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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to be able to rip all my CDs to a hard drive hooked up to a pretty good audio system. I want a TV interface, ease of use, and good sound quality.

The HP de100c would be perfect -- digital out, 40GB, TV interface, CD burner -- but I hate the copy protection.

The Rio doesn't have TV out.

The Audiotron plus a new computer dedicated to MP3 is intriguing but no TV out and I'm a little intimidated by the networking iissues. Also, is there any sound degradation from PC to Audiotron to Preamp (vs. from HP de100c to Preamp)


Any suggestions on what to do?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by DougF
Also, is there any sound degradation from PC to Audiotron to Preamp (vs. from HP de100c to Preamp)
Well, since the sound doesn't actually travel from the PC to the Audiotron, there is no sound degradation there. The audiotron just uses your PC as a file server, eg a "remote hard disk". So your comparison is really just Audiotron to Preamp vs HP de100c to Preamp. Since both units have digital audio outputs, either can be connected to a digital-capable preamp with zero sound degradation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sorry to be unclear/unsophisticated about this, but I guess my question regarding degradation should have been:

Is it better to have a dedicated hard drive like the HP rather than the Audiotron accessing hard drives on other computers that may be being used at the same time for music and other tasks?


Thanks
 

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While I haven't set up an Audiotron, or similar, device yet, I'm attracted to the fact that it uses my exisiting file server. I have a machine that is up 24x7, so I can increase capacity at market prices, not at HP's prices.
 

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There's a big difference in price between an AudioTron & HP de100c ($700 I think, assuming current list prices are still $299 and $999, respectively). If you're really concerned, for $700 these days you can buy a pretty nice Celeron PC w/ large HD and dedicate it 24x7 as your "music file server". Then you won't have to worry about music skipping when the PC gets busy playing an intense game, or the music just stopping when your wife reboots the PC, or whatever. And you can expand the storage nearly infinitely at market prices. Depends on how comfortable you are with integrating all the pieces (PC, audiotron, networking) together yourself. On the other hand, for some people there's a lot of value in having everything in one easy-to-use box, with a friendly interface on their big-screen TV.
 

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I have an AudioTron and love it, I like the idea of being able to add 120G of storage for $100 (at Fry's this weekend in fact) and I like NOT having a HD spinning in my A/V rack. It's incredibly quiet (silent in fact) and Turtle Beach does an incredible job of updating the firmware, taking user input as suggestions and adding many of the requested features. I am really happy with it, if that helps. Also makes it easier to make backups of all that precious music, and I can use several computers to rip mp CD's if I want
 

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Have you considered an HTPC? It affords the TV connection by way of a modulator (looks even better on a high def TV) and retains the ability to function as a digital video recorder with appropriate software. Expansion is cheap since you can do it yourself and the CD burner can be incredibly fast.


As for noise levels, properly built, it can be as quiet as a Tivo and could always be hidden in a closet.
 

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The DE100c is a great unit.


Why would you buy an HP over an Audiotron or Rio receiver or HomeTheater PC?


I think it boils down to usability.


The HP works better than anything else I've seen. Prior to the HP, I had a 400 cd sony changer driven by a PC running Nirvis systems SlinkE. It worked, and was slick... but my wife wouldn't use the stereo! Too complex....


My wife picked up the remote to the DE100c and was able to rip CD's, create custom audio cd's for her car, and even to dump MP3's to my Rio 800! And I didn't show her any of it.


Putting the UI on a TV, with a very simple navigation system using a remote control is they key to this thing.


Sound quality is great with a Toslink connection to my Denon 5700.


Negatives : wish it didn't have a fan. wish it served the library up so I could put a Rio receiver down by the pool... but otherwise this thing rocks.


Best audio product I've bought since my speakers.

Jim
 

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jbresee, I agree with you: The hp de100c is a great unit!

I added to my HT and it's a fantastic machine! I also agree that it is a very

Wife friendly unit! Mine loves it, although she always hated the HT system despite all my efforts to make it very accessible with the help of a Pronto remote!
 

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Another vote for the Audiotron/PC file server combo. Fan noise *will* be a factor, especially if you're listening to instrumentals like classical or jazz. Expandability of HD capacity is a must-have. The ability to add multiple independent Audiotrons hooked up to the same file server is very cool. And the networking is a no-brainer--I just got a cheap hub/network card package (like $20), plugged the card into the PC, let Windows do its thing, connected the Audiotron and PC to the hub and voila! As far as a TV interface, I don't really see much value since after everything is set up, I hardly ever have to use anything other than the front panel of the Audiotron (BTW, I do have a TV connection since my TV has a VGA port).


That said, I have found that most people have a preconceived notion of what they want to get and are looking for external validation. Also, regardless of how practical the Audiotron/PC combo may be, to a gadget junkie (like myself) the appeal of the HP is hard to resist. In the end, you will be happy with either choice.


Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm encouraged by the ease of use you ascribe to the Audiotron. One of my issues is that my components are behind cabinet doors -- hence my desire for a TV out. Can you run the TV out from your PC to the TV and view audiotron controls that way? Or, do you always need to look at fron t panel to see what songs you're selecting?


Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm encouraged by the ease of use you ascribe to the Audiotron. One of my issues is that my components are behind cabinet doors -- hence my desire for a TV out. Can you run the TV out from your PC to the TV and view audiotron controls that way? Or, do you always need to look at fron t panel to see what songs you're selecting?


Thanks
 

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This was the reason I returned my Audiotron originally and went with a TV-based unit - I wanted the unit in a rack downstairs but there was no way to see any display feedback. Since then I understand Audiotron has added a web browser interface. So if you can get a web browser up on your TV, then you could probably control it behind closed doors. But to do this, you've probably just moved your PC into your A/V component cabinet - which you were trying to avoid by buying the Audiotron in the first place!
 

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AudioTron added web browser interface about a year ago actually, but they have really made some nice improvements to it lately. I have a laptop using wireless network to control the AudioTron when I need to do much do it. I find myself hardly ever using the web interface though, the generous number of favorites and ability to play either an alubm, artist, genre or any other ID3 tag constraint quickly pulls up just the right kind of music I want. Since it also supports playlists, I can also pull up quickly any of the selections of music that I might have put together myself. The ability to stream music in multiple locations without having to get HD's in each location is also extremely appealing (and cheaper.) Plus you can edit the id3 tags on a PC and backup and catalog them easily. I'm very pleased with the Audiotron.
 

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The web interface sounds nice, but the problem still remains:


1) if your MP3 player is going inside a cabinet or rack without the front panel visible, and


2) you don't have (or want) a PC near your A/V rack for web browser control


- then there's no good way to control an Audiotron, short of a high-end 2-way home automation system like Crestron or AMX touchpanel. Thus a system with a video user interface, like HP de100C or one of the OpenGlobe-based boxes (Compaq MC1, Kenwood Entre, Escient Fireball) is better suited for this case.
 

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I also use my Zaurus using a CF2 802.11b card to control it. They have a mini web-page designed specifically for hand-helds.


Keep in mind that you do still have information on the front, like song, title, artist, time remaining, etc. All customizable now, so if you don't care about the album, it won't show it (a nice new feature they added recently.)
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by jimre
The web interface sounds nice, but the problem still remains:


1) if your MP3 player is going inside a cabinet or rack without the front panel visible, and


2) you don't have (or want) a PC near your A/V rack for web browser control


- then there's no good way to control an Audiotron, short of a high-end 2-way home automation system like Crestron or AMX touchpanel.
FWIW, a number of people are using pocket pcs tied by wireless into their LANs to remote control the Audiotron. These people can use the Audiotron's browser based software to control the audiotron from their pocket pcs (or they can replace the browser based software with one of the third party alternatives that is not browser based and so is quicker and gives you an interface just like musicmatch or windows media player). I guess for these people, their pocket pc becomes in effect their pronto for all of their electronics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Alan


Interesting. How do I find out about the third party alternatives to the browser software?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by DougF
Alan


Interesting. How do I find out about the third party alternatives to the browser software?
I use "Alternatron." See this thread: http://pub90.ezboard.com/fturtlebeac...picID=28.topic


Look in the first page of that thread and you'll find jtleavens' email, which you can write to get the beta. Works phenomenally well -- a huge improvement over the very slow browser program!


I haven't yet tried this with a zarus or pocketpc, but I would think it would work just fine with any device tied to your lan.
 

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FWIW:


HP just released a new version of software. Allows you to serve files from the HP also, allows you to drag files off as well as create several different text versions of the library.
 
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