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Audio Player with Digital Output, HD, and Touch Screen... Why so few options??

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

My requirements:

 

  • To play a collection of around 150GB of FLAC files without swapping SD cards. (Hard disk could be Internal or External)
  • S/PDIF (optical or RCA) Digital Output
  • Not too big. Must fit over a night desk.
  • A Touch Screen with a decent music browser.
  • No need for Wireless, ethernet, or radio streaming.

 

 

The first thing that came to my mind (I started this search 6 months ago) was the Logitech Squeezebox. But it seems that it has many issues when used as standalone player with an external Hard Disk.

 

Somebody said once that Android ICS was going to support USB Audio for external DAC, so my second thought was a small tablet with an external HD (I almost clicked the ‘Add to cart” button for the Ainol Novo 7 Aurora). But it seems that Android is not interested at all in solving this issue.

 

I also considered the possibility of using a tablet and a HDMI to SPDIF converter. But I have read at the instructions of many tablets that the screen is disabled when the HDMI is used. So it would become a blind brick if there is no monitor connected !!

 

The best solution that I have found so far is the Archos tablet with internal 250GB hard disk, and the DVR Dock Station with S/PDIF output. Anyone using the Archos with SPDIF from the Dock Station?

 

Anyone knows of other options?

 

Teac WAP-8600? Too expensive

 

Why there are no manufacturers interested in building tablets with S/PDIF output? confused_face_2.gif

 


Edited by Pingfloid - 3/31/12 at 8:29pm
post #2 of 20
Thread Starter 

It seems that the latest Archos do not have DVR dock station with S/PDIF output. frown.gif

 

6 months searching... Am I asking for the moon? confused_face_2.gif

post #3 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pingfloid View Post

It seems that the latest Archos do not have DVR dock station with S/PDIF output. frown.gif

 

6 months searching... Am I asking for the moon? confused_face_2.gif



Sort of. What you're describing is like a computer with a touchscreen monitor. lol

post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 

All tablets are internally handling Digital Audio; all they have to do is to add the SPDIF connector. Some old mp3 players used to have it. Also the Cowon D3, but it is limited to SD storage, and can not be used connected to the mains (only using battery). Perhaps we have to blame the maniac cost-cutting policies.

 

In other words: I am asking for a Logitech Squeezebox that do not have problems when used as standalone (without network), or for a Tablet with spdif, or for Google to solve the damn USB_CLASS_AUDIO compliant device issue with Android.


Edited by Pingfloid - 4/1/12 at 1:49am
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 

I think that I will go for a Windows tablet with a hard disk.

:

Archos 48

  • 5" Touch Screen
  • 500 GB HD !!
  • Multi OS: Windows XP/Windows 7/Linux/Android
  •  $240

 

Any USB device compatible with Windows will work. And If I want S/PDIF I can use either the DVR Station or a USB to SPDIF converter.

 

Another candidate is the Gigabyte S1080 which is a powerful mini PC with a 320GB HD, USB 3.0.  10” (but $540)

 

post #6 of 20

I am looking for the same type of device. I listen to a lot of music at work but the IT guys "aren't allowed" to install any media player other than wmp. So, currently I have to plug my phone into my desktop with mini usb, run foobar from my phone, and output from the desktop to a USB dac/amp. It's crazy.
 

post #7 of 20

To the OP: Archos G9 tablets work with USB DACs, my G9 Turbo works with my FiiO E17. Archos added the support so this isn't a signal of Google sorting it or more widespread OEM adoption.

post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the information. I have discarded the Archos G9 because it is not compatible with some DAC's (like HifiMan), someone has reported noise interference from the HDD to the DAC, and mainly because Android does not support audio with a resolution higher than 44.1-kHz/16-bit at this moment. I know that there is an Android project for High Quality Audio going on, but it is only a project, like many Droid's dreams.

 

If I can not find a better candidate before the mid of May I will probably buy a Windows 7 tablet with a hard disk. Dirty old Windows dog... At least we certainly know what it can do and what it can not do.

 

 

 


Edited by Pingfloid - 4/28/12 at 11:24am
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 

I've found a provisional solution: The WD HD TV Live with a small ultra-cheap monitor. Optical Output direct into the Havana DAC.

 

263

 

I have been very close to buy the Gigabyte S1081, but now I will use this  solution until the new generation of Windows Tablets come at the end of this year.


Edited by Pingfloid - 5/16/12 at 4:15am
post #10 of 20
I am in the same boat. On top of your requirements, I want 500GB hard drive, flac capable and some portability.

My results from research are (I tend to favor iDevices as I already have systems set up for iPad and iPhone 3GS):
1) Mod iPod 5.5G with 240GB Hdd and Rockbox. The connect to my Pure i20 to output coaxial or optical signal.
2) set up a Synology DS212J with terabytes of Hdds and stream to iPhone, iPad or iTouch then to Pure i20.

Lesser option: buy a 128GB SDXC to use with my Archos 605 (flash card model) and output coaxial from dock. Archos 605 can not be rockboxed currently though and can not play flac.

I would recommend against getting Archos 48. I read on Amazon that it has quality problems, likely from its Hdd. Also no flac or rockbox. May not output digital either.I though about it but gave up.

Or like OP said, get a small tablet and use USB digital output.
Edited by zzffnn - 6/9/12 at 6:28pm
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pingfloid View Post

Thank you for the information. I have discarded the Archos G9 because it is not compatible with some DAC's (like HifiMan), someone has reported noise interference from the HDD to the DAC, and mainly because Android does not support audio with a resolution higher than 44.1-kHz/16-bit at this moment. I know that there is an Android project for High Quality Audio going on, but it is only a project, like many Droid's dreams.

If I can not find a better candidate before the mid of May I will probably buy a Windows 7 tablet with a hard disk. Dirty old Windows dog... At least we certainly know what it can do and what it can not do.



Just saw your post - in relation to the interference from the HDD and the G9 that doesn't apply to the ones with flash storage like mine.

Also worth mentioning that I'm using an E7 with my Galaxy S3 (E17 not working). At this stage difficult to know which models are working and which aren't (Topping TP30 and HiFiMan Express confirmed working besides the E7).

Finally, I'm using a Seagate GoFlex Satellite 500gb drive to stream FLAC to my iPhone 4S (sometimes S3 also).

Few thoughts for you...
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 

A note about the WD HD TV Live + small monitor that I am currently using (and I guess that this will apply for any TV media player of this type): everything is ok, but it does not support gapless FLAC playback frown.gif

 

I have spent all the morning at Pantip Plaza and MBK (the Bangkok IT Mecca) searching for a Windows Tablet, but I could not found any. It has been a curious experience: some sellers did know what I was talking about and immediately said that they do not have, but others looked at me as if I were a weird freak.

 

What has happened with the Cheap Chinese Windows Tablets? Few months ago they used to be many on ebay. The current production of known brands: Samsung 7, HP Slate, Asus EEE… are too expensive.  I will keep waiting to see what hardware will come with the arrival of Windows 8.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zzffnn View Post

2) set up a Synology DS212J with terabytes of Hdds and stream to iPhone, iPad or iTouch then to Pure i20.

 

My old HTC mobile is falling into pieces and needs to be renewed. I am going to study this option


Edited by Pingfloid - 6/10/12 at 12:33am
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pingfloid View Post

A note about the WD HD TV Live + small monitor that I am currently using (and I guess that this will apply for any TV media player of this type): everything is ok, but it does not support gapless FLAC playback frown.gif

I have spent all the morning at Pantip Plaza and MBK (the Bangkok IT Mecca) searching for a Windows Tablet, but I could not found any. It has been a curious experience: some sellers did know what I was talking about and immediately said that they do not have, but others looked at me as if I were a weird freak.

What has happened with the Cheap Chinese Windows Tablets? Few months ago they used to be many on ebay. The current production of known brands: Samsung 7, HP Slate, Asus EEE… are too expensive.  I will keep waiting to see what hardware will come with the arrival of Windows 8.


My old HTC mobile is falling into pieces and needs to be renewed. I am going to study this option


That Synology NAS can stream to Android system too.

Besides Rockboxed players, i think very few can do gapless.

In US, you should be able to get a laptop for 200 (refurbished Win XP) to 300 USD (new Acer) USD, which will work as such a source.
post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 

Today I have ordered the Logitech Squeezebox Touch from Amazon. I did not know that it could work with only a NAS, without a dedicated computer on the network!

 

First I will try it directly attached to a USB Hard Drive. If it has problems, then I will buy the NAS.

post #15 of 20

^ How does the Logitech Squeezebox Touch working for you so far? I heard that the Squeezebox may be very slow in powering on, if you attach to it a hard drive (via USB) with lots of music. How long does that take with your 150GB of music?

 

I would have the same concern for other non-computer media players, because I have 1.5TB music stored in hard drives. The new tablets may be able to run big hard drives, but very few cheap ones offer coaxial or optical output. Android 4.1 tablet may provide USB digital output, but the price for new toys is usually high. Another option is to buy a previous gen laptop from Newegg as media server (roughly USD $220-$300, there are a few 10 inch laptops that have 320GB of hdd and 2-3 USB ports).

 

How does your Western Digital HD TV live work for you? How long does it take to start with your hard drive loaded with 150GB of music?  It plays flac but just not gapless right? I guess gapless may not be found on most consumer devices. 

 

NAS would be an option too, though not all NAS work the same as media server. I have looked into the Seagate GoFlex Satellite hdd mentioned by NZtechfreak above, but gave up when I read an Amazon review citing not so friendly user interface.

 

This Headfi thread mentioned a few options too:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/582370/streaming-audio-devices-review-and-information-thread-updated-4-23-with-jf-digital-review

 

Mose devices mentioned there are expensive, except the following (no review yet):

 

Cambridge Audio NP30 - $599

Sonos –starting at $698 for basic unit plus remote

Olive – starting at $599 for a basic model

Aune mini player - $320 (eBay)

Dugood HDAP-01D - ~$350 (eBay)

Marantz NA7004 - $799

 

Edit: None of the above-mentioned devices is truly portable. A NAS streaming to a mobile phone/tablet may be, assuming that you have reliable and cheap internet connection on-the-go. Actually, when you are "portable", the benefit of spdif digital output is highly debatable. You might be served as well with a rockboxed iPod with 160-240GB hdd or a rockboxed Sansa Clip with multiple 64GB microSDXC cards.


Edited by zzffnn - 7/16/12 at 9:09am
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