Building blocks

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In yesterday’s post I started the conversation about my building a music server from scratch. As one might reasonably expect, there’s a lot to learn about how to build such a product, the level of difficulty depending on how high you set the bar and your goals.

Many of you have kindly written to me with plenty of suggestions and helpful advice. Some have even sent me small programs called scripts that will help the project. Thank you to everyone that is helping. As I plan to share what I learn and know with our community, everyone benefits when we work and learn together.

First, let me tell you what it is I am trying to do, what I am not trying to do, and then we can start rolling our sleeves up and work together to build this device. I know quite a few of you will build the exact same box as I am and to that end I will be walking us through each step of the way. While you may not be interested in doing this now, perhaps sometime you will. This hopefully will serve as a useful guide.

What I want to build is an ultra simple, easy to use, music server that I can both use in Music Room One and travel with to shows and demos. Here are the requirements for my server:

  • Small, under 3 pounds, affordable, less than $1,000
  • Completely quiet
  • Easy to use interface that can be operated from my iPad or phone
  • Not a laptop
  • Excellent sound quality, fully respectable compared to the PWT Memory player
  • No external boxes, cables, wires, routers, keyboards, mice, video screens, or internet connection needed
  • Expandable storage ability
  • Packs away in my briefcase when I travel, operates on worldwide voltages
  • Includes a CD player and CD ripper if I wish but does not require them
  • Plays CD red books, DSD and high resolution PCM audio files

Here’s what I don’t want to build:

  • State of the art music server
  • Anything I can’t use without any fuss or muss
  • A replacement for the Network Bridge

So, here’s a picture of what I have built that meets all those requirements quite nicely.

Music-Server

Tomorrow, I’ll explain the journey.