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Inexpensive music server

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Okay, so using the premise that everyone is into their hobby at different levels (budget, quality acceptance, etc. ..with budget being a big driver).

 

So for me, my focus and $1000's of dollars has been spent in the vinyl world. Digital has been secondary and my listening reflects that in that when I am sitting and listening, in my music room, I listen to vinyl. But when I am moving about, my background music is digital. It is easier, I can create playlists, play random and never have to worry about jumping to get the arm lifted before it reaches the center label (most higher end tables are manual0.

 

But I am the type that looks at getting a bang for the buck and squeezing every last erg of detail from what I have. So enters the digital realm and the music server concept. If you are like me, you listen a lot through a main rig but it can be tiresome to move a pc or laptop or having some remote connection.

 

My solution is thus.

 

I have a Microsoft Surface RT tablet. It is their cheapest but really a cool product. Inherent in the unit is Xbox music service and I pay the $7.99 a month to be able to have anything I want and downloads. They stream at 192kbps...which is not bad but of course doesn't compare with CD quality. That's okay.

 

I also have a huge collection of MP3's that I purchased from a DJ in 2007 (everything from the 50's to 2007 and many genres). The only drawback, they are 128kbps music files. I recently learned that if you pay $25 a year for ITunes cloud, you can upload your previously purchased (from anywhere) files and they will match and replace with 256kbps files...whooo hoo. So I can and have been replacing those 128's with 256. Now why do that when I am pretty much unlimited on xbox music ? Well, bit rate..I am getting slightly better rate.

 

On to the setup.

My Surface not only has my music but it allows a mini-SD card up to 64gig so I can hold a lot of music. That is all loaded in my music folder and linked as a library.

 

From the Surface (which does has an internal DAC) I bypass and use USB out to my new AUNE T1 and from there, RCA out to the main rig. Sounds beautiful, I have a ton of music and for a small price, I have a dedicated music server.

 

Again, no its not high end, but for a person on a budget who wants to do this, it is doable. Any reasonable tablet will do but the Surface RT is a pretty damn good and since it runs Windows 8, has a desktop, etc. it is still multi-purpose.

 

 

Anyway, thought I would share for anyone who this would work for....

post #2 of 6

 

The great thing about these smart devices is that they're technically free. In my case, it's carrier-subsidized, and I'm going to need a phone regardless of what my music system is, so luckily it does USB audio. If anything, I spent on the other stuff to make it work as such - $50 for a 64gb microSDHC, $10 for the dock and $4 for the OTG cable. IF two years from now I get another good deal on a carrier subsidized phone upgrade I might still keep the S3 as a music server and WiFi device remote. I barely browse on it (I prefer larger tablets for that) unless I'm on the go and need to check my email and GPS/Maps.

 

I also had an iPad2 that I used in a similar fashion, and I got that one really free (a gift). However after all the crap I've had to deal with iTunes and iOS, I'm glad I got that thing for free. If MAD Magazine was available for my location on Android, I'd replace that thing with a Note 8.

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

LOL...I got my Surface RT for free also (I work for Microsoft) because when they came out, every employee received a free surface, windows 8 phone and their laptop replaced with a new Win 8 unit..pretty damn cool..

post #4 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by arcorob View Post
 

LOL...I got my Surface RT for free also (I work for Microsoft) because when they came out, every employee received a free surface, windows 8 phone and their laptop replaced with a new Win 8 unit..pretty damn cool..

 

Nice. Still, even if one pays for such devices, if they are actually needed for other applications, technically free isn't bad :D

post #5 of 6

Wow I want a dock like that. I have 880s and a JDS labs o2 but I'm using the 3.5mm out of my S4. How can I carry sound from my phone to my amp through usb?

post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by MRodriguez View Post
 

Wow I want a dock like that. I have 880s and a JDS labs o2 but I'm using the 3.5mm out of my S4. How can I carry sound from my phone to my amp through usb?

 

You can't - the O2 has no USB digital input. It's an amp without a DAC. The Meier Cantate.2 I posted has a USB DAC built into the amp, which is also powered by the amp's power supply, so as long as any device outputs audio through USB, it's compatible, and you won't get that "too much power" error (iOS6.3 made the brilliant move of giving me that error despite this fact though).

 

Also, IIRC, the S4 has some issue with USB audio due to a change in either the hardware or the software. When they first came out the Android DAC thread had a number of posts where the S4 couldn't work with DACs that worked with the S3 and other Andorid devices, so it would be best to confirm your version and the DAC's compatibility first.

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