First world problems

It’s been 20 days since my current health problems began. Rough day yesterday, probably because of the added immune system impact of getting all my Africa trip shots on Thursday evening – immunizations against polio, Hep A, and typhoid. That’s quite a vaccine cocktail – JFK Jr’s head would explode at the thought. Felt like shit all day Friday and Saturday, though that’s mostly gone today. I am reminded of how tough anyone with long-term health issues has to be or become. It’s one thing to feel bad for a few days – it’s quite another to have it drag on day after day.

I’m sure that most of the strength and stamina I had acquired through twice-weekly sessions with our trainer is now gone or significantly diminished. Not being able to exercise enough to break a sweat has been a real burden these last three weeks – with a week+ to go. I’m not looking forward to starting over on the stamina front.

This morning I’ve turned my attention to a first world problem. Digital audio. A couple of years ago I thought I had solved the problem by ripping a lot of my CD collection to FLAC files and saving them on a hard disk drive. I then attached that drive (my music library) to an Elac S-101 music server and expected to be able to access all my music, plus millions of songs from Tidal, via the Elac. It just hasn’t turned out that way. The Elac server has been flaky, and each time I think of listening to it I dread the inevitable futzing and troubleshooting required to make it work. Sometimes I get it working; sometimes not. That’s not what I’m looking for when I just want to relax and listen to music.

I *think* the problem centers around the Elac’s network connection. I use a Wifi bridge/repeater to bring the home LAN to that room, and use the bridge’s wired Ethernet connection to attach the Elac. I suspect the Wifi bridge performance is spotty/marginal, so I get poor performance and random errors on the Elac side of things. Can’t find the server, can’t find the song, long random freezes of the UI, etc. Again, not what you’re looking for each time you decide to listen to some music.

Plus the Elac is not well supported. Elac has not maintained or updated this product in years. their software wasn’t that great at inception, and from what I can see there have been no improvements since it was released in 2017. Six years is an eternity in the digital world. So even if I decide to run Ethernet from my cable modem to the Elac, I still have to contend with buggy/unreliable software.

I’m considering buying a different digital streaming platform, the Brennan B3. It’s got most of what I want, and the feature set is attractive. But the Brennan gets shitty reviews, and I suspect buying it might be just like buying a British car back in the day. For example, my old MG-B – cool looking, fun in theory, but a maintenance nightmare.

Another option is a no-name music server made in Poland and sold via Audiogon. It’s a Roon music server without the Roon brand pricing and with better/more modern hardware. The price is decent and the price/performance is great, compared to the Roon label. I think this is the way I’ll go.

All this said, why doesn’t someone other than Brennan or this Polish outfit make a simple, modern, well-supported CD ripping, digital music storage and streaming device? Why doesn’t Marantz or Denon put their product muscle behind this simple need? It’s a mystery.