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Old 02-07-2015, 09:16   #1
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Music storage and access

I like music, a lot. I don't have enough space on my boat for all the CDs that I would like to have aboard. So, I'd like to create a computer storage system for music that I could then play on my stereo ( a new Fusion). It would be especially cool if there was a database function so I could search for and retrieve selected works (and especially excerpts). Does anyone have an idea how this could be done? Will MP3 work for this?
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Old 02-07-2015, 09:27   #2
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Re: Music storage and access

Generally, you are describing iTunes and similar programs. If you have a computer, an iPad or iPod Touch, you can just stream music over bluetooth to your Fusion. If you have a regular iPod, you can plug it into the accessory port of the Fusion.

We manage all of our music in iTunes on our computer and have an iPod permanently plugged into the stereo.

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Old 02-07-2015, 09:30   #3
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Re: Music storage and access

I've no experience (other than a MacIntosh back in the 80's) with Apple products. Do you have a suggestion regarding which unit might meet my needs best?
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Old 02-07-2015, 09:55   #4
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Re: Music storage and access

I have loaded all my music and movies on to a 2t portable hard drive and I am happy with that so far, no CDs or DVDs on board.
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Old 02-07-2015, 10:05   #5
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Re: Music storage and access

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I've no experience (other than a MacIntosh back in the 80's) with Apple products. Do you have a suggestion regarding which unit might meet my needs best?
The iTunes program is available for Windows computers as well as Mac. This program acts as a database for organizing and retrieving your music, as well as playing it via streaming.

You can also use an iPad or iPod for this. If you have an Android device, I'm sure there must be a similar app that syncs with iTunes on your computer.

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Old 02-07-2015, 10:06   #6
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Re: Music storage and access

We use an IPOD, (Search eBay for a used one, pretty cheap nowadays) once you get the hang of it, great for what your trying to do. If your within wi-fi range try using Pandora or any other free music site on your phone or we use one of the IPads.
We are now trying to incorporate movies onto an external hard drive for watching movies.
At sixty, I'm not very IT savvy, but we bring the grandkids and they get it working for us. Plus it gives them something to do when it gets dark.
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Old 02-07-2015, 10:09   #7
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Re: Music storage and access

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Originally Posted by captain58sailin View Post
I have loaded all my music and movies on to a 2t portable hard drive and I am happy with that so far, no CDs or DVDs on board.
How do you organize, select and play the music?

We do the same with movies, and don't find it too difficult to organize them based on type (drama, comedy, etc), but even that becomes cumbersome when the number of movies is large.

I can't imagine a free-form mess of our 18,000 songs. Even grouped by artist would be a mess.

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Old 02-07-2015, 10:13   #8
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Re: Music storage and access

If your collection is currently on CDs iTunes will let you digitize all your CDs onto your computers hard drive. Takes a while but you do not have to re-purchase all your music.
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Old 02-07-2015, 10:16   #9
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Re: Music storage and access

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Originally Posted by captain58sailin View Post
I have loaded all my music and movies on to a 2t portable hard drive and I am happy with that so far, no CDs or DVDs on board.
I couldn't agree with this suggestion more with the above.
PERSONAL OPINION coming.. can't stand iTunes... not future proof (look at change of connector recently), not a great deal of control over content and you rely on an uplink to the net... I've tried it and had awful experiences copying my CDs onto it. I want all my Beatles / Whitesnake / Kenny Rogers etc together where I can find them. I don't want iTunes to relist them into the CDs (some mixed) that they came off which it loves to do (it also wants to know if they are all definitely paid for!!). I know my opinion is not the same as 100s of millions of other people but I would opt for something like a 2tb nas drive. Synology make some great systems that would cope with all your CDs (into MP3) you'd ever have. I have circa 400 films (MP4) and 6000 songs on mine. it links through USB (on ALL devices.. Apples only like apple devices) and its plugged into my TV for video watching.. I have a sound bar on that too if i want to play the songs through it.. or you can plug other USB devices into it to play them direct. I have it plugged into my laptop and also use it to save all my personal videos, photo's and even letters etc.

Some models have 2 drives inside meaning it automatically backs up any files you put on it, meaning if any drive has a meltdown you still keep all your data. The whole thing is smaller than a shoe box.

Hope opinion helps.
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Old 02-07-2015, 10:24   #10
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Re: Music storage and access

To me the question is whether or not you want to live with the power draw of your computer while listening to music. We have found an MP3 player to be the best solution for us, much lower power draw. At first it was a RIO Karma, now it is an iPod. We have an aux input on the stereo, patch the two together and away you go with almost no additional power usage besides the stereo itself (the MP3 player may add a Watt or two, way less than a computer even at it's lowest power usage).

The MP3 gives you basic direct music selection. If you want a more complicated/esoteric selection connect the MP3 player up to a computer, use whatever software (iTunes is OK, but there are others I like better), create a playlist, store it on the MP3 player, and then turn the computer back off.

To get there in the first place get a really good piece of high speed ripping software for your computer (or computers) and settle in for a couple of long weekends pulling everything off your CDs and getting them loaded into MP3 (or whatever other format you choose - a whole thread could be dedicated to digital music format).
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Old 02-07-2015, 10:26   #11
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Re: Music storage and access

I bought a used Apple mini Ipod on Ebay for $23. It works fine. I tried a couple inexpensive other Ipod like devices but they were not too good.
I have ITunes on my computer. Not sure I like I tunes on the computer that well but need it for the Ipod. It seems a bit restrictive and takes control of everything you do musically.
RealPlayer is good on your computer if you don't have an Ipod.
With ITunes when I load a CD in my computer it goes right to ITunes. Quick and easy.
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Old 02-07-2015, 10:30   #12
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Re: Music storage and access

I agree with the anti-Itunes comments above, but music on my boat is managed by an old hand me down Ipod connected to an Alpine iDA-X100M, which controls the Ipod and powers it. The IPod is out of the way and never needs to be touched unless you want to load music onto it. I ripped my whole CD collection to it years ago, when I first bought the boat.

Newer stuff which I've acquired I have been too lazy to put onto the IPod, so I keep it in my computer. When I want to listen to something, I put it onto a flash drive. The Alpine also has a cable which takes a flash drive, and controls that, as well.
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Old 02-07-2015, 10:48   #13
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Re: Music storage and access

Roy-
CD's, really? Still got a rotary telephone to go with that? (G)


You'll want to do some searching online, and some comparisons of digital music formats, before you make any leap. Ideally, you would "rip" the CD's into a lossless digital format. Apple has their own standard. FLAC isn't as widely supported but it is growing, and is another way to go. WAV format is common, but also uses large files.


For real portability, you may chose to rip the cd's to a lossless format, and store that library someplace, like on two large hard drives, so you don't lose it all when one crashes. (4TB Western Digital is now about $150, for comparison.)


Then, you make a second set of files in an MP3 format. You can actually make "lossless" MP3 files, or much smaller files with some loss in them. Look into "MP3 VBR" variable bit rate formats, you can choose a quality setting that sounds "perfect" for your ears and your system, and is more compact than other settings. (Personally, I use VBR-2, because given my ears and any background noise, I can't tell it from lossless. I'm not even sure if I can tell VBR-4 from lossless, so I went "up" one to VBR-2.)


At VBR-2, you can carry over a thousand albums on a $50 USB stick or micro-SDXC card, and that even fits in a smartphone.(G)


Once you figure out the digital format(s) you want to use, there are gobs and gobs of hardware and software out there to choose from. Just pick one that works for you. Pretty much all of them allow you to sort or choose by artist, album, genre, song title. If you use a PC to rip the CDs, I can recommend dbpoweramp (free trial) as being worth every penny, because it does so many things SO WELL and reliably. But there are lots of free solutions as well.


If your "stereo" won't allow you to plug in a USB stick or memory card, then you have to look at what and how you'll connect things. There are a small but growing number of digital players including Neil Young's overhyped, overpriced, Pono player. The digital players, even using the same lossless files that you can play on a cell phone or iPod, tend to bring more to the music. Call it tone, or depth, or what you will, their prices quickly go from expensive to absurd, but there are audible differences in many of them. And, they can all play music over a cord that can plug into an old stereo.


But I think it will take you a month or two, with some "critical listening" time, just to go over the digital format options and see which format you'll want to use. The differences can be subtle.


Ditching a thousand albums/cd's and moving onto one USB stick? Yeah, priceless.(G)
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Old 02-07-2015, 10:51   #14
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Re: Music storage and access

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iTunes... not future proof (look at change of connector recently), not a great deal of control over content and you rely on an uplink to the net... I've tried it and had awful experiences copying my CDs onto it. I want all my Beatles / Whitesnake / Kenny Rogers etc together where I can find them. I don't want iTunes to relist them into the CDs (some mixed) that they came off which it loves to do (it also wants to know if they are all definitely paid for!!).
I don't mean to defend iTunes, but you are mixing up a lot of non-iTunes stuff in your complaint, as well as have most of your facts wrong.

First, iTunes uses no connector at all - it is simply a database/program that runs on a computer. Devices that play music may change connectors, but this has nothing at all to do with iTunes.

Second, you have complete control over the content because you simply use iTunes to rip your personal physical music and then organize it and store it in anyway you wish. You can rip the music into almost every format available and even customize the quality to a high degree (VBR, etc). In no way does iTunes rely on, nor require, an uplink to the internet to put your personal music on it and organize it. If you wish to purchase music, or store your music in cloud storage, then you would need an internet connection, of course. But you would need this for those functions regardless of what program you use.

Third, if you don't like the way iTunes tries to organize your music (I sometimes have this problem with compilations or rare tracks), then simply tell it not to organize it and do so yourself.

Fourth, iTunes certainly works with non-apple devices. Electronic music purchased from apple often won't play on certain other players, but that is the player manufacturer fault because the native format for apple is an open-standard format that does not need a license to use. Even then, iTunes provides a quick and easy conversion to other formats - old-time mp3 being one of them. I think you would be hard-pressed to find a music player that does not work with iTunes (does anyone even make music players anymore?).

Last, iTunes in no way cares if you have purchased your music or not. It doesn't know if a CD you are ripping was bought by you, or you stole it, or you borrowed it from a friend. It CAN'T know that because there is no way of determining that. If someone purchased electronic music from iTunes a very long time ago, then those songs have DRM protection (as required back then) and cannot be played by you unless the person who bought them authorizes it. However, Apple has not used DRM protection since 2008, and everything bought since then can be transferred without problem. Note that this was only a problem for purchased electronic format and never for CD format.

The above just provides corrections to your post - one should use any formats/devices/procedures they like to store, organize and play their music. iTunes isn't the only solution out there - it is just the one I have experience with.

However, NAS devices aren't generally practical on a boat, and a basic Synology one costs more than a high-end iPod. Then you still have the problem of needing to supply 120V AC continuously, setting up and running a database on it, installing ripping software - and then it still can't stream wirelessly.

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Old 02-07-2015, 11:09   #15
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Re: Music storage and access

Go back and read what HelloSailor said.

I have been ripping my CDs for years and the music is on MP3 players, USB drives, all of my computers, smart phone and Kindles. There are now stereo systems for vehicles that will accept USB drives and/or memory chips from which to play music. Personally, I would go with the systems that accept USB drives since those devices will be around for quite some time.

On my PCs, I just used the Windows Media Player to play music and the limited video. For awhile I had a PC setup to record TV shows from cable but we got the cord years ago. Wish we had done it sooner.

I keep the music backed up on multiple devices to prevent its loss. If we manage to get the boat we want, I think we would rip our DVDs/BDs and store on USB external drives for use on the boat. By the time we are able to do that SSD's will be cheap enough to use instead of mechanical hard drives and SSDs should be safer on a boat.

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