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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been given a 486DX-33 machine with 4MB of RAM. This is obviously an old system (circa '92) with ISA slots. I thought it would be cool to use this as a Linux-based MP3 box/CD player for a bedroom stereo. I like to tinker with stuff, so I figured this could be fun...if possible.


Is this machine at all suitable for this purpose? Too slow? Too much trouble? It would ONLY be used for music, so I don't need a flexible OS. Any ideas? Thanks.


-f4
 

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AFAIK, I think it's too slow.

you can test mpg123 ( http://www.mpg123.de/ ) or its successor mpg321

but all the players i've found while trying to build a small jukebox out of a broken p75 laptop required at least a 100MHz 486

maybe a purely assembly coded player could do the job, or convert your files to another less CPU-intensive format...

you could as well find a soundcard which decodes mp3 w/ hardware - but w/ an ISA slot, gonna be hard 2 find :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the input, Lenny. That is what I feared, but that's ok. It sounds like it would be more trouble than it is worth. It might be reincarnated as a word processor for a friend.


Thanks again!


-f4
 

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Why not give it a try? I had a computer just like that a few years back and was able to play mp3s using Winplay but it was under Windows. However, I could not get Winamp to play on the 486. So it might be software related somehow. I do agree with Lenny about it being too slow to play any mp3 files nowadays efficiently.
 

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Actually I have exactly what you need. It's a parallel port mp3 decoder. It hooks up to the parallel port and there is a winamp plugin, or linux software, that sends all the mp3 data out of the parallel port to be decoded and sent to your stereo. These are discontinued. I used it for my senior project at college. Works very well. Lemme know if you're interested (by PM or email). Here's a review of it:

http://hardware.mp3.com/hardware/individual/2297.html
 

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yeah, great idea, invest money in an obsolete technology that is more expensive then the obsolete technology the original poster is trying to reincarnate.....

Can I suggest a $50 DVD player that will play MP3s, CDs and DVDs to boot?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by vladgur
yeah, great idea, invest money in an obsolete technology that is more expensive then the obsolete technology the original poster is trying to reincarnate.....

Can I suggest a $50 DVD player that will play MP3s, CDs and DVDs to boot?


A $50 DVD player will sound no where near what the LP3 would. I have both. There's no comparison. The decoders in a $50 DVD player are of substandard quality.


And actually if you look at the original post, the author is looking for an addition to his old machine. I gave a good suggestion. So I really don't think your post was warranted. Have you ever used the LP3? If not, then don't comment on it. I have and provides the best sound I've ever heard from an mp3, aside from my Empeg Rio Car. No computer sound card even near its price range can come close in sound quality. So before you bash something, know what you're talking about.
 

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DO you seriously think that the thread author was looking to invest more money into that 486dx-33 by buying your discontinued gadget? No, I havent used an LP3 for a simple reason that for the past 5 years they remained largely useless and I cant believe you kept it for all this time.


As far as sound quality goes, I really find it hard to believe what youre saying, but im not gonna waste my time researching into that because I believe in this particular situation that we're not dealing with an audio connoisseur.....I mean the guy wanted to try to use a 486-dx33 for his mp3 playback.....


My post is about as warranted as yours....
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by vladgur
DO you seriously think that the thread author was looking to invest more money into that 486dx-33 by buying your discontinued gadget? No, I havent used an LP3 for a simple reason that for the past 5 years they remained largely useless and I cant believe you kept it for all this time.


As far as sound quality goes, I really find it hard to believe what youre saying, but im not gonna waste my time researching into that because I believe in this particular situation that we're not dealing with an audio connoisseur.....I mean the guy wanted to try to use a 486-dx33 for his mp3 playback.....


My post is about as warranted as yours....
Remained largely useless? Hardly. For outdated machines like tablet pcs (which I used it for in my car) and the one the original poster had, it is the LEAST inexpensive way to get mp3 playback and good sound quality. You won't get the same quality from anything under $100 (even the $50 dvd player you mentioned). So instead of buying an uncustomizable $50 dvd player that has terrible sound quality, I suggested a high quality addon to the system the poster had. Was it warranted? Sure.


Your post put down something you have never used. And I appreciate the insults about my knowledge on mp3 audio, but I know what I'm talking about.


The LP3 has a higher end dac than you will find in any sound card anywhere near its price range. I have heard from top of the line consumer audio equipment. The Empeg in my car has a 110 s/n ratio. The LP3's sound rivals the sound of my Empeg.


You suggested spending $50 on a dvd player that plays mp3 cds. Since I have used both the LP3 and such a dvd player, I can easily tell you which sounds better. Since you have not, you are not able to do so. So once you try an LP3, feel free to post your input on it. Until then, don't bash it while suggesting something that costs the same and offers significantly worse sound quality.
 

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take a chill pill, nobody insulted you. When I said we're not dealing with an audio connoisseur I meant the original poster who intended to squeeze last bits of performance out of 486-dx to play mp3s which would probably mean decoding them at half or even quarter rate.

The reason I meantioned a DVD player for $50 is that it would be less $$ that you would probably sell your parallel port gadget and play MP3s, DVDs and CDs, be small and quiet. Im not saying that the original poster needs to buy it, but I just provided an example how investing in new technology would make A WHOLE LOT MORE SENSE than trying to prolong the agony of the old one.

In any case lets stop this debate and get back to original thread topic.


I think that that DX-33 with that amount of ram is useless as both a multimedia machine. Even as a server it lacks ram to do anything significant. A $30 little router appliance will outperform it easily. If youre just looking to install linux on it and play with configuration, fine, but if you intend to use it once its configured, Id suggest junking it for something new
 

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I'm sorry if I misinterpreted. I agree that using such a system is not the best move. On the other hand I think it is doable and will sound very nice as well. Maybe I'm the only one who thinks this, but I find that the cheap dvd players have terrible quality in all aspects. They do look a lot better than a big ugly 486 though. And they are quiet. So basically what it boils down to is what are your preferences. If you can afford it, I recommend a newer system. If you want something that won't intrude on your home theater rack, the dvd player is probably the way to go. The LP3 would also be a nice addition to your system, but it can't do anything else but decode mp3s. It does that extremely well though.
 
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