Anyone using a digital music server in their setup yet?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ted Lee, Dec 18, 2002.

  1. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    hi all -

    pretty soon i'll be moving in with my girlfriend into a new home. between the two of us i think we'll have something like 1200 cd's.

    so, the possibility of purchasing a music server just got even more appealing. of course, i have to convince her of that. this would obviously only be used for casual listening.

    anyway, i'm just curious if anyone here is using one and what your opinions are, what do you like (or dislike) about them, etc.

    thx,

    ted
     
  2. Ryan Spaight

    Ryan Spaight Supporting Actor

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    I bought a Turtle Beach Audiotron about a year ago. It uses your PC hard drive to store the files (either MP3, WMA or WAV), and accesses them via an network connection (Ethernet or that thing that runs through the power sockets). The box then plugs into your receiver via either optical digital or RCA analog.
    It works pretty well and I'm happy with it. It's fun to be able to put many thousands of songs on shuffle play. Sound quality, at least via the digital out, is as good as the source material will allow. I like the convenience, flexibility, expandability and cheapness of this approach vs. a box with its own hard drive. With this approach, I have a store of files on one PC and can easily access them at any PC in the house (under any OS that recognizes Windows shares) or at the A/V system via the Audiotron, and can also use a wide variety of ripping tools and MP3 encoders to make the files.
    You can also control this box via a Web interface. Which, aside from the obvious PC-based control advantages, means that if you have a Pocket PC with 802.11b capability, you can have the coolest remote control in the universe. [​IMG]
    I haven't had it hooked up in a while because we moved recently and I haven't yet run Ethernet down to the living room or bought a wireless bridge. (I'm pretty lazy, so it'll probably end up being wireless.)
    Ryan
     
  3. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    thanks ryan - that may be a viable alternative for me. i'm not sure if i want to do the whole networking aspect of it, plus i assume that means my pc has to be on?

    but, it does sound appealing!
     
  4. Luke_Y

    Luke_Y Second Unit

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    Ted, I don't have one (I WANT one[​IMG] ) but the Escient FireBall gets excellent reviews.
    Link
     
  5. Ryan Spaight

    Ryan Spaight Supporting Actor

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    Yes, the server PC would have to be on.
    The home networking thing can be a hassle, so if this is the only thing you're considering a home network for, an all-in-one box might be a better fit for you. If you already have a network or have other reasons to set one up (of which there are many), the Audiotron might be a good thing to look into.
    Ryan
     
  6. DanielStephens

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    I also have the Audiotron and I think it is great!
     
  7. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    I also have an audiotron and love it. A few notes:
     
  8. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    thanks for the additional info on the audiotron. i am curious.
    the escient looks pretty sweet, but at 2k it better be! [​IMG]
     
  9. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    If your worried about the technical aspect of the networking, you would get plenty of help here. If its the wiring aspect, I understand since it was kind of a pain for me and I didnt want to invest in HPNA when I already have an ethernet network in my house.
     
  10. Ryan Spaight

    Ryan Spaight Supporting Actor

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  11. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    thanks charles.
    networking and pc work in general doesn't bother me too much. i'm relatively pc savvy so i think i can fake my way through it.... [​IMG]
    i was thinking of more of a stand-alone unit just for the convenience factor, but i do see the benefits of going the audiotron route.
    btw - on a somewhat unrelated note, what exactly is the deal with mp3 tags? i know there's like a v1 and a v2, but i've never known what the differences are.
     
  12. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    Version 1 ID3 tags, or ID3v1, are the last 128 bytes of the file, divided into equal chunks for the different types of information. So the ID3v1 tag will be the same size regardless of what you put in there (leaving some fields blank, etc) They are limited in that they can only hold 5 different types of information (song title, artist, album, year, comment and genre) and each field is limited to a specific length.

    Version 2 ID3 tags, ID3v2, are more versatile. They are of varying size over all, so they can hold many different types of information, and each piece of information is of varying size, so it could theoretically hold anything you want (a practical warning though is that the AudioTron can hang up on ID3 tag fields longer than 256 characters, but why you would need that much space for a single field escapes me).
     
  13. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i love it when i learn something new. [​IMG]
    who da man? charles da man! [​IMG]
     
  14. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    A bit more advice (if I may?) I set up a quarentine folder on my hard drive. You wouldnt think it would be a big deal, but recently I spent a whole frustrating day thinking something was wrong with my AudioTron (it wouldnt finish scanning for files so I couldnt even use it) becuase I had stuck some corrupted .wav files in the shared directory that my audiotron reads from (normally everything goes in the quarentine folder and I have a look/listen first). You really want to keep tabs on what your putting in there when you get 1000-1500+ mp3s on your hard drive.
     
  15. AaronD

    AaronD Stunt Coordinator

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    Does anyone know of a box that plays SHN or some other lossless file format? If I remember correctly the audiotron will play regular uncompressed WAV files, but I'd still like to keep 'em compressed.

    Thanks,
    Aaron
     
  16. BruceD

    BruceD Screenwriter

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    Here is my knowledge contribution to devices that play MP3 files throughout the house:
    It's called the SliMP3 player.
    Read about it here
     
  17. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Along the lines of Aaron's question, is anyone using a component digital music server for CD-quality audio (not MP3s)? Thoughts on the sound quality?
     
  18. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    I dont know about SHN, but as has been mentioned, the audiotron plays wavs too. That would take a ton of hard drive space though, so plan on building a PC with a multiple drive array of close to a terrabyte.
     
  19. AaronD

    AaronD Stunt Coordinator

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    Charles,
    Actually with 1TB you could store roughly 1500 CDs. With a slightly more modest 200GB you could store approximately 300CDs. It's still a good chunk of change, but it's a little more manageable. [​IMG] I'd like something thats on the verge of being an audiophile piece with the capability to play SHNs or something.
    -Aaron
     
  20. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    True, I just said that because I know someone on this forum is planning on building a "terraserver". You could actually get 2 200GB drives for $600. You would probably need to run some kind of RAID config just to keep the read times down.
     

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