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jfalk
2008-02-21, 06:58
Thought folks might be interested here. Not to say that this guys experience is common, he seems to have rejected the Slim solution only because commercial services to convert CDs are too expensive. For those without 2500 CD collections to digitize, though, this article might sell a Squeezebox or two.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/21/technology/personaltech/21basics.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=slim+devices&st=nyt&oref=slogin

mflint
2008-02-21, 07:29
It's funny that he identified a problem, and found a set of solutions. Then he discounted the solutions because he couldn't be bothered implementing them.

His loss...

Sike
2008-02-21, 09:03
Does Slimdevices no longer rip CDs? Thet would of been his solution..

twylie
2008-02-21, 09:47
what scares me most about reviews like these and single box solutions is the lack of backup and the cost (time and/or $) to re-rip CDs. I completely get the "I want one transaction to cover equipment and ripping" mentality, but he doesn't have a backup solution, nor the current ability to add additional playback units. From a marketing standpoint, these are the caveats/features I talk up most when getting someone into ripping/streaming audio.

I know that Stereophile and most high end magazines give the manufacturer the ability to respond to a review before printing time to correct any errors or address any concerns. IMHO, it would be wise for Logitech SMS Marketing to reach out to these "web" authors with a "thanks for the review, we are working to help customers differentiate our solutions and the unique benefits they offer. Here are some additional considerations should you decide to revisit our products in the future." From my experience, education is the biggest gap in getting the mainstream to adopt streaming/digital storage concepts. SlimDevices offers some unique differences and features that require some awareness above the obvious issues in order to be fully appreciated.

peter
2008-02-21, 10:03
twylie wrote:
> what scares me most about reviews like these and single box solutions is
> the lack of backup and the cost (time and/or $) to re-rip CDs. I
> completely get the "I want one transaction to cover equipment and
> ripping" mentality, but he doesn't have a backup solution, nor the
> current ability to add additional playback units. From a marketing
> standpoint, these are the caveats/features I talk up most when getting
> someone into ripping/streaming audio.
>
> I know that Stereophile and most high end magazines give the
> manufacturer the ability to respond to a review before printing time to
> correct any errors or address any concerns. IMHO, it would be wise for
> Logitech SMS Marketing to reach out to these "web" authors with a
> "thanks for the review, we are working to help customers differentiate
> our solutions and the unique benefits they offer. Here are some
> additional considerations should you decide to revisit our products in
> the future." From my experience, education is the biggest gap in
> getting the mainstream to adopt streaming/digital storage concepts.
> SlimDevices offers some unique differences and features that require
> some awareness above the obvious issues in order to be fully
> appreciated.
>

Weirdest thing is that he first drops the Squeezebox because it's too
much hassle to do the ripping and then chooses a much more expensive
device (with less functionality) and he still wants to outsource the
ripping.

Also, the Sonos gets its "feature-laden remote control ($399), complete
with scroll wheel and full-color screen" mentioned, but the fact that
the Duet has a very similar remote is not mentioned at all.

This type of review is just a little bit to superficial.

Regards,
Peter

tyler_durden
2008-02-21, 10:07
Didn't anyone notice that first he looked at $300 SB3 plus $2500 for a service to rip all his CDs, and decided $2500 to rip his discs was too expensive, then he finally settles on a $5000 solution?

This guy must be a product of public education in the US. Or did the $4000 box maker have some influence on his article to which we are not privy (they didn't pay for the article, did they?)?

Pffft!

TD

Timothy Stockman
2008-02-21, 10:36
Not to say that this guys experience is common, he seems to have rejected the Slim solution only because commercial services to convert CDs are too expensive.
This "problem" will eventually work itself out. In the future, CD will not be the delivery vehicle. IMHO the iTunes music store is one reason the iPod is popular, you can buy the music ready to go, no ripping required. I just hope that FLAC (or some lossless) becomes popular before CDs go extinct. There are several problems which must be worked out before music-on-the-hard-drive, be it Slimserver, Itunes/iPod or another solution is ready for prime time. Besides ditribution, there's tagging. The wide variations in online tag databases with popular music, not to mention that the tagging schemes are do not really handle classical all that well, and with FLAC only the most basic tags have been de-facto standardized, these are other problems which need to be dealt with. And there's the problem of what to do with "gapless" playback. And, while this is mainly a problem for audiophiles, how to handle various resolutions of source material on various playback devices.

twylie
2008-02-21, 11:14
Didn't anyone notice that first he looked at $300 SB3 plus $2500 for a service to rip all his CDs, and decided $2500 to rip his discs was too expensive, then he finally settles on a $5000 solution?

This guy must be a product of public education in the US. Or did the $4000 box maker have some influence on his article to which we are not privy (they didn't pay for the article, did they?)?

Pffft!

TD

I did notice the $2k price disparity, but he would have still needed a PC or NAS and then had to load his music, install server software, etc. Time and effort to set these up must have been worth $2k in his eyes. The one stop shopping experience seems to have driven his decision. It's easy for us to point out the SlimDevices overall superiority from a technical and feature standpoint, but his views didn't align with ours. I have a few friends that have seen my setup (NAS feeding SB3 for whole house audio + Transporter in 2 channel rig, SB3 in garage) yet when it comes time to buy, they went with Sonos for the display remote. They also would have been willing to pay someone to rip all their music, but didn't know where to begin. The various choices offered for these setups comes across as FUD to the consumer, so they often purchase the simple solution, even if it's more expensive and not "the best". All this ties to the "average Joe" thread and will continue to be a serious problem until streaming media becomes commonplace.

blakeh
2008-02-21, 12:31
I spent about 18 months ripping each of my 5,300 CDs into FLAC format and I never really thought of it as much of a chore. I guess I saw it as a fun way to re-visit my CD collection one last time before I went all digital. Even if you made a goal of ripping 10 CDs per day (which would take around 20-30 minutes), you could rip a 3,600+ CD collection in a year. In the meantime you'd still have your CDs to pop in your CD player for listening purposes.

Granted, it took some time to tag them correctly and add cover art (I had to scan about 1,000 covers in that weren't available online) but what I'm left with is a searchable, lossless collection of all my music with catalog numbers, country of origin, record label information and cover art.

The Squeezebox has made it so much easier to listen to music. And I'm eagerly awaiting the new remote so that I can view cover art while the music is playing.

P.S. There is absolutely NO WAY I would ever send my discs to another company to rip. That sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. I guess I might consider it if my collection was available for replacement at Best Buy, but I would venture a guess that most of us have discs that are no longer in print and simply cannot be replaced if the ripping company should lose or damage them.

Shredder
2008-02-21, 13:21
I am with Blake. The ripping is not that much of a chore, can be fun in certain ways, and has a huge upside upon completion. I, too, would never let a service do it for me.

haunyack
2008-02-21, 13:30
P.S. There is absolutely NO WAY I would ever send my discs to another company to rip.

I'm in total agreement.
Can you imagine the junior, underpaid, under-geek finding a vintage release or two and deciding that he needs a copy, then while pilfering a copy for himself, drops the original on the floor?
Then decides that he should clean it up a bit and gets out the bottle of glass cleaner and a paper towel?

The myriad of possibilities makes me want to lock my collection up in a safe.

.

peter
2008-02-21, 13:42
haunyack wrote:
> blakeh;271655 Wrote:
>
>> P.S. There is absolutely *NO WAY* I would ever send my discs to another
>> company to rip.
>>
>
> I'm in total agreement.
> Can you imagine the junior, underpaid, under-geek finding a vintage
> release or two and deciding that he needs a copy, then while pilfering
> a copy for himself, drops the original on the floor?
> Then decides that he should clean it up a bit and gets out the bottle
> of glass cleaner and a paper towel?
>
> The myriad of possibilities makes me want to lock my collection up in a
> safe.
>

As a business it's not a bad thing. You just store everything you ever
ripped on a big RAID system and the next time someone comes and gives
you Hotel California you just hand 'm the pre-ripped copy. Money easy
made. The more customers you get the less you do...

Regards,
Peter

snarlydwarf
2008-02-21, 13:55
I did notice the $2k price disparity, but he would have still needed a PC or NAS and then had to load his music, install server software, etc.

Yes, but then he admits that Olive doesn't network, so he would need to duplicate his effort for each room.... "Real Soon Now" there are "rumors" that may change... of course, no price is given on a rumored product. ("Oh, yeah, well the Olive you bought last year won't work as a server, you need the new model... and the new clients for every room...")

Basing purchases like that on rumors is silly: Sonos or Squeezebox can network right now....

$2k can buy a very overpowered SC server.

rydenfan
2008-02-21, 14:29
iIn my experience so far, Blake's ripping time of 2-3 minutes per disc is way to low. I average closer to 20 minutes and my discs are in pristine condition.

blakeh
2008-02-21, 14:43
rydenfan: About half my collection are CD singles, so for me an average of 3-5 minutes sounds about right. But you're right as well; if you had full length, 80-minute discs it would take you a while longer. I also haven't used Slimserver to rip my discs -- I used DBPowerAMP (with Accuraterip) which may be a bit faster.

Zten
2008-02-21, 16:03
I spent about 18 months ripping each of my 5,300 CDs into FLAC format and I never really thought of it as much of a chore. I guess I saw it as a fun way to re-visit my CD collection one last time before I went all digital. Even if you made a goal of ripping 10 CDs per day (which would take around 20-30 minutes), you could rip a 3,600+ CD collection in a year. In the meantime you'd still have your CDs to pop in your CD player for listening purposes.

Granted, it took some time to tag them correctly and add cover art (I had to scan about 1,000 covers in that weren't available online) but what I'm left with is a searchable, lossless collection of all my music with catalog numbers, country of origin, record label information and cover art.

The Squeezebox has made it so much easier to listen to music. And I'm eagerly awaiting the new remote so that I can view cover art while the music is playing.

P.S. There is absolutely NO WAY I would ever send my discs to another company to rip. That sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. I guess I might consider it if my collection was available for replacement at Best Buy, but I would venture a guess that most of us have discs that are no longer in print and simply cannot be replaced if the ripping company should lose or damage them.

I must say the ripping was my least favorite part. The second least favorite part was adding album art and tweaking tags. Adding replay gain was not so painful since it can be done flawlessly in large batches....

I still think Slim would be wise to include thier own, super simple to use ripper/tagger/replay gain-er that is fully automated and does it all in one step.

I talked my neighbor into buying a SB3 a year ago. The ripping and tagging was a daunting task for him, so he hired his very reliable and honest son to do it for $0.25 a disc. 2000 CDs. I helped him set up EAC and at that point, it was monkey work. It cost him $500 and the kid thought he died and went to heaven. It comes out to about $3 an hour. I think most everyone on the board is worth more than 3 bucks and hour... Maybe you don't have a reliable son looking for easy money, but I bet you can find one if you ask your friends and neighbors.

seanadams
2008-02-21, 16:21
As a business it's not a bad thing. You just store everything you ever
ripped on a big RAID system and the next time someone comes and gives
you Hotel California you just hand 'm the pre-ripped copy. Money easy
made. The more customers you get the less you do...


Actually, none of the ripping operations are allowed to do this because of a precedent set by a record industry lawsuit against a tape dubbing company some 20 years ago. You have to rip _the customer's_ CD to make a copy for him, even if you've ripped it a million times before. Sorry I can't find a reference - maybe someone else remembers the name of the company.

seanadams
2008-02-21, 16:25
Also I think that was the precedent used against MP3.com - if you remember, they let you have access to the contents of a CD by proving you physically had it via a serial number read from the disc. Today, music locker services have to store separate copies of everyone's tunes, uploaded from the customer.

norderney
2008-02-21, 16:38
I spent about 18 months ripping each of my 5,300 CDs into FLAC format and I never really thought of it as much of a chore.


Just out of interest, what type/size hard drive do you use to store 5300 CDs in FLAC? What backup do you do?

How many individual songs/tracks do you have?

maggior
2008-02-21, 18:58
I'm in total agreement.
Can you imagine the junior, underpaid, under-geek finding a vintage release or two and deciding that he needs a copy, then while pilfering a copy for himself, drops the original on the floor?
Then decides that he should clean it up a bit and gets out the bottle of glass cleaner and a paper towel?

The myriad of possibilities makes me want to lock my collection up in a safe.

.

A ripping business I'm sure would have an automated setup with a robotic arm that would load the discs into the reader from a hopper and use some special database. Though somebody has to load the hopper! :-)

Regarding providing a customer with a rip from a previous customer's disc - that wouldn't fly when the customer comes in with the latest and greatest remastered release and find that his ripped copy ends up being the initial disc release from the late 80's!

Ripping and tagging is a bit of a pain. Yes, it is labor intensive and we are all worth more than $3.00/hr. But once you have a process set up, you can do it as a background task while watching TV. I set my laptop on a snack tray in front of the TV along with an external USB hard drive and my Plextor in a USB enclosure. I'll rip a stack of 25-50 discs in an evening while sitting with my wife on the couch. Before bed, I plug it into a desktop box to convert to FLAC overnight. In the morning, I tag 'em using foobar2000. That takes about 20 sec. Then I use foobar to make my mp3's. A couple hours later, it is done! Next evening (or the evening after that), repeat.

Part of the problem I think is that we live in a society that expects instant gratification. In the SB context, this means "I have a SB and my server set up, tomorrow I want to be able to access my entire 2000 CD collection with it!". You have to take a deep breath before you start and need to accept that it is going to take time. Prioritize what discs you must have - do those first. Then get to those that you feel like listening to at the moment. Then perhaps you chose some that have been collecting dust that you'd like to rediscover. Before you know it, you are 3/4 through your colleciton! Oh, and new stuff you obtain takes priority. I've disciplined myself that I can't listen to new purchases until they've been ripped onto my server.

agentsmith
2008-02-21, 20:20
I am in a similar situation with a couple of thousand CDs which I still have not finished ripping after a couple of years. I also do not mind going through my collectin this way. However, I do notice that I am spending much less time listening to music since a lot of time is preoccupied on ripping, organizing and tagging, and sometimes playing with Slimserver configuration etc.


I spent about 18 months ripping each of my 5,300 CDs into FLAC format and I never really thought of it as much of a chore. I guess I saw it as a fun way to re-visit my CD collection one last time before I went all digital. Even if you made a goal of ripping 10 CDs per day (which would take around 20-30 minutes), you could rip a 3,600+ CD collection in a year. In the meantime you'd still have your CDs to pop in your CD player for listening purposes.

Granted, it took some time to tag them correctly and add cover art (I had to scan about 1,000 covers in that weren't available online) but what I'm left with is a searchable, lossless collection of all my music with catalog numbers, country of origin, record label information and cover art.

The Squeezebox has made it so much easier to listen to music. And I'm eagerly awaiting the new remote so that I can view cover art while the music is playing.

P.S. There is absolutely NO WAY I would ever send my discs to another company to rip. That sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. I guess I might consider it if my collection was available for replacement at Best Buy, but I would venture a guess that most of us have discs that are no longer in print and simply cannot be replaced if the ripping company should lose or damage them.

EnochLight
2008-02-21, 21:27
I've had my SB3 for a couple of years and still haven't plowed through ripping all of my 2000+ CD collection. I got through 181 of them in the first month or two and gave up.

I spend a lot of time on Rhapsody as a result, which is disappointing seeing as how the sound quality of my FLAC's are much better in comparison. I hope to one day get through the other 1819 CD's, but it's hard to devote that kind of time to ripping.

*sigh*

syburgh
2008-02-21, 22:12
The analysis in the NYT article seems limited, and appears to miss the benefits (beyond saving floorspace) that would motivate one to transfer their library to "digital" form...

From SO point of view, outsourcing the initial ripping is probably a requirement (not worth trading that kind of time for ~$1/CD), so the (infrequently used) ability of the device to rip audio is less than it may initially appear. Would rather buy a few rooms worth SD or Sonos equipment for the same price...

I paid Awaken do rip my library to FLAC a few years ago (several times larger than the author) and found the quality to be good and cost reasonable. I did it in 500 CD batches, so both cost and risk were minimized throughout the process.

Will avoid ranting on this as this audience is already converted :)

peter
2008-02-21, 23:13
On Thu, 21 Feb 2008 15:21:47 -0800, "seanadams"
<seanadams.355m3o1203636302 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> said:
>
> Peter;271683 Wrote:
> >
> > As a business it's not a bad thing. You just store everything you ever
> >
> > ripped on a big RAID system and the next time someone comes and gives
> > you Hotel California you just hand 'm the pre-ripped copy. Money easy
> >
> > made. The more customers you get the less you do...
> >
>
> Actually, none of the ripping operations are allowed to do this because
> of a precedent set by a record industry lawsuit against a tape dubbing
> company some 20 years ago. You have to rip _the customer's_ CD to make
> a copy for him, even if you've ripped it a million times before. Sorry
> I can't find a reference - maybe someone else remembers the name of the
> company.

Ah, so you looked into this... For the US, that may be the case, but the
world's (thankfully) bigger than that. Still I can imagine you wouldn't
want the record company lawyers on you back.

Regards,
Peter

peter
2008-02-21, 23:14
On Thu, 21 Feb 2008 15:25:37 -0800, "seanadams"
<seanadams.355mbz1203636601 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> said:
>
> Also I think that was the precedent used against MP3.com - if you
> remember, they let you have access to the contents of a CD by proving
> you physically had it via a serial number read from the disc. Today,
> music locker services have to store separate copies of everyone's
> tunes, uploaded from the customer.

Yes, I think I remember that one. Perhaps that's where I got the idea ;)

Regards,
Peter

tamanaco
2008-02-22, 12:20
I think the NY Times article is focused on the mechanics (logistics) of converting one's music library from one physical medium to another (CDs/LPs/Cassettes to Hard Drive Storage). I guess its purpose was not to communicate the benefits once the conversion process is finalized. The time I wasted digitalizing/converting my music library will be recovered over the years of not having to get my fat a$$ off the couch to find/change CDs/Tracks. Not to mention the "extra" time saved when the CD I want to play has been placed in the wrong cover by my wonderful wife. The benefits of having the whole library digitized and in "one" single place (hard drive) also bring a bunch of benefits that are impossible or very hard to achieve when your music library is in separated media. Being able to quickly find CD/Tracks using searches, creating multiple playlists and having access to listen and share your music online are great benefits. Also, not having to put anything away after listening to a few songs is very convenient. The existing and potential benefits one gets from using programs and online services to manage and manipulate one's music library are countless. Programs like MusicIP to create intelligent music mixes that let you rediscover your own music library. Online services like LastFM that let you compare your music preferences with that of other folks around the world. I can go on an on... As mentioned before, saving floor space and outsourcing the ripping process are the most mundane things about digitizing music. Of course, if like me, you're looking for some WAF to buy the "Controller"... the CD storage space saved in the living room is a great excuse.

mflint
2008-02-22, 13:43
Actually, none of the ripping operations are allowed to do this because of a precedent set by a record industry lawsuit against a tape dubbing company some 20 years ago. You have to rip _the customer's_ CD to make a copy for him, even if you've ripped it a million times before. Sorry I can't find a reference - maybe someone else remembers the name of the company.
Ack, what a pain. But at least the ripping can be automated... they can probably reuse the cleaned-up tags from one rip to the next. (And the making the tagging consistent is my least favourite task)


A ripping business I'm sure would have an automated setup with a robotic arm that would load the discs into the reader from a hopper and use some special database. Though somebody has to load the hopper! :-)
... and they need to get the CDs back in the correct box!

M

Jacob Grydholt Jensen
2008-02-22, 15:29
On 22/02/2008, Peter <landen-slimp (AT) frg (DOT) eur.nl> wrote:
>
> On Thu, 21 Feb 2008 15:21:47 -0800, "seanadams"
> <seanadams.355m3o1203636302 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> said:
> >
> > Peter;271683 Wrote:
> > >
> > > As a business it's not a bad thing. You just store everything you ever
> > >
> > > ripped on a big RAID system and the next time someone comes and gives
> > > you Hotel California you just hand 'm the pre-ripped copy. Money easy
> > >
> > > made. The more customers you get the less you do...
> > >
> >
> > Actually, none of the ripping operations are allowed to do this because
> > of a precedent set by a record industry lawsuit against a tape dubbing
> > company some 20 years ago. You have to rip _the customer's_ CD to make
> > a copy for him, even if you've ripped it a million times before. Sorry
> > I can't find a reference - maybe someone else remembers the name of the
> > company.
>
>
> Ah, so you looked into this... For the US, that may be the case, but the
> world's (thankfully) bigger than that. Still I can imagine you wouldn't
> want the record company lawyers on you back.
>

In Denmark at least one ripping service has temporarily stopped its
service. It seems that companies are not allowed to rip their
customer's music.

And if I ordered a rip of my CD's I would insist that my CD's were
actually ripped. I don't want other people's old bits to fill up my
harddrive.


/grydholt

blakeh
2008-02-22, 18:14
Just out of interest, what type/size hard drive do you use to store 5300 CDs in FLAC? What backup do you do?

I'm probably not a good example of the typical user. I certainly was a bit more particular than the person who wrote the NYT article.

I ended up building my own music server with 6 x 400GB SATA drives in a RAID5 configuration. This is a post I wrote (http://www.stateofgrace.net/images/server01.html) when I was planning out the project, and here (http://www.stateofgrace.net/images/server02.html) is what I ended up building. Both posts were made in December of 2005, and I had the server built around February of 2006.

The decision to have RAID5 redundancy had paid off at least once over the past two years, as I had an electrical problem that took out one of the drives in the array a few months back. With the amount of time I spent ripping discs, scanning cover art and tagging each disc, I wanted to make sure I would never have to do it over.

For backup purposes, I purchased an external Quantum LTO 3 Ultrium 400/800GB tape drive (http://www.quantum.com/ServiceandSupport/SoftwareandDocumentationDownloads/LTO-3Half-Height/Index.aspx#Specifications). I made my first backup just a few weeks ago. It took four tapes (obviously FLAC files don't compress very well since they are already compressed to some degree), and they are now sitting in a safety deposit box offsite. The backup has all the tracks, the MediaMonkey database, and all the cover art. As I rip new discs, I am backing them up to an external USB drive connected to the music server until I hit another 400GB, and then I'll make another tape backup of the new music.


How many individual songs/tracks do you have?

I currently have 46,745 FLAC files which use 1.41 terabytes of hard drive space. This represents 5,289 CDs.

Music is by far my biggest hobby, so it didn't bother me to spend some decent money on a good setup. I am very happy with the Squeezebox3/MediaMonkey solution. As I said before, it's so much easier to listen to music now.

Cheers,
Blake