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A NAS is a TLA that stands for Network Attached Storage; a hard drive connected to your home network. Hard drives are the big storage mechanisms in your computer. Over the last few years their prices have been plummeting and their availability outside the computer's enclosure rising. USB attached hard drives are popular, cheap and easy to use; just plug them into a computer and they just work. NAS are not as easy to use, but they do have other advantages and they too are coming down in price. I recently saw a 4tB NAS on Amazon for $167. 4tB is enough to store about 5,000 albums, about $0.04 an album. But what value is a NAS and why might you choose one? The biggest reason people choose NAS is access. Once on the home network, any computer on that network can access whatever's on the NAS. Your home office computer, the wife's and kid's, and your music room's, all access data at the same time from anywhere in the house, with a NAS. That's a real plus. But there's another reason to choose a NAS, one more important to Audiophiles. It has a built in computer that can serve music. Now, this is where it gets tricky and, as some would say, fiddly. A NAS cannot play music. It is not a player. But it can serve music to a player, like the PS Audio Bridge, or any UPnP/DLNA based music player. Also, servers are not controllers. Again, a bit fiddly and needy to understand what this means. But properly understood and used, NAS have great advantages and can form the basis of a streaming music system for not too much money. I don't see too many of them in the States, but in Asia they are ubiquitous. We'll take a stab at learning starting tomorrow.
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Paul McGowan

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