IN search of a an ergonomic Music/Movie Server.

FrantzM

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
6,469
0
0
#1
Hi

I am in my early 50's. I have moved from an analog centric Audiophile and videophile to a digital. I listgen exclusively to digital and watch my movies like everyone else including the most die-in-the-wool analog devotee in digital format...

My last music server was built using the template provided in this very forum by Gary L Koh (Thanks so very much) performance is superior and I have no qualm about it . I use mostly Foobar but also J River Music Controller and am pleased with these .. JRMC cost next to nothing, FOObar is free and both are wondeful products ...
Then I saw a Kaledeiscape demo, then I went at a friend place and saw the Kaledeiscape controlled by some Crestron-based system and ... Well you know .. I have been bitten ...

The question , I am asking to the collective is the following: What are the best music and movie servers out there... Ergonomic is an important factor .. I want the thing to perform in a simple and efficient fashion. I want Android AND IOS control. I want reliability, I want simplicity and I want the best sonics possible ... And one last thing, I don't want it to cost the proverbial Arms and Legs ... I wouldn't mind Kaledeiscape but am looking for alternatives ...
Iwant also 4 zones expandable to more, I want Hi-Rez, FLAC, WAV and ape playing, I want Blu Ray and regular DVD .. I want it all :) ... I wouldn't mind splitting the servers. One for music and one for Movie would be OK .. I would like however the interfaces to be similar or at the very least from the same Devices (IOS and Android)
I prefer Ethernet connectivity but Wi-Fi control ... I don't yet need whole system or house control .. It would have been nice however .. :) Of course I want the absolute best music performance ...

We are living interesting times. Books and magazine reading have become more interesting since I acquired two e-book reader (IOS and Android), actually three there is a basic B&W reader in the mix but the Fire displaced it for reading .. i still leave it in the car for general reading... I have more than 2000 CD in my NAS and I have never listened to more music and/or enjoyed my collection so much. I would like to enjoy the same with movies and I like the convenience of multi-zone music and movie playing/watching ...

What are you thoughts and experiences , People?
 
May 30, 2010
13,900
3
38
Portugal
#3
It would be very nice if some knowledge member could give us an idea of the typical cost of such Kaledeiscape systems. Unhappily is usually hide in some hard to reach part of the company or seller sites.
 

audioguy

WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
2,723
4
38
Near Atlanta, GA but not too near!
#4
The Qsonix Music server interface is far superior to any other I have seen/used (JRiver and Media Monkey). The iPad interface for Media Monkey helps but it is still a LONG way from Qsonix. Actually, not even close. iPad and iPhone interfaces are included. I know Meridian has a nice interface on their server but have no personal experience.

My bet would be sound quality of the Qsonix is a wash with any other server out there since they now include Wadia digital for providing digital output. It is NOT inexpensive compared to other servers but if you want easy to use, highly, highly, highly recommended.

I don't have any idea on how the qSonix interface compares to whatever video server you might select. (Are there even any legal choices besides Kaleidoscope?) The only downside I experienced with the qSonix was that since it is a closed/integrated system (not something "stuck" on top of Windows/iTunes), using a browser to access hi rez music data bases (e.g. HD Music or iTrax) was not possible. I found that a major shortcoming but it may have since been addressed.

I have a different view of purchasing a video server. With a music server, it gives me the flexibility to listen to part of a CD, hear something that reminds me of another piece of music and instantly switch. I seldom (since I have had a server) listen to a complete CD any longer.

For movies, it is a different proposition for me. I have a data base in my iPad (and on a PC) with all of my movies (Invelos - there are other options available) find one we want to watch (sortable by genre, actor, etc), pull it from the shelf and watch it. There is no reason to switch movies in the middle. The "cool factor" of Kaleidoscope it tempting but the way we watch movies, I'd rather spend the money on a new PJ (which I am) or more music or ...

But like you, I thought the coolness of Kaleidoscope was very tempting/appealing/seductive/addictive. If I win the lottery (is it necessary to actually enter?), I might reconsider :p
 
#5
The question , I am asking to the collective is the following: What are the best music and movie servers out there... Ergonomic is an important factor .. I want the thing to perform in a simple and efficient fashion. I want Android AND IOS control. I want reliability, I want simplicity and I want the best sonics possible ... And one last thing, I don't want it to cost the proverbial Arms and Legs .
Best for me is undoubtedly not best for you. Functional requirements differ and user interface preferences can be radically different. What strikes me about conversations like this is the reactive tone of the evaluations of particular products. I don't see many people analyzing their own requirements and preferences so that they know what to look for. Your description was better than most but it doesn't say much about UI characteristics or functionality that made Foobar or JRiver less than perfect.

Given such an understanding of needs and preferences, you might choose one of two ways to meet them:

- Look for a packaged solution that is just perfect for you. And pay big bucks.

- Set to work assembling a solution using much cheaper component parts. Right now, some components are still evolving. The solution can evolve over time.

We are a few days into a remodeling project. When it is done, we'll enjoy the improvement in functionality and the better fit to our preferences. We'll enjoy the feeling that we figured out what we wanted and made it happen. (A remodeling project in 1996 for another part of the house still produces that feeling of accomplishment.) I already have that feeling about the PC audio system I assembled 5+ years ago.

Bill
 

Jay_S

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
308
0
0
San Francisco - East Bay
#6
I don't really understand the need for a movie server. I rarely want to watch a movie more than once or twice. Even then, in most cases, it might a long time before I want to see the movie again again. What do people use these servers for?
 

rblnr

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
May 3, 2010
1,878
0
0
NYC/NJ
#7
If you decide to just go w/just a music server or a separate system for movies and music (unlikely I know), I'd look at a Squeezebox first. A cheap way to get your feet wet if nothing else and I've still not read or heard anything convincing that another solution will give you a better quality digital output. Has iDevice and Android interfaces.
 
Apr 3, 2010
16,022
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Seattle, WA
#8
Unfortunately, there is no real solution beside Kaleidescape for movies. Whether it is due to issues of copy protection, user interface, reliability, etc., there is nothing else that remotely works well. If you are a single person, then you can try to glue pieces together with a PC. But if you have a family, they will curse you left and right. Trust me, I tried to come up with an alternative for over a year and there just isn't anything that works well for movies. The price of Kaleidescape systems has come down -- certainly cheaper than a high-end speaker or amp :D. BTW, Kaleidescape now has (or shortly will) browsing and full UI control through iPad. It also handles music using the same unified interface.
 
May 30, 2010
13,900
3
38
Portugal
#9
(...) If you are a single person, then you can try to glue pieces together with a PC. But if you have a family, they will curse you left and right. (...)
I feel the same about this server business, but I was afraid to confess I am not a serious audiophile! :eek::eek::eek:
 
Dec 6, 2010
172
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FLORIDA
#10
If you decide to just go w/just a music server or a separate system for movies and music (unlikely I know), I'd look at a Squeezebox first. A cheap way to get your feet wet if nothing else and I've still not read or heard anything convincing that another solution will give you a better quality digital output. Has iDevice and Android interfaces.
I have heard digital frontends that would just slam dunk a Squeezebox for SQ but not cheap. For instance I have a laptop running JRiver Media Center 17 using WASAPI - Event Style connected to a WaveLink HS 24/192 USB to SPDIF converter then connected to my Outboard DAC via BNC digital cable.
 
Dec 6, 2010
172
0
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FLORIDA
#12
That's too bad. I think JRiver Media Center fits that ticket nicely. Thu GUI on my Android tablet is nice and with my current setup it performs as a world class 2ch referance playback using JRiver Media Center 17.