This guest post is by William Bravin.
I would like to share my experience in building my HT environment with you.
I must pre-empt this blurb by saying I’m not an audiophile nor am I a computer wizard or rich.
Now that I am retired I have only 3 passions in my life besides my Family. They are; riding my motorcycle on long rides, eating good food, enjoying my media with friends and family.
I was happy with my HIFI Stereo architecture which include;
I have very eclectic tastes in music (3700 Songs mostly from iTunes) and videos (about 250 movies from VHS or DVD) and about 100 vinyl LPs .
I still need to load circa 100 CD and 75 more DVDs on the NAS.
All my stereo equipment is more than 20 years old and I love it.
However; now I want to move to a 5.1 environment.
This meant upgrading my Pre-Amp to a multichannel environment and getting a better solution to manage my Media.
Instead of purchasing a good pre-amp and a computer for my media and in an effort to save money I decide to build a HTPC.
I muddled over this for several months and laid out a roadmap for my Media Centre environment. I talked to friends, listen a lot and downloaded the free white book on building an HTPC from mymediaexperience.com.
First I listed my major requirements which were: Play my Digital music, from my NAS. Play my LP’s, Play my movies and be able to continue to convert my VHS library, needed a preamp to manage my environment and continue to listen at the same to music with the same quality as I did with my stereo. Hence I needed both a digital and an analogue environment to play my media.
As I do not play many games I just needed a good Video card and or the moment I do not need to invest in 3D. However I did require a good sound card that would play both digital and analogue music.
I needed an environment that would be easily upgradable and silent.
Hence these are the components I went with;
My media on a fully redundant Buffalo 4TB NAS via my LAN network.
This was the simple part of the build and now, the fun and frustrating parts.
As mentioned I use WinAmp (for my Music) and VLC (for my Videos) to play my media. I love that VLC can play any of my Videos and I loved the media management capabilities of Winamp. I did not want to sacrifice any functionality I already had.
I tried many of the more popular media centre SW. However I found that I always had to compromise on the functionality or on the ability to play all my media. Since I am one who likes things to be automated, I am always looking for better SW.
Thanks to Tuukka at My Media Experience, who introduced me to JRiver, which I Installed.
I find that it is playing all my media files and is fairly robust with the media and Meta data management.
For now I love listening to my music from my system, watching the videos and picture from one environment.
By no means do I consider my experience or analysis with the JRiver MC complete.
However I will purchase the JRiver MC because it is a big step forward in my environment. However I will not only purchase the upgrades unless a substantial improvement is made to features and functionality.
My next steps in my HT development; developing multi zone paying capability, getting 1 or 2 powered front facing Subwoofers (Velodyne or REL), upgrade my Thorens with a SME 312 tone arm and a granite plinth better isolation and wiring, get a 60in LED TV (when they become cheaper) or a HD projector and Screen, update all my Video files to HD, finalise allocating all my music files into playlists and video files in genres.
This post was written by a guest writer. You can find the details at the beginning of this post. If you’d like to guest post for My Media Experience, please do not hesitate to contact me.