Using a large music collection with a smaller-capacity DAP without a computer in between.
April 7, 2009 7:51 AM   Subscribe

I'm hoping to use a portable harddrive with a USB storage device (Digital Audio Player, as it turns out) without a computer in between. Does such a product exist? Preferably at a non-exorbitant price?

My old 20GB ipod has kicked the bucket. It was nearly full, and I had other music that wasn't on it. I've found the flash digital audio player (DAP) I want to replace it (Cowon S9 for anyone who's interested), but there's a catch-

It doesn't have any option to expand the storage, and the maximum size available is 16GB. What I'm hoping exists is a solution allowing me to do this:

1. Store additional music (~32GB+) on a harddrive
2. Have 16GB on the DAP.
3. When traveling, hook the DAP up to the harddrive (which obviously had an LCD/external controls) and transfer different music to the mp3 player. (I'd like to be able to choose which folders to transfer).

The mp3 player in question will work like a USB storage device (think thumbdrive if you like).

I've found plenty of solutions that will work with SD or CF (Many of which were highlighted in this previous question (albeit 3 years ago)), but nothing for USB. Obviously, USB 2.0 is going to be important here so it doesn't take forever to transfer files.

Does my magic device exist? Or is there a REVERSE USB-SD adapter so I could plug a USB device into an SD slot and use one of the myriad devices intended for photographers? It seems like with the USB On The Go protocols, it should be possible for a Hard Drive (with the proper controller) to serve as a host. (or an update of the USB bridge which seems to have died out somewhere along the line?)

Obvious alternatives include waiting for the possible eventual release of the 32GB Cowon S9, buying a different DAP, or just committing to using my computer to switch-out music, but what I'm asking for here doesn't sound too incredibly unlikely. Anyone have suggestions?
posted by JMOZ to Technology (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This just showed up on Gizmodo yesterday. For only $59, it looks pretty sweet, and it looks small enough to toss into a bag.
posted by zerokey at 7:59 AM on April 7, 2009

I bork links for fun and profit. correct link
posted by zerokey at 8:00 AM on April 7, 2009

Gah...what's going on? LINK
posted by zerokey at 8:00 AM on April 7, 2009

That device is cool, but it doesn't do what you think it does. The speakers are just a USB device, it doesn't actually play music off the USB key without a computer.

I haven't looked very hard, but I don't think what you're looking for exists yet. Why not just get a DAP with more storage?
posted by Geckwoistmeinauto at 8:12 AM on April 7, 2009

I don't have an answer for you, but I've seen gadgets like that for photography (like this old one or this). That and USB OTG might help you with search terms.
posted by trig at 9:17 AM on April 7, 2009

Ah, sorry, didn't see the OTG in your question.
posted by trig at 9:19 AM on April 7, 2009

AFAIK there is no device like this. There were some for photos, but dumping photos from a camera to a large storage device isnt hard. I'm not sure how you would manage music.

Best bet would be to get a a small netbook with a 160gb drive.
posted by wongcorgi at 9:32 AM on April 7, 2009

The Cowon D2+ has a SDHC card slot and can address a 32GB card. It also has USB OTG, making many devices browse-able from the D2+'s control screen. It appears that all Cowon USB OTG runs at USB1.1 speed, though. This is an irritating limitation with my X5, but it works. The S9 does -not- have USB OTG.
posted by jet_silver at 10:07 AM on April 7, 2009

LaCie makes a line of USB hard drives that have a built in media-center. You load the drive up, then hook it up to your display, no PC required during playback.

I have one of the first generation of these, and it seemed to work reasonably well with standard media types.
posted by nomisxid at 10:18 AM on April 7, 2009

Response by poster: I hate to answer my own question, but does anyone have any feel for whether this (with an IDE HD, of course!) will work?
posted by JMOZ at 1:06 PM on April 7, 2009

...does anyone have any feel for whether this (with an IDE HD, of course!) will work?

Looks like it will. Nice find, btw.



Three in one function: digital camera partner, portable bi-digital photo bank and USB2.0 OTG

Bi-copyfunction: casually and easily copy/delete/move any data files with anykinds of USB device, like PSP game machine, PDA, U disk, card reader,MP3/MP4, digital camera and mobile phone, etc

Onebutton copy function: Copy all files you need of any USB device throughpressing the copy button one time into this portable OTG Bi-digitalphoto bank

Portable storage function: when it is connected with computer, you can quickly download or upload any files

Highly clear green dot matrix LED display

New USB2.0 On-The-Go compatible with USB1.1, plug and play

Aluminium alloy case can efficiently eliminate heat

Package Content:

2.5 inch OTG Bi-Digital Photo Bank

USB2.0 cable

Leather bag

DC 5V AC adapter(100V-240V)

English Manual


Screen: Green LED display

Operating System: Win98/SE/ME/2000/XP Mac OS9.0

Interface: High speed up to 480Mb/s USB2.0 On-The-Go

Hard Disk Supported: 2.5 in IDE hard disk

Power Supply: Built-in 1200Ma/h lithium battery; DC 5 V charger

Color: Silver

Size (LxWxH): 12cm x 7.7cm x 2.2cm

Gross Weight: 0.600kg

Package Size (LxWxH): 21cm x 16cm x 7cm

Package Type: Gift Box
posted by torquemaniac at 3:46 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have a device that acts as a USB bridge between two usb memory devices. It has two USB A sockets. Its intended use is to backup a digital camera to a USB thumb drive or hard disk, but it might do most of what you want.
It has two options, either copy everything on the donor device to the recipient, or just copy the contents of a specially named folder.
The only restriction would be you would have to setup which files to transfer beforehand, that is, you couldn't choose on the fly.
Not ideal, but it only cost me $8 delivered from ebay, so you might want to try it. Link. Note it might not be USB2. It took 20mins+ to back up a 4GB SD card. I've seen a similar device in a retail computer store (branded LAser which is un-google-able) so there are probably other similar devices that might come closer.
That said, I would probably wait a month or two until a higher capacity Cowon S9 is released.
posted by bystander at 5:55 AM on April 8, 2009

I also found this, but it is expensive.
posted by bystander at 6:07 AM on April 8, 2009

Response by poster: There's a 32GB Cowon S9 on its way, but I will look back here should I need even more capacity. Many thanks for your helpful answers.
posted by JMOZ at 1:02 PM on May 7, 2009

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