Canned Music Servers: Replacement or Supplemental
In the first part of this series I briefly discussed canned and custom music servers giving a couple pros and cons of each solution. Part II of this series is all about canned / turnkey music servers.
Most audiophiles just want to listen to great sounding music and possibly admire a great looking hi-end system. The easiest way to accomplish this is with a canned music server that fits into an existing system so well your spouse won't even notice. There are two categories of canned music servers. I call them replacement and supplemental music servers. A replacement music server is one that replaces an existing CD player completely. An example of a replacement music server is the McIntosh MS series, MS300 & MS750. These units are basically McIntosh CD players with the additional capacity to store music on a hard drive and present an on-screen display. Supplemental music servers do exactly what the name implies. They are an add-on to existing hi-end systems leaving the current disc player in its place. Supplemental music servers include units by Sooloos, Qsonix, and ReQuest. These music servers have more in common with computers than CD players. They often have 17" touch-screen monitors, built-in RAID arrays, and the (limited) ability to add disk space. Whether it is a replacement or supplemental music server, the main selling point over custom systems is simplicity.