Hey hey hey CA, this week I had plans to publish a completely different article, but sometimes Spacely Sprockets throws a wrench into Cogswell Cogs business plan. In other words, Schiit happens.
Anyway, I have a pressing storage issue that requires some input from the CA Community. I found some new music, of which I can't get enough. I'm working on a remote access article to help people trying to access Roon remotely. And, I have a cool streamer project I'd like to start, but want some input from the Community on as well.
Let's start with the music storage issue. As discussed in the forum a little while back, Amazon is discontinuing it's $60 per year unlimited Amazon Cloud Drive storage plan. My current "contract" expired August 25th. This is a real pain for me because I have 14.8 terabytes stored on a Synology NAS, that is automatically backed up to Amazon Cloud Drive. When I add new music to my NAS, it is copied to Amazon without me having to touch anything or kick off a process. I guess when something is too good to be true, it is too good to be true.
Amazon's new storage plans range from $11.99 for 100GB to $1799.70 for 30TB of space. Given my need for 14.8TB, I'd need to spend $1199.80 per year for the 20TB plan. I'm just not willing to rent disk space for that much money.
I've started researching new solutions but haven't found a 1 to 1 replacement of Amazon Cloud Drive. A couple features that I really like about Amazon Cloud Drive are 1) My Synology NAS has built in support for auto-backup directly to the drive, and 2) The interface and ease of sharing content stored on Amazon Cloud Drive (A good friend lost all his music and I admit to allowing him to download a limited amount of my content to replace the exact content he already purchased).
Searching for a replacement, I checked a couple well known companies, but found the pricing way too high and the fine print annoying. For example, Dropbox claims unlimited storage for its Advanced level plan at $20 per month per user. That would be $240 per year for my nearly 15TB of storage. However, reading the fine print, one will find there's a three user minimum. This elevates the price to $720 per year.
Google also says its G Suite customers can upgrade to a business plan for unlimited storage. The fine print says, if there are four or fewer users, 1Tb is the maximum amount of storage per user. Five users at $10 per month is $50 /month or $600 /year. If this is truly unlimited, it's cheaper than Dropbox, but still 10x the cost of Amazon Cloud Drive. Strangely, when I look at the cost of just adding more storage to my Google account, the cost is $200 per month for 20TB. There's something amiss here. I can get unlimited storage for $600 /year or 20TB for $2,400 /year.
Backblaze is another cloud storage company I am investigating for my music backup. The cost of its B2 Cloud plan is $0.005 per GB per month. This would be $75 /month or $900 /year for my 15TB of backed up NAS.
Perhaps the Amazon Cloud Drive solution (unlimited for $60 per year) was a unicorn that will never be seen again. I need a solution to my issue, but haven't found one that excites me for a reasonable price.
I'd love of the CA Community to let me know what they are using or to offer suggestions. I'll continue investigating and write up an article about the final selection (hopefully soon).
On August 10, 2017 I read the latest blog from Bob Lefsetz, raving about the band Greta Van Fleet. I don't usually check out Bob's music recommendations, but this one was different. He said the band sounded like Led Zeppelin.
"It’s a Led Zeppelin rip-off.
But didn’t Led Zeppelin rip off Willie Dixon and the rest of the bluesmeisters?
If you lived through that era, you will instantly hear mid-period Zeppelin, complete with Robert Plant screams. Then you remember that was 45 years ago! About the same distance, if not longer, that Zeppelin was removed from the classic delta blues artists.
It starts off as homage. Then you take off from there. Think about all the covers on the initial Beatle albums!"
After reading Bob's entire blog, I immediately opened Tidal and gave Greta Van Fleet a listen. Then another listen, and another. The band sounds very much like Led Zeppelin, one of my all time favorites. I couldn't stop listening to GVF. I'm glad I actually read Bob's blog before hearing about this band. I could have easily written them off as a Zeppelin imitation band. However, Bob is correct in that Zeppelin copied all the blues masters and that was 45 years ago. All artists are influenced by previous generations of music. This band is no different.
GFV is an American band from Michigan, formed in 2012. The band hasn't released much in this time, but it's January , 2017 EP titled Black Smoke Rising is what should have everybody listening / talking. I've cranked it up on my main system, my headphone system, and my car system. It's great rock and roll that deserves to be cranked up.
I highly recommend reading Bob's blog first, then giving the band a listen. it will set your frame of mind and get you excited for a little rock and roll.
I've been working off and on trying to gain access to Roon while I'm out of the house. Until Roon on the go is released, we will have to find such a temporary solution. I know it's possible to do this, but I want to find an elegant solution that I can recommend to everyone and everyone can either buy or setup without too much trouble.
Launching Roon remote from a mobile device without a WiFi connection, won't work. Roon presents an error message about requiring WiFi. Thus, VPN alone won't due the trick. Whatever device is used, will have to be on a WiFi network. Once this is established, a VPN seems like the next logical step.
There are countless VPN solutions that enable one to access a home network (where the Roon core resides). I've used a couple of them and have been testing several others. So far the PiVPN based on a Raspberry Pi is really nice, but it's another device to put on the network and for which a firewall rule is needed. I'm testing out two different wired routers that have built-in VPN, enabling people to configure this VPN and connect remotely without the need for more devices. I believe both the PiVPN and a router based solution will be good options.
Feel free to offer recommendations, while I continue my testing. I'll publish an article fairly soon, once I am satisfied with the results.
Cool Streamer Project
The other day I found a cool RCA Victor AM radio in my basement. This thing has several tubes and even built-in presets for local radio stations. It's built like a tank inside and made of cool wood on the outside. Good luck buying something new like this today.
My idea is to turn this into a desktop all-in-one streamer, like the Naim Mu-so or Klipsch The Three. I'm not sure what it will take, but I'm starting the investigation today. I'm guessing a Raspberry Pi could be used with something from HiFi Berry, but I have no clue about the other pieces such as if I can still use the tubes, amplifier, and speaker. This project isn't that big, but it's out of my comfort zone as soon as I get beyond the digital streaming part.
I'd love all the input I can get from the CA Community on this project.
P.S. If this one goes well, I have an old Bendix console radio / record player that I'd love to turn into a great stereo.