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  • USB (audio) Media Player suggestions needed!

    In my other thread http://www.film-tech.com/vbb/forum/f...a-9-year-break I had my iPod freeze up on the wrong playlist where it decided 7:15am was a great time (with no bikes running and people barely awake) to play a song full of f-bombs. I got a radio call from the boss about it saying he had some complaints texted to him.

    I strive to keep my announcing shows very clean (I won't even say "damn" or "hell" on the mic) and this really pissed me off. I am now trying to find a media player (for USB) where I can have separate physical media for use at the track. So far the only things I found are cheap ones with horrible reviews or ones that work great, but are around $300.

    Anyone know of, and have actually used, any media players other than iPod, that are under say $100? I need reasonable price and reliable.‚Äč It MUST take USB sicks or SD cards for playback.

    If someone has a used one in good condition they want to sell let me know.

  • #2
    I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "for USB", but I have a Sandisk Clip Sport that I've been using for several years to play the "elevator music" in my theatre. It works fine and you can put different sdcards into it if you want to. It has both built-in memory and a sdcard slot so you can use both if you want. You connect it to your computer with a USB cable to load music onto it, so assuming that's what you mean by "for USB" (as opposed to USB audio out, which this doesn't do) then this will probably work for you.

    It has a headphone hookup to connect it to your amp or whatever.

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    • #3
      Ha! What floor is your elevator music on? Like the parking garage in down town Chicago that plays a different show tune on each floor... for people that can't remember where they parked by a simple number, but can remember a sometimes complicated show tune.? I once told the attendant that on April 1st they should play the James Bond theme on all floors... oh the confusion...

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      • #4
        This what I have been installing for NonSync very robust
        https://geminisound.com/products/cdmp-1500

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        • #5
          Correct me if I'm wrong but don't you end up with a USB flash drive sticking out of the front of that unit just begging to be broken off in the slot when someone brushes up against it?

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          • #6
            Frank: (first reply), yes I mean for the media to be USB/SD, and a headphone out is how I tie into the P.A. system. Your suggested player fills the requirements, but there are a number of reviews on the A site of the latest version that say it is unreliable. But for the price, I may roll the dice on it.

            Gordon: That is an excellent unit, but well outside the price range, and the size makes it impractical for the specific racetrack I want to use it at. I also don't want CD or radio capabilities of any kind. That said, it would be perfect for the portable system I use on occasion. When my money situation improves, I might pick one up.

            Frank: (second reply) Yeah that would be an issue, again especially at the specific track I want it for. Also the shelf I installed in the tower is only big enough for the wireless mic receiver and a small portable media player. It is mounted at about eye level above a counter, so it is protected somewhat. But a 19" 1RU player is too wide and deep for that shelf. As I said though, I may get one for my portable system.

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            • #7
              Why not a second hand ipod? They are not specifically known to be unreliable. If you ask around, someone will probably dig up one in a drawer and donate it for that purpose. Now that everybody has their stuff on their smartphone.

              Yes, a memory card based player may be a bit easier to feed MP3s to it than an iPod which relies on iTunes or some 3rdparty hack software.

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              • #8
                I don't understand why a simple rack mount mp3 player with its own internal storage and maybe a web-based interface for loading content and setting up playlists doesn't seem to exist as an off-the-shelf solution.

                There is some software around to build your own but not many people are going to go to the trouble of sourcing the hardware and setting something like that up.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Frank Cox View Post
                  I don't understand why a simple rack mount mp3 player with its own internal storage and maybe a web-based interface for loading content and setting up playlists doesn't seem to exist as an off-the-shelf solution.

                  There is some software around to build your own but not many people are going to go to the trouble of sourcing the hardware and setting something like that up.
                  There are, but many of them are in the "professional" price range, not in the "iPod price range".

                  Like Carsten indicated, if an iPod worked for you in the past, you can still buy them second hand for a few bucks. The problem with many of the modern gear is that it doesn't even feature headphone jacks anymore, so most modern smartphones are a problem for this particular task.

                  Sony is also still producing portable media players with headphone jacks in their Walkman series, starting at around $100 going all the way up to about $500. If you don't want to rely on second-hand hardware, maybe that's also an option?

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                  • #10
                    There are, but many of them are in the "professional" price range, not in the "iPod price range"
                    Where?

                    My google skills must be failing me because I haven't found a single one.

                    There are a few units like the one Gordon posted but that's primarily a cd player with a usb port for a flash drive with mp3's on it.

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                    • #11
                      Most of those players require you to insert your own media like an SD card. But that's not much different from a built-in SSD or hard drive, is it? You can insert an SD with like 64G of storage for a few bucks in them and have a "64 GByte hard drive", that's sufficient storage for some music for most purposes. They're all media players, in the end. DJs used to travel with cases full of records, nowadays all they need are a bunch of USB sticks for their Panasonic CDJs, newer models even link with each other, so a single stick is sufficient...

                      But...

                      This Denon comes to mind
                      This Tascam device is also a media recorder
                      Last edited by Marcel Birgelen; 11-04-2023, 04:29 PM.

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                      • #12
                        No, that's not what I asked about. What you link to is the same things I found myself: those are all CD players with a slot to plug a usb drive into if you want to play a mp3.

                        An external usb flash drive is not the same thing as an internal ssd or a hard drive.

                        With what I described and asked about you could load up your internal ssd or hard drive with "everything", set up your playlists and let 'er rip. But as I said, it doesn't seem to exist.

                        With these cd players you can carry a basket full of flash drives around with you and keep changing them when you want to switch from one genre to another. And why would you even want a cd player if you have everything on your mp3's anyway. I have a cd player built-in my vehicle that I've used exactly never since it plays mp3's from a flash drive or over bluetooth from my cell phone.

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                        • #13
                          Those machines are "media players", they play from CD, SD, external hard-drives and the Tascam one even plays from network shares. What's different from a machine with a built-in hard drive? You can simply leave the SD card in there for most intents and purposes.

                          You can buy a 64 GByte SD card for under 10 US bucks those days. Such an SD card will fit about 15K songs in MP3 format. For what commercial solution other than e.g. a radio station, would you need to have access to more than let's say 15K songs? For a few bucks more you can put in a 128 GByte SD or even a 512 GByte SD. What's the big difference with having a hard drive in there?

                          The CD player is there, so you have alternative inputs. If someone comes up with a CD, you can still play... a CD.

                          If you want something with like 2 TByte built-in storage and a fancy app for your phone (and a "fancy" web interface) you can go for something overpriced like this.
                          Last edited by Marcel Birgelen; 11-04-2023, 07:13 PM.

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                          • #14
                            That isn't it since that thing is a "streamer" and as far as I can see it doesn't have a connector to directly output sound to an amplifier; it's intended to send your music to some kind of bluetooth receiver.

                            And it's not rack mount and it's not a simple mp3 player.

                            The difference between these various things you're showing me and an integrated unit with a built-in hard drive is exactly the word "integrated". What I said earlier is "I don't understand why a simple rack mount mp3 player with its own internal storage and maybe a web-based interface for loading content and setting up playlists doesn't seem to exist as an off-the-shelf solution."

                            The question still stands. A simple rack mount mp3 player with its own internal storage doesn't seem to exist.

                            I can see a market for something like that for things like movie theatres, restaurants, stores, hotels, law offices, anywhere you want to have background music playing all day without having to fuss around with anything to get it. Slam the unit into the rack, load the mp3's and playlists and don't look at again until you want to switch from one of your playlists to another.

                            External media is just that: external. Where's the card/flash drive/whatever with the Christmas music on it? I remember putting it into that cupboard last January....

                            If it's all on an integrated unit, that's not an issue. Everything is right there. Why would you want to keep track of and shuffle a handful of cards if you can have it all right to hand?

                            Would you rather have your computer games on a stack of floppies that you have to dig through or would you prefer it to be in a series of subdirectories on your computer? Same thing.

                            Stand-alone machines that do this job do actually exist. Mine is called a Sandisk Clip Sport. It works and it does the job I describe above but it's not a rack mount or what you might call professional gear. I just have it zip-tied to the side of my soundrack.

                            There is software available to make a machine that would do this if you buy the hardware and set everything up yourself, but that's also not a pull it out of the box and start using it solution either.

                            But a rack mount mp3 player with internal storage doesn't seem to exist, or at least I haven't yet seen one.

                            Again, that surprises me since it seems like something there would be a market for.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Frank Cox View Post
                              That isn't it since that thing is a "streamer" and as far as I can see it doesn't have a connector to directly output sound to an amplifier; it's intended to send your music to some kind of bluetooth receiver.

                              And it's not rack mount and it's not a simple mp3 player.
                              Then I mislinked, and you need one of their "edge" devices, which does have audio output. And yes, you can network the stuff, have multiple zones, etc... No, I'm not a fan, but it's a thing in some "audiophile circles". Most players nowadays do a lot of stuff, they don't just play MP3s from some media, but also Internet radio streams and they often also support stuff like Spotify.

                              Originally posted by Frank Cox View Post
                              The difference between these various things you're showing me and an integrated unit with a built-in hard drive is exactly the word "integrated". What I said earlier is "I don't understand why a simple rack mount mp3 player with its own internal storage and maybe a web-based interface for loading content and setting up playlists doesn't seem to exist as an off-the-shelf solution."

                              The question still stands. A simple rack mount mp3 player with its own internal storage doesn't seem to exist.

                              I can see a market for something like that for things like movie theatres, restaurants, stores, hotels, law offices, anywhere you want to have background music playing all day without having to fuss around with anything to get it. Slam the unit into the rack, load the mp3's and playlists and don't look at again until you want to switch from one of your playlists to another.

                              External media is just that: external. Where's the card/flash drive/whatever with the Christmas music on it? I remember putting it into that cupboard last January....

                              If it's all on an integrated unit, that's not an issue. Everything is right there. Why would you want to keep track of and shuffle a handful of cards if you can have it all right to hand?

                              Would you rather have your computer games on a stack of floppies that you have to dig through or would you prefer it to be in a series of subdirectories on your computer? Same thing.
                              The thing is: Those SDs are so big, you can fit anything you want on them... You don't NEED to remove them. There is enough storage on a SINGLE SD to fit ALL your christmas, summer lounge and party music.. Ergo, there are no stacks of "floppies", it's just a single SD and if you keep it in there, it's like your hard drive. Those things do support directories, they do support multiple playlists.

                              I have an SD card in my phone of 512 GByte. I practically never ever remove that card, it's just like local storage to me.

                              I'm not sure how big the market is for rack-mountable streamers with analog audio out. I think that market is nowadays mostly in the past, at least for professional solutions.

                              Most stuff nowadays is moving towards networked audio. QSys, for example, allows you to implement completely virtual audio players that can play MP3, ACC and FLAC files from almost any source and yes, you can expose that via a web interface too if you want.

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