1. Customer reviews can be faked, but the MXQ for Android (http://amzn.to/2fVUCKj
) is the highest-rated streaming media player with a keyboard on Amazon. Any views? Is that keyboard palm-sized?
On the pictures it looks slightly bigger than the box itself, which is 11.5cm square footprint.
2. I was advised to rip my CDs to FLAC, not MP3. Is this a good idea?
Storing in a lossless format is the best idea looking forward. You can't know what format will be dominating in 10 years, maybe MP3 will die out?
With FLAC you can convert your tracks to whatever format you might need in the future, without losing any of the quality of the original recording.
Also it's significantly smaller using FLAC than plain PCM digital uncompressed audio.
Alternatives like ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) or Windows Media Lossless have the same benefits as FLAC, but you'll have less options for playing without prior conversion.
3. Is Exact Audio Copy a good app for ripping CDs to FLAC?
It's the best I know. Easy to handle and not much you could do wrong. Any ripping tool will do, though. After all there is no Analog->Digital conversion involved. The only chance to do something better/worse is with the compression level (will not affect the quality, only the filesize which will vary by 2-3% depending on the compression levels) and the User Experience.
4. With 12,000 FLAC files, my current plan is to store a copy of all files on each of two Toshiba Canvios (http://cnet.co/2gYdQjt
). Any views?
Depends on the length and "musical variance" inside each of the tracks and the size of the external HDD you choose.
As a rule of thumb: FLAC with "Pop"-music from the last 3-4 decades will land you at an average 15MB/min.
5. The player and KODI will work fine with FLAC files on external drives, right?
Yep. As well as about 100 other audio, video, photo and subtitle formats.
6. Some of my CDs are old imports, unauthorized compilations, etc., and have no metadata. I currently have MusicBrainz Picard and Tag&Rename. Is EasyTag a better solution for researching and tagging tracks without metadata?
Never used either of these. If you have full CDs, you should be fine with anything that supports CDDB (commercial by Gracenote) or it's free counterpart FreeDB (same protocol, but different servers and no officiall support by the labels, but only community-driven, much like Wikipedia)
I personally use TheGodFather for my audio file tagging needs. It supports FreeDB and MusicBrainz out of the box and for those who like some more "MetaData" it's able to parse websites like the AllMusic Guide for relevant information. It's highly flexible thanks to the built-in scripting language (which is coincidentally built upon Delphi just like PAL in SAM)