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Changing Everything

Greetings All,
    I bought a mips Linkstation to replace an old cd jukebox, after finding that I could no longer easily purchase such an item. After far too long playing around with Openlink and Freelink, I have made a box. A $40 external USB CD burner is attached to my linkstation. I take any CD I have around, drop it in the burner, and the box rips it, tags it, converts it to FLAC format, puts it in the ./share/ directory, and starts serving it on mt-daapd. I have attached a ROKU to my stereo, and now have every CD I ever overpaid the music industry for available at my fingertips. Also, every computer in the house can see the whole library from Itunes. I can borrow CDs from friends, drop them in my player, and in 5 minutes have a permanent lossless copy available to the library. All with no user intervention.
    I know lots of people with huge CD collections, and no patience or desire to burn all of them through their computers. I have been looking for this device for years, and have now made it entirely from open source software. I have some questions for this group: Is anyone interested in doing the same thing? Why is there no good alternative to this, I.E. a simple appliance for storing and sharing your cd collection, like a tivo for cds? Would other people be interested, as in family members and peers, in never having to use their CDs again? And does this change everything, as in tivo or napster or youtube, in that everyone would want this? Rather than listen to compressed songs on lousy speakers next to loud computers, I can have a pure, noiseless digital stream fed to my Denon amp and classic Wharfdale monitors. I can listen to Morton Feldman, Johnny Cash or Led Zeppelin on a whim, without looking for cd covers or opening and closing anything. Or maybe I am missing something? Any constructive input would be appreciated.

Sincerely

Francis Schmidt

Changing Everything

Reply #1
Sounds interesting, could you put up some more info, or a website if you have it? I guess for me the main thing is a) how hard was it to build? and b) I'm not much of a programmer...

Changing Everything

Reply #2
Why is there no good alternative to this, I.E. a simple appliance for storing and sharing your cd collection, like a tivo for cds?

There is, there are many stand-alone hard disk recorders, like this one for example.
Happiness - The agreeable sensation of contemplating the misery of others.


Changing Everything

Reply #4
I presume the advantage you're claiming here is the automation?  Because tons of tech-savvy people have already gone the CD-->lossless-->storage route, using their computer's CD drive, Exact Audio Copy (set for automatic handoff to a FLAC encoder/tagger), and a capacious external hard drive.

Changing Everything

Reply #5
Greetings All,
    I am exploring putting up a wiki page at linkstationwiki.net. The system consists of Debian Linux with developer tools, a build of mt-daapd,  installing FLAC, several libraries, OggVorbis and a few other open source packages, compiling FLAKE from this site for the MIPS processor, modifying ABCDE to use FLAKE, setting up the config files for all apps, writing some start up scripts to daemonize ABCDE, and letting the whole thing run. Since I have done it, I think I can roll the whole thing up in a .bin file for automatic install on a MIPS Linkstation. This would make things much simpler for other people. The ease goes way beyond the automation. The system checks the CD drive every minute for an audio cd, and mt-daapd (the music server) checks its directory every ten minutes for new files. The automatic tagging means the FLAC files are served and seeable by the ROKU as album, artist, genre, etc. The linkstation only uses 17 watts of power, is very quiet and doesn't have to be anywhere near my stereo system (it sits with the router in another room). I still get the sharable hard drive, meaning I can also drag files from my computer to the linkstation and have Mt-daapd serve them. The linkstation does the FLAC to WAV conversion for Itunes or the ROKU, and I have so far stress tested it by decoding 2 FLAC streams while encoding a CD, with no problems. All this from a 400 mhz 64 mb headless machine. I have found CDs I haven't seen in years, as I took every cd I had and threw them in.

    I looked at the Yamaha hard disk recorder mentioned in another post; it has the exact problem of every one of these devices I have seen. It is $800 (my whole system, including the ROKU, $450), has only 200 gigs of storage (Linksys 300 gig = $180), doesn't serve or tag the files, isn't expandable, etc, etc. This isn't what I want. I want free, as in beer AND butterflies. I paid for these CDs, I don't want to pay Steve Jobs for them again, I don't want my noisy computer to be my main listening source, I don't want DRM, or license hassles, or having to enter my credit card number to hear my music. I don't want to wait the 2 minutes it takes my 500 watt computer to boot up just to hear a song. I want what I made, and I think a lot of other people want the same thing. A box you could stick in your mom's house, she could use and never think about. A box any audiophile could store their entire cd collection on with out compromise or difficulty, and have instant access to everything through any text search they can think of.

    I, clearly, am already sold on such. I am interested in others, and if there is enough interest to make a self installing version (free as in beer and butterflies). If this was in Best Buy or Target for $500, would everyone buy it? Is it just not there because of record company fear?

Sincerely

Francis Schmidt

Changing Everything

Reply #6
I, clearly, am already sold on such. I am interested in others, and if there is enough interest to make a self installing version (free as in beer and butterflies).

If it's as straightforward to build as you say, then sure, I'm in with bells on!

Changing Everything

Reply #7
I'd definitely be interested in seeing what you work out as well.  A "rip appliance" using easy-to-obtain hardware would be great.  I still like my Rio Central, but it's stuck in the 320 CBR MP3 era of ripping.

There's a similar project out there for the Kurobox, might be worth taking a look at:

http://kurobox.com/mwiki/index.php/Kurobox_Media_Ripper

-brendan

Changing Everything

Reply #8
It's certainly nice to have such as sytem in a more user-friendly (read: *compact, automated*) setup, but FWIW, any computer with a decent CDRW drive (my Dell PC cost  >$1000 back in the day, but of course I use it for much more than just audio) will serve as the ripping , encoding, and tagging front end , and any capacious hard drive (I currently use a, external Maxtor 500 Gb, $270) serves as the lossless file storage.  I rip and tag with Exact Audio Copy + flac.exe (both free, and the rip/tag/encode can be set up to begin automatically for any inserted CD), I stream the audio wirelessly to my home theater system via a Linksys Music Bridge ($80) and use Foobar 2000 (free) as the audio file 'server' software.  The system can of course be controlled either from the main PC or a networked laptop.  No license or DRM hassles of course.  Expandable of course. If your computer's noisy enough for you to hear the noise when you stream audio to a real high fi system, you might want to upgrade it.  My PC's nearly always booted up, but doesnt' take anything near two mintues to do so when it's been turned off.

It almost reads as if you are not aware that most of these options have been available for years, but that can't be true... either way, audiophiles can and have been storing their entire CD collections, without compromise (thouhg requiring some tech savvy, as do all things dthese days; my mom btw would have been baffled by setup of the Roku) , and minimal computer noise, with instant access to any song through text search.   

There is also of course the issue of the inevitable hard drive failure...I have a backup external for that.

Changing Everything

Reply #9
krabapple-

Hmm, either you're missing the point, or I am inventing it from my imagination? 

There is a certain elegance in having a small-footprint ripperbox on the network with your small-footprint NAS box and small-footprint media center box, all located in convenient areas, all unlikely to be used for other tasks. 

I can envision a small headless box running the CLI version of rubyripper under Linux, constantly monitoring the drive waiting for media insertion.  The rip is converted to one or more formats (flac/cue, mp3 tracks, etc.) and written to a network share.  When done, the disc is ejected.  When you go to gather the disc, a green, yellow or red LED is lit up based on the rip results:  green if the rip completed perfectly, yellow if completed using correction that was projected to be inaudible or red if there were more serious errors.

You file all your green discs into your permanant archive (attic/basement/used cd store).  The yellow ones, perhaps as well, depending on level of ... AR-ness).  The red ones you either resubmit for a more serious rip session (activated via a button on the front?), you clean/polish and resubmit, or you toss and replace.

Perhaps I am a dreamer. 

-brendan

Changing Everything

Reply #10
krabapple-

Hmm, either you're missing the point, or I am inventing it from my imagination? 

There is a certain elegance in having a small-footprint ripperbox on the network with your small-footprint NAS box and small-footprint media center box, all located in convenient areas, all unlikely to be used for other tasks.


I'm not saying there's no use for such a box -- elegance is good.  So is automation/convenience.  By all means, bring it on. (As for single-use...whatever happened to *convergence*? ;> )

I'm simply objecting to some rhetoric that appears to go beyond the 'elegance' and 'convenience' selling points, in what seems an attempt to portray this new setup as the long-needed salvation of a dismal status quo which, IME at least, doesn't seem all that dismal. 

I'm quite capable of ripping/encoding/tagging/saving/streaming any CD I possess with my current setup,and the AR in me appreciates all the user-configurability of PC + EAC + FLAC + F2K + wireless bridge etc.  AFAIC, the real category-killer for archiving would be a device that you can load a few dozen or hundred CDs into at once for a batch operation. I recall some engineering type actually purpose-built a robot arm to do this, on some website. But for the rest of us someone needs to adapt a carousel-type CD player platform to do it. 'Cos actually loading and unloading the discs is the real PITA from the human side.

Changing Everything

Reply #11
This sounds excellent - any chance of a windows version? I can spend a while setting it up manually if it's really that easy after setup
err... i'm not using windows any more ;)

 
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