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So, who's put their entire music collection on their PC?

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#1 of 25 OFFLINE   Paul D G

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Posted January 10 2008 - 05:01 PM

I've thrown together a media PC for my home theater. One of the reasons was because I wanted to digitize all my CDs and have them immediately accessible from my couch.

Has anyone done this? What compression techniques did you use, and how much disk space did it consume vs # of discs? And what software did you use?

I'm using Media Monkey for the software app. And I intend to encode high frequency listening items in FLAC, with lesser stuff at 320k. At least that's my intention. I can't get my head around the math right now. Posted Image

I have an estimate 1500 cds to deal with and I'm trying to get a grasp on how much disk space I'm going to need.


#2 of 25 OFFLINE   Brandy S

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Posted January 10 2008 - 07:13 PM

I've got my entire music collection on an external drive. It's over 5,000 CDs on a 750GB Seagate (Firewire/USB 2.0). Bitrates between 192-320, with some FLAC thrown in. (The drive is not near full however!)

#3 of 25 OFFLINE   todbnla



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Posted January 10 2008 - 11:20 PM

Wow, that one hell of a collection! Posted Image Posted Image

My Blue-Ray & SD DVD's

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#4 of 25 OFFLINE   James_S


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Posted January 11 2008 - 04:47 AM

I also have my entire music collection on an external drive, a 500 GB to be exact. I am not sure exactly how many CDs there are, but I have around 36,000 songs and bitrates are between 192-320 also. It's around 250 GB in total +/- I also back everything up in a .rar format and backed up on a server. Can't be to careful nowadays.
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#5 of 25 OFFLINE   Paul D G

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Posted January 11 2008 - 07:14 AM

So I've decided to just rip everything as highest quality mp3s. I probably won't notice the difference between tracks encoded in flac or 320k mp3. Does anyone have an opinion which is better sonic-ly? 256k variable bitrate or 320k constant? I think 256vbr would result in smaller file sizes and, I assume as good if not better audio quality. -paul

#6 of 25 OFFLINE   Christ Reynolds

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Posted January 11 2008 - 09:57 AM

Whatever sounds best to you is the best sonically. CJ
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#7 of 25 OFFLINE   Thomas Newton

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Posted January 11 2008 - 11:23 AM

Uncompressed CD Audio runs about 10 MB per minute, so if all of the discs were full-up (80 minutes), and you encoded them uncompressed, you'd need (1500 * 80 minutes * (10 MB / minute)) = 1,200,000 MB (just over 1 TB). 320 Kilobits per second encoding == 2400 Kilobytes per minute == about 23% of the uncompressed CD audio rate. So if you encode 1500 full CDs' worth of audio at this rate, you'll need about 276 GB. Probably many of the CDs will be shorter than 80 minutes, and you will end up using something like 1/3 less space.

#8 of 25 OFFLINE   DaveF



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Posted January 11 2008 - 11:36 AM

From last year, article about a fellow with an 850 GB, 11,000-album iTunes library.

I've got my entire library on my MacBook Pro, in iTunes. My library is a normal 200+ CDs.

But I'm curious if anyone knows the solution to a problem that stymied two years ago: I meant to create an archive library of my CDs. I wanted to rip all my CDs to a lossless format. Then I wanted to be able to re-encode those to a format and bitrate of choice, according to my current portable player. So, if a few years later I had a larger capacity player, I wouldn't need to re-rip all my CDs, but I could just re-encode my archive at a higher bitrate or newer format.

But I couldn't find a way to preserve CD (ID3?) info in an archive. Or, more specifically, I could find any programs that could re-encode from an archive and also figure out the CD info. It seems an obvious problem, but I couldn't find anything and I did a serious search for it.

#9 of 25 OFFLINE   Gabriel.H


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Posted January 11 2008 - 12:28 PM

I've got all my music on a 300 GB internal drive. I'd say I have a little over 26,000 songs, most of which are WMA format @192 kbps.

#10 of 25 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted January 11 2008 - 01:09 PM

I have approximately 600 CDs converted to 256K VBR MP3's. I use iTunes to organize the music, and used Exact Audio Copy with a LAME encoder to rip the CDs. We mostly play the MP3's on our iPods, and the quality is more than satisfactory for me (I have Shure E4C earbuds).

#11 of 25 OFFLINE   Brandy S

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Posted January 13 2008 - 04:09 PM

I had more than I thought!
Here's a screenshot I just took of my Music folder properties...

#12 of 25 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted January 14 2008 - 02:25 PM

I have 2190 songs, 5.9 days work of music, on my harddrive. The only problem with one massive music archive is that my old failing harddrive introduced plenty of barely noticable skips into a lot of my songs before I finally replaced it. These problems transferred over to my new harddrive, and I'm having a bitch of a time weeding them all out.

#13 of 25 OFFLINE   Greg*go


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Posted January 15 2008 - 01:45 PM

My current stats:

22,570 songs
appx 1309 albums
avg bitrate: 173 kbps
size: 90.8GB
play time: 7wk 1d 16h 14m 06s

I did most of this a couple years ago using CDex. I have updated the encoder (LAME) accordingly as new releases have been made, but I'm not about to redo anything with the newer encoder. I remember doing pretty extensive testing (for me anyway) before deciding on the format and bitrate to use. I decdied on the VBR method, with 320kbps as my max & 112kbps as my min. It will use 320kbps if needed, so why not use VBR?

The most fun was getting married, then combining my digital audio collection with my wife's. As it turns out, we had slight variations on the way we formatted our song titles, so it was fairly difficult to coalesce them.

My current undertaking is to put my entire DVD collection on my PC, but that has hit an obstacle as I realize I will encounter reaching limits on disk space since I insist on having backups.
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#14 of 25 OFFLINE   Kimmo Jaskari

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Posted January 15 2008 - 08:40 PM

Silent data corruption. Scares the **** out of me compared to a drive just dying. Fortunately on my home server now I run Solaris 10 and ZFS, and ZFS does checksumming of all data so it basically cannot happen. As for encoding, two choices IMHO - VBR using the latest Lame encoder and APX (highest quality VBR encoding) because frankly storage space isn't at that much of a premium anymore and it sounds fantastic. Second choice is to really ignore storage space requirements and encoding direct to FLAC to get lossless copies.
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#15 of 25 OFFLINE   nolesrule



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Posted January 16 2008 - 02:52 AM

I've ripped most of my CDs and store them on an external drive attached to a PC in my home office. Not quite done. I use EAC to rip to FLAC, because it is lossless and supports tagging, so it works great to pipe to my A/V system via Squeezebox, or to listen on media players on any computer. I also mirror my FLAC library with MP3 using LAME setting -V 4, which is approximately 160kbps. I don't need better MP3 quality because I only use mp3s in environments not conducive to critical listening. The advantage to ripping to FLAC is that you can always transcode and mirror your library to any format you want (at maximum quality for that format and settings) without having to re-rip the CD. Trying to transcode from lossy would only create more artifacts. Hard drive storage is cheap enough that size of lossless files shouldn't be an issue, so you might as well do it right the first time.

#16 of 25 OFFLINE   Buzz Foster

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Posted January 17 2008 - 05:37 PM

I have 650 or so CDs, encoded at VBR 160-320, and it is around 50GB.
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#17 of 25 OFFLINE   Paul D G

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Posted January 18 2008 - 04:46 PM

The wannbe audiophile in me really wanted to go FLAC but the reality is, while I can tell the difference between an mp3 and a CD when played side by side, the difference in sound the mp3 gives isn't going to bother me. Plus spending another $200 on a tetrabyte of space isn't appealing. Not that I can't afford it, I just don't want to spend a fortune on this PC. Just tonight I realized it's not fast enough to play 1080p HD video so at some stage I'll have to upgrade the board, CPU, memory and probably the video card. I don't want this to be a $1000 PC (right now i'm looking for a new case to put in my rack instead of having a tower pc sitting in the corner so there's a good $150-200 right there). Additionally, while a good part of me really likes the idea of having lossless copies of all my music available for any possible use, and not having to rip a bunch for compilation CDs etc some... well, a lot of stuff I don't listen to enough to warrant the use of disk space. I mean, I might conceivably want to listen to Bel Biv DeVoe's Poison CD again but I doubt it. And I certainly don't want to give it 300+ mb of space. So I'm ripping everything to 320k VBR and when I come across The Good Stuff I'll probably rip that to flac so it's available for future use. -paul

#18 of 25 OFFLINE   nolesrule



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Posted January 18 2008 - 05:00 PM

Hehe, I ripped my Poison CD a couple weeks ago. Posted Image

Separate storage is really the way to go. I would recommend a NAS or perhaps an external drive. The NAS would be great for storage of more than just music files anyway, and set up properly with RAID you would have redundancy in case of drive failure. In addition, it keeps the hard drives on your end use machines from filling up too quickly.

I keep an external drive attached to a PC I've had since 1999 which I use as nothing but a file server (and it runs my Squeezebox server software) since it really isn't powerful enough to do much else these days. It's a PIII-500 288MB RAM running XP. You don't need much computing power for a file server.

You might consider buying or building yourself a "real" computer for end use that does all the heavy lifting, and retire your "clunker" for use as a file server. You could even put Linux on it to make it a more efficient file server.

Note: I do not intend any insult by use of "real" and "clunker". Posted Image

#19 of 25 OFFLINE   Paul D G

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Posted January 21 2008 - 04:46 PM

This is just a PC I put together from spare parts (and a few new ones like a video card to connect to the TV). It's mostly only going to be used for the music, and for watching missed tv shows online, on the TV*. We have four other PCs in the house. Posted Image

If I'm going to be putting any serious money into a PC it'll be to rebuild my main machine in my office that does all the hard work.


#20 of 25 OFFLINE   nolesrule



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Posted January 21 2008 - 05:21 PM

Don't think of more hard drives as putting money into a specific PC. It's just storage space for data you want available to multiple computers on your network. Other than the external hard drive I store my music files and digital photos on (and backups for user Documents folders) which I bought a couple years back, I haven't put any money into that computer since 1999. It just sits there and serves up my files on request.

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