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XBox as a Music Server?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by KeithO, Nov 30, 2003.

  1. KeithO

    KeithO
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    I've been looking at some of the modded Xbox products available at www.premodded.com and they look good! Does anyone have one of these, maybe with a bigger HDD? How reliable is the mod?

    My question is, can you somehow use one of these (maybe with a 200GB HDD) as a music server?
     
  2. KeithO

    KeithO
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    No one ever tried this?!
     
  3. monkeyleader

    monkeyleader
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  4. tartan_guru

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    I have been using an Xbox for media playback for around four months now. I bought it soley for this purpose and have never even played a game on it (other than using the 007 game to mod it)!
    I decided to buy a second hand xbox for £85 from Computer Exchange. I was going to go down the mod-chip route, but at about the same time, the software hacks using the game 007 Agent Under Fire. Using a soldering iron and the instructions found on this site (the guide I used is not there any more, I suspect that there are much easier ways these days):-

    www.xbox-scene.com

    With hindsite I would go down the mod chip route as it saves a great deal of hassle, and the chance of wrecking your xbox doing the savegame bios flash are very high indeed. If you have reasonable soldering skills then it is certainly possible to fit the chip yourself rather than buy an xbox pre-modded.

    After much soldering and resoldering of tiny contacts on the motherboard, I finally managed to flash the bios with an Evox bios which allowed me to install Xbox Media Player (XBMP) see www.xboxmediaplayer.de

    This is a wonderful little program which allows the playback of nearly every single media format known to man. I have mostly used it to playback DIVX's which it does with fantastic quality, but only recently have I experimented with audio playback. If you are planning to head down this route, then I would highly recommend getting the Advanced AV cable. Not only does it allow the superior RGB video output, but it also has a optical digital output. The analogue audio output of the xbox is fairly poor, with limited stereo imaging and very sloppy bass. Running through an Arcam Black Box DAC, the audio quality on high bitrate MP3's is very good. I would also recommend getting the Micorsoft DVD playback kit as the IR remote for this can be used to control the program rather than using the rather cumbersome game controller. XBMP also has the advantage of offering a web control interface, which means that you can control playback and cue up songs without haing your TV on.

    XBMP has also introduced me to the world of internet radio. The program is capable of playing shoutcast radio streams and there are hundreds of stations available (see www.shoutcast.com), with many streaming at 128 kb/s or better. Latter unofficial CVS builds of XBMP have the facility to these record streams to the hard disk for listening to at a later date.

    Currently I play most of my music off of DVD-R since I only have the stock 8Gb hard drive and most of this is full with DIVX files. It is worth bearing in mind that most Xbox drives cannot read CR-R media only DVD-R and CD-RW. I am planning on replacing the existing DVD-ROM with a PC model which will allow me to read CD-R's. The downside of this is that you aren't able to read retail XBOX discs, but since I don't play games, this is not really of concern to me. I also stream audio of of my ibooks hardrive, although I have found that this can be a little bit buggy. I am hoping to replace the original HD with an 80Gb model in the next few weeks so that I can play all of my media off of the harddrive.

    To conclude:- go for it! You certainly won't regret your decision, and it is one hell of a lot cheaper (less than £150 if you buy a s/hand unit) than a dedicated audio server or a media PC.

    Regards

    Ross
     
  5. KeithO

    KeithO
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    Thanks a lot tartan_guru! It sounds like something well worth looking into
     

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