Netgear ReadyNAS NV+
and the Seagate Barracuda ES & Linksys PLK 200

Making The High-End Audio Fur Fly

Francis Vale

Things in the audio high-end usually never make much sense, at least on the surface—$10,000 speaker cables, $5,000+ CD players, $50,000 speakers, and on it goes.  Sadly, it’s mostly all quite true.  To get to that last 5% or 10% of the you-are-truly-there audible experience, this is the typical price of admission.

The high-end has always been skittish about digital source components.  The perfect sound forever hype never caught on with these characters, and usually for good reason.  The gold audio standard for many high-enders is still analog vinyl. 

But others, particularly vendors of all data stripes, say bits are bits are bits, just like there is no there, there. (Apologies, Gertrude.) But bits are not all exactly, well, bits.  How the bits are processed and delivered make a sonic difference in high-end audio, and sometimes a really big one. 

Case in point, audio bits that are network delivered straight to playback devices around your house via Netgear’s (formerly Infrant Technologies) ReadyNAS NV+.  Before we get into this digital fur ball that’s sure to make some in the high-end (and low-end) choke on their binary preconceptions, here are some things you ought to know about the ReadyNAS NV+.

There is no need to have a PC or Mac running in order to stream your videos, music, and pictures straight from the ReadyNAS. And if you have one of the new, networked DVD or Windows Media Connect-compatible players, simply drag and drop your media files to the ReadyNAS and the files automatically appear on your player, ready to stream to any TV in the house.

In addition, you can connect your camera or flash reader to the ReadyNAS NV+ via one of its three USB 2.0 ports. Your pictures are auto-uploaded and instantly sharable with other PCs and streaming players on your network, without ever needing to turn on a computer. It'll even sort the pix into a time-stamped folder so your new pictures won’t overwrite your existing ones.

The toaster-sized ReadyNAS NV+ provides fault-tolerant storage for up to 4 hot-swappable SATA and SATA II disk drives. This little metal puppy weighs in at just ten pounds, sans discs. Essentially, the ReadyNAS NV+ is an enterprise data vault solution packaged up in a small, quiet, turnkey box that ensures your data will never go MIA if a drive fails. The device runs an embedded version of Linux. The ReadyNAS NV+ supports various RAID configurations, sports a gigabit Ethernet connection, features continuous system monitoring, and also offers backup capabilities.

EMC’s Retrospect backup software is included for Windows and Macs (a separate 5-client license per each OS). You can also use the ReadyNAS NV+ as a print server by plugging your printer into one of its USB ports. It also comes with a DHCP server. You can even hang an external USB disk drive off it, either as another share or to backup to/from it.

All ReadyNAS NV+ operations are controlled via a web browser interface, which is quite easy to use. Systems management features from the browser are good. All browser log-ins to the ReadyNAS are encrypted and run over a Secure Socket Layer.

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