Since 2005 Enjoy the Music.com has provided audiophiles a way of giving hints to their loved ones of what they wanted for the holiday season (see 2010 here, 2008 here, 2007 here, 2006 here and 2005 here) . Feel free to print out this article and/or our previous five, circling the items you want. Then simply give you list to those who want to you what you'd like to get this holiday season. Gift-giving season is upon us and we here at Enjoy the Music.com want to help make your wife/husband/life partner/friend's job easier by providing you an easy way to place hints concerning what you most desire. Enjoy the Music.com is proud to present our sixth Great Audiophile Gift suggestions. In addition i'll also show you what my personal holiday gifts were, which are all hidden underneath the cover in this photo. HINT: In the past three weeks i have completely redone the entire network with state-of-the-art wireless gigabit router, 16 port gigabit switch and mega-huge 12TB of storage NAS system!
As many of you have seen recently within the Enjoy the Music.com Industry News page, according to the Associated Press, figures show that online sales increased greatly on Thanksgiving Day while on Cyber Monday 2012 preliminary sales figures show an increase of 28.4% according to IBM Benchmark (reaching $1.5B) year over year. This makes it the biggest online shopping day of the year according to comScore, which started tracking online shoppers since 2001. For the record, virtually the entire wireless/NAS network was ordered online and delivered two days later to my front door. Online shopping rocks!
As for Enjoy the Music.com's Great Audiophile Gift 2012 Awards, most items below are new to our gift list, yet there are a few repeats since they always make great audiophile gifts. And now i present to you Enjoy the Music.com's 2012 Great Audiophile Gift suggestions!
Network And NAS System -- My Dream Holiday
And then those lovely boxes arrived, but only after checking FedEx tracking online a few times in the morning and opening the front door every now and then to see if they dropped it off without ringing the doorbell. Ahhh yes, look at all those boxes! Life is good! We audio and gadget freaks know the feeling of many new boxes just begging to be opened! Then upon opening each one, that glorious aroma of new electronics is ever so seductive. The scent of new circuit board, freshly painted metal, and just a small hint of solder. Oh baby yeah, that's the gooood stuff! My heart is literally racing right now just thinking of it! Am i one sick puppy or what?!?!? C'mon, admit it, you know about that enticing scent! Come to think about it, why hasn't an audiophile company released a men's fragrance that smells like New Electronics? Hmmm, maybe i need to stop keeping new electronics boxes in my office as obviously they are impairing my judgment! LOL
And now a few items from the new Enjoy the Music.com completely revamped Gigabit network with 12TB NAS system. Note that all items were purchased online from Amazon, etc, so none of these are manufacturer reviews samples. i did the research, debated hardware configurations and this is what resulted. Am not saying this is the ultimate or 'best system in the world', yet for the money this puppy can make digital files sing through CAT6 Ethernet cables, fly through the air via Wi-Fi at breakneck speeds plus offer complete cloud services. Why trust some third party with your data or pay for limited bandwidth or file storage when you can command over 12TB at your fingertips worldwide!
The system, starting from top left, is the Synology DS412+ NAS unit with the nice bright blue light and four green ones. Inside the NAS are four Western Digital Red 3TB NAS hard drives (SATA III, 64 MB cache) and these are specifically made for NAS users. The standing tall single green light is an old Maxtor 300 GB USB2 hard drive. On the top shelf at the rear right is the Netgear 16 port ProSafe Gigabit Ethernet switch GS116NA. The lower shelf holds my very large silver APC S15 power filter/batter backup UPS unit. On top of it sits the new Netgear AC 1750 a/b/n/ac Gigabit model R6300 wireless router with 802.11ac for up to 450+1300 Mbps wireless speed. Then of course a normal Motorola Surfboard modem on the lower shelf's rear right. Everything that can be hardwired in is using brand new CAT6 of course.
Here is my audiophile and computer geek thoughts as will not bother trying to review each unit per se, as there are far higher qualified experts in the field who can delve deeper than i on this highly flexible and diverse system.
The first thing you want to know is does it work? Yes it does! How fast is it? Damn fast and 80 Mbs transfer rate on average on up is easy. Am only using one of the two Ethernet ports on the Synology DS412+ NAS unit, so am only using half of its true capabilities. Of course using both Ethernet ports would double this figure. The Netgear R6300 Wi-Fi router is perhaps the strongest, most potent Wi-Fi unit i have ever used. The signal is incredibly solid anywhere in my modest home and outside too. My new Nexus 10 32GB tablet is locked in at 144 Mbs Wi-Fi connection. The iPad 3 has only a 65 Mbs connection and Galaxy Note II has 72 Mbs according to my live monitoring app. Keep in mind these are basic, non-tweaked wireless speeds. Simply plug 'n' play, set 'n' forget... yet do plan on tweaking things next week.
In use she truly is am amazing system and yes every unit, other than the PnP Netgear switch, has an app. There is an app for the Netgear router plus of course HTTPS access, another app for Synology DS412+ and HTTPS access too. Also have two apps for various network administration, cloud storage handling, DLNA, etc. Technically, within my home are two cloud storage networks per se, but really do not want to confuse you readers to exact system configurations as basically one cloud is 100% public access (the Maxtor connected to the R6300) while the Synology 12TB NAS is secured. The advantage of this entire system, besides the obvious blindingly fast (for today) speeds and capabilities, is that large FLAC and WAV files are child's play. Again, average transfer speeds, without any real system tweaking is 80 Mbs. If i really want more speed from the NAS, hooking up the second Ethernet naturally doubles rear/write access speeds. Another benefit is that anywhere in the world i can access files securely (upload/download), transfer them to a public cloud for everyone to download/access, setup guest services for wireless users, setup a guest cloud, etc anywhere in the world. Imagine your own cloud with no bandwidth limitations and with a massive 12TB of home-based cloud storage that should at least store a few of your favorite uncompressed musical recordings. Please note that the small 300 GB Maxtor hooked to the R6300 is a 'public' cloud, though anything from a 1GB thumbdrive to 500 GB SSD for that audiophile purity can be used; or a normal spinning 4TB external drive would also work.
The GUI of the Synology is easy to use, yet you can choose to go very granular for those IT guys like me who like to tweak. The R6300 Wi-Fi router also has an easy to use GUI and offers a wide array of choices and settings, with the ports seen below.
Could type more, yet am sure you get the idea here. Did quite a bit of research and my only gripes are the Netgear switch as may go full Enterprise and the R6300 is amazing, but there are some minor quirks that i hope get fixed during the next firmware update (typical birthing/growing pains). Am looking forward to trying the 802.11ac for up to 1300 Mbps wireless speed built into the R6300 once that becomes a true industry standard. Naturally all audio/video 'critical' streaming devices are wired via CAT6 cable. Also note the system has been here only three weeks and have not had time to fully tweak it, so am sure there are ways to wrestle more speed and capability when time permits. Of course if you have any hints or tips let me know, as all help is always appreciated.
And that rounds out Enjoy the Music.com's Great Audiophile Gift 2012 ideas and a description of the new network and NAS system. Hopefully you have found something that will bring your audiophile joy this holiday season... and all year long. There is something within our above list to please virtually every audiophile no matter what their preference or budget. We here at Enjoy the Music.com wish you and yours a very happy holiday season and a prosperous 2013. Of course in the end what really matters to me is that we all....