Hi Gordon,

I recently read your review of the Bluesound Vault 2i CD ripper-server-streamer. I am probably wishing on a star, but do you know if I can download a FLAC or MP3 copy of the songs to my iPhone for on-the-go playback after ripping a CD to the Vault? I am a little behind the times when it comes to buying music online, but I have about 3000 CDs. It would be a plus to be able to download them to my iPhone, especially for listening when I am camping and can’t get a cell signal.

Thanks in advance,
Thomas Sullivan
United States

Hi Thomas,

Thanks for your email. The quick answer to your question is that you can’t transfer audio files directly from the Vault 2i to your iPhone. If you want to play your ripped files on your phone offline, you have to import them to a Mac (or to the iTunes app on a Windows PC) first.

There are a couple of ways to import music from the Vault 2i to a Mac. You can navigate to the Vault 2i in the Network section of Finder, and drag the folders or files you want to import onto the Apple Music icon in the taskbar—those folders and files will automatically be imported into the app’s music library. Or you can choose Import . . . from the Music app’s File menu, navigate to the Vault 2i in the next window, choose the folders and files you want to import, and click the Open button. Those files and folders will then flow into your music library.

If you’re a Windows user, you have to install the iTunes app, which is available for free from the Microsoft Store. After launching iTunes, choose Add Folder to Library from the app’s File menu, then navigate to the Vault 2i, choose the folders you want to import, and click the Select Folder button. The folders will then appear in the iTunes library.

After you have imported the music you want into the Music app on a Mac or the iTunes app on a Windows PC, you have to sync your iPhone with the app on your computer. You can transfer all the music you’ve imported if your iPhone has enough capacity, or choose specific albums and songs.

There is one other complication. The Vault 2i lets you rip music in FLAC or MP3 format. In terms of sound quality, FLAC is the better choice, because it’s a lossless format. MP3 uses lossy compression. However, you won’t be able to play FLAC files with your iPhone’s Music app, as FLAC is not supported by iOS. MP3 is supported, so if you rip to that format, your files will play natively on your iPhone.

If you want to use a Vault to rip CDs in FLAC format and then play those files on your iPhone, there are some workarounds, but they’re cludgy. You can play FLAC files from the iOS Files app using a third-party music player app like Vox Music Player, Plex, or Onkyo HF Player. Or you can convert FLAC files to ALAC (Apple Lossless) format, which is supported by iOS and iTunes, using a FLAC-to-ALAC converter app; these are readily available for both macOS and Windows.

However, if your only wish is to rip your CD collection so you can play your music on your iPhone, there’s an easier, less expensive solution than buying the Vault 2i. If your computer does not have an optical drive (most modern computers do not), you’ll have to buy one. They’re cheap—you can pick up an external USB CD/DVD drive for $50 or $60. The macOS Music app and iTunes for Windows both have ripping functions.

Before ripping CDs, you should choose the codec you want to use for ripped files. You do this by selecting Preferences in the File menu, and then tapping the Files icon in the pop-up window. You’ll see a button at the bottom called Import Settings. For maximum storage, use AAC or MP3. These are lossy codecs; but you can also choose Apple Lossless, which is what I use. After that, you can insert a CD into your optical drive, and the iTunes or Music app will automatically rip the CD. It will also pull metadata like song, artist, and album names from the internet and fill in that information automatically. The only time this doesn’t happen is if you’re ripping a really old or obscure CD.

However, if you also want to stream your ripped CDs to BluOS-enabled components for home listening, the Vault 2i offers real benefits. You’ll be able to use the BluOS app to play music stored on the Vault to BluOS-enabled components on your home network. You can also use the BluOS app to play music stored on a PC or Mac, but that involves setting up network shares, which can be a very fiddly process.

Good luck to you with whichever approach you choose.

All the best,

Hi Gordon,

Thanks for the timely and detailed response. I am sure I will have to be patient as I explore the Vault and finally get my CD collection in order. I will take your advice into account.

Take care,