Oops - I bought an a/v receiver and I got a hard drive music server - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 03-27-2004, 08:26 AM - Thread Starter
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I have been agonizing for a year about how to organize and store my music. It was between the Audiotron with its limitations and the Audio Request with its high price. Now I purchased a Pioneer 59TXi receiver for other reasons and it has a USB port that allows me to play all the music from my computer through my stereo. It plays my wav files, mp3 files and even the iTunes music I downloaded for 99 cents. This seems to be a better solution then either the Audiotron or the Audio Request.

In your opinion, what is the downside of this?

What software would you recomend to organize my music?

Al
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post #2 of 16 Old 03-27-2004, 12:25 PM
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How do you see/choose the music you are playing from your pc? This would be a potential downside in that you would somehow have to get the pc display into your tv.
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post #3 of 16 Old 03-27-2004, 12:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by alvorne
Now I purchased a Pioneer 59TXi receiver for other reasons and it has a USB port that allows me to play all the music from my computer through my stereo. It plays my wav files, mp3 files and even the iTunes music I downloaded for 99 cents. This seems to be a better solution then either the Audiotron or the Audio Request.

Al
I don't understand - isn't this what every other media player does when you connect it to your receiver? I'm not sure what the USB port does for you that you can't do with a optical/coax digital input. Maybe I'm missing something. Plus, as crbaldwin pointed out, you still need to have a keyboard and display to play your music.
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post #4 of 16 Old 03-27-2004, 12:46 PM
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The downside is no interface. You have to start the file playing on your computer, then the receiver plays the output. Which frankly is not that interesting... you can do this today with any sound card, the only difference is this receiver accepts a USB audio input - which "should" provide higher quality then RCA jacks found on most sound cards. I have SPDIF output on my sound card and get a digital output already.
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post #5 of 16 Old 03-27-2004, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
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"you can do this today with any sound card"

Sorry, I guess I am not as technically capable as I thought. I tried it with my sound card and it didn't sound very good. However it has the advantage of bypassing the computer sound card altogather and taking the digital information to it's own sound card. In addition it plays surround sound wma 9 from the computer.

What then does the Audiotron do that an output from the sound card to the receiver can't do?

My vision consists of having my house wireless and carrying a PC tablet around to select music. Does this sound like a good method?
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post #6 of 16 Old 03-27-2004, 01:56 PM
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The Audiotron has a remote control that you can use to select and control the music playing from the pc. It also has an LCD display on the front that allows you to find/select music to play and to see what is playing. A tablet PC would be nice but it is $2000 while the Audiotron is only $200.
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post #7 of 16 Old 03-27-2004, 02:05 PM
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It sounds like you've got lots of cash to burn - so yeah it's going to be a nice setup. But for $200 for an AT, and a few hundred more for a PDA with 802.11B, and you have the same thing. Maybe you give up the WMA 9 surround material, but I'm not even sure what's out there in this format.

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post #8 of 16 Old 03-27-2004, 02:15 PM - Thread Starter
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"The Audiotron has a remote control that you can use to select and control the music "
_________

I always felt the music display and selection capability with the Audiotron was too limited. I feel the PC capabilities with playlists and software choices for playing are better and the PC tablet as a remote for selection and display is better. I appreciate your responses and am not being difficult but trying to understand.
Thanks
Al
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post #9 of 16 Old 03-27-2004, 02:27 PM - Thread Starter
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"for $200 for an AT, and a few hundred more for a PDA with 802.11B, and you have the same thing"
_____________________

I didn't realize that the PDA could be used with the Audiotron to select its music. In that case the Audiotron sounds as though is is the same as the Pioneer 59TXi sound card. The difference is the Audiotron uses a network connection which is more versitle as compared to the Pioneer USB port.
Does this sound correct?
Al
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post #10 of 16 Old 03-27-2004, 03:15 PM
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I'm not saying the Audiotron is the ultimate digital music player. It does has some shortcomings. For instance, it has a limitation of around 30,000 songs in it's index, which for some people is a deal-breaker. And it's been around for a few years now, so it's not state of the art, for what its worth. But there's a large community of users and some 3rd party developers working with it. There are certainly other devices in this category, each with it's pro and cons.
As far as your question about the USB versus network, unless you already have a PC in close proximity to your audio equipment, you might run into problem running a USB cable for than a 15 feet or so, at least if you read the specs. Maybe someone else with some real-world experience can add to this.
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post #11 of 16 Old 03-27-2004, 03:25 PM
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I agree that the PC software is better for playback but I found the selection on the Audiotron to be very adequate. Plus, with a universal remote you can control playback and volume whereas with a tablet or PDA you would probably have to use the PDA plus another remote to control your amp/receiver.

Bear in mind that using a PDA you would not have access to the better software on the pc, you would have to control playback through a web interface which is how you would do it with the Audiotron. I think there may be a 3rd-party program that you can use on the PDA that is a little better but you wouldn't be able to use the more powerful programs on the pc (like WinAmp, Media Player, etc.). With the tablet you might be able to control the source pc with desktop sharing or something similar where you might be able to run WinAmp, etc. directly.
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post #12 of 16 Old 03-27-2004, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks to all of you for your inputs. I now feel I have a better understanding of the pros and cons of the 2 systems. My 59TXi for playing the hard drive music, while being expensive, is a good solution. I already purchased the 59TXi for other purposes.
Al
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post #13 of 16 Old 03-27-2004, 08:33 PM
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The USB spec doesn't actually say there's a 15' limitation. It's specifies voltage drop and propegation delay. Higher quality cable with larger conductors and lower capacitance can allow for MUCH longer runs. More commonly avialable are the "active cables" which are basicly a 15' consumer grade cable permanently attached to a single port, bus powered hub. You can string up to 5 of these together with a regular 15' cable for a total run of something like 90'. I've used a 25' active cable for 3 years to get to my printers and scanner and have had no problems with the setup.

Using the USB input on the amp has some advantages if your buying the amplifier anyway. If your pc has just one sound card, you have to deal with the windows interface sounds. Routing the music through a USB audio device eliminates that problem.

In my case, my music is on a server that was put in place as a cable modem firewall and game server. So I don't need a PC powered up to have access to my music and the front panel interface on the Audiotron makes a lot of sense. The display is limited but more than adequate for playing full cd's or preconfigured playlists.

I can't think of a single thing your missing out on by using the USB input on your amp in your current situation.
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post #14 of 16 Old 03-27-2004, 08:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the insite into the USB limitations. I wanted to buy a longer USB cable for my PC to receiver interface and noticed that Gefen only had a 6 foot cable and a 15 foot active cable. Not knowing what active was I called gefen and they gave me a brief explanation. I just ordered it yesterday and while I wait I am keeping the receiver and PC close togather Thanks again
Al
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post #15 of 16 Old 03-28-2004, 02:48 AM
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Raygannon -

Quote:
In my case, my music is on a server that was put in place as a cable modem firewall and game server. So I don't need a PC powered up to have access to my music and the front panel interface on the Audiotron makes a lot of sense.
I am curious about how you set up your music server - it doesn't sound like you are using a spare PC, so I am thinking you are using one of the new routers which permit direct connections to external storage devices (e.g. USR or Netgear)?
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post #16 of 16 Old 04-11-2004, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Squidgy
Raygannon -



I am curious about how you set up your music server - it doesn't sound like you are using a spare PC, so I am thinking you are using one of the new routers which permit direct connections to external storage devices (e.g. USR or Netgear)?
My server is basicly a spare pc. It's a Mini-ITX motherboard, in a home brew case, running the e-Smith LINUX distribution.
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