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idle summer pondering: what to use for a music storage/playback device connected to some stereo speakers?
Posted by: clay
Date: June 28, 2021 09:05AM
I'd like to setup some sort of device to facilitate local playback of mp3's on a connected stereo system. I want to give our kids and us the ability to listen to a bunch of different music as desired in a common area of our home. We have a ton of ripped content from our CDs that doesn't get much airtime these days. We don't have a computer in this common area, and I'd like to put something in place that fits the following criteria:

  • Doesn't take up much space
  • Costs less than $200
  • Low power usage since it will be an always-on device
  • Space for roughly 50gb of ripped music

A few ideas I've tossed around below. For the sake of this exercise, assume I don't already have any of these on hand and would need to purchase:

  • an old iPhone or iPad - this meets most of the criteria above, but to hit our budget number and storage requirement, we'd be looking at a semi-old iOS device, and even for an always plugged device, I'm not thrilled with the thought of an older battery in the mix.
  • Raspberry pi w/screen - this initially had high appeal and maybe is still the route I'd go. Then I realized I'd need to add either an audio card or USB audio device, and maybe that started feeling less appealing. It would be kind of cool to just mount a screen on a wall (Pi mounted behind it), and use a wireless keyboard/mouse to shuffle through the library on the screen. Could probably get the Pi, a small-ish monitor for under the $200 mark. There is a certain appeal to this approach.
  • an older Mac mini - this could work, but I'd have to go back to a 2014 era mini to hit the price point, and would still need to get some sort of monitor which would blow the budget. Also, form factor of a mini is larger than the Pi, so it loses points there as well.
  • Some sort of fancy audio player with a small screen (haven't done any research on this front, but I assume there are solutions out there). Downside: probably $$$.

Any ideas?
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Re: idle summer pondering: what to use for a music storage/playback device connected to some stereo speakers?
Posted by: BernDog
Date: June 28, 2021 09:11AM
Why worry about an old battery if it’s going to be plugged in? No more chance of it blowing up over a newer one, just short life away from the plug. Also, can it stream from another computer on the network? If so, no concern about capacity. An iPod touch would be unobtrusive and fit the bill.
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Re: idle summer pondering: what to use for a music storage/playback device connected to some stereo speakers?
Posted by: John B.
Date: June 28, 2021 09:43AM
I have an old AirPort Express (1st gen) that still works to connect my iTunes library to a stereo system. Use iOS based Remote app to control.

I agree with BernDog - an older iOS device with a power cord would be fine.

A Roku or similar streaming device could possibly work as well, but it would need to be connected to a TV to "control" it
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Re: idle summer pondering: what to use for a music storage/playback device connected to some stereo speakers?
Posted by: Steve G.
Date: June 28, 2021 09:54AM
any old cheap android phone with a card slot. Not sure of the playback quality. (any opinions?)

Old android phone should cost you no more than $10.
ps- get one with a slide-off back if you want to replace the (very cheap) battery



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/28/2021 09:56AM by Steve G..
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Re: idle summer pondering: what to use for a music storage/playback device connected to some stereo speakers?
Posted by: Robert M
Date: June 28, 2021 10:03AM
Clay,

How about a cheap expandable MP3 player along these lines:

[www.amazon.com]

Although that one is no longer available, there are others that are very similar in features. Throw a high capacity chip into it and you'd be set for playback from the device itself.

My Oakcastle is the heart of my car's audio system. It replaced an iPod Nano which had too little storage for my collection.

Robert
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Re: idle summer pondering: what to use for a music storage/playback device connected to some stereo speakers?
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: June 28, 2021 10:18AM
$50 Media player -- [smile.amazon.com]
$10 64GB Flash Card
any basic monitor with HDMI, new would be ~$120, but used would be far less.



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Re: idle summer pondering: what to use for a music storage/playback device connected to some stereo speakers?
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: June 28, 2021 10:32AM
I just found a listing on ebay, $170 for a refurb 80 GB Microsoft Zune with a new battery.

Edit: Also pretty much any >3 year old Android phone with a Micro SD slot.



In tha 360. MRF User Map



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/28/2021 10:34AM by Filliam H. Muffman.
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Re: idle summer pondering: what to use for a music storage/playback device connected to some stereo speakers?
Posted by: Forrest
Date: June 28, 2021 11:28AM
Assuming the music is already on your phone or iPad, I recommend a 2.1 sound bar with Bluetooth. A LG - 2.1-Channel 300W Soundbar System with 6" Subwoofer is on sale for $150 at Best Buy and would work great.
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Re: idle summer pondering: what to use for a music storage/playback device connected to some stereo speakers?
Posted by: rz
Date: June 28, 2021 08:11PM
I'm planning on doing something similar. I was planning on using an old Android tablet (bigger screen than an iPhone or Android phone). Most have MicroSD slots on them, so you could buy a 64GB card for $20 or less. I would hook it up to my stereo receiver.

You can probably pick up an old Android tablet for next to nothing. I got one free from some friends who didn't want theirs anymore. It's a no-name brand, but it works. Just need to get around to dumping a bunch of music on an SD card.
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