Need help with a NAS

halohalo Posts: 3,654
Hey everyone!

I'm going to start off by letting you all know I'm not super tech savvy when it comes to computer systems.

That said, I've been toying with the idea of using an old notebook PC as a NAS. I can also use an old desktop PC but the laptop has a newer and faster processor (i5 vs Dual Core Pentium from '09).

Basically, what I would like to have in the finished product, is a NAS that houses all my media, music and movies. I have all my music (CD library) ripped to FLAC files. I have an Apple Music subscription & a Tidal subscription and I have music on iTunes that I'd like to access as well. I haven't ripped all my DVD's to a hard drive yet. I have JRiver installed on the laptop. The laptop & desktop are both running Windows 7 and I have no desire to switch to Windows 10.

I don't know beans about LINUX but I'm sure I can learn. I know it's been suggested that a RPi would be very good as a server but I still need the NAS to store all the files.

I have several external HDDs that are powered. Some are Green drives that spool up when you access them. They're all made by Fantom and they come in various storage capacities.

I can connect them via USB to a hub which is then connected to the laptop or desktop.

This doesn't have to be a permanent solution but if I can utilize what I already own, that'd be ideal.

If you have any questions I'll do my best to answer. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Lastly, I really like my ELAC Discovery streamer. The SQ is fantastic w/o a DAC. However, I cannot access all my music with Roon essentials especially my iTunes library or my Apple Music acct. My SONOS Connect has no issues accessing ALL of my music files but the fidelity isn't as good as the Discovery and I have to use it with a DAC to = the SQ of the analog outs on the Discovery.

Comments

  • trjtrj Posts: 322
    Hi, I am also looking for a NAS to host my media, act as a backup device and serve as a video recorder for surveillance. From my limited research I have found this info:

    First thing to ask yourself is What is your purpose of a NAS?
    If just music streaming and the receiving devices can decode the media, a 2 bay storage NAS like the entry level from qnap or synology will serve you well. But if you are asking the NAS to decode the media and the receiving device just to play as it is received, you will need to host a plex server(that will do you decoding for streaming media to any device). For this you will need a slightly powerful NAS processor and more memory. Something in the range of qnap 251+ or 451+. 251 is a 2 bay NAS, 451 is a 4 bay NAS. Of course this is all for audio and video. Audio only is not very hard on the processors so you can get away with something like 251 instead of 251+.
    The reason people consider NAS is for lower power consumption. Your notebook or any regular pc will take way too much power if ran 24/7 and the regular grade pc components are not built to be run 24/7.
    So it's better to have a dedicated NAS box with NAS specific hard drives instead of a regular pc for 24/7 operation.
    I am leaning more towards a qnap 451+ for my NAS to serve as a plex server(2 simultaneous streams for 1080p or one stream of 4K video at a time) and a data back up. Going to be connected to a network switch that serves the whole house and this makes everything accessible from any networked device within the house network.

    Good luck.
    Sony BDP-S6500 | Raspberry Pi 2 | XBOX One S | Wii --> Yamaha RX-V667 --> Adcom 5006 bridged to 175 watts for front LCR -- >Front: Polk Audio RTi8s | Center: CSi5 | Side Surrounds: RTi4s | Rear surrounds: FXiA4s | Cheap 12" sub woofer|Samsung UN60KU6300
  • txcoastal1txcoastal1 Posts: 8,343
    I went with the qnap 451+
    2-channel: Modwright KWI-200 Integrated, Dynaudio C1-II Signatures, Simaudio 780D DAC
    Desktop rig: LSi7, Polk 110sub, Dayens Ampino amp, W4S DAC/pre, Sonos, JRiver
    Gear on standby: Melody 101 tube pre, Modwright LS100, Unison Research Simply Italy Integrated
    Gone to new homes: (Matt Polk's)Threshold Stasis SA12e monoblocks, Pass XA30.5 amp, Usher MD2 speakers, Dynaudio C4 platinum speakers
  • DollarDaveDollarDave Posts: 2,480
    Synology DS916+ here for JRiver and Plex
  • billbillwbillbillw Posts: 5,667
    edited July 24
    It may be cheap and easy, but I wouldn't recommend using the laptop, especially if it is not wired to ethernet. Laptops in general don't perform as well when it comes to I/O. Using external drives would be slow UNLESS they are USB3.0 or eSATA connection. Also, windows is not a good platform for NAS. It is way too bloated.

    Best option is to buy an actual dual(or greater) stand alone NAS box. If your external drives can be removed, you could buy a diskless NAS and fill it. Beware, some external drives cannot be removed from their cases, or if you can, they do not have standard SATA connection (some of the USB3.0 are like this).

    Next best option would be to take that old desktop, wipe the disk and load something like FreeNAS onto it. Despite it having an older Dual Core Pentium, it would likely be fine unless you are looking to transcode (Plex) video. For audio, it would be more than enough.

    Yes, you might have to learn some Linux basics, but overall, it would perform MUCH better. Again with this setup, you could possibly take those external drives and mount them inside the PC.

    Last choice would be to use the laptop. Again, I would wipe and load FreeNAS to it. It should work with external USB drives, but if they are anything less than USB3.0, you will have a big bottleneck.
    Main 2-ch:
    Sony SS-M9; LSA Statement Amplifier; VPI HW-19 Mk3/Sumiko Premier FT-4/Audio Technica AT15SA; Pass Labs DIY Pearl Phono; Sony SCD-C333ES SACD Changer; TEAC UD-301 DAC; Dell/WYSE 5010 (running Daphile); Sony ST-SA5ES Tuner; Nanotec Golden Strada speaker cables (SR+#79 Shotgun); Audioquest Coral interconnects
  • erniejadeerniejade Posts: 3,748
    +1 on Qnap or Synology. You can run MiniMsever ( free) on either of them or as mentioned Plex also works. Just make sure whatever one you get has a decent amount of Ram. A few years ago I picked up a western digital EX2 running mirrored and it does NOT have enough ram to run things without it bogging down.

    Just to get you started, until you have a NAS in place, if you have a router with USB, you can hook one of your external drives to it and instant NAS basically.
    Lumin D1, KEF LS50 Wireless, Cayin scd-50T, LH Labs VI Dac, Technics 1200, Denon DL160, Jolida D9, HP I7 Laptop, Wireworld Eclipse 7, Wireworld Aurora, Wireworld Electra 7, Signal Magic Digital, Cardas Quadralink 5C, Velodyne SPL1200
    USB helpers: Intona, w4s Recovery

    HT: Elite SC27, Full Polk RTI setup.

  • halohalo Posts: 3,654
    Yes, @erniejade the router has a USB input. I will start there and see how it goes.

    If running FreeNAS OS on a server, will I still have access to iTunes & Apple Music? I know it's not uber high fidelity but I have a lot of music in there that I don't want to lose and I am also wondering about access to Tidal acct.

    Does the NAS just house the music and movies I already own and make them available via PLEX server? How does JRiver figure into all of this?
  • billbillwbillbillw Posts: 5,667
    edited July 24
    Halo, That last post is asking quite a few questions. I'll see if I can address them.

    In basic form, the NAS is a storage unit for whatever you want to put on it. Music files, Video files, documents, etc. Some NAS have 'apps' that run on top of them, but it is mostly just a storage device that is seen across your network.

    Itunes/Apple music is a store/software. The files you have paid for and downloaded are still yours to use. FreeNAS won't have Itunes built in, but any other computer/device that is connected to the network will be able to access the files on the NAS. You will just need to configure Itunes on each device to see the NAS folder as the library.
    Main 2-ch:
    Sony SS-M9; LSA Statement Amplifier; VPI HW-19 Mk3/Sumiko Premier FT-4/Audio Technica AT15SA; Pass Labs DIY Pearl Phono; Sony SCD-C333ES SACD Changer; TEAC UD-301 DAC; Dell/WYSE 5010 (running Daphile); Sony ST-SA5ES Tuner; Nanotec Golden Strada speaker cables (SR+#79 Shotgun); Audioquest Coral interconnects
  • halohalo Posts: 3,654
    billbillw wrote: »
    Halo, That last post is asking quite a few questions. I'll see if I can address them.

    In basic form, the NAS is a storage unit for whatever you want to put on it. Music files, Video files, documents, etc. Some NAS have 'apps' that run on top of them, but it is mostly just a storage device that is seen across your network.

    Itunes/Apple music is a store/software. The files you have paid for and downloaded are still yours to use. FreeNAS won't have Itunes built in, but any other computer/device that is connected to the network will be able to access the files on the NAS. You will just need to configure Itunes on each device to see the NAS folder as the library.
    Thanks for that!

    I'm having issues with the ELAC and my iTunes library.

    The ELAC is asking me to provide a pathway to my iTunes library but I don't know what that is (I've looked for this info on the inter web and I've come up empty. I think because answers about this are discussing previous versions of iTunes.).

    Right now, I have a hard drive with music files on it pugged directly into the USB input on the ELAC. The premise of the ELAC streamer is "access to your music without the computer". I can plug in a USB drive Witt my files in it (which I'm doing now) or I can connect a NAS to the ELAC instead. I should be able to access any DLNA equipment in/on my home network as well.

    I thought that connecting the laptop to the ELAC might grant me access to iTunes and/or Apple Music but I haven't tried it yet.

    I really do appreciate the feedback thus far so thanks for that!
  • erniejadeerniejade Posts: 3,748
    with J river, do you have the J remote app?
    Lumin D1, KEF LS50 Wireless, Cayin scd-50T, LH Labs VI Dac, Technics 1200, Denon DL160, Jolida D9, HP I7 Laptop, Wireworld Eclipse 7, Wireworld Aurora, Wireworld Electra 7, Signal Magic Digital, Cardas Quadralink 5C, Velodyne SPL1200
    USB helpers: Intona, w4s Recovery

    HT: Elite SC27, Full Polk RTI setup.

  • halohalo Posts: 3,654
    erniejade wrote: »
    with J river, do you have the J remote app?
    No. I have JRiver installed but haven't used it much
  • billbillwbillbillw Posts: 5,667
    edited July 27
    Let me get back to your question of the iTunes "library." This could be referring to a couple different things. The first, is basically, the folder where you have saved/downloaded/ripped all your music that is managed by iTunes. I think it defaults to the User Library>My Music in most later versions of Windows. If you never changed anything, that is where it is located. That is not the absolute path, it would be something like C:\Users\UserX\Music.

    iTunes also creates a folder that stores all the library information (metadata/album covers,etc) and device (ipod) sync data. That is often a subfolder in the Music library directory, or it is sometimes under C:/Users/UserX/AppData. It should have a folder name of iTunes Library or similar.

    Overall, I think the best way to manage it, it to have all your music in one folder, on the NAS (backed up on a PC) and have all devices/iTunes/ELAC point to the NAS folder with your music. You can copy everything out of your existing iTunes library to the NAS folder. Just don't let iTunes mange the folder. I don't like the way iTunes rearranges/renames things.
    Main 2-ch:
    Sony SS-M9; LSA Statement Amplifier; VPI HW-19 Mk3/Sumiko Premier FT-4/Audio Technica AT15SA; Pass Labs DIY Pearl Phono; Sony SCD-C333ES SACD Changer; TEAC UD-301 DAC; Dell/WYSE 5010 (running Daphile); Sony ST-SA5ES Tuner; Nanotec Golden Strada speaker cables (SR+#79 Shotgun); Audioquest Coral interconnects
  • halohalo Posts: 3,654
    billbillw wrote: »
    Let me get back to your question of the iTunes "library." This could be referring to a couple different things. The first, is basically, the folder where you have saved/downloaded/ripped all your music that is managed by iTunes. I think it defaults to the User Library>My Music in most later versions of Windows. If you never changed anything, that is where it is located. That is not the absolute path, it would be something like C:\Users\UserX\Music.

    iTunes also creates a folder that stores all the library information (metadata/album covers,etc) and device (ipod) sync data. That is often a subfolder in the Music library directory, or it is sometimes under C:/Users/UserX/AppData. It should have a folder name of iTunes Library or similar.

    Overall, I think the best way to manage it, it to have all your music in one folder, on the NAS (backed up on a PC) and have all devices/iTunes/ELAC point to the NAS folder with your music. You can copy everything out of your existing iTunes library to the NAS folder. Just don't let iTunes mange the folder. I don't like the way iTunes rearranges/renames things.
    Thanks!!

    I'll give it a go when I get home tonight.
  • crashb4crashb4 Posts: 176
    If you build your own NAS with Open Media Vault, the desk top will most likely have sufficient hardware. The Linux underpinnings are light weight but provide versatility to be used as a main hub for storage and backup for an entire household. There are countless tutorials as well as forums filled with knowledgeable folks willing to lend a hand. I run a 6TB NAS on an old desktop that houses 8 drives. I have redundant hot swappable drives. If a drive fails. I pop in a new one and the system re-wrights it. With some time and research, I was able to build a storage device that runs circles around the store bought equivalent and did it at less than 1/3 the price. Check it out.

    https://www.openmediavault.org/
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