Questions regarding streaming and digital archiving

Hi everyone,


I’m in the process of down-sizing my system consolidating my music collection. Records and CDs comprise my collection but due to physical space at a new house in Florida I won’t have room for record and CD storage. In order to have continuous access to music I am considering streaming all music or archiving what I have and what I will want (downloading). Streaming seems to be the best way to go and from what I have heard I can get just about anything via streaming. Archiving means I can store anything, catalog it my particular way and make life easy for myself. Please note that I am talking about digital archiving. Since I really don’t know anything about the pros and cons of streaming and archiving I have many questions:


1.       Should I archive my entire music collection and other future music purchases?

2.       If I archive should I buy a dedicated server or should I archive to a laptop?

3.       Is there particular equipment I need to archive music?

4.       Do I need to be concerned with tons of software uploads for streaming or archiving?

5.       Should I stream via Pandora, Spotify, etc.?

6.       If I stream what equipment do I need to stream?

7.       Are there cost considerations between archiving and streaming?

8.       On the ethical side, what considerations should I have via how artists receive payment and how much payment artists receive for my archiving/streaming of future music purchases?

9.       What other initial questions should I ask you, the collective audio community, and myself?

10.   Do the above questions make sense or am I missing something?


My down-sized system will be a two channel rig with the latest Sanders amp, the latest Sanders preamp, speakers of unknown make or model (likely Maggie 3.7i replacing 20.1 speakers) and a Marantz SA-8004 SACD player with USB input (this could be a huge benefit considering what I want to do).


Your suggestions, comments and ideas are EXTREMELY appreciated.



1.  I do so and recommend it.  Others will tell you to just play the discs.
2.  I recommend you archive your recordings on a stand-alone NAS drive.  It needs to outlive any choice of laptop, PC or streamer.
3.  I recommend a PC with a CD drive and dBPowerAmp.
4.  No.  dBPowerAmp will handle the ripping to FLAC files. JRiver Media Center is a good basic and flexible choice for playback but there are many others.
5.  That is a matter of choice.  I prefer ClassicsOnLineHD but you should try them all before committing.
6.  If you go with a NAS, as I suggested, connect it and your PC/Streamer to your home network and connect your DAC (the Marantz SA-8004) to the USB or S/PDIF output of your PC/Streamer.
7.  I do not understand this question.
8.  Not your problem if you purchase from honest, legal vendors, like anything else.
9.  Dunno.  What else do you need to know?
10. Good start.
Digitizing vinyl is a time consuming tasks that requires specialized equipment to do adequately.  I don't recommend it unless it's something you really want to do.

Rip your CDs to a dedicated computer.  I don't think NAS storage is necessary, but others will disagree.  It does add flexibility, but it is also complex.  The think to remember is that RAID storage is not absolutely data loss free.  Keep multiple backup drives of your data.  Ideally keep your CDs.  (Not keeping your CDs raises ethical issues.)

Streaming is different than downloading files and the streams may not be up to the sound quality you are used to.

Before you make any equipment decision you should test drive streaming.  At this point the sound quality is unimportant, what you should be examining is which services offer music you like and whether you enjoy browsing for music with their interfaces.  For some having a really, really large library is frustrating because there are too many choices.

Question for you, will going to the 3.7s really take up that much less space than the 20s?
For the last 2 years Pandora & now Pandora One have been my absolute go to source.It is waaayyyy simpler to set up your favorite artists or styles then it is to archive on a server!You will also discover a TON of artists you've never heard of that will increase your enjoyment tenfold!!!Sell the vinyl for TOP$(cd's may be a wash) & put that $ towards the speakers.Also IMO you need to get tubes into the signal chain.For equipment & set up recommendatios trythe PC Audio Forum here & could also have a look at my secondary  rig which is streaming based.Good luck...
I frtgot to mention that if your going to be living in a condo you might consider adding a good headphone to your rig.
There are loads of places on the net that will teach you the basics of what you're trying to do, but I'll toss in my $0.02 for you:

1. Yes, archive your collection. I can't speak to the vinyl side, but I've ripped my entire CD collection to an external hard drive that is connected to a Mac Mini via Firewire. This disc is easy to clone to a similar disc that lives in my fireproof safe. (Always back up!)

My CDs are stored in boxes in a closet, so that I don't have to worry about #8s ethical considerations.  Yes, if you rip and then sell your CDs, you'd be violating copyright.

2. Dedicated server/streamers tend to box you into a proprietary solution that is not always better than a PC or Mac platform. In fact, with my external hard drive, I could swap various platforms and giblets in or out, if needed.

My choice is a Mac Mini running headless, addressed through any other Mac in the house. The Mini was modified by Mojo Audio to remove the original power supply, replacing it with a quieter, external supply.

3. For vinyl, probably. For CD, no, just a CD drive and software to rip.  I use XLD to rip CDs directly into iTunes.

4. No.

5. I'm surprised no one has yet mentioned this: I stream from Tidal. I find it to have far better quality than Pandora, et. al.

6. If you stream, you only need your computer and an internet connection (well, also DAC, speakers, amp, etc.) That computer should be dedicated to playing music, as you can easily disable all other functions that might affect the signal stream.

7. Costs for archiving are minimal. Costs for streaming are based on how much the services charge, like Tidal at about @20/month. (Totally worth it, in my opinion.)

Another thing you might want to consider is Roon, a relative newcomer to the market. Roon integrates your CD collection and streaming services such as Tidal.

My system is the Mac Mini and disc, iTunes + PureMusic outputting USB to my DAC, DAC to amp, and out to Magnepan 3.7. (There are, of course, many other bits in the system.)  As mentioned, I have my collection of CDs ripped to a disc, and I have a subscription to Tidal.  

Before Roon, I'd have to quit iTunes/PureMusic in order to stream from Tidal, and vice-versa.  Roon, with its intuitive interface, non-destructively accesses your archived CD collection (iTunes folders) AND interfaces seamlessly with Tidal.  So much so, in fact, that Roon will take a look at your collection and present albums and artists from Tidal that would likely interest you. The ability to play a given artist from your collection and to have Roon/Tidal suggest an artist that you may not have heard before... is a great feature.  You'll lose yourself in making connections with your music.

Roon adds another subscription charge, but so far as I've seen... totally worth it.

You should also know that services such as Tidal feed the artists.
Thanks for the information!  Freediver, has Pandora/Pandora One given you all the music choices you want?  I listen to all kinds of rock, jazz, classical and electronic (Iannis Xenakis, Morton Subotnik).  onhwy61, how easy is test driving streaming services?  Your question about the 3.7i speakers: Wendell Diller at Magnepan told me my 20.1 speakers will delaminate in the Florida humidity unless I run the AC all the time.  That will not happen.  The glue used in 3.7i production will not be susceptible to Florida humidity.  20.7i is way too expensive.  3.7i will fit the house.  kr4, thanks for answering all my questions.  

Let's consider, for now, the streaming option.  It sounds like streaming will require the least amount of hardware and least amount of time to use.  I don't mind having tons of musical options and a large library to explore.  As a first step should I start researching streaming sites and pay the monthly fee for a few until I decide what is best for listening tastes?

Thank you!!!! 
Rayd I think you will really enjoy streaming there is just so much music out there and its hard to beat the convenience of having a world of music at your fingertips. Do yourself a favor and check out Tidal, it's far superior to Spotify for sound quality and though the catalog isn't quite as substantial it's still very good. I am primarily a jazz/rock/alt country person, the one complaint I've consistently heard about Tidal is their poor organization of their classical catalog. So if you're into classical as they say YMMV. Happy listening!
Tidal offers 30-day free Trial.

Roon offers 14-day.

I suspect other services would offer a Trial as well.
Tidal streaming, via Sonos Connect, is as easy as it gets. Tidal sound quality is much superior to Spotify or Pandora, both of which have poor quality. If you're going to use streaming to a good DAC, the Wyred4Sound Sonos upgrade is quite worthwhile.
Hate to break it to you guys but Tidal is BANKRUPT & heading down the drain.OP:Pandora basic is totaly free & will allow you to test the waters.The only problem with Pandora is you have NO choice of actual tunes that will play.You simply enter an artist or song & they play music based on that choice.I have catagories like classic rock,chamber.patricia barber radio,delta blues etc...Also PLEASE don't think you have to spend big $ to get great sound.The DAC in my headphone system is a great example.$100.00 delivered & I would put it up against ANYTHING under $1K!...jl35,Pandora One is HI RES & every bit as good as Tidal!!!
Pandora One is 192kbps and Tidal is 1411 kbps (cd quality).
Head-Fi'ers report that in a recent interview the owner of Tidal stated they didn't have enough $ to last through the end of the year so pretty soon it will be Pandora One 192kbps/Tidal 0000 kbps.
OP:I forgot to mention that with streaming EVERY music video/concert put to recording media is also available through sites like YouTube.
Jay Z bought Tidal in March, 2015
I love Pandora, Spotify and You Tube. I just find that on my system that Tidal has much better sound quality.
There are legitimate questions about Tidal's long term viability, but to suggest YouTube as a sonic alternative is a non-starter.  I've never heard a YouTube clip where the sound quality was anything but poor.
That's bad news about Tidal not sure who will fill that gap, Pandora and Spotify are non-starters for me.
Thanks everyone.  I have the information I need to implement the right equipment.  Various streaming services offer free trials and I am listening to a few of them.  Those that do not offer music I already have on record or CD will not be considered.  This forum was very valuable!
Sonos and Tidal is the simplest way to get decent quailty.. You can rip all of your CDs to .wav using dbpoweramp and play those on Sonos software too.. Sonos has relatively high levels of jitter compared to the best components.. This can be remedied by adding a reclocker like the Synchro-mesh.