Hard Disk Based mp3 Player Advice

  Funktion 21:29 12 Jan 2008

I love music. I love computers. I work in a high security laboratory. Read on and these statements may start to make sense.

I have had my entire music collection ripped as mp3s for years now, and have a stash of mp3 CDs both in my car and at work. The 700MB available on a CD is pittance compared to the 60-odd GB collection on my home PC but can fit on a decent enough collection to keep me going for a while - either 10-12 albums or a 170-track random compilation tends to be how I do it. I have persevered with this system for a number of years, but I think it's time for me to modernise! I want to have the entire music collection at my fingertips, and am after recommendations as to what route to go? I'll take it upon myself to provide answers to a couple of obvious questions before I continue...

Q. So why not buy an iPod/Zen/Archos?
A. Pocket-sized portability of the device is not an issue. I am currently using a 'boombox'-style CD player capable of reading mp3 CDs and would like to keep a player of this size.

Q. So why not use WinAmp/Media Player on your computer at work and copy your mp3s to an external HDD?
A. The sensitive nature of my work means that non-approved PCs and related equipment are prohibited within the laboratory, as are any sort of recording device (so out goes anything with obvious audio recording capabilities). In addition, I am after a standalone system which does not require attaching to a TV or monitor.

In the past I have dreamed up various ways of fashioning my own system using either some sort of small (e.g. 7") touchscreen monitor, a hybridised PDA, etc, but with the increased popularity and complexity of mp3 players as a whole it has never been worth my while. Recently I have come across a number of hard drive bays which seem to fit the bill quite nicely, such as this offering from Maplins

click here

and was wondering if anybody had any advice. These hard drive enclosures all appear to require a TV, but does anybody know of one with a built in display? I have also come across the Elonex LNX Cube Multimedia System

click here

which looks like an abomination but may well be the thing I'm after as it appears to support external HDD connection via the USB port as well as regular CD playback and an FM radio.

If anybody understands what I'm after and is willing to offer advice as to where to start looking that would be much appreciated.


  100andthirty 06:44 13 Jan 2008

one of the most difficult things to do with a large collection of music is to navigate around it. Neither of the solutions you've described will help you here. As there's no screen at all with the caddy, navigation will be "blind" and the Elonex is described as woeful for navigation.

Although I'm a great fan of Creative and this: click here would fill the bill - perhaps with one or tow of these: click here to ease connection to your boombox

but you could get an iPod with one of many speaker systems with an iPod dock

  al7478 16:07 13 Jan 2008

the mp3 player and dock idea is the best i can do too. i think your current system is pretty good, considering your needs. Why do you want to chnge?

  Funktion 17:11 13 Jan 2008

Thanks for the comments you two.

100andthirty - I am trying to avoid Apple products on principal. I do like the navigation of my girlfriend's Creative Zen, and may well go the route of a Creative product in the future, but these are still designed as ultra-portable devices as opposed to stationary mp3 players. I can see the market possibly opening for midi-sized mp3 players over the next year or so and until that time I'll see what else turns up. Navigation is an issue as you have stated, but as LCD screens get cheaper to produce I am sure that media librarys [sp? libraries?] will become more streamlined (I'm thinking WinAmp/Windows Media Player style).

al7478 - the only reasons that I want to change from my current setup is that I am greedy and fickle! I have a large number of mp3 CDs at work, but you can pretty much guarantee that the music I fancy listening to isn't on any of them!

As an aside, I know that you can get boombox and midi stereos with USB ports. Are these simply for connection of a solid-state mp3 player (a la docking station) or would these hook up to a USB hard drive?

  al7478 17:32 13 Jan 2008

They might be worth a look, but my honest answer re connections would be "i dont know", so hopefully someone else will.

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