1. Join Now

    AVForums.com uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

MP3 Media Player Advice - Separates Unit

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by tuttonp, Aug 30, 2005.

  1. tuttonp

    tuttonp
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Messages:
    6,297
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Bristol
    Ratings:
    +238
    I am looking to get hold of a standalone MP3 Media Player. I am considering something like a Netgear MP101 or a Roku Soundbridge.

    Are there any others worth considering??

    Preferably wireless and something with a useful display.
     
  2. hinesle

    hinesle
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Messages:
    159
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    19
    Ratings:
    +0
    There are so many on the market now ranging in price from about £55 for a linksys to a about £400 for a Philips Streamium (NB Streamium is a range of products with a range of prices to suite). The 2 market leaders could be considered to be the Roku Soundbridge and Slimdevices squeezebox. I personally have a Roku soundbridge (well 3) and I think they are fantastic devices. Sonus also do a range of products as do Imerge (although they are both ‘closed’ proprietary systems) and cost more than the devices listed above.

    A few major things to consider when purchasing one of these devices are

    1. Does if have an inbuilt display if no then you will require a TV to view.
    2. What formats does the device support e.g. wav, mp3, wma etc (check for lossless support as well as this can be a gotcha!) AND at what bitrate(s)
    3. Server software – Does the device support a Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) server?. If this is the case then you are not stuck with the bundled software and you can mix and match streaming devices around you home without loading additional software (the Roku, Netgear and Philips support UPnP). If the server software is proprietary (such as the Sonus, Imerge, Squeezebox) then you are a tied to the one manufacture for all devices (unless the device can run in an emulation mode) or you have to load yet more software onto the PC.

    Hope this helps
     
  3. andrew1810

    andrew1810
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2004
    Messages:
    1,041
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Northumberland
    Ratings:
    +54
    I run a business selling and installing these devices and as such have thoroughly tested and own them all:

    1) Netgear MP101 - bigger than the others but the cheapest, bundled software is terrible, use TwonkyVision instead. internet radio is a pay-for service. Sometimes takes a while to boot up (fails to get IP). only supports MP3's

    2) Terratec Noxon - Small, large backlit screen and free internet radio without even needing the PC switched on. Only supports MP3's and only has a 3.5mm out so will need a 3.5mm to RCA cable or an adaptor (its not suitable for headphones). Mine has booted up first time every time and have had no problems yet. Again use twonkyvision. Only wifi, no network port

    3) Philips Streamium SL50i (as post above) - roughly the same price as the terratec but has RCA outs and network port. Free internet radio (requires PC to be on) but again only supports MP3's. Very small unit, but I found the screen too small and the lack of a backlight was a problem from anything over a couple of meters away. Again, supplied software is poor, uses loads of system resources, but works with Twonkyvision

    4) Creative Soundblaster Wireless - not tested this one yet, but screen is only on the remote which could be awkward

    5) Roku Soundbridge M1000 - I sold these before, but dropped them from the range, because it lacks the features of the Squeezebox2 which is only £20 more!! Also, unable to search which is a problem with 000's of tracks

    6) Slimdevices Squeezebox2 - Best of the lot by miles, absolutely stunning product. Very reliable, supports all formats, internet radio, computer control if wanted (over a webpage so works on any pc on the network), visualisations on screen and a digital out for improved quality (people have chosen this over very expensive CD players!!)
    Also doubles up as a wireless bridge if needed (e.g. plug the PS2 or X-box into it to add wifi!)
    Software is excellent and reliable and can display album covers etc. on the PC



    My two favourites at the different price ranges are the Terratec Noxon and the Squeezebox.

    If you are only looking for a cheaper MP3 only player the Terratec is the one to get, the screen is larger which is very useful (the Philips couldn't be seen unless you are right next to it!) and it also has support for internet radio without the PC being switched on.

    My overall favourite has to be the Squeezebox (I own one for myself), after owning the Roku, I gave the Squeezebox a try and haven't looked back. It doesn't look as good as the Roku, but the sound quality is superior (the Roku really needs a better DAC). Although it doesn't use upnp like the others, the software really is superb, easy to use and browser based so if you have a PDA you can use it as a remote control with album art etc.
    Also, because its open source there are loads of plugins, the most popular being AlienBBC which adds support for BBC radio (both live and listen again), this isn't available on ANY of the others.

    I noticed with the Roku that it took a few seconds to buffer each track which was a little annoying, as the Squeezebox has a 30 second buffer this doesn't happen.

    If you are quick, the Squeezebox is on offer at Dabs this week for £156 (I think, its about that).

    If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a PM, they are all excellent devices, its just the features that change to be honest.

    Andrew
     
  4. tuttonp

    tuttonp
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Messages:
    6,297
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Bristol
    Ratings:
    +238
    Guys
    Thanks for all the advice it's really appreciated!!!. I had looked at twonkyvision as a number of reviews of wireless media players had recommended it (but I'm pretty sure it doesn't support the squeezebox)

    My other option I guess is to build a 'shuttle' type system and run something like Windows MCE 2005. Is this a better option??

    I need to primarily output MP3 and Jpeg

    I'm guessing a cheap shuttle plus a decent optical out soundcard is not going to be much more than a Roku but offers web browser functionality as well???
     
  5. andrew1810

    andrew1810
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2004
    Messages:
    1,041
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Northumberland
    Ratings:
    +54
    To output JPG you will need one like the Roku photobridge or the Streamium SL300i which both plug straight into the TV, but as a result you lose the in-built screen.

    A shuttle with a good soundcard would do what you want, but I would guess that would cost a fair bit more than the Squeezebox, a decent soundcard to match the quality would be around £80, so once you have added MCE etc. it is probably going to be around the £300-£350 mark.

    Andrew
     
  6. extremelydodgy

    extremelydodgy
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2004
    Messages:
    2,236
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Ratings:
    +63
    Another vote for the Squeezebox. Display's a little small for '10 foot' viewing IMO, but apart from that it's great.
     
  7. tuttonp

    tuttonp
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Messages:
    6,297
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Bristol
    Ratings:
    +238
    I would appear dearer BUT the PC currently being used as the media server is about 7yrs old so is getting a bit long in the tooth and may not be up to the job of supporting a separate device. If I have to buy a new 'server' I might need to consider it as a stand alone device
     
  8. andrew1810

    andrew1810
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2004
    Messages:
    1,041
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Northumberland
    Ratings:
    +54
    The Squeezebox actually has very very low hardware requirements, this is from their website:

    What are the minimum hardware requirements for the server computer?

    We have users with single players using Pentium 166 PCs as servers with 64M of memory. We generally recommend a 300Mhz Pentium II with 128M of memory. You may also need a faster CPU if you wish to use multiple Squeezeboxes with a single server computer, or if the music library is very large. Any Macintosh capable of running OS X should be able to be a SlimServer.


    I can't confirm or deny that myself as I had a mini-itx machine which was available, but I did manage to run it briefly on a very old laptop using a bootable Linux distribuition with slimserver built in.

    Andrew
     
  9. hinesle

    hinesle
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Messages:
    159
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    19
    Ratings:
    +0
    If it’s an music server your after then a mac-mini looks quite good (I am a PC fan myself but this box is tempting me to the dark side). It could sit quite nicely under the TV and I believe it is silent (please somebody correct me if I’m wrong).

    I run an old laptop as the server a P300 with 512 Mb ram (in the attic). And my music is stored on a NAS device (NSLU2 hacked to run mt-daapd with a 250gb USB drive hung of the back). This combo allows me to turn the PC off and still serve music to my ROKUs!.

    The NSLU2 is around £60 and does the job nicely for my 9000 track music database. However, browsing music is a little slower than when I use the laptop.

    Take a look at this thread as well http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=207211. It goes into a lot more detail and may help a bit
     
  10. AMc

    AMc
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2000
    Messages:
    5,710
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    Near Norwich
    Ratings:
    +2,253
    I run 2 Netgear MP101 players simultaneously off Twonky MusicServer running on an old HP e-Vectra which is a 600MHz PIII with 128MB of RAM and Windows 2000 Pro.
    I use iTunes to organise the library which struggles a bit with 13,000 songs and that little RAM.
     

Share This Page

Loading...