NAS for home lossless audio with auto adjustments, possible?

Dr MC

Novice Member
Hi All,

Long time since posting here. I will try to be as concise as possible with my issue;

I currently have all my music stored in lossless (flac) on a PC in my music room / studio. This is where my best audio equipment is and where I go when I want to listen to music sounding it’s best.

Everywhere else in the house I / we currently stream audio from our phones over Bluetooth / Airplay either direct to receiver or to a tv which goes to a receiver.

Basically, I want to put all the lossless versions on a NAS, and then access this from any room in the house, Bluetooth speakers included when outside gardening etc.

Does the NAS device need the relevant decoder for the lossless tracks or does the steaming device need this? Also, for devices like the Bluetooth speaker, is there a protocol which will automatically adjust the file to something such as an mp3 which it will support? I am assuming not, but trying to find a solution where I can enjoy lossless everywhere that supports it, and other family members can access the same library and be happy with an mp3 version on their headphones etc. (also maybe the tv to receiver as I doubt a Samsung tv supports lossless).

Any advise appreciated,

Dr MC
 

cjed

Well-known Member
In my setup I have two music libraries stored on my NAS, one in FLAC format and one in MP3 format. I use the FLAC library for native streaming to Squeezebox devices (via Logitech Media Server running on the NAS) and Sonos devices (direct to an SMB share on the NAS), and the MP3 library for iTunes to sync to iPhones and iPods as I can store more music on these in MP3, so I can put my whole library on a 256GB iPod/iPhone and have it portable. The libraries both contain the same 1300 albums and take around 420GB in FLAC format and 120GB in high bitrate MP3 format.

Logitech Media Server can transcode FLAC to MP3 on the fly for devices that don't support it, but I don't use that feature as both Squeezebox and Sonos devices play FLAC nativily.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
A NAS is just a storage device. They can store anything, they don't "care" what it is and thusly we don't need to worry about whether a NAS is "compatible" or needs drivers/CODEC's for whatever files we store on them. All a NAS does is store files and allow other things to retrieve those file across a network link. Though there are some add on applications that can be installed on some NAS's that will convert data from one format to another in real time as it is accessed; so called "transcoding," but such apps are not essential to a NAS being a NAS.

Transcoding involves decoding the (usually) compressed media files out to full fat uncompressed, then re-encoding it to another format. There's a lot of maths involved in that, particularly the re-encoding. Such maths needs a fair bit of CPU power on the NAS, though a lot less for audio than video. Transcoding is not a trivial process, though is much simpler for audio than video. To transcode in real time, you would need a NAS that either has built in or can install an additional transcoding app. Plex is very popular with the video community.

In data networking, a "protocol" is generally just a "set of rules" describing some process - typically getting some data from A to B. A Protocol in and of itself does not convert anything to anything else. Though it's possible that a protocol might describe (or even mandate) how such a conversion takes place.

However, I concur with @cjed - I wouldn't over think and over complicate it. Music files are pretty small (compared to say video) and the amount of storage you get in a NAS is huge in comparison. I would just store two versions of the files, one set on FLAC and one in mp3.

FLAC is quite widely supported, you may be surprised just how many devices can read it,
 

Ruffuz

Well-known Member
And if you have a semi decent router just attach hard drive to it.
Saves a lot of money.
 

spile

Active Member
With my Qnap I run MinimServer and I stream FLAC audio to my streaming preamp. To access music on other devices like my phone or tablet I access the files using QFile. For Windows I access the music share directly and play with media player.
 

Dr MC

Novice Member
I have to confess this has just confused me further. I had not planned on extra software, I had hoped I could just transfer all my lossless music to a hard drive and then access it from any device I wanted. If I need to have two folders, one containing lossless and the other mp3 (or Apple equivalent) then so be it, I just need to know the simplist way of storing my music so every periferal
 

Dr MC

Novice Member
Can access my music archive. I guess to identical folders, one lossless, one mp3 on a wired networked hard drive will do what I want
I have to confess this has just confused me further. I had not planned on extra software, I had hoped I could just transfer all my lossless music to a hard drive and then access it from any device I wanted. If I need to have two folders, one containing lossless and the other mp3 (or Apple equivalent) then so be it, I just need to know the simplist way of storing my music so every periferal
 

Bolosun

Member
Put your music on the NAS. Setup the streaming s/w on your phone to access it, and go from there. What you need to check is to make sure the s/w can access the music format you want to stream. Almost all can stream mp3, and most can stream FLAC, AAC etc.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
I have to confess this has just confused me further. I had not planned on extra software, I had hoped I could just transfer all my lossless music to a hard drive and then access it from any device I wanted. If I need to have two folders, one containing lossless and the other mp3 (or Apple equivalent) then so be it, I just need to know the simplist way of storing my music so every periferal

That's about as complicated as it is. Create folders on the NAS to stores files, organised in some manner that makes sense and/or is required by your playback devices, (the NAS itself won't care,) create some "shares" that advertise those folders onto the network and teach the client devices where to find the Shares.

I have my music organised with a top level of folders being the artist, under each artist is a folder for each of their albums and each album folder contains the FLAC files that are the tracks. Plus a few jpg files to represent the cover art - though that's not essential and I don't have any meta data about anything. But there's other ways you could do it - you could have a flatter structure that just a set of folders representing each album and then again the FLAC's in each for the tracks. (Ditto mp3's or anything else.)

I would create two separate folder trees each for FLAC and MP3 and "share" the root of each separately. For example, you could call one "Music_FLAC" and one "Music_MP3" or maybe one "Music_Lossless" and one "Music_Lossy." Or anything else that makes sense to you - the share names don't "mean" anything to the machines, the names are just for human being convenience. But again, there's other ways to do it.

"Share" names (when you create them) don't have to match the name of the folder they point to - often they will default to the be the same name as the folder, but you can usually change them.
 
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spile

Active Member
It really is easy. The reason for additional software like MinimServer is so that your files are presented to the music player. It’s a simple application with one setting- the folder location of your music.

One important caveat. Do not expose a NAS to the internet so turn off uPnP and disable any port forwarding, otherwise you are likely to be subjected to ransomware attacks. That is not an issue if you are only accessing multimedia from home.
If you need remote access to your NAS, you will need to run a VPN server but clearly that ups he degree of complexity considerably.
 

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