The importance of backing-up your music

The importance of backing-up your music

Alan Ainslie, Director at audiophile Digital Music Masters



Oh no: I’ve lost all my music! I thought that digital and Hi-Res was supposed to be stress-free, but I can’t find my music anymore?

The HDD in your Melco is comparable to the shelves on which you store your CDs or vinyl.
You would not store your LPs in a cellar likely to flood, or your CDs alongside a raging log fire.
Because you know that is tempting providence and ‘stuff will happen’!

Music in digital form on a HDD is pretty much the same really – it needs to be cared for and possible problems anticipated.

There are two types of HDD

No, not HDD and SSD, but rather broken hard drives, and those which are about to break!
Please do not trust your HDD: all HDDs will fail at some time.

SSDs are more reliable, but may well fail, and if they do, although HDD failure sometimes allows us to recover some music, SSD failure is terminal.  No recovery is possible.

The solution 

The simple solution to losing music from HDD failure is to get into the routine of making a regular backup.

How to do a backup on a Melco

When considering creating a backup on a PC or other IT device, it can be tricky to manage.
But, performing a backup on a Melco is really very simple.

The N1A and N1Z both have a USB socket on the back marked ‘BACKUP’. Simply plug in a USB drive larger than the music library formatted NTFS.
(The HDD can be formatted on The Melco – SETTINGS  —   DRIVES    FORMAT USB DRIVE in case of V4.xx FW)

Melco ports

If it is correctly formatted, it will reward with an icon on the front OLED.


Then go MAIN MENU>BACKUP> – START BACKUP: the OLED will give you a progress report.


(The N100 and N10 are a little different in that when connecting a USB drive, the Melco will ask if the drive is to be used for backup and configure the USB port automatically).

The backup is incremental – so the first backup is everything, and subsequent backups record just the changes since the last backup.

Technically, an incremental backup requires the external HDD to be format in NTFS. Do not worry though: the Melco can be used to format the USB correctly from the main menu.

The backup that is made is of both the music library and all the settings that have been applied such as display brightness etc.

Backup regime

It is a good plan to make a backup after downloading, importing, or ripping music: just run it overnight.
The backup will be available by date, so that you can always differentiate between backups.
Technically, a backup should not be kept in the same place as the Melco – if you get burgled you might lose the backup as well as the machine.
So, it’s best keep the backup in an office drawer – not so far away that you forget to regularly make another backup.

Restore from a backup

Simply put the backup drive into the ‘BACKUP USB’ port, go

MAIN MENU>BACKUP>RESTORE and choose your backup. 


You can then choose to restore the music or the user settings.
You can RESTORE a BACKUP onto any machine, so you can use to clone your library – and settings – to another machine when upgrading you Melco or for your holiday home.
After making a restore, be sure to scan the music library to synchronise the UPnP server with the library.

Some Clever stuff

Under the hood of Melco is a computer.  And all computer data needs to be in a form exactly as the computer systems expect.
Sometimes, file transfers and backups fail simply because the data is badly formed, maybe as a result of manual edits, and sometimes because metadata databases have bad information.

The common example is the band R.E.M.   All music from R.E.M. will be in a folder called R.E.M   : there is no period (dot) permitted at the end of the filename.  
There are many similar examples and mistyping creates even more.
So, Melco even has a clever function in MAIN MENU> SUPPORT >PC INCOMPATIBLE CHARACTERS which will ask the Melco to scan the whole library and correct any such errors.
The scan takes a few minutes only, and is a wise precaution against trouble later on.


For power users

The backup structure can be viewed on any PC or MAC.
Simply mount the backup drive and ensure that you can view hidden files (the backup is concealed to prevent inadvertent errors).






The whole library is available for manipulation and edit. 
This means that you can choose to run SongKong on a backup drive rather than on the Melco itself – gaining advantage from the much faster processor of the host PC compared to the Melco, which is optimised for sound quality rather than speed.
After processing, simply RESTORE back to the Melco.
And be sure to make a database scan after the library is loaded.

A subtle point, but one worth noting, is that normally a Melco does not get the HDDs fragmented – we write in sequence and normally there are very few edits that would cause data to become fragmented on the HDD.

But, if there is a lot of editing on the Melco itself, then the HDD can become fragmented and SQ can slip.

Restore from a current backup will restore the data back onto the HDD without any fragmentation, allowing optimum replay quality.

The above instructions are similar for current production machines with V4.xx FW.  Early machines with V3.93 FW are broadly similar. We strongly recommend that early machines running V3.9x FW are updated to the latest EX specification which is V4.xx FW, and there are many performance enhancements including MinimServer2 and SongKong metadata editing, as well as a more robust HDD structure.  

V3.9x FW is considered to be in Maintenance status now, whereas V4.xx is where all the features and enhancements are applied as firmware updates at no additional cost. 

All Melco Music Libraries, from the earliest models, are currently supported with the capability for an EX update to allow for the latest features and performance upgrades.
Your Melco dealer can advise costs of the EX upgrade.

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