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The best mp3 jukebox?

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by Cardiff Irons, Apr 23, 2005.

  1. Cardiff Irons

    Cardiff Irons
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    Wonder if any of you knowledgeable folk can help me. I'm looking for a storage device probably 20Gb (40Gb would be good) to store CDs, mp3 etc. I've got a couple of good sound systems in the house, so the main use would be to hook up the device to the respective amps (I occasionally do this with my Sony laptop, but it's a pain and the hard disk is filling rapidly with music files). So, main things I'd look for:

    1. Most important is sound quality - the sound systems I have are good, so I need the player to be able to transfer good quality sound into the amp

    2. I'd like to be able to assemble the order of tracks being played whilst the unit is playing (the way you can on Win Amp when playing music on a computer) - I believe this is known as queuing (I don't need playlists)

    3. I have a ton of vinyl - if there is an easy way of converting these onto the player that would be a real bonus

    4. Using the player away from home is likely to be relatively rare, so battery life etc. not too important

    5. The use of the device to store data (PC files) would be useful

    6. Ability to display photos and video would be useful but not essential (probably worth an extra £30 to me)

    I'd appreciate any advice. Cheers. :smashin:
     
  2. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    if its for at hoime use Roku sound bridge is the thing to look at speak to Messiah (he's not a million miles away) as he has these running. as for vynil have a search i asked this not too long ago......
     
  3. Cardiff Irons

    Cardiff Irons
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    Thanks HD. These do look cool, however it seems I'd need one in each of the rooms where I've got a sound system (in fact, I've just realised I've got three reasonable sound systems in the house), which would work out a tad expensive (it wouldn't be the first time you've tempted me to go over budget though!).

    I'm leaning towards the iriver (320 or 340) at the moment. Does anyone know if that's a good choice bearing in mind my requirements? I'm particulayly interested in the ability to queue tracks.

    Cheers :thumbsup:
     
  4. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    the thing is you will carry juke box around the rooms, linksys do a wifi media adapter that may woprk out cheaper anbd there may be media only Roku type unit PM messiah as he knows more about these things.....
     
  5. Cardiff Irons

    Cardiff Irons
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    Thanks mate.
     
  6. Cardiff Irons

    Cardiff Irons
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    Blimey HD, these media adaptors (link below) look pretty good value - only £35 plus P&P. I've already got wireless network, so it could be a good way of connecting up the new kit in the Lounge (wouldn't be so effective for other rooms, because the display is via TV).

    http://www.dsl-warehouse.co.uk/product.asp?pr=WMA11B

    I'll get in touch with Messiah to get his thoughts. Cheers. :hiya:
     
  7. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    for £35 seems worth a punt mate even if if just to decide you need to spend a lot more......PS you have PM
     
  8. hinesle

    hinesle
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    I have a number of Roku Soundbridges in the house and I can fully recommend them.

    I use a hacked Linksys NSLU2 (about £50) running mt-daapd (in essence an itunes server) with a 250GB Maxtor one touch II usb HDD hung off the back and it’s a winning combo as well as very quiet !!

    If you’re not technically astute then a PC/MAC will equally do the trick as a music server running Itunes (my recommendation) or windows media connect. But remember you will have to keep it running 24/7 to access your music. (that’s what swayed me toward the NSLU2.).

    I also looked into purchasing a linksys devices you have mentioned (because of the price) but decided against because :
    • No digital output so would have to use the onboard DAC. While I cant comment on quality I would be surprised if it was outstanding given its price.
    • The media server software IMO was not a good as free alternatives i.e itunes or windows media player.
    • I believe (although you will need to check to confirm) there is no WAV or lossless format support which should be a high priority if sound quality is important.
    • A TV is required to browse songs as there is no onboard display.


    All I can say is a centralised music collection (with an open format) is the way forward

    Lea
     
  9. Cardiff Irons

    Cardiff Irons
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    Thanks Lea

    When you say you have a number of Roku Soundbridges in the house, does that mean you shell out £200 or so for each one? For me that would mean about £600.

    I'm not saying I won't go there, but it's quite a leap from my original idea of a £200 mp3 player (so says the bloke who had a budget of £1500 for plasma and ended up spending over twice that on plasma, av kit etc. etc.).

    Cheers. :thumbsup:
     
  10. hinesle

    hinesle
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    Cardiff
    Yes you are correct, I have spent a number of my hard earned on three devices but I have totally bought into the centralised music concept and as a long time advocate of digitally stored music this year is really quite exciting. There has been an explosion of streaming capable devices in the market place coupled with the big boys (such as Sony and Philips) announcing their presence as well.

    The thing is you can build up devices over time as required (if you follow some guidelines -see below) and once you have the main infrastructure in place i.e. a wireless/wired network, and a music server (whether that be a PC/MAC or an NSLU2 which I have) it is relatively inexpensive to grow your hardware and music storage backend e.g. a 250GB internal drive is about £70 or £150 for an external USB one.

    You have said sound quality is paramount therefore a device that can only play MP3’s is probably not the best route for you. Whilst MP3’s are fantastic for the car/gym/personal stereo they fall short due compression for a real music enthusiast with high-end range being most evident.

    Any way back to the roku subject…..

    ROKU produce 3 Soundbridge devices the m500, m1000 and m2000. They all do the same job, run the same firmware and have the same outputs etc. The only real difference is the physical size of the unit and the display technology, so if size is not important ;) go for the cheapest model.

    There are also competitors to the ROKU that may be cheaper (such as the Linksys device you have mentioned) but you have to look carefully at what they require from a technical perspective e.g. proprietary server software, outputs, music format support etc before you make you purchase.

    My only real recommendation is decide on your requirements first e.g.

    • Music Format support and at what sample rates!!! (another gotcha on cheap streaming clients) e.g MP3, WAV, WMA, WMA lossless , Apple lossless
    • Server software – Go for a client that supports either Itunes or a UPnP (Universal plug and play) server such as Windows Media Connect. This way you are not limiting yourself to a hardware manufacture.
    • RIP you music in a non proprietary format. Again this is to getaway from limiting yourself to a single server supplier. This is probably the hardest choice as each format has its own advantages/disadvantages but in essence will come to a choice of the following.
    o MP3 (Open format)
    o WAV (Open format)
    o WMA Lossless (proprietary format is not supported by Apple)
    o Apple Lossless – (proprietary format is not supported by Microsoft)
    • Outputs. – Coax, Toshlink, analogue etc.
    • Wireless/Wireless

    Hope this helps
     
  11. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    hinesle i am very interested in you NLSU2 ESpeciallif it can access a USB storage device (all my music is in a USB "ICY BOX" as my laptop only has a 20GB drive........acessing the ICY BOX wirelessly would be a dream! please post opr PM me more info....
    I asumme this is the beasty....http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/prod...2hvd19wcm9kdWN0X292ZXJ2aWV3&product_uid=65399
    so this attaches to my router, but then how do i browse the music? can is use a WMA11b? woiuld the NSUL2 work with a #creative Zen or Ipod as the disc drive? as being ablke to drop the MP3 unit etc into the Dock and play it around the place, then pick it up when i leave would incredible!!!!!! and all for £90 on top of an MP3 player...... Steve fancy having a play?
     
  12. Cardiff Irons

    Cardiff Irons
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    Thanks Lea. I was veering strongly down the iriver 320 road, but based on your feedback I've now taken a sharp turn towards the Soundbridge.

    Horny, I like the look of the network storage, however I noticed this comment one on of the reviews:

    Both my work and home networks are 192.168.0.X and I don't fancy changing them all! Shame - looks a good option.
     
  13. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    LOL (net gear by any chance?) my linksys runs from 192.168.1.X AH USB storage on netwotk and Wireless media for i#under £100 :D
     
  14. hinesle

    hinesle
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    Horny,

    First let me elaborate a little the NSLU2 is basically a NAS devise or Network Attached Storage (I.e. a file server running a chopped down version of Linux). It has a Ethernet socket which plugs into your Router (providing is has some free Ethernet switch ports) and two USB sockets so that you can plug up to 2 hard disk drives into into it. If the NSLU2 is connected to a wireless router then you hey bingo you can access it wirelessly much like you would connect to another PC using the \\<PCNAME>\<SHARENAME> convention.

    The NSLU2 can be used in basically 2 ways
    1st As a conventional file server using out of the box firmware
    2nd As a hacked device running a whole host of applications.

    Running the NSLU2 as a hacked device is where the magic starts. Because the device runs Linux (an open source Operating system) The source code has to be published and thus has been hacked by the good old Linux community. A replacement firmware has been produced (see http://www.nslu2-linux.org/ for more details) which allows linux applications to run on the NSLU2 .

    Anyway to cut a long story short a daapd server (in essence an itunes server) has been written for the NSLU2 (http://www.mt-daapd.org/) that allows streaming devices (e.g roku soundbridge ) to stream mp3s etc directly from it.. In other words all you music is held on the USB drive attached to the NSLU2 which then streams the music to ‘client’ device e.g the Roku.

    To answer you questions I don’t believe NSLU2 would work with the creative Zen as the hard drive because drives needs to be formated with ext2/ext3 file system (an alternative to Microsoft’s FAT/NTFS) first. The Icy Box would be fine though.

    As for the WMA11b again this boils down to if the device is compatible with itunes (which I don’t believe it is). That’s why my previous post throws caution to proprietary server software!.

    If however the WMA11b software could use stream music stored on network shares (the important point) then this would be a different matter and yes it would work (provided you keep your pc on 24/7). Microsoft’s Windows Media connect cannot do this that’s why I recommend itunes because it can.


    Bring on the quetions
    :)
     
  15. hinesle

    hinesle
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    Cardif,

    Its a simple job to change the IP address of the NSLU2 providing you have a crossover cable.

    Just set your PC iP address to the 192.168.1.2, connect the crossover cable directly from th ePC to the NSLU2 and then away you go.
     
  16. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    I am running a router, and dont want to use the PC Laptop, I was hoping the WMA11B could access the data stored on the icy box hence using file server, router (WAG54G), wireless media box to play music without need for a PC to be on. If it could then browse a portable device like a FLASH drive (NLSU2 supports flash devices) is there any reason why the media player app in the WMA11B could not browse the MP3 catalogue on an Ipod, Sony HD3 Iriver etc (i guess Ipod and sony wont work buta Zen or Iriver????) the idea of having Wifi network storage and being able to dock the protable tot he network would be nirvana and something i would buy into..... I guess i need to order a WMA11B and have a play.....perhaps an NLSU2 as well £5 i casn play with, £90 is proper money.....(i dont own a protabke MP3 still use minidisc :blush: but wma /mp3 will be my main formats..........have 18GB of wma courtesey of my flatmate
     
  17. Cardiff Irons

    Cardiff Irons
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    Sorry Lea. Are you saying I can change the IP address of the NSLU2 to 192.168.0.* or are you saying I should change the IP address of my PC to 192.168.1.2? If the latter, then can I have a separate IP address for the NSLU2 as for my wireless network? If not, it would mean changing the IP address for every computer and laptop in my house and in the business! :eek:
     
  18. Cardiff Irons

    Cardiff Irons
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    Like your thinking HD :thumbsup:
     
  19. Cardiff Irons

    Cardiff Irons
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    All our gear is wireless Linksys, but we started off with Netgear and natually retained the original IPs. :mad:
     
  20. hinesle

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    Horny

    The WMA11B similar to the Roku as it works on a client /server basis. The WMA11B/Roku are the clients and they connect back to the server i.e a PC running streaming software. That is why the PC needs to be on 24/7 so it can stream the mp3s to the Clients. Both these devices cannot connect directly to file shares and stream music from the share the ONLY device that can do this is the Turtlebeach Audiotron (I had one but sold it last year)

    This is why I emphasise caution when choosing a media streaming device and recommend one that connects to either itunes or a UPnP server (there are lots out there)

    The NSLU2 can be hacked as described so it runs mt-daapd (an itunes server) so that you do not require a pc to be on as it will stram music directly to an itunes compatible media streaming device such as the ROKU

    However the WMA11B requires proprietary server software to be running and thus requires a pc to be on i.e to run the software

    The question of whether the WMA11B can access music on the ipod/zen is a question of whether the server side software can stream from network attached drives (if connected to the NSLU2) or none internal drives (windows media connect cannot stream from flash drives) but either way the PC will need to be on to run the software so I don’t think you would be gaining much by purchasing an NSLU2 if you get my point???

    PS how many posts have you made :eek: you must really love technology
     
  21. hinesle

    hinesle
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    I am saying you can change the NSLU2 IP address to be 192.168.0.x but you will need to do the following:

    A crossover cable allows you to connect two networked devices together without going through a switch. and since by default the NSLU2 is in the 192.168.1.x subnet then this is the only way to do it without changing the config of your routers.

    What you should do is change the ip address of your PC to 192.168.1.x i.e the same subnet as the NSLU2 device and connect it to the NSLU2 via the crossover cable. With me.

    Then change the IP address of the NSLU2 to be in the same subnet as your network i.e in the 192.168.0.x range or set it to be assigned by DHCP (Although I would not recommend this)


    When you click save you will loose connection to the NSLU2 because it will now be in a different subnet to you PC but in the right subnet for your network.

    Remove the crossover cable and plug the NSLU2 into your network and hey presto it will work.

    Oh and don’t forget to change the PC's ip address back to being DHCP assigned or whatever it was before otherwise you will not get reconected. :thumbsup:
     
  22. FaxFan2002

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    Just a this is what I have comment

    Imac g5 (looks very nice), Itunes, external HDD. Also running Aiport express(es) which allows the use of airtunes - the airport express allows conncetion to a stereo. I intended to extend this by using a mac mini to the plasma in the lounge to allow browsing of itunes / airtunes. The mac rips the cd's on the highest quality of MP3 available (check out what hi fi this month for the low down on mp3 formats), plus the added bonus the mac / airport express / itunes etc. actually works with no hassle at all and the girlfriend can use it (and the mac for internet browsing etc.) without wrecking it!
     
  23. hinesle

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    I agree a Mac mini would be a fantastic dedicated music server in the lounge (I looked at this recently). I would still keep all my music on the NSLU2 network share so that I can turn the MAC mini off when required and still use the ROKUs.
    (Mt-daapd appears as a server in itunes for the mac/pc so that you can browse music on stored on it)

    Your setup will be fantastic I am just waiting for the panny p500 to arrive before I take the plasma plunge (thanks Horny by the way for you advice). So until then all my funds are spoken for :mad:
     
  24. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    OK so its possible but comes down to the system used by the WMA11b ie if it can see the NLSU2 and hence attached devices........ as i use a latop a soultion ath does not require a PC is the only one i can really consider....GF uses laptop too so with 2 lappys around having one on is far from ideal I think some playing needs to be done...........Irons you up for it mate the NLSU2 and WMA11b are only £90 from ebuyer delivered.......want to give it a shot.....i can use the NSUL2 anyway so only risk is the WMA11B an I'm sure a small hit could be taken.........
     
  25. Cardiff Irons

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    Not sure yet HD. My thinking is currently this (sequence as funds become available):

    1. Get an iriver (probably H320), begin ripping music to it and have the ability to plug into any of the 3 sound systems in the house (plus music on the move as an added bonus). Not best quality but good enough for now.
    2. Get a Soundbridge or Squeezebox for the Lounge (there's a spare cubby just waiting for it) and hook it up to the wireless network.
    3. As library grows, get an NLSU2 and hook up to a storge device (or maybe to the iriver temporarily if your thinking is correct)

    Of course, that's my thinking tonight at 8.00pm. It'll change at least 6 times by the morning! :eek:
     
  26. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    LMK when it does mate (i have 20 GB of WMA sitting in an "icy box" doing nowt.....
     
  27. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    http://www.iriver.com/eu/index.asp
    H10 20GB has a fat 32 file structure!!!
    Operating system iriver OS/FAT 32 file system/upgradeable firmware
    This is getting temping........
    From user manual....WMA11B

    Media Folder Manager
    Click Media Folder Manager to open it. The Media Folder Manager screen
    will appear and list the current shared media folders

    However it has this NOTE:
    Note: If you close the Utility, then the Adapter will not work. If you
    need to re-start the Utility, click the Start button. Click All Programs
    and Linksys Wireless-B Media Adapter. Click Adapter Utility to
    restart the Utility.
    Does this mean its need the Linksys software on your PC to be running for the media adapter to work...
     
  28. Cardiff Irons

    Cardiff Irons
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    Hey Horny, that H10 seems to have the on the fly playlist I'm looking for (the H320/340 doesn't). If only the 20GB version was available now!!!!
     
  29. stevestarr13

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    I have a roku m1000 in the kitchen and lounge, sound quality is superb. i find the slimserver to be the easiest and most user friendly server with loads of user settings. if you want, the roku can stream 15 internet radio stations without the pc being on
     
  30. Cardiff Irons

    Cardiff Irons
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    Thanks Steve. You have PM.
     

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