If you want a complicated, all singing, all dancing NAS unit that will act as a print server, Bit Torrent client, email server etc...then the last thing in the world you want to buy is the Ripfactory Ripserver.
If, on the other hand, you want the easiest, greenest, simplest way to rip your music...you've come to the right place.
The Ripfactory Ripserver is almost unique in the marketplace. It's not exactly sold as a NAS device, but it can quite happily be used as one. Many end users don't know what a NAS is or even what the acronym stands for. They don't want to worry about complex things like RAID, file systems or user permissions. All they want is somewhere to store their digital music so they can easily access it from their digital music system like Sonos and if they buy the Ripserver, they've got one.
The Ripserver isn't really sold directly as a music server, but it certainly is one and a powerful one too. It supports Sonos, Firefly, SqueezeCenter, DLNA, UPNP and is even iTunes server compatible. What all this means is that, whichever digital music playback solution you decide to purchase, the Ripserver is likely to support it.
What the Ripserver has, that most other comparable NAS devices don't, is a CD slot...and this is what puts it head and shoulders ahead of the competition.
Do you understand CD ripping? Do you know how to tag your tracks with Artist/Title information? Do you know how to locate and insert the album sleeve artwork into your music files? Do you know how to install different codecs onto your PC? Do you know how to rip your CDs into 2 different codecs at the same time? The Ripserver does.
This device can only be described as "Simple" with a capital S. You simply take it out of the box, patch it into your internet router, connect the included power supply and start it up. Once booted, there's a little beep to let you know the device is ready - a good job really, it's so quiet that sometimes you might even wonder if it's turned on.
Now all you need to do is configure the device...oh, maybe not. The device comes preconfigured with the required network shares and, all being well, will just appear on your network. No complex configuration required you can simply tap http://ripserver into the browser on your PC and your looking at the rip settings. Here you can easily choose what codec in which you wish to rip your music. A lossless codec like FLAC is the best option for future use, but it may not work with some portable players. Ripserver allows you to rip your music into both FLAC and mp3 at the same time. I told you it was easy.
No complex menus or difficult user interfaces, things are kept nice and simple, you only need to see this screen once. Once you've chosen your desired codecs, from a healthy list of the most common choices, you're good to go.
Insert a CD into the slot and there's a little beep then the disc starts to read. That's all you need to do, unless you want to go and put the kettle on. When it's done with it, the device smoothly ejects the disc ready for the next one. That's it....all you need to do. In fact, if you have a child, nephew, niece or neighbour handy and they want to earn some extra pocket money...it's all they have to do. Disc in, disc out. Disc in, disc out. It's easier than making toast.
But what's happening in the background during all this? Well, the Ripserver is...
1) Identifying the artist/title/album name/genre of your CD...
2) extracting all the digital data from the CD...
3) Converting that digital data into individual files, one for each track...
4) Tagging each track with the correct Artist/Title/Album/Genre...
5) Downloading album sleeve artwork for that album...
6) Inserting the album artwork into each trackfile, so it appears on your player...
7) Saving a copy of the artwork into the music folder, so windows will display it in explorer...
8) Creating an Artist Name\Album Name\Track folder structure...
9) Doing all of the above twice...once for each codec.
But you don't need to worry about all that as it's completely seamless to the end user you just rip a disc and then play it on your music player. It's all there and just works. The only quirk I found is that sometimes the data in the online database is slightly inaccurate. For example, an album I ripped by Dina Carroll was identified as "rock" music. Far from it really, but this is always the danger of using public online databases and not an issue unique to Ripserver in any way.
So why is Ripserver better than a PC/Mac with iTunes installed? Well, for a start it's far simpler. You simply insert the disc and wait. Nothing to click, nothing to mess up.
On top of that, the album art handling is massively better. iTunes does download art, but only in a way that is compatible with your iPod. It's no use for 3rd party music players like Sonos or Squeezbox.
iTunes can only rip in one codec at a time, so if you want a copy of the CD in lossless alongside an mp3 copy, then you have to do it twice.
Also, with iTunes, if you shut down or reboot your PC, the music stops. Ripserver is designed to run 24/7 with minimal power consumption.
When I say minimal, I mean a power consumption of just 27 watts at idle. Even during concurrent ripping/encoding it only manages to draw 33 watts...less than half that of my Infrant ReadyNAS - and considerably more powerful too, the 1GHz processor on the Ripserver packs quite a punch. Performance of heavyweight NAS applications is equivalent to that seen on my full sized PCs whereas the same software really struggles to perform on the ReadyNAS. This makes the Ripserver an ideal choice to couple with the Logitech Squeezebox Duet which needs a fairly weighty machine to run it's Squeezecenter software.
Hardware wise, a quick look under the lid confirms that this unit doesn't even contain a fan, so the only noise comes from the hard disk itself which has been securely seated in the chassis so there are no vibrations. To put this into perspective, I hid the unit under the bed one night before my wife came home. She slept above it all night without noticing any noise whatsoever. Unlike most NAS devices, this unit will not give you any intrusive background noise.
For a pretty technical guy, I'm finding it really hard to say how easy this device is to use. To put it simply, if any of the technical details above are too complicated for you and you just don't understand...then Ripserver is the solution for you.
Results 1 to 6 of 6
2008-10-23, 02:25 #1
Ripfactory Ripserver - User Review
2008-10-24, 15:02 #2
two other options for music servers (running SC7) with integrated automated secure ripping you may want to consider:
1) AVA-RS3, based on Windows Home Server, by TranquilPC
2) RipNas, by dBpoweramp, also based on a Windows Home Server
Incidentally, if you already own a Windows Home Server, you can buy RipNas Essentials by dbpoweramp (provided you don't live in Norway, it seems...), which comes as an add-in bundled with a USB powered slot drive.
We are starting to be spoilt for choice....SqbxSvr Running on MacMini Server
- 1 Transporter
- 1 Boom
- 1 Controller
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RareNoiseRecords Jukebox :
2008-10-24, 15:26 #3
Ben: Not a bad review, but it would be nice if you included *any* information about what database(s) the Ripserver uses for tagging. In my experience your comment that "sometimes the data in the online database is slightly inaccurate" is an extreme understatement, and some are far better/worse than others.
Also you say it "supports" Sonos, Firefly, SqueezeCenter, etc. but you never say what is required to implement one of those. Does Ripserver do it through its gui, does the user have to start a shell session, or what?
And then there's the little stuff, like what options there are for hard drive capacity..., translated into "XXX CDs worth of music" if you prefer.Nothing high-end, but music anywhere I want it, and it's 100% wind powered. MSI single-core Atom mini-desktop (Debian Squeeze 6.0.x) feeding: Living room: SB Touch > NAD C325 BEE > Vandersteen 1; Kitchen/Dining: SB2 > AudioSource Amp100 > 2 pair of Polk RC60i; Basement: SB2 > JVC JA-S44 > ESS Tempest LS8; Bedroom: SB Radio; Study: Squeezelite local player > Klipsch ProMedia 2.0; Backyard deck: SB Receiver > AudioSource Amp100 > Polk Atrium 45; Kid's bedroom: Boom; Roaming controllers: Retina iPad with Squeezepad & iPeng, iPod touch with iPeng, 3 SB Duet Controllers, various SB infrared remotes, Nokia N800; In the bullpen (boxed up and ready to use if one of the above quits): SB3 and one more SB Receiver
2008-10-24, 16:55 #4
- Join Date
- Jul 2008
Primarily it pulls from GD3 and the cost of the Ripserver includes a lifetime subscription to the professional GD3 database (normally it is .15 cents a rip). As a classical and jazz music lover, I have not come across a more comprehensive and accurate database than GD3 and have tried them all. I think we all know that there is no "perfect" database out there so check out how GD3 evolved http://www.getdigitaldata.com/GD3.aspx vs the others and what they do to work towards the best metadata in the industry. Yes, minor fixes are needed but they really get what it takes for richer information on Composers, artists, conductors, artwork resolution and so on.
As far as connectivity, the Ripserver just plugs in to your local network and then its ready to go. There is no set up needed for SC7, Twonky, and Firefly. Plug it in and it works. It passed "the wife" usability test with flying colours.
The Ripserver comes in a 500 GB and 1 TB model, with expandable storage via USB. I have a WD 1TB plugged in the back of mine with RAID option selected so it is worry free. So the 1 TB unit can actually hold up to 9500 CDS at MP3 192 and about 2000 CDs in FLAC. Like Jeffacake mentioned the Ripserver is also configurable to rip to multiple codecs simultaneously and can be set to any combination of MP3, FLAC, and WAV. Yup, I agree FLAC and mp3 is the way to go in my book for iPods in the car and great sound at home via system.
I originally had www.ripstyles.com load all my CDs and now have also included all my home movies, photos and use it to file share with my family (didn't realize how easy this would be until I got it home) For my money, the Ripserver has the best bang for the buck and is a great long term investment and unlike the other products on the market this is NOT a windows home server so as the software evolves we will not be restricted by windows.
Jeffacake, nice job on the review by the way! You brought plenty of insight to the product that I was unaware of.
2008-10-24, 16:58 #5
I said that "sometimes" the data was inaccurate as in my case that's all it was. I only saw an error on one disc, but I didn't exactly rip an entire collection when testing...just a handful of random discs. Obviously results are going to vary depending on the material being ripping but it does a very reasonable job from what I have personally seen.
At this time, it appears to use freedb and the more professional GD3 - http://ripfactory.com/gd3.html - GD3 also apparently handles the album art...which worked perfectly in my experience.
It supports the services I mentioned out of the box, it's all pre-installed. Sonos doesn't require any software, it's a hardware solution, so that works anyway. Squeezebox obviously requires SqueezeCenter - this is also pre-installed with the firmware and, during the time I had the review box, the RipServer software updates took that from V7.0.0 to V7.0.1 to V7.1. Ripfactory appear to be doing a good job of keeping this software up-to-date and also adding some nice additional features. Like, for example, on the SqueezeCenter side of things there is now an trigger to update your music library automatically after you've ripped a new CD.
Ripserver is available in 500GB and 1000GB (1TB) models, pricing is on the website.
I'm not affiliated with them at all, they just sent me a review model for 'green' testing that has now been returned.
Edit: looks like jbrotman posted just at the same time, thanks for the info - I didn't have kit available to test the RAID option.
Last edited by jaffacake; 2008-10-24 at 17:05.
2008-10-24, 23:21 #6
Thanks for this great review Jaffa !SBT - North Star dac 192 - Croft 25Pre and Series 7 power - Sonus Faber Grand Piano Domus