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Maintaining "copies" of your library at different format/bitrates on several devices/machines?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I'm just getting started with my "pursuit for better sound".  My preferred computer platform is Mac and iTunes suits me well (at this time) due to the playlists and the fact that I have an iPhone/iPad/Ipod(s), Mac Mini, MacBook Pro, AppleTV, and Airport for airplay (I feel slightly sick to my stomach after typing all that and realizing how much money I gave to that company - but.. Apple stuff "just works" for me).  My library is mostly Indie/Electronica/Alt-Rock from the past 2 decades.


I rip or download all of my music as 192kbps MP3 (or 320 as download when available) on my Mac Mini (1TB drives and external backup).  My library is around 90GB (13000 songs).  I then sync my devices via iTunes, and manually sync my entire library from my Mini to my MacBook Pro (using rsync).  That way I can take my MBP with me to work.



Mac Mini toslink to Rega DAC (2ch 24-bit 96k) RCA to Rega Brio-R to Klipsch Floor Towers



MacBook Pro USB to Meridian Explorer DAC (192k) 1/4"-RCA to Fosgate Signature AMP to Senn HD650 (or HD390 Pro - depending on how noisy the office is that day).


My dilemma:

I estimate that if I re-rip my entire collection I will probably consume about 320GB of disk space on the Mini.  I can de-rez the files back to 128k on my devices.  However - I am at a crossroads how to deal with the MacBook Pro.  I simply will not have space on my laptop for my collection (since the SSD is not that large).


Based on ALL of those seemingly trivial details, should I even bother?  I believe my highest-quality audio is my laptop rig - which cannot contain my entire collection in lossless.  I will likely not hear an audible difference on my home rig anyhow.


I'm reasonable tech-savvy but I am struggling to figure out how to have a simple and repeatable method to keep a Lossless library on my Mini and a lower-resolution copy on my MBP.


I am trying to research all this but everyone on the Interwebs is the smartest person they know (but, I trust the advice and opinions here at head-fi) and I'm just running myself in circles.


(I am looking to find a different player app for my library though.  Audirvana seems cool, but somewhat buggy when I try to use it.  I'm sure once I get the hang of it, I'll have less issues.)


Thanks in advance!!!!

Edited by crashradtke - 2/24/14 at 3:00pm
post #2 of 3

Why not get a portable offboard USB hard disk? These use 2.5" mechanisms, are up to 1TB, and will fit in a pocket. They're not expensive. Copy your library to that drive and take it with you to work. If you keep your Itunes library file on that drive, I believe your playlists will be available, although I've not tested this.


Ideally, you'd have two drives. One for the working library, one for a backup.


As for playback software, Itunes works fine. Just make sure the volume is set to maximum, and that the Audio Midi Setup (a utility program on your Mac) is set to the maximum data rate your DAC will handle. This will provide bit-perfect transmission of your music to the DAC. I'd also suggest giving yourself some time to test various data rates; differences aren't apparent, at least to me, immediately unless they're extreme. Compare 192k files with 320k and Apple Lossless, and pick the one that sounds best to you.

post #3 of 3

I bought a 300 GB USB drive several years ago for something like 40 bucks. With nearly 700 full albums on it in FLAC level 0 (largest file size) saved, I still have another 40 GB left. And you can get 500 GB drives for roughly the same price now.


I keep my music "archive" on that drive, with everything backed up to writable DVD's. and a 64 GB card with everything duplicated in lossyFLAC for my portable.

Edited by Roboturner913 - 2/24/14 at 1:45pm
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