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Need feedback on audiotron  

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I've been trying to come up with a "convenient" solution for accessing my MP3 collection through my home stereo for a year now.

How easy is it to pickup the audiotron remote and quickly find a song/artist? I have 40+ gigs of MP3s and want a fast, simple, convenient way of getting to them. Looking at pictures of the audiotron, it seems like it would be a royal pain to find a song within those 40gigs and quickly bring it up on the display and start playing it. How easy is it to search for songs? How does a search work? Does the audiotron use ID3 tags? Can it sort by windows directory structure? (right now all my MP3s are organized in folders representing albums). How does it handle playlists? Does anyone have a good Pronto ccf for it? Does it support discrete on/off IR commands for use with my pronto? And lastly, how does it compare to the sonic blue rio receiver that goes for $99 most places?
(Phew, lots of questions there...)

Any input from audiotron users would be greatly appreciated. I'm moving into a new house that's fully "wired", so I'll be able to plug this directly into my 10/100 switched network and have fast access to my server. I want this to be simple enough that my wife will be at ease with it. Does the audiotron deliver?

post #2 of 12
I've been using the audiotron for about two months now and love it. It uses id3 v2.3 tags, or lacking those id3v1. It still doesn't support v2.4 tags though the latest beta may have changed that, not sure. There is a pronto ccf code here http://www.turtlebeach.com/site/kb_ftp/114ftp.asp. I don't have a pronto so can't tell you how good it is. For further reading check out http://pub90.ezboard.com/bturtlebeach
post #3 of 12
While they supply discrete codes for on and off for the Pronto, the included remote gives you the ability to search through its buttons.

When choosing local (not Internet based) music to play, you can choose to play by genre, artist, album, song title or play list. All are arranged alphabetically, though albums are arranged by artist then album (though you can turn off that feature through the AT's web interface).

While searching, the jump +/- buttons quickly increment the first letter of the search criteria, then the forward and reverse buttons scroll from there. It has quick auto repeat, so finding particular things shouldn't take too long, all with the included (though rather bland looking) remote.
post #4 of 12
Could you please double-check the link you posted to the Pronto ccf files? I can't get there. I'm really interested in the Audiotron, but I'd love to see the Pronto configuration before buying one (several?)

post #5 of 12
For .ccf files, try the search over at www.remotecentral.com

Put in Audiotron and press GO!
post #6 of 12
Unfortunately there isn't a perfect network player out there yet. The three main options in the storage-less category are:

+ blends in nicely with stereo equipment (but large)
+ pretty high-end output options
+ nice display
- creates and stores music index locally in RAM
- no TV output
- only 10Mb Ethernet
- pretty large
- pretty expensive for what it does

Rio Receiver
+ driven largely by back-end
+ hackable Linux kernel
+ internal amp for desktop/kitchen etc use with cheap speakers
+ small
+ the cheapest option out there, especially with occasional sales
- looks kind of cheap and doesn't blend in form-factor-wise with anything else
- crappy display
- no TV output
- only analog output (for those who care)
- only 10Mb Ethernet

+ very nice display
+ almost nothing to it hardware-wise (if only the price reflected that)
+ driven by back-end
+ simple interface
- unfinished hardware for most people
- only analog output (for those who care)
- no TV output
- only 10Mb Ethernet
- expensive for what you get by comparison to the others

I see two categories of networked players:

1. "table-top" units, which you put on your betside table, the kitchen counter, etc.
2. home entertainment units, which you put in the rack with the stereo and TV

Type 1 would benefit from a built-in display and amp (and maybe even speakers, a la boombox or clock radio), as well as HomePNA, HomePlug or even 802.11x networking. The Rio is closest to this category and was probably conceived with that in mind.

Type 2 would benefit most from TV output, allowing much better navigation of large music collections, and could in fact dispense entirely with a built-in display. In should instead have better audio outputs, better remote control, and blend in with stereo components.

Any such device should store its state on the server, rather than locally. The Audiotron is hampered by having to rebuild its index every time it loses power (which can take many minutes, depending on a variety of factors). Faster Ethernet would also be nice, although when connecting to a switch, that doesn't really matter. Faster HomePNA (or 802.11a) would be better, since it's a shared half-duplex medium, yet it can be much more convenient than Ethernet in home distributed music applications.

Of these three devices, I'd be happiest with a mix between the Audiotron and the Rio. If they released Audiotron firmware that stored its index (and playlists) on one of the Samba shares, it would be close to perfect. The next hardware release should add TV output and it would be perfect. As it is, the Rio is actually preferable, since it's more hackable (both the device and the back end), and it's much cheaper.
post #7 of 12
I'd be willing to buy any of these devices, but it needs a TV output.

I think I'm going to have to pay up for the Lansonic.
post #8 of 12
I usually just hook up my computer to my stereo...
post #9 of 12
Originally posted by Tivowner
I usually just hook up my computer to my stereo...
Did that myself for a while too but too much of a hassle pulling out the wireless keyboard, turning on monitor, etc. Definitely wasn't wife-friendly. After I got into MP3 receivers, though, I usually come home to find multi-zone music playing throughout the house.
post #10 of 12
Originally posted by BigRed
I'd be willing to buy any of these devices, but it needs a TV output.

I'm probably missing something here. Why the need for a TV output? Why not just hook up a TV to your PC? Then again, maybe most TV's don't have a VGA port like mine, but aren't there composite or S-video alternatives?

As far as my take on the Audiotron (just ordered it), I replaced my CD jukebox with the Rio Receiver in my HT component rack some time ago and the fact that it didn't look like the rest of my components (not black, narrow width) really bugged me. I know that's nitpicky but hey I live in California and looks are everything. :) So aside from the fact that it does everything my Rio did plus internet radio, my HT cabinet will now have a nice, uniform look again.:D
post #11 of 12
Why not just hook up my TV to my PC? Lordy, where do I start: (1) Because my TV has no VGA ports, and even if I wanted to use a converter all of its other ports are already in use; (2) because my PC is not in the same room as my TV, and stringing a VGA cable from room to room is a nuisance; (3) because my current PC is not configured properly to do this, and buying/configuring the system I'd need is a nontrivial chore that will not cost zero dollars; and (4) because my PC is in a different room, I would need a relatively exotic remote control solution.

My 2 cents:

I agree with the previous posters who note that what systems like the Audiotron/SlimMP3 really need is a TV GUI. Something smilar to the interface on the TiVo, that allows the user to select songs by album, artist, genre, random, playlist, or whatever using simple onscreen menus.

What standalone boxes need, in addition to onscreen GUI, is hard drive capacity that's large enough to hold my music collection in uncompressed format (or at least not lossy compressed). Probably 40-60 GB is fine for .mp3 and .wma files, but 240-320 GB is called for if you have an otherwise high end system that will reveal the flaws in highly compressed music. Either sell boxes with different capacities, or leave empty expansion bays for the end user to fill, or leave the component hackable like the series 1 TiVo. Audiotrons don't share this problem because it is easy to add extra/larger HDs to a PC.
post #12 of 12
HP has a unit, that I believe is also made by compaq under the Ipaq brand. Basically it's a TIVO for your MP3 files, I believe it supports WMA, will support other formats in the future. Has a build in CD/RW to create CD's from your MP3's. Supports certain music sites and internet based music (not sure if it's very customizable as far as using winamp type internet music)

Basically it looked really nice but at 1000$ it was not very tempting. Maybe when it drops down to 500$ or so it might be worth it.

Also it has a hard drive instead of playing from other devices, what I want is a device that does this, plus plays from other machines such as the AudioTron.

I do have an Audiotron and it rocks. One of the first True home components that is networked. I ended up getting the Audiotron after I picked up my Replay 4040 unit, due the fact that I can now store video on my PC and play it through my TV, I figured I would do the same with audio and build a dedicated Media / Video Editing system.

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