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mcraghead 08-26-2009 02:19 PM

Which Music Server Do/Would You Use?
I was reading an article today about Apple "flops", and the article made special note that they didn't consider the AppleTV to be a flop...yet. It said since Apple is still tinkering with it that they would leave it off the list for now, but that they expect Apple to pull the plug soon.

I didn't think much of the AppleTV when it first came out. I couldn't figure out what you got for the money. It wasn't until I was looking for a music server or streaming device that I decided to look at the AppleTV. There were several other products that I looked at initially, but my budget was tight so the high end I couldn't consider. There were still several audio only devices in the running (Sonos and Squeezebox among them), but as I was searching some of the results included AppleTV, so I took a look. What I was most interested in was not having to drag my CDs upstairs to the bedroom, but I also didn't want to have to take my iPod out of the car. The AppleTV gave me the functionality I was looking for and cost less than most of the other stuff that was still in the running.

While I don't consider AppleTV to be high-end by any means, it works well for the most part. I do occasionally use the YouTube feature, but video overall was not a big selling point.

Hearing that the product is a flop makes me wonder if there was something that another device would have done better to make it worth the additional cost. If you could pick a server/streaming device for under $1000, what would it be? What would be the biggest selling points on that device?


Michael K. Craghead

rlpiii 08-26-2009 04:30 PM

Re: Which Music Server Do/Would You Use?
I was thinking about getting one, and then decided that I'd rather just buy mac mini if I was going to go the server route. Right now, I have a couple of blu-ray players that stream pandora and netflix which is good enough for the time being.

I think the apple tv can be considered a flop because for not a whole lot more money you can just get a mac mini which is much more versatile.

rbinck 08-26-2009 05:58 PM

Re: Which Music Server Do/Would You Use?
Not marketed as a server, but I have about 10,000 tracks on my LaCie network drive. With wireless networking I can stream to any of my computers.

mribob 08-27-2009 04:37 PM

Re: Which Music Server Do/Would You Use?
I have a Qsonix integrated music server; the highlight of which is its easy to use interface; with a 15" touch screen monitor for control of functions. It automatically goes on the web; inports the album art cover and track titles; stores and plays back in non compressed fashion with wav files; has a high quality digital output; and is a snap to use, even my wife likes it. Easy to store; rip, create play lists..I didn't want to go the route of home grown system; you can get these for around $3800 including a 500gb hard drive; or 1tb is available for a bit more money. Very reliable; sounds great; and is easy to use...

CliffH 08-28-2009 07:46 AM

Re: Which Music Server Do/Would You Use?
I have been using an HP Mediasmart server and an HP mediasmaert connect. all of my mp3 tracks are on the server and the mediasmart connect is attached to my AV/receiver. I can then wirelessly stream music to my receiver through the mediasmart connect via 802.11n which is built into the mediasmart connect.

meatyb0y 08-28-2009 10:19 AM

Re: Which Music Server Do/Would You Use?
So there are a couple of questions here - what server do you use and what streaming client do you use...
Personally, I have great luck with my HP Mediasmart server. You can add tons of drive space cheaply and easily. In addition to streaming music, pictures, and video, it will backup all your Windows boxes (I think it can do Macs as well, but not sure), and it can share the iTunes library of any machine on your network. Mine has been incredibly stable, it's small, and pretty quiet. I keep mine in my office anyway. Frankly, it's cheaper and more capable than many NAS devices that are marketed for music streaming.

As for streaming clients, I personally have no shortage and have experimented with quite a few. I currently have a Squeezebox Duet, but only consider it acceptable because I can use the digital out...the analogue sound isn't very involving to me personally. But it is very usable w/ the included remote, and there is an iPhone/iPod app that also provides very nice control.

I also have a PS3 and an Xbox. The Xbox doesn't make a good streaming device IMHO, because if you use the best digital out for gaming and movies, you are stuck with Dolby Digital for your music...not acceptable.

Believe it or not, the PS3 makes an excellent streaming device. The new ones are quiet, and they output hi-res digital from both toslink nad HDMI. But you may need to install server software on your server that will transcode on the fly (Tversity is a good option) for maximum file type compatibility, especially if you use lossless encoding. A nice plus is the beautiful visualizations that are available if you chose to leave your monitor on for a bit.

Another cheap option is to use an Apple Airport Express, connecting to iTunes. Again, a separate DA or a good DA in your preamp/receiver is mandatory, but if you install iTunes on your server, you are good to go, so long as you have an iPod Touch or iPhone. In that case, you get a fantastic interface that doesn't require a TV. No hi-res digital though, only 16bit, 44.1kHz.

In fact, if you already have an iPod Touch or iPhone, I'd look for an Airport Express (cheap @ $100), and look for a nice quality used DAC, which I bet you can find for < $1K. You are good to go at that point!

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