best setup for storing and playing itunes

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by bangkok, Feb 23, 2014.

  1. bangkok macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2014
    I am very confused: Mac Mini, a good-branded external hard drive or Time Capsule?

    I am trying to figure out the best place to store my huge iTunes library of music so I can continue to stream it (play it) over my Apple TV (and the smaller speakers I’ve hooked up); later through high quality stereo equipment once I buy a new amplifier that has wireless capabilities and play through current larger speakers.

    Right now the music is stored on my new iMac and the iTunes library appears on my TV for me to click and play.But I will soon need to get this growing library file off my new iMac; I’m uploading some 400 CDs at Lossloss level.

    But which is best and why? Mac Mini, a good branded hard drive or Time Capsule? And if you suggest Mac Mini, should I also buy Airport Express?

    Any advice you can provide is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.
  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    A new Mac Mini is a very expensive iTunes server. Yes it would work but cost 3x or 4x what you need.

    Why not continue to use the iMac? Yes it burns a bunch of power but the cost of power is cheaper than the cost of a new computer.

    Ripping 400 CDs one at a time is a lot of work but it is not a lot of data. Only a few hundred gigabytes. I would not buy a new server until you have many TB of data. for less then that just use an external drive on the existing Mac.

    You can also buy a NAS that has a built in iTubes server. But again it is not enough data to justify a NAS.
  3. bangkok thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2014
    A new Mac Mini is a very expensive iTunes server.

    Thank you Chris. I think I might get near 1TB when done and thought with other things on my iMac, storing the iTunes library offline is a good idea. If Mac Mini is too expensive for this job, what about a quality external hard drive? Or would that make playing & streaming my iTunes via the hard drive too slow, difficult?
  4. Diastro macrumors member


    Jul 12, 2010
    Veldhoven, the Netherlands
    I'd go with a NAS. They're perfect for this. They all sport iTunes servers, so you can run your library on them. Way cheaper than a Mac Mini too.

    A simple home storage one like the WD My Cloud or Seagate Central are like $150 for 2TB.

    A more advanced NAS server like Synology or QNAP are a little under $200 for the NAS enclosure, and a 2TB internal hard drive is an additional $90.

    You'll be able to access your music from anywhere too, even when you're not at home.

    Source: I'm a consumer electronics sales rep, computer accessories department, advising and selling networking and storage solutions is my day job.
  5. bangkok thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2014
  6. bangkok thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2014
    NAS vs Time Capsule

    Just to confirm before buying: to store a very large iTunes library on a NAS or Time Capsule is more or less the same and will provide the same streaming quality to, say, my Apple TV? A friend talks about the TC, saying it be more compatible with the iMac I have. I get how to backup the iTunes library--but for storing it off my iMac, TC has not real advantage over a NAS?
  7. IlikeMacsSoMuch macrumors 6502


    Dec 30, 2009
    Blainville, Province of Quebec
    Hi, the time capsule is not meant for serving as a server, it doesn't have that function built in, you would still need a mac or pc running iTunes.

    On your iMac or a new mac mini with an external drive, you could also serve your DRM itunes videos if you have any. Many kind of NAS have itunes server functionality but it is limited to music, not drm videos. Yes an iMac does consume a lot more power than a dedicated NAS but with the correct settings in your iMac, it won't make that much difference. And, fully functional computer is way better than any NAS. You can add a lot of functionality that you couldn't with even the best NAS.

    That is my set up and it has served me well for the last 3 years or so. And It's not complicated to set up.

    If you buy a A/V receiver with airplay functionality you don't need to buy an airport express.
  8. Raventhornn macrumors newbie

    Feb 19, 2014

    Time Capsule's can function in 2 different roles - first is the drive for your Time Machine [for backup only] you can also set them up for data storage, as another drive.

    In that mode [being another drive] the TC is a NAS [which stands for Network Attached Storage].

    All things being equal, cost and function should determine what you do.

    Most cost effective way - purchase an external drive attach it to the iMAC and store there. This also has the benefit of being the faster for access than a NAS solution.

    Next up, buying a storage enclosure [i.e. something that holds multiple HDD, but still attaches directly to the iMAC]. These can be setup for fast read/write or safe [fault tolerance - e.g. if 1 HDD goes bad you don't lose your data].

    You have similar options for NAS devices [single drive vs multiple] and some of the fancier ones can also do things like 'pretend to be your iMac in the sense of iTunes for other devices'.

    So how much money do you want to spend, and how much do you want to change how you do things?

    Personally, I'd probably just buy 2 external drives [like the Seagate's listed] make one your iTunes library and have the other for Time Machine drive [aka just like a Time Capsule]. That way you have a backup incase the drive fails.

    It's the cheapest option that keeps a backup & gives you more space, without really changing how you do things [with your home share within iTunes].

  9. bangkok thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2014
    best to store and stream iTiunes

    Thanks for not staying silent :)

    Cost is not a factor. I do have a new iMac which is where I am currently uploading my large CD collection. I am not sure which is best storage enclosure that works best with iMac (if that is a factor). I don't want it for anything else but music.

    So one option, you say is two NAS external drives, one that works with Time Machine, the other where the iTunes library can be moved to. Is that correct? I realize I need to keep iTunes on my iMac to play the music (including via Apple TV). Just looking for the BEST setup that isn't super complicated.

    And if so, but you have an even better setup--regardless of cost--I'd appreciate the info. Sorry for taking up time with you guys, but I know a few people now who are also trying to do this, so your information is greatly appreciated.
  10. Raventhornn macrumors newbie

    Feb 19, 2014
    Actually I was saying 2 separate locally attached drives, not NAS. What I would go with is simply 2 of these:

    Yes you could spend more, you could buy fancier, faster, higher capacity, etc...

    But why? What really are you looking for, outside of storage space what is your current setup not doing or what do you want to change?

    There are 100 different ways of doing anything on a computer, and no one way is right... They are just different, with different strengths and different limitations.

  11. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    I agree with Raventhornn (and others). Get a couple of external drives for your iMac and move your iTunes library onto one of them. You can let the iMac sleep and the Apple TV can wake it up automatically when you want to play content. If ever you decide to use a Mac mini you can just move the drive when the time comes.

  12. bangkok thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2014
    external drives

    Thank you Raventhorn, Alrescha and others: I got it now! Yes, excellent solution, easy to setup. Really appreciated your help. Hey, if anyone ever needs any non-tech info about Thailand, or Southeast Asia--for example, planning a trip, let me know. Been based here for years as a writer/journalist.

    With a wave and smile,

  13. FernStar2808, Mar 4, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2014

    FernStar2808 macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2014
    ITunes companion ?

    Does anyone know of a software program that would have more music album information than ITunes 11 offers? I miss the details of the inside CD cover or the details from the back of a vinyl album cover for example what other additional music artist played on the album. My entire music library is all in iTunes, 80 per cent uploaded from my large CD collection and the remainder digitally downloaded from iTunes.
  14. bangkok thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2014
    iTunes plays a song and then won

    I import a CD onto my iMac's iTune and create a playlist for it. I play the music, no problem. Next morning I go to same tracks and get message the music cannot be found: "The song Gimme Shelter could not be used because the original file could not be found. Would you like to locate it?" This happens randomly--rock, classical, etc.

    But there is no place to find it! And yet sometimes other CDs I loaded the same way are OK. So I have to reload the CD, with a menu that even says "replace" yet no possible way, that I know of, can I play the first attempt again. Why is this happening and how to avoid? Very frustrating importing the same CDs more than once.
  15. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    When you add a file (song, movie, whatever) to iTunes, iTunes records the location of that file in its database. When it goes to play it for you later it expects to find that file exactly where it was before. If you get the error message you describe, that implies that the file is either missing or moved, or that the iTunes database is broken. It is not normal and should not be happening (I have tens of thousands of files in iTunes and it does not happen to me - ever).

    The mystery is why is it happening to you. Without looking over your shoulder it is impossible to know whether it is iTunes - or you :)

    Are you moving files around? Is your Mac subject to power failures?

    You can have iTunes scan for files using the menu item File/Add to Library... - you can point it right at the iTunes Library itself (Music/iTunes) and it will add any files that are missing from its database. If you think the database is corrupt, you can delete it and have iTunes re-create it (losing your play history). Instructions for doing that are here:

  16. bangkok thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2014

    Well, I bought a Seagate Central 2TB, hooked it to a router. Just couple questions: transferring iTunes library to it very slow because 140GB... more than 5 hours. That's expected? Not sure who else has used this device, but find it more complicated than should to find stuff, even per their instructions. Like where is Protect on its dashboard? Nothing there about that.
    But one other question: I put iTunes on Backup. Should I also make that where the iTunes goes to find the library to launch? And when I upload another CD to iTunes, how to avoid an updated backup taking hours again for just, say, 2 or 3 new CD additions to the iTunes?
  17. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    I hate to correct people's terminology but you are calling things by the wrong names, maybe it is because you don't understand the differences. Here are a few terms defined. (BTW you want the "DAS")

    NAS = Network attached Storage. The disk uses an Ethernet cable or WiFi to connect to your iMac and Apple TV and whatever else. The NAS can contain one or up to four or more disk drives

    DAS = Direct attach Storage. These are disks that attach directly to the iMac using either USB, Firewire or Thunderbolt. Thunderbolt is the fastest but you really don't need it for music (unless you have some reason to play a 3 minute song in 3 seconds) The DAS can contain one or up to about four or more disk drives. DAS is both cheaper and faster then NAS. How ever it connects only to the one computer

    Time Machine = This is software that runs on your Mac and makes backup copies or your data. It can write to either NAS or DAS

    Time Capsule = Apple sells there. It is a combination router, WiFi access point and NAS all in one box.


    What people are suggesting here is that you simply use a DAS to hold your music data. Buy one twice as large as you think you need. So many 2TB

    The in ADDITION to the DAS that holds music buy a second DAS to use with Time Machine. This DAS needs to be about 1.5 or 2 times the size of all your data, not the sum of the drives sizes but of the data on them. Plan ahead, you will have more data later. I've buy a 4TB drive for Time Machine.

    If the data were not replaceable I'd recommence more backups then just one TimeMachine drive. But music is easy to replace if lost. But if you have video or photo or business records you need more than Time Machine.

    So get two drives with either USB3 or if you have cash to spare, Thunderbolt, one 2TB and one 4TB. Plug them into your iMac. The USB drives are cheap now and good enough

    One thing NOT to do: Buy one external drive (AKA DAS) and use it for both data and time machine.

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