some type of NAS (Synology?).  I'm looking for advice about the NAS and about ripping my 800 CDs.  My head is exploding with all the different approaches I see in my searches!  I'm hoping that my personal constraints will suggest a path forward.  

My immediate goal is to be able to stream other sources (computer browser, iPad) to my existing system, and to enjoy Internet radio stations on it.  The existing system: Audio Research LS-27 line stage, Audio Research SD-135 power amp, Vandersteen Treo loudspeakers, Schiit Gungnir multi-bit DAC.  I also have a Cambridge CXC disc transport.

My long-term goal includes ripping my 800+ CDs and accessing them on this system.  

Some of my constraints:  I need to like to make the CD-ripping process simple enough that I won't procrastinate because of other chores.  I was interested in Bluesound's Vault 2i, because it looks dirt-simple: just keep feeding discs. But $1300 is a stretch for my budget this year.  I have a good CD transport in the Cambridge CXC.  I've been advised to consider brands like Aurender, given the high quality of my downstream Audio Research components.  But that's more of a budget-buster than the Bluesound unit.

Some would suggest getting rid of the line-stage, but I have found a pleasing synergy among the Audio Research line-stage, power amp, and the Vandersteen speakers.  I would like to keep this, and just add to the front-end.  I also like the Schiit DAC, and am considering feeding everything through that to the Audio Research components.

I was thinking of writing my own app for managing my collection, so that I could search on something like "Haydn trumpet" and pull up a list of the half a dozen recordings I have of the Haydn trumpet concerto.  Since I'm a computer scientist, this would actually be a fun project.  A friend suggested I look at Roon, although I dislike the idea of paying a subscription fee for using something with more bells and whistles than I need.  But, maybe.

I would be grateful for suggestions as to an NAS choice and CD-ripping, and advice on next steps.  Thanks in advance!

I’ve ripped all my CD’s and original R2R’s on a PC for >20 years. This is the asiest way to edit, tag and sort then. (Voidtools Everything) I WAS putting them on my Synology. I retired it after I’ve found it easier, faster and better sounding to put them on remote drives, USB 3.0 or SSD. The drives show up on the computer in an isolated room via wifi. Just drag and drop. All 4 streamers play via USB, I have no use for one that doesn’t. All 4 under $1K each.
fuzztone, thanks. I'm leaning toward the CXN, thinking that I could rip my CDs to a USB-connected drive, and just connect that to the streamer.  Wonderful.  A friend suggested dBpoweramp for ripping. Your example shows that I don't need to spend all that $$ for something fancy.

I still have newbie questions about how one uses this. For example, does the streamer software typically allow you to find a track of interest? Do you need to know the album and track, or is it typical to provide a search feature based on a query (e.g., "list tracks for Haydn trumpet Concerto")?  Do streamers typically map the drive automatically, or do you need to "help" them? Do you need to do anything special to provide metadata for tracks?


If you enjoy linking up various digital pieces and making them work, more power to you.  Personally, I’d rather chew on tinfoil.  Another tact would be to save a little more and buy something like a used Innuos Zen Mklll for about $2400 that, like the Vault but at a higher level, allows you to stream and rip all your CDs directly into it and just be done.  I think the Zen, along with being a snap to use, is at a level of quality and performance that is more inline with the rest of your nice system.  Just my $0.02, and best of luck.
Rach Fan 

Be aware that for Classical Music, streaming software sucks.  If you can write your own, and are adept at organizing your own files, that would be the way to go.  Otherwise you are reliant on the metadata.  Be prepared to start looking for composers by their first name (I.e. your Haydn may end up Under F for Franz Joseph Haydn or J for Joseph Haydn, or even under M for Michael Haydn, F.J. younger and lesser brother).  The recordings will be further subdivided by whatever metadata the Intern entering the disc that day decides is relevant (such as birth and death dates for Composers).  For example, I have 6 different Mahler tabs.  Sometimes the same multidisc recording, such as Mahler 3, will end up in two different tabs.
  I have experimented with different software from companies such as Melco, Audirvana, J. River, & others that claim to solve this, and the bottom line is that they lie.  Therefore, since you have Computer Science background, I would store your files on a NAS or other HD, and not bother with something like Bluesound.  And I would forget about having the luxury of shoving batches of discs into a ripper while you do the laundry.  You will save a lot of grief if you analyze the files on the HD after the rip and organize them according to whatever system you have devised, rather than trying to find it a month later and after you have added batches of CDs.
  I am not a Computer Science person, but if there is a way to disable the metadata as you rip the CDs, I highly recommend doing it.  The encoded data will keep trying to mess up whatever organizational scheme you cook up.  Perhaps record in a lossless format that doesn’t encode metadata—so don’t use FLAC.
Rachmaninoff and Mahler salute each other across the Net.  :-)

@mahler123, I appreciate your experience and insight.  Have you tried using the MusicBrainz Picard app for metadata management?  I'm looking at an article by Terry Walsh on How to master your music metadata

Another newbie question from me:  Would a streamer like the Cambridge CXN organize my tracks according to the metadata saved when I ripped the discs?  Or does it look at the file hierarchy I used when storing the tracks?  I ask because someone mentioned the popular format of "artist / release" for storing their albums on a hard drive.  I have a slightly more complicated format in mind, that reflects my personal shelving rules.  If I store my ripped albums in a format like "composer / work / performer", will the streamer react to that?
@rach_fan The directory structure is up to you. What ever makes sense to you. I have experience with two streamers(Bluesound & Cary Audio). They will scan your disk and index them with genre, artist, album name and so on.

In my case, I keep my directories shallow. For Rock/Folk/Blues/Jazz I follow /genre/artist-album. For Classical I use /Classical/Composer/perfomer-album. I split all my classical albums by piece. For example I will split a Mozart symphonies 40&41 CD into two albums.

Using the above scheme, I can search by genre, artist, album. I can search by track/song too, but I never do it

PS. I rip all my CDs via Exact Audio Copy and edit all metadata tags with mp3tag editor.