Headphones & Mp3 Players forum

General discussion

The Obvious - So Hard to Find

by typvgs / January 22, 2008 12:05 AM PST

Hi there,

So, here's the thing: I want to listen to MP3s on my home stereo and NOT have a computer connected. In other words, I don't want to stream from a computer to my stereo. I could go into "why" but there are too many reasons to list. Mainly, inconvenience.

I also don't want an iPod type of device. I have no interest in listening to music "on the go" and the storage capacity of those devices is too small; and the audio connectors and quality is relatively poor.

Here's what I envision: a device the size of a DVD player that fits as a component on my stereo shelf. It has a display on the front similar to an iPod or such a device. On the back, it has a USB port where I can plug in a portable hard drive, such as a 500GB hard drive full of MP3s. It also has good quality connectors to connect to my amplifier.

Does such a device exist?


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Why you don't see such in the retail stores.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 22, 2008 12:30 AM PST

Let's look at your usual MP3 file. I see an average 5 MB.

This means your 500GB drive could hold 100,000 songs. At Apple prices that's some 100,000 DOLLARS of songs. Even at 50 cents a song that's 50 grand of media so there is little reason to produce such a device.

Even so, if you do look at newegg.com you will find some media boxes that exist as well as other solutions. But just the sheer cost of the media makes such a system not viable for the retail market.


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Sound Quality a Non-Issue Again
by typvgs / January 22, 2008 1:28 AM PST

I follow, and agree with, what you're saying. I hadn't thought of that.

Apple's encoding is shabby. 10MB per 5 minutes of music is quite reasonable---for good sound quality, encoded from the master. With surround sound and higher bit rates (e.g. 24 bits), that figure could easily be doubled.

I could encode all off the CDs I own and easily fill a 500 GB hard drive. I'm sure many people are in that boat.

Furthermore, I'm a musician with a project studio at home, and I could fill additional space with my own works.

I don't envision (ever) buying music from iTunes, and I don't think it's a good basis for analysis. Transferring already-purchased CDs, tapes and vinyl to MP3 (or similar format) at HIGH QUALITY is the better comparison. Filling a large hard drive would be easy for most people over the age of 30.

I would also look for high quality "audiophile" connectors on such a device.

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Cost of Device
by typvgs / January 22, 2008 1:34 AM PST

The cost of such a device should be smallish. Playing digital audio and being able to read a USB 2.0 device does not require a lot of computing power. I would think that an entry-level device of the kind I'm talking about should cost US$100 or less.

Which devices on Newegg are you referring to, specifically?

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Just one example
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 22, 2008 2:20 AM PST
In reply to: Cost of Device
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by travisb05 / January 23, 2008 9:07 AM PST

An xbox 360 might be a good option you can use media center extender which streams music from your computer or you can hook up the hard drive to one of usb ports and i think you can hook one up to your amplifier. I stream music when i play games so I would think thats a reasonable option.

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by typvgs / January 23, 2008 10:44 AM PST
In reply to: Idea

Thanks for the tip.

I did notice that about the XBOX 360 when I was doing some research yesterday. More and more devices are starting to appear that can act as a USB host. One thing I found is a lot of DVD players are offering this now---even some portables. I could, for example, hook up a portable DVD player to my stereo amp and plug a hard drive in to it. Then, I'd have a screen for navigating the music folders. (My TV and music rooms are two different places.) But, I might wait. New MP3 players are coming out that will allow for attaching external hard drives. That would be ideal. I could have a 500 GB hard drive with all my music, play it thought the MP3 player to my amp, and then copy music to my player if I want to listen elsewhere. If the player has digital outs---fantastic.

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