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Ipod and wireless music on an existing stereo ?


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Hi

I wonder if you guru's could run through this proposed set up and identify the flaws in the set up so I can make an informed decision.

I am looking to be able to store cd's in cd quality on a hard drive then play through my exisiting home theatre setup. I considered the Yamaha 1300 @ $1500 and also the imerge at $3000 upwards and also had a look at the XP Media Centre set up. However after wandering around Len Wallis (I love that shop for all it's big boys toys) I have another cheaper option :blink:

Buy a second hard drive for my computer

Buy a 40 gig Ipod

Buy an Apple Airport Express to place into a socket near my home theatre and connect it to my Yamaha Amp.

Using Apple I-tunes the theory is that i can load my cd's in loss less quality on the hard drive, then using my existing 54g wireless network connect to the Apple Airport express which is hard wired into my AMP. Therefore i can play music stored on my computer on my exisiting system. The Ipod also allows me to store a back up of the music, allows me to edit play lists etc and also allows me to effectively use it as a remote control by choosing a play list on the Ipod which is then played through my stereo. I hope I have not overstated it's abilities.

Is this a reasonable and practical set up. I love the fact it gets rid of my decrepit old cd player and using i-tunes can download song and album information which I can view either on the computer or the Ipod.

Thanks for reading.

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Holo,

Certainly you've identified a good way to obtain a CD-quality playback option with the iPod / iTunes, but there are probably a few points of clarification worth mentioning:

I have  another cheaper option  :blink:

Buy a second hard drive for my computer

Buy a 40 gig Ipod

Buy an Apple Airport Express to place into a socket near my home theatre and connect it to my Yamaha Amp.

Using Apple I-tunes the theory is that i can load my cd's in loss less quality on the hard drive, then using my existing 54g wireless network connect to the Apple Airport express which is hard wired into my AMP. Therefore i can play music stored on my computer on my exisiting system. The Ipod also allows me to store a back up of the music, allows me to edit play lists etc and also allows me to effectively use it as a remote control by choosing a play list on the Ipod which is then played through my stereo. I hope I have not overstated it's abilities.

The first part of your theory sounds very plausable (and I'm assuming here you have a Windows PC not a Mac system). Obviously you'll need to import your music directly into iTunes from CD using one of the lossless formats in order to get CD quality music to play through your amp, but that part isn't a big issue and you can certainly play existing MP3s through the setup until you re-encode your CDs using a better compression standard.

The one flaw you may have overlooked is that the Airport Express basestation only streams music when controlled from iTunes itself - you cannot use the iPod as a remote control in this instance. If you want to change songs / playlists etc whilst music is playing through your AE basestation you need to make those changes from your PC via iTunes - you can't do this via the iPod as a remote.

Is this a reasonable and practical set up. I love the fact it gets rid of my decrepit old cd player and using i-tunes can download song and album information which I can view either on the computer or the Ipod.

If you are happy to control your playback via the PC then the solution you’ve described is quite good. If you want a remote control for your system, however, there are a few other ways you can go:

1. Skip the AE basestation altogether, and buy an iPod dock and a 3rd party IR remote add-on for the iPod. Continue using the iPod to backup your iTunes music from the PC (automatically synching the two when they are connected), and when you want to play music from your amp, drop the iPod into the iPod dock permanently connected to the amp. You then play back music directly through the iPod, so you can control playlists / tracks on the iPod itself. You can also use a 3rd party IR remote add-on to provide true ‘remote control’ to change tracks etc.

2. Rather than the AE basestation as a music player, look for a media player device which provides an on-screen GUI via your TV. Depending on which platform you’re running (Win/Mac) there are a variety of players available, some of which will playback the AAC and lossless audio formats used by iTunes (or similar codecs used by other music playback software). You still store your music on the PC (with the option of backing up to iPod if you want), but the media player takes care of selecting and playing back music. The added bonus is that the media player will also play back video files, so you can upgrade your setup to a video streaming system at a later date with minimum fuss.

3. Basically the same as 2, but pick an audio-only media player which provides a standalone GUI on the device rather than outputting through the TV. These type of players basically work just like the Yamaha system you’ve already looked at, but at a cheaper price.

4. Go with your standard setup as described, and buy a remote control for your PC which allows you to change tracks etc on the fly. I have used this option in the past (I have a Mac based system, but you can probably find the same type of software for the PC) with a program that synchs the iTunes playback with my bluetooth mobile phone or PDA. If I use an older phone (eg Ericsson T68i) I get a remote control for iTunes along with a list of upcoming tracks; on my Palm PDA or newer mobile phone (Ericsson T630) I actually get a playlist display which includes the album cover art and elapsed time / remaining time displays.

For what it’s worth, I have two setups (1 and 2 above). At home I use a couple of media player device as per option 2, which all stream audio (and video) from one central PC, where the audio is stored in iTunes and also synched with my iPod when connected to that media player. At my office I use option 1 to stream music from the PC I work on to an AE basestation which is primarily used for providing WiFi in my office, and that works quite well but obviously there’s no way to control the music other than from the PC I’m on. Setup 4 worked pretty well but because redundant when I bought the media players described in setup 1.

Sorry if this post is a bit lengthy, but I hope it helps you on the right path.

James

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thank you laurie for your reply. I am looking for loss less sound quality or near to.

Thanks James for your excellent detailed response. Your comments make interesting reading. I do run a Win based system and your option one and two seem quite appealing. May I ask what media player device you recommend or use. This seems an appealing and vesatile system, especially if it can be viewed in a tv screen, I assume you could you select music without the tv screen also, ie just using the Ipod and docking station discussed in one above ?

Cheers

holo

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Holo,

Thanks James for your excellent detailed response. Your comments make interesting reading.

No problems – glad to be of some assistance.

I do run a Win based system and your option one and two seem quite appealing. May I ask what media player device you recommend or use.

Your choices in regards to Windows based media players are quite diverse, and I believe they have been discussed in some depth previously on this forum so I won’t try to start another discusison here. I use the Elgato Eyehome player with my Mac system, so all I can recommend is you look for something with similar specs – playback of a lossless media format for audio files and playback of (at a bare minimum) DiVX and MPEG 1, 2 and 4 video. Most have additional features like the ability to surf the net or view pictures stored on your PC, and there are a number of models which include built-in 54Mbps WiFi connections to make connection to your PC a simpler task.

I assume you could you select music without the tv screen also, ie just using the Ipod and docking station discussed in one above

Yes and no, depending on the media centre you use (and this is why I have not provided comment to your previous query – I don’t really have much knowledge of the various Windows-compatible media players currently on the market). Apple’s iTunes (and through it, the iPod) support AAC / MPEG4 and Apple Lossless as their higher-quality codecs, but I’m not sure whether any given Windows-compatible media player will have support for playback of those formats. If you want to be able to play audio through a media player when the TV is on, but through the docked iPod when the TV is off, you’ll need to find a media player which not only reads your playlists & tracks from iTunes (which is probably not too hard to find) but also plays the lossless format audio files encoded through iTunes.

Due to the large numbers of Windows users who run iTunes as their music player in order to sync music with their iPods I can’t imagine it’s too hard to find a media player which integrates with the iTunes music library, but you may find it more difficult to find a player which also supports playback of the higher quality iTunes codecs.

Hope that helps somewhat.

James

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ipod? remember you can't copy from it.

so if you wanted to email as an attachment an archive to offsite storage, you wouldn't be able to.

one of the other brand's removeable media/hd doesn't have this "copy protection" (not being able to share any file)...

so if you will never share a file, go for the ipod...

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ipod?  remember you can't copy from it.

so if you wanted to email as an attachment an archive to offsite storage, you wouldn't be able to.

one of the other brand's removeable media/hd doesn't have this "copy protection" (not being able to share any file)...

so if you will never share a file, go for the ipod...

This hasn't been my understanding / experience of the iPod, although there certainly are restrictions in place which make it more difficult to transfer music off the iPod onto other devices, as you would expect from a device trying at once to keep both consumers and record companies happy.

If you use the iPod as a file storage device (which you can do quite easily as out-of-the-box functionality), the device becomes essentially a battery powered portable USB 2 / Firewire hard disc. There are no restrictions as to how you use that hard disc - files can be copied to/from the iPod at will, and you can even use it (on the Mac, don't know about Windows) as a boot volume if you so choose.

In terms of music, Apple's standard setup is restrictive in how you use the iPod to store your music files. You can only transfer music from one PC to the iPod, and if you connect the iPod to the iTunes on another PC it will recognise the attempt and offer to erase all music from the iPod prior to copying music from the connected PC to the iPod. This is the standard behaviour and has obviously been setup as such to keep the record industry types happy by making music piracy that little bit harder.

That said, there are countless applications for both Mac and PC which allow you to browse the music stored on your iPod from within the standard file explorers, and copy to/from the iPod as you wish.

James

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www.mats-systems.com.au

check out the zensonic section and look at the z-400 digital media station. add the cost of a wireless card and station for your computer and you still have a pretty good price way of playing mp3 on your stereo system, unless you are intent on not having to have the tv on to see what you're doing.

hell i'm tempted to get one simply cos it seems to be the easiest way to output component video from my pc.

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www.mats-systems.com.au

check out the zensonic section and look at the z-400 digital media station.  add the cost of a wireless card and station for your computer and you still have a pretty good price way of playing mp3 on your stereo system, unless you are intent on not having to have the tv on to see what you're doing.

hell i'm tempted to get one simply cos it seems to be the easiest way to output component video from my pc.

Peewee - although it may come across as biased - I suggest you do your research carefully before you buy a network media player based on the Mediabolic platform (ie Z400, Dlink DSM-320). They have a lot of issues to sort out in terms of codec support and various other problems in the firmware and server software at this time. Check out the Zensonic and various DLink related forums.

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Due to the large numbers of Windows users who run iTunes as their music player in order to sync music with their iPods I can’t imagine it’s too hard to find a media player which integrates with the iTunes music library, but you may find it more difficult to find a player which also supports playback of the higher quality iTunes codecs.

I'm not sure how iTunes handles lossless codecs when it comes to transferring to the iPod - I believe that you can't have 'two' copies of the music (easily) and therefore it will transfer the lossless version to the iPod.

This is fine... if you have a few dozen iPods at hand. Otherwise you'll want to make sure a separate MP3 version is sent to the iPod. You might be able to do this by ripping CDs twice, and then using smart playlists to filter the lossless versions out.

And James is right - Apple have carefully designed proprietary codecs for their lossless iTunes encoder (ostensibly to be more space efficient), but I think you can rip your CDs (separately) as WAV quite effectively, which will work with iTunes, iPods and some third party devices.

- Miles.

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