If I buy a server and plug it into my pre amp do I need a CD player any more- if so what for?


New member
Aug 10, 2019
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I am in the process of putting my entire CD collection onto a RAID server. the server will, in addition to my music, also store computer files of various types. I can either load all the CD's onto the server from my computer CD or I can do so via my (old Arcam alpha) CD player. The questios I have are (I think very interesting).

On the basis that copying the entire CD's data onto a server (Hard drive) means that I have rendered my CD player redundant doesn't it? Or does it? Does a CD player 'add something' to the music in doing all its D-A and A-D goings on or is that just rubbish. In putting my CD's onto a server - the same dots and dashes are on server as are on the original CD and then thnformation is passed to the preammp copmbo to pass to the speakers.

So, can someone out there tell me why I should buy another (better) CD player over putting all my CD's oto a server - or do I need both - and if so why?

I hope someone can understand this!

All advice welcome.


John Duncan

Well-known member
Tricky question. There are clear *theoretical* advantages to playing uncompressed music from your hard drive, as you remove the mechanical issues inherent in playing CDs from a CD player. But a) it's not so easy to make sure that you have an exact bitwise copy of your CD on that server in the first place, and b) you then have to try and convert those bits back to an analogue signal, which, whilst easy to arrange, is not so easy to do either well or cheaply.

The principle has merits however, and there are many ways to approach it, wired or wireless - how many CDs do you have for starters, which may influence which way you should go?

Andrew Everard

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May 30, 2007
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From personal experience I'd at least suggest ripping all your discs to the server in real time - ie at 1x speed - rather than being tempted to speed things up. Too much chance of jitter with a computer drive running at high speed, which is not how CDs are meant to be read.

After that, it's really down to the quality of the DACs in the system you use to play back the files. The DACs in servers generally tend to be pants, and you'd do better to have an audio-quality digital to analogue converter between your server and the amp.