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Topic: The Best Method Currently Avaliable to Preserve/Play Audio? (Read 967 times) previous topic - next topic
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The Best Method Currently Avaliable to Preserve/Play Audio?

Hi again everyone!

My question today comes from a stint I just had looking for hours over the internet and being flummoxed by what I was seeing. This came about because I wanted to find a way to simply put audio that I have onto a blue ray disc to both make copies that I keep for archival purposes (Aka. FLAC versions) and to play around the house (Aka. 320 MP3 versions) [along with trying to figure out how to put multiple dvds on one blue ray disc but that's a whole other can of confusion I'm having].

However, from what I can tell, there isn't really a way to have a blue ray disc that allows you to play audio from it like a CD due to everything that I've looked at getting angry when I went above 800 or so mb, and I don't know if I could make those tracks be in nice playlists that keep it from being one giant mess even if I could. Along with that, the archival part is cryptic as well, and I can't figure out if just throwing on the files on a blue ray disc would preserve them or if there is some specific series of steps one needs to perform to do that. Then you have the whole thing about blue ray discs apparently wanting a different structure than dvds and I just can't wrap my head around that part at all. I don't know if I'm just not reading all these articles correctly or am just trying to do something that currently isn't feasible, but I'm a bit drained from trying to figure out how to make this work.

Thus, I wanted to know if it'd be better to skip all that hassle and instead put all the files on an SSD that can just connect to a player through a USB port, since I believe I could then just keep them in their neat folders and have the players select the songs from there. However, maybe that isn't how this works, at this point I'm just flabbergasted and wondering how to best accomplish this.

As a note, I don't have a blue ray burner or the other materials I have mentioned yet. I've been trying to research this stuff before I bought anything so I wouldn't waste money on something that wouldn't do what I wanted. I admit this could mean I'm dumb and if I had the blue ray burner I'm looking at it would be simple, but from what I've read that wouldn't be the case. I can give links to the various products I'm currently looking at if asked, but don't want to spam the opening post with them in case the answer is obvious to everyone but me.

Sorry if this is a really bad question or unclear, I'll try and fix things if those issues come up.

Re: The Best Method Currently Avaliable to Preserve/Play Audio?

Reply #1
You don't really need a SSD, any external hard drive should do. My music, both lossless and lossy, is stored on a NAS, which is backed up by an external HDD, so it is secure, distributed across my network and allows RAID. The NAS also provides for 24/7 streaming to any WiFi or Internet device.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?  ;~)

Re: The Best Method Currently Avaliable to Preserve/Play Audio?

Reply #2
I store all my music in FLAC format, locally on my PC, automatically backed up to my NAS and syncronized to cloud storage (pCloud), and regularly backed up to an external hard drive I keep in a locker at work.

Maybe it's overkill, but rather safe than sorry.

Re: The Best Method Currently Avaliable to Preserve/Play Audio?

Reply #3
Huh, I think I've heard the term NAS used before but never knew what it was, so that seems cool. What would be the best option for a NAS if I were to try and get one;that is, would it be better to buy a prebuilt one or make one ourselves. Obviously, making one ourselves would allow us to probably buy better overall parts, but I don't know if the *possible* extra cost and hassle is worth it for what I want to do (just have a place to backup stuff and have it easily accessible, not a godlike machine that can hold the universe in it). A quick bit of google fu seems to suggest that Synology is pretty good for a cheap, prebuilt solution to a NAS, but maybe you guys have better suggesitons (although I would still need to get drives so that whole should I just bite the bullet and build one question comes up again).

Also, my brain has calmed down a bit and I was able to figure out that there are different types of cds, those being Audio and Data CDs. I've also found out that I can make my own playlists by making a m3u or m3u8 file along the way as well. Thus, could my plan to make both backup and playable versions of our audio still be a possibility, and even have playlists as well? I ask because while I now understand they are different I can't really get any understanding of how the specifics, such as how to make an audio data disc, due to it being such a vague term apparently (or maybe I'm not putting in the proper term idk). One place said you had to put the audio files at the root and that would be one, but is that true and could I make multiple m3u files that could be read along with them if that was the case. If that isn't the case, could I make folders they go in and have m3u files in them to create a nice and organized structure to everything like I have on my computer and a player (if it could read data discs) could be just fine in finding the files?

Again, sorry for the ignorance, but I appreciate the answers so far.

Re: The Best Method Currently Avaliable to Preserve/Play Audio?

Reply #4
Shiny discs -

The commercial "shiny disc" formats are all standardized to play on CD/DVD/Blu-Ray players.    If you want to burn a standard disc that plays on every CD, DVD, or Blu-ray player like the commercial discs you buy, it has to meet the specific standards.

But of course, you can burn "data" discs files in any "computer" format or you can put Excel or Word files on any of these discs.

If you burn MP3s or any "regular" audio/video computer files on a you can play it on a computer, and many DVD & Blu-Ray players will play a wide variety of audio/video formats.    But a "regular old" CD player will only play standard "Red Book" audio CDs.

Audio CDs don't contain regular computer files and that's why it takes a CD ripping application to extract the audio or make a copy.

Standard DVDs & Blu-Rays do have regular computer files, but commercial discs are encrypted so it takes special (illegal) software to crack the encryption and copy.

Any burning application can make audio CDs or a data disc with audio files.    (Of course, you need a burner capable of burning DVDs or Blu-Rays.)

It takes special "authoring" software to make the file/folder format/structure for a standard DVD or Blu-Ray disc (usually with a menu, etc.)

However, from what I can tell, there isn't really a way to have a blue ray disc that allows you to play audio from it like a CD due to everything that I've looked at getting angry when I went above 800 or so mb,
Audio CDs are limited to ~80 minutes and if you burn it onto a blank DVD or Blu-Ray disc it's no-longer a "standard" audio CD.

Mass Storage -
I don't have a particular "physical" recommendation (Hard drive, NAS, Cloud, etc.).   But, like anything else "important" it's a good idea to have a back-up, ideally in multiple locations.

FLAC (or ALAC if you're a MAC user) is nice as a master archive format.  It's lossless so you could make MP3s today and then make AACs next year, etc...   Or, you can play just play them as-is.    Any lossless format is "future proof".  FLAC and ALAC are about half the size of WAVs and metadata/tagging is not well-standardized for WAVs, so lossless compression is usually better then uncompressed WAV.   

The tagging standards are slightly-different for each format so you may need to make some edits when you convert from FLAC to MP3, etc.

...I don't have a lossless archive.   I have multiple MP3 libraries (on hard drives) including a copy at work and a copy at my girlfriend's house.   My only lossy archive is the original CDs, so I don't have a lossless backup if my house burns down, or if the CDs get damaged or deteriorate.   Although, I do have copies of most of the CDs because at one time I was making quite a few (illegal) copies for friends & family, and I always made an extra back-up for myself.  But they are stored at home, so they would be lost in a fire.   In hindsight I would do it differently but I'm too lazy to "start over" now.   (Do have lossless backups of my DVDs.)

Organization & playlists -
. I've also found out that I can make my own playlists by making a m3u or m3u8 file along the way as well
Your player software should handle most of this.   The physical location & file/folder structure is not important to the player software.  It can organize/sort your music by artist/album/genre/etc., without regard to how or where it's stored.  

iTunes (which I use for my iPod) has a cool feature called "smart playlists".  For example, I have an "early 60s" playlist that includes several genres, but excludes Christmas.

I have a folder called "Rock & Popular" that contains more than half my music.  I also have separate folders for soundtracks, Christmas music, Halloween music and several others including a one for "various artist" collections.   Below that I have the "normal" Artist/Album/song structure.

On thing I've done is researched & "corrected" the release year for Greatest Hits & Various Artist CDs as well as for CDs that were originally released on vinyl.

Re: The Best Method Currently Avaliable to Preserve/Play Audio?

Reply #5
Thanks for the great information! So I could just plop the files onto a blue ray (when I get the burner of course) and the player should be able to deal with it from there if the player is compatible, which sounds great! The whole "authoring" software thing still has my head in a twist, and the software is probably something I wouldn't want to deal with even if I could afford it. I think I'll just admit defeat on that front and put the files on dvds. Won't be as convent, but it'll work and that's what matters. I'll just have to also get some gold discs to make archive copies with. I'll make sure to inform you guys how it goes when this stuff all comes together.

Re: The Best Method Currently Avaliable to Preserve/Play Audio?

Reply #6
How much do you have? Stored as FLAC, my CDs are about 300 megabytes each.
Writable DVDs are cheapest in the 4.7 GB format. That is fifteen or sixteen CDs on each. Manageable if you have a hundred CDs.
Blu-ray writable discs are cheapest in the 25 GB format. Taking eighty CDs each. But if you don't have a writer, it will set you back $100 or so.

Last hard drive I bought was 8 TB at this-week's-discount $170 ...
High Voltage socket-nose-avatar

Re: The Best Method Currently Avaliable to Preserve/Play Audio?

Reply #7
The last attempt at archival optical disks that I'm aware of is M-Disc: You need to purchase a compatible burner and media, but the finished product can be read by ordinary players.

But I'm far too lazy to archive my own music on optical disks! Have you considered Vortexbox? It's a customized Linux distro which gives you a headless Squeeze / iTunes music server with auto CD ripper. By default, tunes are saved as FLAC. An old PC likely will be more than powerful enough for Vortexbox: The last one I built had an Intel Atom CPU and 4 GB of RAM. Pretty much all admin tasks are handled via a web browser.

IIRC, VB allows you to back up to external USB drive, and you can take this off-site for an extra level of safety.

Re: The Best Method Currently Avaliable to Preserve/Play Audio?

Reply #8
To Porcus:
We have A LOT of stuff. On my computer alone I have about 278 gb worth of stuff. Doing some quick math, I would only need to do about 11-12 blue rays to hold that compared to 59-60 dvds, and that's just the stuff I have on the computer. We have a ton of cds around the house that I want to rip to help make a more manageable listening situation for everyone. I know dvds are really cheap and still a great option to store stuff, but I'd just rather have the convenience of having everything on a a few tens of discs rather than many many of them.

Plus, I'm not only getting the blue ray burner to make blue rays, but also to speed up the ripping process and to watch blue rays on the computer. Still, I thank you for your concerns of the cost effectiveness, and I probably will use audio cds whenever I get back to converting our vinyl, although that would probably be last due to me needing to baby sit the thing to pause and turn it over while it plays the whole time.

To 4season:
I know about M-Discs, but I don't think their cost is really worth it, at least at the moment. A well kept cd, dvd, or blue ray should last for a good while on their own, at least from what I've read. Maybe way down the road when they become less expensive I'll think about making a backup backup on them, but for the moment I don't think they are that necessary for my needs.

Unless I'm mistaken, you can just do the usb thing with any OS right, or on a HDD or SSD? Don't really think I would need to get a Linux distro for that. As for the other advantage of the distro you mentioned I don't really think I'd take advantage of them that much. I like having a physical thing I can hold and know its status for backups, otherwise I'd just get HDDs/SSDs and a NAS like 2tec and KozmoNaut mentioned. That's probably me being a bit too old school due to the fact that you can't scratch or temperature warp a digital file like you can a physical thing, but it comforts me none the less. I'll keep it in mind though, maybe one day I'll move from Windows to Linux and use that along with KDE neon (if you can do that I know nothing about Linux really).

Re: The Best Method Currently Avaliable to Preserve/Play Audio?

Reply #9
I have no idea what is available nowadays, but back then more than ten years ago, I did the ripping job on a 200 DVD changer.
Loaded it, left it for days, changed ... If I scripted up something I could have created 200 DVD images (around a terabyte) and put them to burn DVDs.

Instead I have a few sets on hard drives around. At work, in a lodge far away, ...

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