15 August 2010

All-digital Hi-Fi setup

A few weeks ago the CD player in my all-in-one Hi-Fi died, and I took the opportunity to turn all-digital. This is my current setup and workflow.


I use abcde to tip my CDs to FLAC files. abcde, in its turn, uses cdparanoia to read the tracks from the CD into WAV files, and flac to convert them to FLAC format.

When the FLACs are ready, I use EasyTAG to normalise the artist, title and track names, and to insert cover artwork, in case I have it available.


My FLAC files are stored in my desktop computer (the one I use for ripping). Every time I rip a CD, I rsync the whole collection to the netbook in the living room, where I normally do most of the listening.

I keep a three-level file system structure: Author name, disk title, and disk tracks:

I haven't got many CDs, so that layout is enough to keep my collection organised. The directory 'Various', for CDs by multiple composers, is getting worryingly big...


For playback I use a second-hand Dell Mini 9 netbook running Ubuntu. It has not moving parts (no fans, an SSD instead of a hard drive), so it's completely silent. Its SSD, at 8 GB, is too small to be used for music storage, so I keep the FLAC files on an external Western Digital 1 TB USB hard drive. The external disk is barely audible when I'm browsing the FLAC collection in front of the netbook, and not audible at all when I'm sitting on the armchair by the Hi-Fi.

The netbook is connected to my Hi-Fi through a V-DAC USB digital-to-analog converter that I got from my brother-in-law.

FLAC files are played by MPD, which I control with Sonata:

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