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Computer Audiophile
  • The Computer Audiophile

    Music Storage, New Music, Remote Access, and a Cool Streamer Project

    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. 

     

     


    Music Storage

     

     

    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).

     

     

     

    amazon-pricing.png my-amazon.png

     

     

     

     

     

     

    New Music

     


    BSR_EP_CoverArt_hi.jpgOn 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.


    Bob Lefsetz - Greta Van Fleet

     

    Greta Van Fleet - Black Smoke Rising - YouTube | Spotify | Tidal

     

     


     

     


    Remote Access

     


    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.

     

     

     

    IMG_20170816_112519.jpg IMG_20170816_112613.jpg IMG_20170816_112622.jpg IMG_20170816_112646.jpg

    Edited by The Computer Audiophile


    User Feedback




    Chris,

     

    Try Backblaze's personal use option.

     

    Unlimited storage for about the same price as Amazon's old plan

     

    All the best.

     

    Joel

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    For off-site backup I use Crashplan (including my digital music library).  The Family Plan is $149.99 / year w/ unlimited storage for up to ten machines.  There is also a single machine plan for $59.99 / year.

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    @The Computer Audiophile it was quite obvious that the prices would hike up at some point. Have a look at Microsoft, they have plans to get big on this business. 

     

    Coincidentally, just this week I was looking at offline backups. The big advantage of cold (offline) backup is that, as long as the medium is kept in good state, there is zero risk associated with hacker attacks, companies going out of business, law risks (think of Megaupload users) and so on. Disadvantages are, you can't lose your tapes/disks and not really ideal for constantly changing data (not a big problem for a music collection IMO). Cold backup is still the way to go for sensitive data (and cloud services as well). 

     

    The best technology for I belive would still be LTO (good ol' tape). The initial investment is quite hefty (1200 and up for the recorder), however the cost per Terabyte is very low (20 bucks per Tb). RDX technology (HDD based) has very low initial investment, however the price per Tb is much higher (~150 / Tb). Expensive if compared to a $60 unlimited cloud storage service, but cheap compared to one 15x its price (you're in the green on the second year already). 

     

    Just an idea. For the moment I'm using neither cloud nor tapes as backup. 

     

     

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    44 minutes ago, joelha said:

    Chris,

     

    Try Backblaze's personal use option.

     

    Unlimited storage for about the same price as Amazon's old plan

     

    All the best.

     

    Joel

     

    Hi Joel - Backblaze personal only allows backing up data that's on a computer. All my content is on a NAS. Backblaze appears to require a Backblaze B2 account for this.

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    42 minutes ago, mrvco said:

    For off-site backup I use Crashplan (including my digital music library).  The Family Plan is $149.99 / year w/ unlimited storage for up to ten machines.  There is also a single machine plan for $59.99 / year.

     

    Trying to figure out Crashplan. It appears that a computer with a mapped drive is required to backup a NAS. The site is confusing with Crashplan and Code42 and different but similar options between then etc...

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    I've also been using Crashplan and after about 4TB's, the upload speed decreased considerably. Maybe the issue is on my end but my uploads to Backblaze are considerably faster with over 14TB's uploaded and counting.

     

    Joel

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    25 minutes ago, joelha said:

    I've also been using Crashplan and after about 4TB's, the upload speed decreased considerably. Maybe the issue is on my end but my uploads to Backblaze are considerably faster with over 14TB's uploaded and counting.

     

    Joel

    Do you have a computer connected to the 14TB, that runs the Backblaze app?

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    I love those old radio station dials.  If you're from the Twin Cities and older than 40, you'll recognize those stations immediately.  Where'd you get that?

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    Is this maybe an opportunity for a cooperative private solution on storage. What I am thinking about is something along the lines of a torrent type peer network that users contribute storage to and can then use that amount of storage in the shared private cloud. So, for example let's say I have a 2TB library that I want to back up. I make 2TB of space available to the private cloud and in exchange I get to use 2TB of space in the cloud. In order to have some redundancy maybe I need to make 4TB available. Would need some sort of software to manage this (not sure if something like this already exists or not). My backup is redundantly spread in the cloud and in exchange I make some space available to that cloud. So for the cost of the space that I make available I get an equal amount of space in the private cloud for backup. This is sort of like the idea of sending a hard drive to a friend except taking it a bit further. 

     

    Just a thought for a interesting CA project. 

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    1 hour ago, ShawnC said:

    I love those old radio station dials.  If you're from the Twin Cities and older than 40, you'll recognize those stations immediately.  Where'd you get that?

     

    Found it in my basement. Could have been here when we moved in 10 years ago. 

     

    Oh yes, I know the stations. 

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    @DaQi

    Wonderful idea, but difficult to administer. Who will ensure that each person is really putting more storage into the "system" than is actually using? This is especially so with a distributed system.

     

    Would love to join if there is such a project. A global community like this would be swell! :)

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    4 hours ago, joelha said:

    I've also been using Crashplan and after about 4TB's, the upload speed decreased considerably. Maybe the issue is on my end but my uploads to Backblaze are considerably faster with over 14TB's uploaded and counting.

     

    Joel

    I had exactly the same issue with Crashplan. After a year of trying to back up about 6 TB of music, I gave up. I believe they throttle once you go beyond the usual internal PC storage.

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    @The Computer Audiophile

    1/ Synology is about to market its cloud solution named Synology C2 at 0,005/GB/y usd

    2/ buy a second NAS and replicate the main one. If possible set it up offsite. Toshiba N300 8TB is priced 280 usd. Put two of them in a new unit you don't even need to power up the backup NAS 24/7.

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    7 hours ago, DaQi said:

    Is this maybe an opportunity for a cooperative private solution on storage. What I am thinking about is something along the lines of a torrent type peer network that users contribute storage to and can then use that amount of storage in the shared private cloud. So, for example let's say I have a 2TB library that I want to back up. I make 2TB of space available to the private cloud and in exchange I get to use 2TB of space in the cloud. In order to have some redundancy maybe I need to make 4TB available. Would need some sort of software to manage this (not sure if something like this already exists or not). My backup is redundantly spread in the cloud and in exchange I make some space available to that cloud. So for the cost of the space that I make available I get an equal amount of space in the private cloud for backup. This is sort of like the idea of sending a hard drive to a friend except taking it a bit further. 

     

    Just a thought for a interesting CA project. 

     

    6 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    I would love such a solution! Brilliant!

     

     

    Have a look at STORJ

     

    Maybe we should also approach the existing bittorrent providers :)

     

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    12 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    Do you have a computer connected to the 14TB, that runs the Backblaze app?

    I do, Chris.

     

    Joel

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    It's not the same type of backup you're looking for, but what about Vox Loop to have another backup of your music? Also, another idea is to set up another NAS as a duplicate of yours and keep it at someone else's place. You can use Resilio Sync afterward to keep everything synced.

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    7 hours ago, number8 said:

    @The Computer Audiophile

    1/ Synology is about to market its cloud solution named Synology C2 at 0,005/GB/y usd

    2/ buy a second NAS and replicate the main one. If possible set it up offsite. Toshiba N300 8TB is priced 280 usd. Put two of them in a new unit you don't even need to power up the backup NAS 24/7.

     

    I researched C2 and it looks like it will be the same price as Backblaze $0.005 per GB per month

     

     

     

     

    5 hours ago, jventer said:

     

    Have a look at STORJ

     

    Maybe we should also approach the existing bittorrent providers :)

     

     

     

    STORJ looks cool, but also about $225 per month for my 15TB.

     

    Would love to work with the Bit Torrent guys.

     

     

     

    1 hour ago, silverarrows said:

    It's not the same type of backup you're looking for, but what about Vox Loop to have another backup of your music? Also, another idea is to set up another NAS as a duplicate of yours and keep it at someone else's place. You can use Resilio Sync afterward to keep everything synced.

     

    Ran across Resilio Sync last night. I will check it our again.

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    Lol my suggestion has been totally ignored. 

     

    Rumored price for Synology C2 in EU is 60 euros / (Tb*year), same price of other services 0.005 / (Gb * month). Similar numbers for US?

     

    For 15 Tb that's 900 euros per year, still not exactly a bargain. 

     

     

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    If you think about it, the storage business model is really backwards.  If all of us at CA stored duplicates of our entire music libraries in the cloud, think about how much waste and duplication there would be in terms of storage.  What we really need is a service that verifies what we each have, stores one copy of that on a safe server and then allows any subscriber to "restore" their collection as needed, based upon files previously verified as "owned.'  Who knows, my entire library might be just a tiny subset of Chris' or others here.  

     

    Is there any way CA could start something like that as a subscription service?  My guess is that folks like Amazon, google, etc. wouldn't love it because they now all want to start charging us more for storage now that they have us on the hook.

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    Most of these cloud services are targeted at the business user, who gets an income for the use of this data. Hence, it makes little sense for an individual to pay for such services.

     

    I still await the day when cloud services start looking at the back-up of home NASes as a market...

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