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Want access to music on my computer - need help w/ decision

 

New member
Username: Tmbarta

Post Number: 1
Registered: Nov-04
Hi Everybody,

I'm hoping somebody can help out a newbie with this decision. I would like to be able to play the music stored on my computer on my home theater system. Right now I have the Kenwood HTB-505 system. I'm looking to upgrade and was looking into either the Onkyo TX-NR801, TX-NR900 or TX-NR901. I know the 901 has Component Video Upconversion, right now I do not have an HD tv, but someday I would like to. How important is that? Also I'd be willing to wait 'til the new model of the 801 comes out, I heard it will have Component Video Upconversion. I can get the 801 and the 900 for about the same price.

Besides those receivers, today I found some info on the Roku SoundBridge. From the little I've read, it works w/ wireless networks and integrates better w/ Windows Media Player. It has RCA, COAX and Optical hookups. The model I was looking at retails for $500.

Can somebody please give me the pros and cons of either setup?

Thanks
 

MarcUR
Unregistered guest
the best way to play music from your computer through your receiver would be to get a digital audio soundcard. I recommend the midiman 2496. It costs somewhere between 100-150 if i recall. You would then connect the computer and receiver via the digital out of the soundcard into the digital in on the receiver. The easiest way to connect your comp and receiver would be to just take the analog out from the computer and run it into the analog in on the receiver. I wouldn't recommend it though, as computers are noisy and the sound would be less than optimal.
 

Chris F
Unregistered guest
MarcUR, this would seem like the best route if your stereo and tv are near to each other. My old setup allowed this, but my new one does not. I don't want to run an expensive optical cable all around my place.

Another alternative....

I like the idea behind the Linksys media server products. However I don't think the Linksys offers digital out to receiver, only analog which means the decoding will be done by the media server if Im not mistaken. So its seems likely the sound will be compromised, although this is only a guess since Ive never used the products. Its also lacking in some other areas....

What I would like to see is a slimline media server with integrated support for wireless(BandG) that has digital outputs. Video output to make song/playlist selections via the tv. A nice 160G HD would also be a nice feature. In affect something similar to the digital Panny and Kenwood products out there right now, but stripped down(forget the amp) and cheaper but including a HD. :-) And Im not talking about the likes of the expensive media servers(Kenwood Entre/Marantz/etc) which I see more geared toward commercial applications. I would like to hear impressions from people who own them...I want a cheap consumer device($300 - $500).


Maybe there is something out there filling this niche but I have yet to see it...

A side note, I expect that many receivers will start to include ethernet ports like the Onkyo/Integra lines. I would have bought an Integra if there lesser models(6.4/7.4) had included ethernet.
 

edster922
Unregistered guest
Tammy,

Here's the single most budget-friendly solution:

1. If your computer doesn't already have a good aftermarket soundcard, buy the Creative Labs Soundblaster External USB soundcard, around $40 at Amazon.com shipped. It's far from top of the line but unless you're an extremely picky listener, you won't complain. Nice thing about this external soundcard is that it doesn't require any software so it doesn't drain any of your computer's system resources, which many internal sound cards do.

2. Buy a stereo (R/L) RCA audio cable, whatever length you need, connect it to the external soundcard and one of the Aux inputs in your HTB receiver. Probably $7-20 at Walmart, any cheapo Phillips or Radio Shack cable will do, don't fall for all the Monster Cable ripoff hype.

And, VOILA...that's it, for a mere $50-60 you can listen to MP3s and/or Internet radio on your stereo system!
 

New member
Username: Hj25

Post Number: 2
Registered: Nov-04
Those soundcards have RCA outs?
 

edster922
Unregistered guest
Yup.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000095IMS
 

Silver Member
Username: Landroval

Post Number: 937
Registered: Feb-04
"Nice thing about this external soundcard is that it doesn't require any software so it doesn't drain any of your computer's system resources, which many internal sound cards do."

It's USB so it's a quite big load for the system. It has an old DSP so the CPU has to work harder than with let's say Audigy2.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Jastaylor

Post Number: 11
Registered: Aug-04
Tammie,
I think you need to sit and think about what features are important to you and then research all the various options. There are receivers with streaming capabilities built-in (TX-NR8xx/9xx), there are a number of separate media devices that can do this, and you can always push content from computer/ipod/mp3 player to receivers. The real question is what do you want to be able to do and how do you want to control it?

I went the TX-NR901 route so I could keep all MP3s in one spot (PC) and drive them through one remote - the receiver remote. The MP3 mgmt software sucks but theres ways to work around it. I also wanted to be able to create playlists in one spot and reuse them elsewhere. Now I have (e.g.) a Christmas playlist that works on my wife's iPod, my Rio MP3, the computer, and through the receiver.

Every option has tradeoffs... e.g. I had a grand vision of wanting to pick playlists via RF from my screened-in porch and play them to that as a zone 2... Only problem there is you need a tv screen to see the OSD to pick your playlists... Now I think creative had a streaming component that showed playlists on a display on the RF remote... but that adds another remote to the mix. Some other vendor had one that you could drive via a web page... so you could envision having a wifi web enabled palm that would let you do the same... and then I realized I was going overboard. :-)

Moral of the story... figure out what you REALLY want and which overall solution meets your needs the best!
 

AZed
Unregistered guest
Here is my setup: Realmagic's X-Card ($85) combined with 8dim's media software ($60). I get superb quality video(upconverted to HD) and audio all accessed on my TV using a remote control. I use a digital audio cable from x-card to my receiver as well as component (HD) video cable and the playback options are remarkable. I repeat - sound quality using my receiver as a dac is absolutely superb.
Rich
 

edster922
Unregistered guest
landroval,

Dunno, that hasn't been my experience. I actually bought an Audigy2 card previously, then returned it for the USB card---and found a huge difference in my computer's performance when playing music while using other applications, for a relatively miniscule difference in sound quality.

I could see the USB slowing down computer performance only if you were running a great many USB devices at the same time, and/or if you had a pretty old slow computer.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Topher

Post Number: 13
Registered: Dec-03
I've got a modded xbox running X Box Media Center hooked up to my receiver & love it. I can browse my MP3's, set up playlists, watch AVI's & view pictures, all by remote. I used to use my computer, but when having outdoor parties, I hated having to run downstairs to queue up a requested song. I tried MyHTPC, but you really need a dedicated computer.
I had to do a little reading on setting up a network (over a cross-over cable), but it was well worth it.
I'm going to get an Advanced AV Pack which allows s-video, & DD surround over an optical cable. I read that you can get an HD Pack which allows high-def over component cables, but I haven't really looked into that.
You can also look into the Hauppauge MVP. It also allows recording TV on your computer. I imagine you'll need a TV tuner card for that.
 

Unregistered guest
We are trying to install html music to our e-mail How can we cancel the html that is already in my source and add the new music one instead. We hear the music but when we send it out there is no sound at the other end. If the sender returns the message to me I hear the music What can I do please help
 

Copain
Unregistered guest
Tammie,

have a look at D-Link DSM-320. It has optical and coax digital outputs. a small server run on your computer ( which has a very small footprint in cpu load). You can plan Mp3 Wav. Wmm. you can also play video, JPG slide show, stream online radio (AOL). It has a remote control very easy to use. It cost 150 U$. It got bad review because early firmware version were not very good. from firmware 1.03 and up it run perfectly.
it doesnt need microsoft media server. I run it on a win98 PIII 450 MHz machine.
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