looking for a way to play songs on a stereo from external hard drive?
April 19, 2017 7:19 AM   Subscribe

Like many of you, I have my entire CD collection ripped to my PC, along with other music I've acquired through iTunes or Amazon MP3. Of course, this is much more music than will fit on a single iPhone/iPod or other media player. But, it can fit on a MyPassport external hard drive! Now, how can I play that music from my stereo? What I'm looking for is either a device or stereo receiver that can read MP3 files off an external USB hard drive - and isn't limited to, say, a 16GB size of the USB device. Do such devices exist? I do not want to rely on a computer/laptop needed to serve music to the stereo,
posted by citybuddha to Technology (7 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is what Sonos systems do. They also link up with streaming services and--IIRC--can behave as docking devices. I think Olive behaves the same way, but I'm not sure.

We have all our music on a vortexbox and play it on the discontinued Logitech Squeezebox players (the Boom, the Radio). They are amazing ans I keep buying new units from unsold back stock, but I do fear the day they just stop working and I have to replace the system
posted by crush at 7:54 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


I have a WD MyBookLive in my network, hooked to my router. I've stored my music collection (mostly MP3) on there, which I can play with my Sonos. The Sonos can also access music from services like Spotify and SoundCloud. I've also placed some albums currently not on Spotify (I'm looking at you Tool) on Google Music, which I can also access with Sonos. So quite a versatile solution all in all.

BTW I also store video on the WD MyBookLive, which I play on my TV with a WD TV Live.
And no, I'm not paid by WD.. ;-)
posted by mirthe at 8:05 AM on April 19


If you're open to cloud-based solutions, you can upload your whole system to google music as well.
posted by R a c h e l at 9:03 AM on April 19


Don't most modern DVD/Blu-Ray players do this? I thought they did.

I have a Raspberry Pi computer that I use for music. The external drive is set as an NAS, which Sonos then accesses over my wifi network (or alternatively, I can play stuff from the Pi, using Kodi). The whole setup cost about $60, not including the Sonos speakers.

If you're open to cloud-based solutions, you can upload your whole system to google music as well.

Or Amazon. I use that too.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:10 AM on April 19


If you read specs for audio receivers I think you'll find a lot of them have USB connections and claim support for USB mass storage devices. I've never used one and don't know how well they work. One thing I'd worry about would be how they let you actually choose which music to play; if you're just plugging in a dumb hard drive then you're completely dependent on the receiver's user interface to find the right track, and with a hard drive's worth of music that could be painful. Probably part of the reason why systems that use phone apps are popular.

You might also check http://ask.metafilter.com/307420/Listening-to-music-in-the-21st-Century.
posted by floppyroofing at 11:26 AM on April 19


I use a C. Crane FM transmitter and an old iPod Classic to listen to my music on any radio in the house. I had the same conundrum as you, and finally gave up and pared my collection down to what would fit on a 120 GB iPod Classic as all the other solutions seemed to involve relying on a computer to serve the music or exceedingly expensive hardware. If I didn't have the iPod, I would probably look into building a Raspberry Pi with a small touchscreen and using that with the FM Transmitter.
posted by fimbulvetr at 1:22 PM on April 19


I have a Raspberry pi running Volumio connected to a 1TB external drive. Volumio is pretty easy to configure and is controlled entirely via web interface. Or, because the back end uses mpd to control playback, you can also use an app like MPDroid.
posted by clockwork at 5:55 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


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