View Full Version : External memory -->speakers?

2007-04-06, 06:22 AM
Is there a way to connect an external memory drive to speakers, without it going through a pc? I'm asking this because I want to store a lot of music and be able to play it easily on speakers, and a memory drive would have a lot more space and be cheaper than an mp3 player.
If theres any way I could have a digital database of music to play through speakers then please say!

2007-04-06, 07:10 PM
No. The drive is just a box that holds digital information. It can do nothing on its own.

2007-04-07, 04:45 AM
Thanks Stan, you truly are the man. So is my only option to get another mp3 player?

2007-04-07, 12:51 PM
I've seen ads for something that looks like a crippled computer designed strictly for media playback, but the price is high (somewhat large size, too).

So to save money just use your computer or an iPod dock that hooks to your stereo.

2007-04-07, 01:45 PM
I agree with Five. Just get a mp3 player (maybe a model with removable flash memory).
If you're against that and maybe your speakers are somewhere in the house that you don't want to have a "big honkin computer," you can always buy a mini-itx motherboard with a built in (fanless) processor. Combine that with a small stick of RAM and a flash hard drive (all you need is enough to load an OS) and you can put it just about anywhere. It doesn't take much muscle to play music files (mp3 or lossless) so you could probably put the whole thing together for less than $100-$150 depending on where you get the parts. Small enough that you can put it just about anywhere and it's easy to build the entire system as fanless since you're not doing major processing.

2007-04-08, 04:30 AM
Thanks for the replies. Katnapz could you explain more please? It sounds interesting but I'm struggling to find good info on the internet. So, in its' crudest sense what you are describing is a sort of mini-pc that I could put as much RAM on as I wanted, to hook up to speakers? And where would I look for a mini-itx with built in processor?
I would rather do what I think this is (!) than get another mp3 player, to be able to have all my digital music in one place.
Thanks everyone

2007-04-08, 08:13 AM
Yes you're right...it's a mini-pc. You probably googled the term "mini itx?" Check out www.mini-itx.com as it's one of the top links. Plenty of ideas and overview. On the right hand side you'll see links to projects that have been done up by others. People have figured out how to fit the things into just about anything (toasters/stuffed bears/you name it). Keep going through the google search and you'll find other info.

Building a system based on a mini board is pretty much like a regular computer. You have to keep any eye on the specs to make sure that whatever you get is compatible with what memory and such. For the most part,...most of the regular components you'd put in a full size system will work. Depending on the board though, it may not take a regular power supply (the connnector takes up too much room) so you might have to buy what's considered an "external" power supply that basically has a small 12v plug at the end. If you stick with one of the lower end (meaning slower) boards, you can use the system fanless. So unless you go brute force the system can be pretty much silent.

There are also micro-itx boards that are a bit larger and I don't believe any of those are made with the CPU built in. I've used these systems for awhile now made by a company called Shuttle. Mainly because it's just been easier to get the barebone system straight out (ok, I've gotten a bit lazy). Great for home theater use. My first one had a 900 Pentium 3, one gig hard drive (you don't need a large drive when you're streaming everything from the other computers around the house), 256 megs of ram and Win98. Minimal Windows install still left me with about 500 megs of hard drive space. It played any music and movie I wanted. You really don't need a top of the line system for simple stuff like that. If I wouldn't have had a weird electrical accident with the system I'd probably still be using it for home theater, but I've moved on to a Shuttle Zen.

I haven't bought any boards for awhile now so can't give you any pointers to sites with the lowest prices. I'd probably just look for someone clearing out the older/slower ones on ebay if I was looking though. Like I said, it doesn't take much to play music. If you've got spare old parts sitting around there's a good chance you can use them to save money. You may be confusing RAM with hard drive space from your comment above. You'll be storing your mp3s in a hard drive just like a regular computer, but...like I mentioned above, if you network the system you can just stream everything from other computers on your network.
Hope this helps you on your way.