Will any one with a MP3 distribution center please help?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Trent Tunstell, Dec 12, 2001.

  1. Trent Tunstell

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    I've been looking to add something to my HT that would allow me to enjoy my mp3s in other parts of the house. I was looking at Kenwoods Entre Hub system, but from reading post on AVS it looks like it still has some issues to be resolved. The one great thing about it is how well it should interface with the Kenwood DVD changers. I've looked at HP's Digital Entertainment Center, but is lacks the ability to stream music to other parts of the house.Rio and Turtle Beach have products out that look like they would do the trick but they both require a pc to use as a server. This seems like the cheapest and most upgradable path since the Kenwood and HP does not allow you to upgrade the hard drive.

    Sorry for rambling in this post, but what I was wondering in a nutshell is if anyone who owns A Kenwood Entre, HP Digital Entertainment Center, Rio Receiver, Turtle Beach Audiotron, or anything similiar could write about their experience with the products. Thanks!
     
  2. Ryan Spaight

    Ryan Spaight Supporting Actor

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    I own an Audiotron, and it's a wonderful device.
    It essentially scans any SMB-compatible shares (including Windows Networking or Samba on Linux) on your home network (either Ethernet or HPNA) for MP3, WMA or WAV files. It then creates an index in its RAM and you can search and play tracks by artist, album, title or genre. (Playing your entire collection on random is fun.) You can control it via the front panel, an included IR remote, or the built in Web server (which you can access via a Web browser on any network PC). (They even include a "thin" Web client for use on Pocket PC devices with wireless networking -- turns a Pocket PC into the world's coolest remote.)
    Sound quality via the Toslink digital out as good as the source files will allow. (The analog outs are a bit softer.)
    The main strength of this product is that it doesn't have a built-in hard drive, keeping the price down and making it essentially infinitely expandable. (Supposedly, the RAM index fills up after about 30,000 songs. You always add another Audiotron, though, and point it to a different share for more than 30,000.) It will happily play music from multiple PCs on your home LAN, and doesn't require any special software to be installed on the PC. (It helps to be knowledgable about networking, though, since it can take some tinkering to get up and running successfully.)
    There's a fairly active community over on http://www.turtle-beach.com including regular firmware upgrades and troubleshooting.
    I chose the Audiotron over the Rio because the form factor fit in my equipment rack, the display was easier to read, and it had a digital out (the Rio doesn't). In addition, the Rio can only stream music from one PC at a time, and needs software installed on the PC. The one feature the Rio has that the Audiotron doesn't is it has a 10W amp and can drive speakers by itself. This wasn't a factor for me, and doesn't sound like one for you.
    Hope this helps, and feel free to ask me any questions. As you can tell, I like this product!
    Ryan
     
  3. Trent Tunstell

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    Thanks for the reply, Ryan. Do you use it on a home pna network? I was wondering if that works as well as they advertise. Also is it possible to use it on a regulat ethernet network and a home pna network at the same time?
     
  4. Ryan Spaight

    Ryan Spaight Supporting Actor

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    Nope, I'm using it on ethernet. One note, the Ethernet port on the Audiotron is 10Mbit, and some 10/100 "autosense" switches may not deal with it properly. (Like my Linksys.) I happened to have an old 10Mbit hub siting around, so I put that between the Audiotron and the switch and all was well. I'm sure I could have forced the switch port to 10Mbit with equivalent results, but I decided I wanted the extra ports in the living room in case I needed them. [​IMG]
    I have no experience with HPNA, so I can't speak to how well it does/doesn't work. The bandwidth on HPNA is much less, so you can't play WAV files over it. MP3s and WMAs work, though. I don't believe you can use both interfaces at the same time, since in the setup you have specify one or the other.
    Ryan
     
  5. DonRoeber

    DonRoeber Screenwriter

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    I plan on getting a Audiotron. I've been watching the product for about a year now, and have been impressed with both the product and the company behind it. However, I'll be doing exciting when I implement it in my house. Instead of wiring it via a wired network, I'll be incorporating into my wireless network using a wireless to ethernet converter. Hope to do this around late spring early summer of next year. I'll post information when I do it. But from all indications, it should work fine.
     

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