TVs & Home Theaters forum


Easiest way to play mp3s on home stereo

by AxnJxn / May 19, 2011 9:52 AM PDT

Hello all -

Looking for some advice here. My fiance and I both have SanDisk mp3 players which are great for our travel/portable needs. We have all of our music files on an external hard drive. We're looking for an easy way to be able to play the music on the drive on our home stereo system. I thought about buying a large capacity mp3 player, and hooking that into the system and just leaving it hooked up at all times, but I wanted to see if there was a better way of doing this.

Currently, I have to hook the drive up to my computer, and then hook that into the stereo and play songs out of Media Monkey, which can be a bit cumbersome if the drive and the computer are in different locations and whatnot. I also have a wireless system that I use so that I don't have any wires going from the computer to the stereo (and it never seems to go smoothly - there is always some sort of glitch that I have to **** around with either the software, the computer, the wireless system, or some combination of all three).

Not sure if it is needed, but we're also on DirecTV, and I have a Yamaha surround sound system. TIA for any advice!

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Clarification Request
Not about your question but a question.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 19, 2011 9:58 AM PDT

" have all of our music files on an external hard drive."

Over in the storage forum folk are asking for help all the time when they put it all on an external hard drive and "something" happens.

Are you sure you want to take such a risk?

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Good point ...
by AxnJxn / May 19, 2011 11:52 AM PDT

Well, we have 2 externals, and we back one HD up on the other and vice versa. I've already had something happen on a external HD in the past, so I learned my lesson.

All Answers

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Here's the issue.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 19, 2011 11:57 AM PDT

There are many media devices out there. But all have us connecting some display for us to navigate.

Do you have any iPhone or Android smart thing that can be used as display and controller?

Example at

Now the cheapest net book, your external HDD and I think it will run about 20 Watts of power which beats clunky, noisy desktops.

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Seems like overkill?
by AxnJxn / May 19, 2011 10:36 PM PDT
In reply to: Here's the issue.

I don't know that I would need a whole netbook if I can just get an mp3 player with a large capacity to hold all of the songs, right? The idea is that we would have something permanently set up with the music on it, so that we can just go to it and play some tunes in the easiest way, instead of having to break out the external and the computer.

I guess I see what you are saying - we would still have the external HD hooked up to the computer, but we would just have a cheap and simple computer. I guess it's a question of whether that is cheaper than buying a large capacity mp3 player, since all we need to do is play music?

Neither of us have a smartphone, and I don't know if that would solve the problem, anyway. We would want to take the phone with us.

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A dedicated MP3 player would be ideal
by Pepe7 / May 20, 2011 12:59 AM PDT
In reply to: Seems like overkill?

We have two older dedicated iPods that connect directly to our Onkyo HT receiver via a simple docking port. FWIW, many of the more recent Yamaha receivers also offer such options. Anyway, the best part is the sound quality is decent because we use the docking port (digital output) instead of analog via the headphone jack. Although it's certainly still compressed MP3 sound, it's a lot better when you compare with the two through a home audio system.

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Every way we cut it.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 20, 2011 1:49 AM PDT
In reply to: Seems like overkill?

We seem to end up with something with an user interface (buttons and display). I've owned those units that you use with a TV and can write I gave it away.

This is why I went with a netbook solution (which was 228 bucks same as a big MP3 player or cheaper.)

Today I'm looking at a better remote control from my smart phone.

This is an area that can have use spend a lot of time and money so hearing more options is a good thing. The big player is a great idea but for what you pay for it, the netbook does rival it for home system use.

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Remote for dock connector & MP3 player
by Pepe7 / May 20, 2011 3:18 AM PDT
In reply to: Seems like overkill?

There is a possibility that you could avoid having to go with a more advanced GUI of a netbook or smartphone if you didn't need it and used a dock connector with accompanying remote compatible with an iPod or your Sansa. The slight advantage of using Sansa is that it would not be married to iTunes like an iPod. Disadvantage is by comparison, there are a heck of a lot more different types of docks/accessories available for Apple devices.

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Adapting car FM transmitter for home use
by 550wins / May 20, 2011 1:11 PM PDT

I use my BELKIN car FM transmitter. It has a separate power cord and I found an old cell phone adapter which had the same power output and plug. I know you can get a universal power adapter. Belkin made two versions, One with 4 station presets and one that you can tune to any FM channel (the one I have).Transmitter plugs into MP3 player, Power cord into wall socket, Tune FM receiver to any open channel. I also have a Griffin FM transmitter which has a attached power cord so it wouldn't work with this method. Transmitter $50/Adapter $15 $70 rough estimate. Good Luck.

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FM transmitter Part 2
by 550wins / May 20, 2011 1:23 PM PDT

Actually I missed the part about the Hard Drive. My external speakers on my computer also have a headphone jack that I can plug the FM transmitter into. Same result as the MP3 player. Goodbye commercial radio stations!

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I've tried the FM idea,
by billygard / May 20, 2011 4:05 PM PDT

which may be great for users living in Monroe West Virginia or North Dakota. But in the big city, there is hardly any frequencies that are truly empty, especially if you are riding in a car where the signal strengths are in constant flux. Currently I use something called a Monster brand cassette adapter, which is a "cassette tape" with a wire that plugs into your mp3 player's jack, and plays through your cassette deck. It's worked pretty good for me.

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Cassette adapter
by 550wins / May 27, 2011 4:12 PM PDT

That was my first method until I bought a vehicle with CD only. I can see where high density areas would be a problem. I live in the midwest. Too bad these little FM transmitters can't broadcast at 100,000 watts like all those lame radio stations. I hope you find a solution that works for you. The forums have helped me with a lot of my computer problems.

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