Newbie looking for some guidance

I am in the process of putting together a nice little system. 20 years ago I had a Rotel separates system with Paradigm speakers but have since sold it. Now I am looking at getting back into it 20 years later.

My plan is to abandon my CD collection and rip everything to lossless on itunes and use Volumio on a Pi with Piano+Kali DAC and reclocker which I will then plug into my Integrated Amp (probably going to go with a higher end Yamaha in the $1,200-$2,500 range) and the KES LS50 speakers. I except to be dazzled by the sound. I’m sure it will put a pleasant smile on my face.

Couple of questions. Where would be the best place to hold my music? Would you simply use a USB stick plugged into the Pi? Or should I consider using a NAS device? What would be the benefits or drawbacks to each approach? And what do you find --based upon your own experience using Volumio-- is the best device to play your music from? I want to be able to do it wirelessly, so I was thinking that using my Android phone would be best. And lastly, which interconnects would you recommend going from the Pi to my Integrated Amp?

Anything else I should be considering here but may have overlooked in the assembling of my system?


I’ll voice an opinion or two, and you can take your pick of the bits…

I’d really not use a USB stick for anything but temporary storage, as they die unpredictably. Use a NAS, preferably with redundancy so that you get a warning that your drives are failing. I have a Netgear in which a foursome of Seagate Barracudas lived for four years before a couple died, and that was flagged up, acted upon and all data was safe. No sitting back for hours and re-ripping…

The use of itunes bothers me slightly, as (assuming you use a NAS) the itunes library would have to be visible to your network as a thing that could be read by mpd (or whatever Volumio uses, it may be an emulation). Whatever, so long as the library is visible on the network you should be OK. Itunes has come up recently for moving stuff into the cloud by assuming that an audio track that Apple recognise is the same everywhere, so they delete it locally and put a pointer up on the cloud to their copy. That may be fine, but if they replace a carefully-ripped high quality track with a MP3, that might not be so good. I tend to avoid itunes.

As far as player control, do it from the phone. The UI works very well on a mobile device and OK on a PC screen, it’s just better on the phone/tablet/thing.

Interconnects? That’s a religious question, or it might as well be. So long as you don’t use the bell-push stuff found in new audio component packaging…

Chris M

Thanks for your response. What software do you use to rip your CDs?


I use dBpoweramp CD Ripper, part of the suite from dBpoweramp ( on Win7, although they do OS X versions as well. In the English vernacular, “It does what it says on the tin”… It’s not particularly expensive (£54) and can pull stuff from quite horribly scratched CDs if you give it long enough to pore over each bit in turn,

Chris M

Welcome back :smiley:

Hm… in doubt about iTunes. Quality (flac) rips on a local NAS work quite well, no ‘cloud’ in the mix to disturb stuff. You have the quality source material close by.

It better should :wink:

Go for a local NAS (as mentioned above) and use your phone/tablet to access (wireless) the Volumio UI. It is designed to be accessed remotely by such devices.

Just get some quality shielded cables. Trying to ‘save’ on cheap interconnect will surely take a lot of value out of your quality AMP + Speakers. (I got mine from which have a very good price/quality ratio in my opinion.)

Few ‘small’ things:

  • Take some time to figure out optimal settings for ripping your CD’s as good source material is very important.
  • I would recommend ripping a CD in the same samplerate/depth (44.1/16) as the CD itself. Trying to ‘improve’ the source quality by having some tools/software ‘generating’ additional musical bits usually does not make the source material better (but that might be a personal preference).
  • A good quality power supply for your RPI/Kali/Piano combi can make a big- and audible difference (look at something like the Sbooster or similar. Some nice info and reviews on power supplies can be found)

Final one is quite personal, but if you are willing to spend a nice amount on your amp and speakers, I was a little surprised by going for Yamaha :astonished: Was not really on my radar for more hifi amps, but I might be totally wrong here as I haven’t listened to any recent top product from them… Just saying that it might be worth to listen to some different vendors/brands before making a choice (and maybe that is exactly what you have done and found that the mentioned combo was your personal favorite :wink: )

To clarify things a bit, you had a Netgear NAS device in which you housed four Seagate HDs? In this day and age of Solid State Drives, I was thinking that a NAS in the form of a Solid State Drive would work reliably for a long time. Do they make small SSD NAS devices? When I search NAS on Amazon I get really large and expensive options that I think would be overkill when my song collection wouldn’t take up that much space at all. Am I searching for the right thing when I search NAS or do I need to narrow my search to get what I am actually looking for?

When we say Network attached storage we mean a storage device that connects either via wired Ethernet or WiFi that has it’s own unique IP address on the LAN correct?

Sorry for all the questions but I want to make sure I fully understand all of my options so that I choose wisely when selecting my hardware.


Which software do you use to Rip your CDs?


What software do you use to Rip your CDs?


Appreciate the advice on ripping best practices. Which software do you use to Rip your CDs?

I’ll have to look into better power supplies if they make an audible difference. When it’s all about getting the best sound, every little component helps.

I wouldn’t have initially thought Yamaha either but just started reading their reviews and was pleasantly surprised. My only other experience with Mid-Hi Fi amps has been owning some Rotel separates, which I liked very much. Yamaha’s top Integrated has a price tag of $6,500.00 and weights about 54 lbs. Definitely HiFi. I have also considered NAD and Marantz. I don’t know, for the money I may not be able to beat the Rotel gear, but am kinda in the mood to try a different brand since I have already owned Rotel. Other contenders could be Emotiva or Parasound. No shortage of amps to choose from. What do you like?

Thanks for sharing Chris. I’ll have to look into dBpoweramp. Which DAC are you using? Amp & speakers?