What to Upgrade?

I have 4 possible upgrades in mind. I believe the first three are roughly the same cost:

  1. Upgrade from Bartok to Rossini (the only thing truly relevant to this group);

  2. Upgrade (speakers) from Borresen 01 to Borresen 01 Silver Edition;

  3. Upgrade (speaker cable) from Ansuz C (version 1) to Ansuz D2;

  4. Upgrade (server) Melco N1Z/2EX-60H to new (single drive 4 TB) N1Z/2EX-40S.

The last is ~ 60% of the cost of the first 3.

In the real world I cannot possibly listen to each of these in my home system (and room). Any words of wisdom, if any, are greatly appreciated, as always.

Best, Paul

First you need to decide what you are trying to achieve.

Options 2 and 3 will change the sound. So if your aim is better bass, midrange or treble etc. that may be the way to go. I would go for speakers first. Cables? Maybe (as I am assuming that the Ansuz C are already good from your point of view).

Option 4 is unlikely to make any real material difference to anything audible as you already have a recent Melco. NB: if you are using your Melco 60H with any selection except RAID 0 you will find that switching to RAID 0 will provide a gain in SQ. I would expect that you won’t get much more from the 40-S. It might be 60 % of the cost of the alternatives to implement but is likely to result in a far smaller percentage in terms of gain.

Option 1 will change the fundamental meaning and communication of the music that you listen to. That is what I anticipate that you and all of us are here for. Do that.

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Thanks, Pete.

Valued input as always.

Best, Paul

…. Everything Pete said. Very sound, well informed and thoughtful advice as usual.

  1. Borresen 02 :slight_smile:

Sorry for the quick Melco question, but on my N1Z how do I know if the RAID = 0? When I got to Settings, the Menu stops at 10.

I suspect it is b/c when I look on my PC the empty space is quite large.

Thanks!

Menu stops at 10? You should see more than this. I will tell you what to do now but I cannot check against my own N1 as it is now late in the evening and the system is off until tomorrow. NB: As supplied Melcos with multiple drives come with RAID 1 set as factory standard.

  1. Make a backup of your files ( e.g. on an external USB HDD) if you do not have one ready to hand ( you should.) as the process of changing RAID format will delete the files already stored on the NAS.

2.Using the Melco front panel function buttons open: Settings/Drive /format Internal drives.

  1. You should see three options:
    New Spread Array
    New RAID 0
    New RAID 1

Select New RAID 0 ( it will say “Data will be lost, OK?”) and press OK.

When finished copy your files back to the N1. Then rescan them back to your UPnP server software ( presumably MinimServer as this is now standard on Melco).

NB: It is not just me saying RAID 0 sounds better. I was put on to it by the now head of Melco Europe (and he should know) ! Reviews have mentioned the same.

Just to echo what Pete says, I was given the same advice by my dealer and by Melco themselves, although I never tested it, I just took their advice.

I know I set mine up as RAID0 but what’s strange is that I can find no way to check what the current setting is - the only option appears to be to go through reformatting to make sure, which isn’t great. Unless Pete knows of a way to check?

Obviously the downside of RAID0 is no resilience if one of the drives fail, so I just do a regular backup on an external USB hard drive, which is low cost and fairly painless after you’ve done the first backup - subsequent backups just deal with changes, not the entire library.

Cheers, Mike.

First comment is for Paul:

I have now checked my instructions on my own N1Z and am correct ( software version is 3.92) . Settings is option 4 in the main menu and Drive is option 13 in the Settings submenu. If you only have 10 options then I think this may be a case for a call to Melco.

Mike: Yes I think that the only way of checking the RAID setting is via the menu path I have given. But even that does not indicate the current format. I can only advise that AFAIK they come from the factory preset as RAID 1 ( see user manual) so if you haven’t changed the RAID format you should.

It is true that moving from RAID 1 to RAID 0 does reduce resilience. However in these particular circumstances that resilience is very limited. RAID is not a substitute for backup ( provides no protection against fire, flood or theft) and is really to provide continuance of service if a drive fails. That continuance of service is important if the server provides simultaneous access to different files/functions to numerous users e.g, with business use or even to a large family performing individually different tasks. However it is of limited use with a one trick server ( music only to a single client) in a high end domestic audio system. If a drive fails you may be able to continue that listening session but you still need to have the failed drive replaced a.s.a.p and to reinstall the files from a backup. So IMO nice to have but not necessary to have.

You are so right about maintaining backups. If possible I would also suggest that one keeps an off site copy to give protection against fire, flood and theft. I am vulnerable myself on this right now as my physical off site backup has been returned as I had changed to backing up on the cloud. That has run into technical difficulties ( thank you Win 10 :frowning_face:) but your comment has reminded me to fix things NOW.

Mike, from the Settings menu, if you go into [Drive] -> [Format Internal Drives]; of the options listed, one will have an asterix * at the end of it - that’s the current RAID configuration of your drives :slightly_smiling_face:

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Thanks Anup. Yes it does indeed . Quite a bit to the right of the text which may be why I missed it.

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Thanks Anup, of course! It was nagging me as I was sure there was way of checking….

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Hello Pete (@PAR),

sorry for going off topic a bit. As we are already talking about data and how to mitigate disasters.

Which cloud backup solution are you using?

I agree, three backups are called for. Two on-site and one off-site. One interesting question that comes to mind is, if my CDs at home go up in smoke and I still have the music files off-site, what’s the ownership situation? You might know given your professional background.

I use Backblaze as a cloud backup solution. The Mac OS client is very easy to use. The cost is reasonable. And you can send them a harddrive for the first data transfer so you don’t have to squeeze Terabytes through internet pipes. It does not back up NAS, only attached storage. I solve that by having the music on a master drive that is attached storage (USB) and replicate changes to the music system and the on-site back up NAS using the replication and sync tool Syncovery. That’s very reliable. Last year I had an event where I needed a recovery. Backblaze turned out to be hard to deal with. The backup drive they created had to go from the US to Germany and got lost in transit. In the end I downloaded my backup data. That was a rather lengthy undertaking with lots of ‘hand-holding’. My business files are in the cloud service Box (competitor to Dropbox with more enterprise features) and are synced to my local machines. One could use Box as a backup destination for music files.

There’s a final solution on the horizon but that will be a whole disaster recovery exercise. Maybe Commvault as a backup solution. That’s not marketed to consumers, but appears - judged by the marketing material - to be a good way for me to go. Better safe than sorry.

My cloud backup is to Live Drive. Inexpensive ( 48 gbp /annum for unlimited but to increase to 69 gbp later this year, the first increase for 10 years). It is however slow to upload as each file is security encrypted before storage.

I do upload from an external HDD backup drive and have run into problems with Windows changing the drive letter without notice meaning that Live Drive can no longer find it. AFAIK you can only reinstate the original drive letter by messing around in the registry which I am incompetent to attempt.

As for the legal question the answer will vary precisely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The UK situation is probably ( for the moment) similar to Germany due to the EU harmonisation of copyright legislation that has occurred over recent decades.

When you make a copy ( rip) you are usually involving two separate rights, one in the musical work and one in the sound recording. Technically both need permission from the rights owners . So in strictly legal terms your files are illegal copies now irrespective of whether or not the original CDs are still in your possession. However the record industry has broadly taken the position that whilst unauthorised it will not pursue domestic users making copies exclusively fro their own individual private purposes. I am unsure of the music publishers’ stance which last time I checked was less forgiving, at least officially. The UK industry even sought judgement on the question of streaming services making copies to hold the files on their servers with the court holding that all copies need to be authorised and that includes the ephemeral copy made e.g. within your home computer whilst it processes the copying of a file of a musical work from external storage to NAS.

There’s much money for lawyers to make here :smiley:.

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Well, it turns that because I like to use the Melco remote app I had the Webremote enabled. When this is enabled the Support Submenus > 10 can’t be seen. This is a safety feature so that the drive doesn’t actually get reformatted, etc., by mistake. Makes sense, would have been nice to put that piece of info somewhere.

Anyway, I will take the advice and convert to RAID 0, once I’ve made another back-up, from the default Spanning.

I was thinking about options in my own system just yesterday and came to the same conclusion that Pete described, but less eloquently.

Before I reformatted the Melco N1Z to Raid 0 I made 2 backups. No problem. The reformatting and restoring had no issues except for Metadata.

My files had front and back covers from when I used Aurender Conductor app. Now, I’m just seeing back covers on some of the folders/albums (~ 10%).

Fair enough. So I open the folders in Foobar, remove the back covers, save, and rescan. Still same thing.

I realize this may be a Melco question (Phil at Melco is looking into this), but I thought that the collective wisdom and expertise here may have useful insight.

Most importantly, things sound great, but these little annoyances…

PSH

Can you open the ID3 metadata file? ( right click the track when displayed on your computer and you should see an option “Edit ID3” if you can do this). If not then download an ID3 editor such as MP3tag.

It depends on what you have used to rip your files ( I assume that these are rips) but not all such apps may use the correct artwork description (view) as a default . You can amend the description from back to front cover or vice versa in the ID3 file. My rips were made with dbpoweramp + PerfectTunes which allows you to select the correct art and art description before carrying out the rip. However you will not need to re-rip your files, you can edit them.

You haven’t told us what control app you are using but most e.g. Mosaic will display only a single image for cover art - no doubt you would wish this to be the front cover. If the back cover is labelled as front cover in the ID3 file then it will show this.

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Thanks, Pete, as usual! I’ve been able to edit the metadata by removing the offending back covers. Here’s the funny thing: I find that many of the changes are not seen in Mosaic unless I delete the Mosaic app and reinstall it. (Yikes!) I’ve tried shutting down, etc., but this seems to be the most consistent.

As far as ripping / editing metadata, many files were ripped via dbspoweramp (by a third party), while many were ripped by me using Exact Audio Copy and Foobar for editing (and occasionally Mp3Tag). I did manually add back covers (b/c of using Aurender Conductor app) using Foobar or Mp3Tag. Tedious, yes, but I’m a dinosaur who cut his teeth on programming in Fortran.

Anyway, there seemed to be no pattern for the folders where the back covers appeared as (folder) front covers. Still, the thing is all of this weirdness happened when I created a backup (b/c of RAID 0 reformat) using the Melco backup menu - things were fine before. Again, no discernable pattern of the weirdness. If I hear back from Melco with an explanation I will pass along.

BTW, Foobar is easier to remove many back covers at once than is Mp3Tag.

All the best, and thanks so much,

Paul

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Odd. Are you running MinimServer as UPnP server on your Melco or its predecessor Twonky? I had significant problems with the latter and odd artwork choices. That is, if the ID3 file had more than a single cover art stored, Twonky seemed to choose at random.

Whatever changes I now make they are reflected immediately in Mosaic after MinimServer has rescanned the database ( if you have MinimServer I assume that you also have MinimWatch?).