MP3 Players

(Disclaimer: this is not a formal review, just my personal notes from reading the ‘net).

In a recent discussion on the misterhouse-users list, I saw three networked MP3 players mentioned:

* “Turtle Beach AudioTron”: ( “Review”: )
* “SLIMP3”:
* “Barrix Exstreamer”:

Some differences from reading about the products on the ‘net:

* The Audiotron has HPNA support. The Exstreamer comes in 802.11b or ethernet-only versions. The Slimp3 is ethernet only.
* The Audiotron has optical audio; the other two are analog-only. Several people have commented, however, that the Audiotron’s analog audio is lower quality.
* All three have an internal webserver, and several network-based remote control protocols. The Audiotron also has an I/R remote and front panel controls/display. The Slimp3 has an I/R remote and a local display. The Exstreamer has no display, can only be controlled over the network, but they’re working on adding I/R in a future version. On the other hand, this makes it the smallest of the three.
* The Slimp3 requires special (opensource) server software. The Audiotron reads files from windows file sharing (and samba). The Exstreamer (with the latest firmware upgrade) apparently does both. (Turtle Beach mentions the problem of having to go back to your PC to control “other products” several times in their feature list :-). The slimp3 and Exstreamer use the same server protocol, but the Slimp3 comes with a Perl version while the Exstreamer comes with a Java version. Both can be problematic with long-running servers :-)
* The Extreamer has a small internal buffer (64K); this may cause problems on busy networks.

Rough prices ($US) (You can probably find all of these products cheaper with a bit of searching):

| Audiotron ethernet + HPNA | 350 |
| Audiotron ethernet | 300 |
| Extreamer wireless | 280 |
| Slimp3 | 239 |
| Extreamer wired | 160 |

Looks like a pretty clear price/feature trade-off :-)

I have two requirements. I want a component to add to my stereo system to allow access to my MP3 collection. Either a slimp3 or an audiotron would be best for that, because of the local control; I’d have to add local control to the Exstreamer (maybe with an old Pilot?), which is too much like work :-)

I also want a source of music etc. for a whole-house audio system. In that case, the amplifier and computer would both be in the same equipment rack in the basement, so the easiest solution would be to simply connect the PC’s audio out to the amplifier’s audio in.

Still, the Exstreamer is a pretty cool device, for the price…

posted at 11:18 am on Saturday, June 28, 2003 in Science and Technology | Comments (1)

1 Comment

  1. Jeff K says:

    Most DVD players play .mp3’s from CD-Rs these days.

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