Best Multimedia Hard Drive for music (mainly), help needed!


Standard Member
I see someone asked a similar question way back in 2008, and received no answers to it, I hope I have better luck. I´m looking to hook up a multimedia external hard drive to my stereo system and TV (to navigate menus), the main purpose being to archive my CD collection in MP3 format, not to store films.

Most of the units out there do this of course, with the obvious emphasis on HDTV. Trouble is, from what I can tell, most offer little or no menu structure for the audio as such, you just end up with thousands of MP3 files to wade through. Some offer a folder/file structure copied over from how the MP3´s were originally stored, but it sounds like this is not the usual album/artist/playlist/song sorting menu, found on most portable MP3 players today.

Basically, I am looking for a digital jukebox. :smashin:

Although I´d rather purchase a unit with Hard drive already installed, (between 500 GB & 1 TB), if I had to buy separately, I will. As for price, I´d rather find the right unit and see if I can find it at a good price, new or second-hand, so price is not a deciding category at the moment.

Can anyone offer some advice?


Distinguished Member
Best music playback options I'm not entirely sure on although I'd wager most don't top XBMC.

The cheapest way to get XBMC is to buy an AppleTV2 for around £100 then hack it to run XBMC. However the spanner in the works here is that the ATV2 cannot work with USB hard drives so that would require a NAS also as storage for the music, anything would do even the cheapest stuff you can get your hands on like a WD My Book.

The first generation AppleTV can be bought second hand these can also run XBMC and have a USB port that can be used with USB hard drives although it requires a bit of work to get going.


Distinguished Member
You need the music streaming forum, if you are at all serious about this.
Streamers & Network Music Players Forum at

You will need to organise your music tags, as opposed to your file structure. I use MP3tag.
In terms of hardware most folks go with either a Sonos or a Squeezebox set up.
These will blow even XBMC out of the water in terms of ease of access to your library, and also to music streaming from the likes of Spotify, napster, and radio streams.
In terms of quality, they are great with Flac, rivalling £750 cd players. They do good job with MP3.

Pair them with a touch screen controller either from the manufacturer (Sonos remote is great but pricey) or an apple/ android tablet, and you have what equates to music nirvana.

FWIW, I use xbmc, WDTV live, and 5 squeezeboxes, a few ipods, I only ever get my musical kicks via my SBs.


Prominent Member
i think a squeeze box touch is what your looking for, you do need to add a external hard drive ,Logitech Squeezebox Touch: Electronics, theres plenty of help and advise on the music streaming forum.if your thinking of playing mp3s through it i would stongly suggest on converting to the squeeze box touch will just show how bad they sound:eek:


Distinguished Member
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Established Member
There are a ton of media players that will do this job providing you can accept browsing through a TV (i.e having the TV on).

The latest Realtek chipsets have a base fimrware that sorts music according to ID3 tag and allows easy searching for music, sorting according to album/artist. etc.

On top of this the new networked Realtek chips have Gigabit networking and can handle (and pass through) 192Khz FLAC and every other format you could imagine.

The price for such a player? HiMedia 600A - £74.99. For a tenth the price of an Olive you could also buy an LCD screen and permanently mount it wherever you like for browsing.


Distinguished Member
In my opinion, most of the wee general media players have woefully inadequate interfaces, and features compared to dedicated music players. Basic requirements for me are on the fly playlist management, gapless playback, and a decent fast app for a tablet/smartphone. All are missing on my WDTV Live.

XBMC on my Acer Revo with XBMC Commander app on an IPad is not bad, but it comes a poor second to Ipeng controlling a clan of Squeezeboxes.

You can forget synchronising multiple players on anything other than a dedicated music streaming system.

Technically, there should be no sound difference if all are hooked up to a decent DAC. This is not my experience, but that's a whole other thread.;)

The above reasons are why I prefer music streamers, at the end of the day these reasons may or may not be significant to fellow forumites.


Standard Member
Appreciate all the feedback so far, I will need to process the information, check out some of the ideas, even check out the other (Audio) Forums as suggested, and see what I´m left with.

The Logitech Squeezebox touch is a nice looking unit, it still needs a storage medium of course, and the music streaming via network is a direction I need to think a little more about.

The HiMedia solution (multimedia Hard Drive) is more or less the concept I was originally thinking of, but on other Forum´s there seems to be some concerns about the software stability, so maybe worth waiting on that one.

Anyway, keep the ideas coming, the great thing about Forums is that you´re not just answering my question(s), you´re also providing helpful info to anyone else searching on a similar theme.:thumbsup:


Standard Member
I have a question for Boomboomboom.........

I started off looking for exactly that, a simple off-the-shelf multimedia player with integrated hard drive, and there are a ton of those out there, as you say. On trying to get more information on how they handle music though, the feedback was few and far between, because these units seem to focus very strongly on TV/film especially HDTV.

What I could find in comments about how these units managed music files (MP3), was that at best it was very basic, as in folder level, and this providing they were saved in this way on the hard drive. I could not find one that offered management based on artist/album/song/etc. I would be happy with just that, I don´t even mind switching the TV on to search through the collection.

So if you know of one that actually does that, please provide me the details.

As an extra plus, if the unit had a small display to allow selecting music to play without the TV sometimes, that would be great. And if it happened to be stable, quiet running and not getting too hot, I´d be in seventh heaven.

This type of unit was where I originally thought I could get what I wanted, packaged in a nice box, without additional hassle. I´m not a HiFi buff, as you probably noticed, and I´m not looking to play or record exotic formats, I just want to store all my CD´s on a Hard drive and be able to play them back over my stereo.



Established Member

The newer Realtek players all index music to a database and then present it for search or sort according to artist / album. etc. You can also browse using thumbnails. This is an area in which recent (2011) player have vastly improved things.

A display is something that you'll struggle to find on media players. As you correctly say, they are focused on music and adding an LCD display would add too much to cost.

The newer players I talk about include Kaiboer H1055, ACRyan Mini 2, ACRyan Playon2, Xtreamer Prodigy, Himedia 600A, HiMedia 600B, Fantec 3600..

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