It’s rare that network attached storage (NAS) raises our pulse rate; in fact, it’s fair to say it’s never happened before. But the Ripserver is a little different. Available in Apple-esque white or plain black, its minimalist looks make it stand out among the ugly ducklings of the storage world.
But we’re not shallow – it’s how the Ripserver works that impressed us most. Hook it up to your home network by attaching it to your router and it becomes available to all of your computers. It has a web-based interface for changing the settings and runs a scaled down version of Linux, which makes it super-stable.
Turn on, iTunes in
Using the online interface you can set the Ripserver up as a shared iTunes server. This is a two-step process and took us about a minute to do. Once you’ve set it up it becomes available in iTunes on any of your networked computers.
Ripping CDs is amazingly simple – slip one into the slot and the Ripserver will automatically start to rip and encode the tracks grabbing cover art from Gracenote along the way.
The downside is speed: ripping at best quality takes anything up to 30 minutes, so if you’re trying to archive a large record collection you’re going to spend most of your weekend doing it.
We tested the 500GB version, which will store over 5000 tracks depending on the quality you choose to save the files at. Ripserver offers you a choice of 128kps, 192kps, 256kps or 320kps MP3, or every audiophile’s favourite format: FLAC.
We can’t fault the Ripserver on usability or specs but price is its downfall. It is pretty unique – far easier to set up as a music server than almost any external hard drive – but it’s just too expensive. On the upside you can expand the storage by hooking up more drives via USB.
If you’re fairly computer savvy you’ll be able to get the same amount of storage for far less and create a networked attached archive yourself. If the price goes down it’ll be a must have for music obsessives, but it’s not quite there yet.