Hooking up an external hard drive to your home stereo for all your music

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Liquid Tension
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Hooking up an external hard drive to your home stereo for all your music

I have burned all my CD's onto a 500 GB hard drive at lossless or a WAV file and I am looking for a way of "plugging" it into my preamp to play through my stereo.  I do not want to sacrifice sound and use wireless.  Is there a "receiver" that takes a USB in that takes teh computer files and allows you to play it through your stereo?

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Chris Miller
Chris Miller's picture
Good question.  I can think

Good question.  I can think of a couple ways to get your USB drive hooked up to your stereo.  A rather basic way would be to get a Neuros OSD.  It will allow you to hook USB devices directly to it.  Unfortunately, its audio/video inputs and outputs are severely limited (you'll only have basic right/left RCA audio connections to your receiver), so you're somewhat limited there.  Here's a review of the Neuros OSD: http://www.techlore.com/article/20064/Getting-to-Know-Neuros-OSD---The-Analog-to-Digital-Bridge/

A better option, in my opinion, would be the Netgear Digital Entertainer EVA8000.  Here's the info on the EVA8000: http://www.mydigitalentertainer.com/article/10052/Data-Sheet--Netgear-EVA8000-HD-Digital-Entertainer/.  I personally like this option better because it gives you some excellent connectivity options including HDMI, if your receiver supports HDMI.  It also will give you a lot more functionality beyond just accessing the tunes on your harddrive.

Good luck!

Chris

P.S. I like your screen name.  Have you ever heard of a band called the "Liquid Tension Experiment"?  Some pretty unusual music.  OK, so that was a random comment, but your display name got me thinking of the band.  Hmmm...  Maybe I'll have to fire up their album.  Where's my iPod?  Smile

Liquid Tension
Liquid Tension's picture
Chris Miller said: Good

Chris Miller said: Good question.  I can think of a couple ways to get your USB drive hooked up to your stereo.  A rather basic way would be to get a Neuros OSD.  It will allow you to hook USB devices directly to it.  Unfortunately, its audio/video inputs and outputs are severely limited (you'll only have basic right/left RCA audio connections to your receiver), so you're somewhat limited there.  Here's a review of the Neuros OSD: http://www.techlore.com/article/20064/Getting-to-Know-Neuros-OSD---The-Analog-to-Digital-Bridge/ A better option, in my opinion, would be the Netgear Digital Entertainer EVA8000.  Here's the info on the EVA8000: http://www.mydigitalentertainer.com/article/10052/Data-Sheet--Netgear-EVA8000-HD-Digital-Entertainer/.  I personally like this option better because it gives you some excellent connectivity options including HDMI, if your receiver supports HDMI.  It also will give you a lot more functionality beyond just accessing the tunes on your harddrive. Good luck! Chris P.S. I like your screen name.  Have you ever heard of a band called the "Liquid Tension Experiment"?  Some pretty unusual music.  OK, so that was a random comment, but your display name got me thinking of the band.  Hmmm...  Maybe I'll have to fire up their album.  Where's my iPod?  Smile

Ahh, this is great, I will review both options, but the netgear one sounds more like what I would like.  Thank you very much for your response and tiem to do so.

Liquid Tension is for LTE.  I just drop the Experiment as most everyone just calls them Liquid Tension.  Both of their "albums" are fantastic, but they are not for background music, they are for serious listening.  Too many notes for some people, but I think they are great.  The drummer and guitarist are from Dream Theater and you should check them out.  Fantastic musicians.  DT has some music that isn't great, but some is even better than LTE in my books.  Scenes From A memory has 6 songs on it that are amazing (there are some weak ones on their as well)

Thanks again and I will report back.

Chris Miller
Chris Miller's picture
Happy to help with the

Happy to help with the connectivity question.  Please do report back as you progress with this project.

Glad to hear you're an LTE fan too.  I absolutely love the stuff they did as LTE and as DT.  I definitely agree that they're not background music - you really do have to be actively engaged to appreciate all the brilliant technicality of their music.  My wife, who is a percussionist, got me interested in them because of DT's drummer, Mike Portnoy.  They're all brilliant musicians, but he is especially gifted.

Liquid Tension
Liquid Tension's picture
Portnoy is amazing; I can't

Portnoy is amazing; I can't even air drum to him as he has such creativity and off beats etc...

As for my original question, I went to both links and looked over each product.  They both appear to do more than I need, but not sure they are geared towards more audiophile stuff (granted I understand that a WAV file might offend true audiophiles).  Am I incorrect about that?  I know that I may not be able to get an audio exclusive piece, but if $300 is being spent, I would rather the majority of it go towards preserving the integrity of the music.  Does that change your thought or would you still recommend these?

Sorry if I am being anal...

Chris Miller
Chris Miller's picture
I definitely understand where

I definitely understand where you're coming from.  And yes, both solutions do more than just granting you stereo access to your hard drive of music.  The primary function of the Neuros is to capture/digitize audio and video.  The primary function of the Netgear is opening access to an entire multimedia library, not just attached music files.

As for the audiophile factor, I would agree that neither of these solutions is primarily geared in that direction.  However, I would still lean toward the Netgear solution over the Neuros solution IF you have an HDMI input on your receiver.  That HDMI connection should allow you to feed the raw digital signal from your files to your receiver with a truly lossless connection, thus preserving the integrity.  If you don't have HDMI, then I think it's a toss-up between the two - both are going to send simple analog right and left channels to the receiver if the basic composite audio connections are used.

As for the integrity of WAV files, I don't see any problem there.  Granted, I'm not a hard-core audiophile, but my understanding of wav files is that they are essentially a raw digital copy of what's recorded on the CD.  They should be the PERFECT reproduction of whatever quality is (or is not) on the CD.

I'm sure there are other ways to accomplish what you're trying to do too.  Those are the two ways that I've been exposed to, but it would certainly be worth your while to consider other alternatives.  Who know, maybe there's a true audiophile device that exists for exactly this purpose.  It wouldn't surpise me.  If you find more options, I'd love to hear about them.

Chris

Liquid Tension
Liquid Tension's picture
Chris Miller said: I

Chris Miller said: I definitely understand where you're coming from.  And yes, both solutions do more than just granting you stereo access to your hard drive of music.  The primary function of the Neuros is to capture/digitize audio and video.  The primary function of the Netgear is opening access to an entire multimedia library, not just attached music files. As for the audiophile factor, I would agree that neither of these solutions is primarily geared in that direction.  However, I would still lean toward the Netgear solution over the Neuros solution IF you have an HDMI input on your receiver.  That HDMI connection should allow you to feed the raw digital signal from your files to your receiver with a truly lossless connection, thus preserving the integrity.  If you don't have HDMI, then I think it's a toss-up between the two - both are going to send simple analog right and left channels to the receiver if the basic composite audio connections are used. As for the integrity of WAV files, I don't see any problem there.  Granted, I'm not a hard-core audiophile, but my understanding of wav files is that they are essentially a raw digital copy of what's recorded on the CD.  They should be the PERFECT reproduction of whatever quality is (or is not) on the CD. I'm sure there are other ways to accomplish what you're trying to do too.  Those are the two ways that I've been exposed to, but it would certainly be worth your while to consider other alternatives.  Who know, maybe there's a true audiophile device that exists for exactly this purpose.  It wouldn't surpise me.  If you find more options, I'd love to hear about them. Chris

Thanks Chris, I did look around and have not found what I was looking for, so that is why I posted.  I have an ES preamp, but it is was pre HDMI, so maybe the netgear os more than I need? 

I will definitly let you know what I come up with as I will search some more.

Thanks again!

paul-lo
paul-lo's picture
Did you ever get a solution

Did you ever get a solution to your original question? I'd love to hear what you ended up doing. I have thousands of songs burned to an external USB drive which I can play on my PC. But I'd love to be able to play them on my basic bookshelf stereo in my living room. If only it had a USB port AND a way to allow me to navigate the HDD to find the songs I want. If only...

Most solutions involve connecting to a TV or video device. I'm looking for something more basic.

If I have to replace my stereo with a slightly more advanced stereo that has a simple LCD display to find songs (like an iPod) and the ability to connect an external drive I'd be golden. Basically a mega-iPod with an external drive and an amp to drive the speakers.

Liquid Tension
Liquid Tension's picture
I don't always come back and

I don't always come back and post but I will let you know what I did. I ended up buying a good quality Monster cable that goes from the headphone out via RCA into my computer. This is clearly not an audiophile answer, but it was an inexpensive (less than $50) option that is surprisingly good. My main reason for getting the music through the stereo was for my 3 pairs of outdoor speakers in the back yard and the sound is really good. Each pair outside is a Speakercraft OE8 and they are really good outdoor speakers and in this setup the sound is excellent. When I play indoors I usually will play a CD directly depending on whether I am really listening or the music is background.

My answer might have been a cop out but it works surprisingly well when you consider the transfer means.

Liquid Tension
Liquid Tension's picture
Oh, BTW, my solution allows

Oh, BTW, my solution allows me to use the windows media player (or Apple) to setup playlists and shuffles etc...It is also cool because people can slide over music they would like to hear at a party.

paul-lo
paul-lo's picture
Thanks for replying so

Thanks for replying so quickly. Let me make sure I'm following. Are you saying that you connected your external HD with your music to a computer via USB, and then connected the computer audio out (headphone jack) to the stereo aux in (RCA jacks)?

Liquid Tension
Liquid Tension's picture
That is correct. It was a

That is correct. It was a monster cable that had the headphone jack on one end and the RCA jacks on the other. I have an older Sony ES preamp that has been a horse, but it does not have HDMI. For me I needed a longer one and bought it through a site that was easy to work with and created a cable that was roughly 20" long but this link may help you http://www.amazon.com/Monster-Standard-THX-Certified-Audio-Interconnect/...

I don't recall off hand which site I used, sorry

paul-lo
paul-lo's picture
Okay, got it. I was actually

Okay, got it. I was actually looking for a solution that did not involve a PC, but I guess that was just wishful thinking. It look like the Logitech Squeezebox Touch may do what I want -- provide an interface between the HD and the stereo.

Anyway, thanks again for all of the information.

Liquid Tension
Liquid Tension's picture
I looked at the squeezebox

I looked at the squeezebox and that may work

bill1020bmw
bill1020bmw's picture
I've tried all of the above

I've tried all of the above and finally acknowleged the following:
The best method for me was buying a recent plane aux laptop.
Since my music is over 375 GB. 2-300,000 songs including dups. Every song (+plus it's album) and every album on top 100 1955-2005, I had to be able to veiw titles, files, genres, 14" screen is nice.
Unfortunately Audio is $20K of MacIntosh Components w/ MK Towers and subwoofer.
There is no way to do it Audiophile. All you have is RCA L & R inputs.
Sad to say Earphones out cable to RCA Input. Buy the best you can find.
Between the other sources (CD/ Nakamichi Tape Deck/ Turn Table/ Tuner) it's all RCA Monster Cable anyway. It sounds very good, even off my Iphone. The only thing that is sub par is Pandora.... And I have no idea why

 

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