What features would YOU like to see in a hard disk jukebox? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 06-26-2001, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi there everyone. I'd like to thank everyone in advance for all the great knowledge I've gotten here over the months. The amount of knowledge here is truly invaluable.

I am the product manager for a company that is going to be manufacturing a "hard disk jukebox" in the style of such boxes as the Audio Request ARQ-Pro and the Arrakis DC4-100.

This box will be targeted specifically at the home installer market, and we want it to have the appropriate features for the more high end customer.

There will be a main unit that contains the hard drive and CD-RW drive for extracting audio from an audio CD to the hard drive. There will also be less expensive "satellite" units for sale that connect to the main unit through ethernet, and can stream any song, playlist, album, etc from the main unit. Eight satellites will be able to fetch independent audio streams simultaneously and play them out of their audio outputs. The unit will also be able to stream music off Internet Radio and streaming sources.

The main unit will connect to the internet to fetch CD song titles automatically, with or without a computer. There will be digital outputs on the main unit and satellites so that you can use the D/A converter of your choice if you don't like the sound of the analog outputs. There will be RS-232 ports for tying into home control systems from Crestron, AMX (Panja), Elan, etc. The user will have a choice of uncompressed audio if MP3 encoding is not appropriate for certain favorite pieces of music.

While researching competing models, we have learned that there are some great boxes out there, but I know that there's always room for improvement. My question to you all is this: what features are lacking in the current available models that you would like to see?

For the people that have ever worked with the Arrakis DC4-100 http://www.arrakis-systems.com/Consu...o-FrontPg.html

or the audio request ARQ-Pro http://www.request.com/

or the Lansonic DAS-750 http://www.lansonic.com/

what, if any, are the shortcomings of these boxes?
What features do you wish these boxes had?
Are there any features they have left out that, for you, made the box "not a viable option?"
If you have never considered installing a hard disk jukebox in an audio installation, what were the reasons why?
What could our box have in it that would "change your mind?"

So, if you have ever felt that the audio companies out there are never listening to the "real world" customer, here's our chance to change that!

Tell me what's important to YOU. Together, let's make our "dream hard disk jukebox"!

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 13 Old 06-26-2001, 05:59 PM
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I use a home brewed variety, and would probably not be in the market to purchase one. But perhaps some of my thoughts could help:


Since you are targeting the custom home installation market, forget the ARQ-Pro or Lansonic DAS-750 as competition. You need an easy to use portable (rf) touchscreen for music selection, the above two units just don't cut it when searching through 2000 cd titles for the track you want. I imagine crestron makes the appropriate control unit that you could program.

If you want to be a little daring, fujitsu makes a nice windoze pen computer that can be mated with a wireless local area network card. Presumably your base computer will be hooked up to the internet to access CDDB, a nice "extra" feature is that the fujitsu could doule as a pen based web browser. If you want to avoid client/server programming, you can have the pen computer control the base station via VNC. Again, this is pretty out there in left field, but something I thought I should suggest since its what I use.

You want to decouple ripping from encoding. Ripping is fast, and if you're going to rip 200 cd's for you client you don't want to sit around all day waiting for them to encode. The encoding can be done off line by a seperate encoder, lame is thought to be the best, lameb is a nice batch front end to look at to help automate the whole thing. Put a good drive in the base station with fast DAE. check out http://www.cdspeed2000.com for list of possible drives; if you want cd-rw then obviously the plextor is the only way to go.

Be aware that not all cd's are in CDDB database. The user will need some way to enter cd information in this case. Again, touch screen may be the way to go, but using it to type in 20 track titles is a ROYAL pain in the ass. A small backup "keyboard" (like the ones used to control palm computers) may be convienient, but I'm not sure how you can avoid this setup from being klunky.

Since you are targeting the home installation market, I'm not sure why you need satellite receivers..most whole house audio units work with a single mutli-zone amp that are wired to satellite speakers.

Just some thoughts to get you going....

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Alex

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post #3 of 13 Old 06-27-2001, 04:39 AM
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Let's see; I would like:

1. A 10/100mb network connection so I could either use telnet to get in to make changes or have it support a web server so I could use a browser to make changes.

2. CDDB support.

3. A builtin cd to perform direct ripping.

4. a builtin cdrw to be able to burn a cd from the tracks that are stored.

5. Support for multiple playlists.

6. Multi-zone output. By this I mean that 4 or 6 independent 'zones' can be requesting (different) music at the same time.

7. RS232 port for external control (I would like to hook it up to my Crestron controller).

8. IR control with a discrete cmd set; i.e. power on/power off, etc.

9. Storage of track titles and perhaps cover art.

10. NTSC video out so you display the cover art on a TV.

11. A USB port so I could download the music stored into my Diamond RIO mp3 player.

12. I think the MusicLoad s/w of the Lansonic is a neat feature. Even though you would probably only use it once (to set it up) I think it is very useful.


I'll noodle a bit more to see what else I can come up with, thanks for asking. I would love to have one of these things, but I'm waiting for them to have a few more features (like the ones I have already listed)

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post #4 of 13 Old 06-27-2001, 06:48 AM
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A trip to CEDIA this year will provide you with ideas and a customer base.

Above all else, It must work consistently.

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post #5 of 13 Old 06-27-2001, 06:48 AM
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Hi,

My priority would be #6 above for 8 zones, at least.

A crestron module would be great to allow scrolling information on the touchpanels too, like the Audiorequest Pro supposedly does.

Thank you very much

Rich
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post #6 of 13 Old 06-27-2001, 06:01 PM
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I'd like to see support for some of the proprietary multiroom systems on the market (ADA, B&W Casa, ADS, Audio Control, Elan) and the use of some of the newer codecs. Specifically, ATRAC3 and Dolby's version of AAC.

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post #7 of 13 Old 06-27-2001, 08:33 PM
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Here is a related link: http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/Forum3/HTML/004870.html

I need a girl whos name does not end in .jpg
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post #8 of 13 Old 06-29-2001, 06:14 AM
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i a gree with jkv and jcm but would also add an upgradable raid function for storing large amounts of material the 120 gb of lansonic is currently not large enough for my collection with lossless storage. i would also like the ability to store material from any analogue source ie vynal
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post #9 of 13 Old 07-02-2001, 03:55 PM
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rfinn, The lansonic capability for the internal drives THEY offer is only 120GB. you can add larger and you can also hang as many HD on the network as you need to cover all of your music. What format are you saving your music in now?

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post #10 of 13 Old 07-03-2001, 01:13 PM
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currently i have things in 128 mp3 but mostly on cd and vynal. i am rediong whole house system and was thinking of escient but have deciced to wait for a hard disc solution. would like any zero loss format thats why the interst in large storage. any recomendations would be appreciated
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post #11 of 13 Old 07-03-2001, 08:06 PM
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Linn Knekt Kivor system is what you need.
Starts at $20K
Check it out.
http://www.linn.co.uk/spec_sound/kne...r_products.cfm
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post #12 of 13 Old 07-04-2001, 06:53 AM
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The Linn system is OEMed by a company named Imerge in the UK. Imerge has recently relesed a lower priced, single zone version of their product called the SoundServer S1000.
http://www.imerge.co.uk/hessindex.html

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post #13 of 13 Old 07-05-2001, 06:55 PM
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You need to be thinking of a server-style device which will be stored in some remote location of the house untouched by human hands.

1. Ethernet via Cat 5 port to network throughout the house
2. Control/config via built-in Web server ... in conjuction with (1), could then sit in my study and enter titles, playlists, etc. rather than have to sit in the basement near the A/V rack
3. Expandable disk storage ... either sell slaves which are hard-disk only devices, or (preferably) support network attached storage via (1)
4. Allow ripping from CDs in my PC ... see (2)
5. Allow writing to CD-Rs in my PC ...
6. Able to locate the broadband Internet service on the LAN rather than require yet another phone connection for low-speed dialup. Use this for accessing the Internet CD database. Also allow remote software upgrade distribution over this connection from your site.

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