Carrying a LOT of music
October 31, 2016 5:45 AM   Subscribe

How can I carry around a LOT of music? I have 300+GB of music, audiobooks, and lectures, and the few GB of space on my iPhone frustrates me. I have a travel router that works dandy as a pocket-able streaming server; are there USB storage devices in that size range that don't require wall power?

I love music and remember fondly when my whole collection fit on an iPod. These days phones have less room and my collection has grown. How can I have more or all of it with me?

Is a Sansa with a huge SD card the best current solution? Or a travel router streaming from an external drive?

I have a little HooToo travel router that works dandy: it runs a private WiFi network and shares out files which I then stream to my phone. Currently I have a 64GB thumb drive in it but it also takes an SD card or anything else plugged in via USB. Do they make devices with 1TB of storage that doesn't require wall power? An external drive would be fine because I could run it from a portable backup battery.

Do I need to build something with a Raspberry Pi??

Thanks for any ideas!
posted by wenestvedt to Technology (21 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Read the specs on the drive and your router to make sure, but I'm pretty sure any external hard drive designed to be portable will power itself entirely from usb, e.g.: Portable hard drives from Newegg.
posted by bfields at 6:02 AM on October 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

If money is no object, they make full size SD cards up to 512GB now. I'm not sure about what players support those, though, so your best practical bet is probably an Android smartphone with a 256GB microSDXC card and the option of USB mass storage via USB OTG.
posted by fifthrider at 6:50 AM on October 31, 2016

Response by poster: (Update: money is an object. About $100 is my limit, but interested in any ideas.)
posted by wenestvedt at 6:57 AM on October 31, 2016

I own several of these Seagate 1TB 2.5" portable drives that are powered only by the USB cable. They're fast and quiet.

A SSD drive will be more durable for travel (no moving parts) but will cost more than $100 for the size you need.
posted by bluecore at 7:07 AM on October 31, 2016

I'd personally just use a ~500GB SSD in a USB enclosure. No moving parts to worry about, and SSDs are way cheaper per GB than SD cards or USB flash drives. A bit out of your budget though.
posted by neckro23 at 7:34 AM on October 31, 2016

I do not own one, but for 110 USD shipped from amazon, 500gb wireless device for streaming media with a 10 hour battery from Seagate, with 1TB and 2TB options. There are very mixed reviews on amazon but this product might work for your application.
posted by enfa at 8:01 AM on October 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

Right, because this is what iPod's are for. iPhones are not for this. Why not get another iPod that meets your needs?

Apple discontinued their iPod classic line in 2014 - options here are the $400 ipod touch which maxes out at 128 GB storage, or to shop around for a 300$+ refurbished/upgraded iPod device with a third party expanded ssd drive.

Interestingly, you can get an iphone that has 256 GB of storage, and it comes with a pair of really well thought out headphones. I'm not sure why you assert that iPhones are 'not for this', but it really seems like listening to music is a core part of the iPhone usage scenario.

(That said, wenestvedt, are you due for a new iPhone soon? Max out your internal storage as step #1...)
posted by enfa at 8:18 AM on October 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

Personally, I'd pick up a used android phone (or a new one if you need/want a new phone) with expandable storage, and a couple of 256MB Micro SD cards. Most phones you have to shut down the device and restart to swap out the card, but as long as you're not swapping all the time shouldn't be a big deal.
posted by jferg at 8:29 AM on October 31, 2016 [2 favorites]

You _can_ get an iPod Classic on eBay upgraded with a high-capacity SSD for internals. It's out of your stated price range, but as the owner of a music collection to vast to fit on even the largest iPhones, it's something I've eyed. (Sadly, they're out of my price range too.)
posted by SansPoint at 9:04 AM on October 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

You could buy an old iPod classic on eBay for $40/50 if you shop around. Then buy an msata drive and do the install yourself. You won't get 300gb for under $100, but you could probably match a fast 256gb msata and ipod for under $150 if you shop carefully.

My current Lenovo laptop has a msata as its 2nd drive, and when I eventually upgrade my laptop I plan to repurpose this drive in my trusty old 80gb ipod (still running strong - on the original battery - after 10 years!)
posted by 0bvious at 9:28 AM on October 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

You can get USB powered external drives with 5TB for about $130.

posted by humboldt32 at 9:34 AM on October 31, 2016

humboldt32: You can get USB powered external drives with 5TB for about $130.

Not USB powered - "Easy and simple to use - simply plug in the power adapter and USB cable"
posted by bluecore at 9:53 AM on October 31, 2016

Coming at this from another direction, I believe the Galaxy S7 supports MicroSD XC cards up to 256GB. The card is about $150 today. This means you don't have to carry two devices.
posted by cnc at 10:13 AM on October 31, 2016

Sorry I linked to the wrong one. This one is USB powered 4TB at the same price.
posted by humboldt32 at 10:56 AM on October 31, 2016

480GB SSD USB, no power cable, $140. You can go quite a bit smaller with an m.2 SSD for under $200.
posted by rhizome at 11:33 AM on October 31, 2016

You probably have your reasons for wanting to do this with the songs stored on the device. But, just for the sake of argument, a person can get a music storage account from Amazon Music for $24.99 a year that can hold 250,000 songs. That's over a terrabyte of songs. You can access all of that free from whichever devices you want via their free cloud player app. And if there are parts of your day that don't have reliable wi-fi or cell signal, or if you're just conscious of data usage for cost reasons, you can also sync the things you are listening to most regularly to any given device.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:42 PM on October 31, 2016 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: DOT: You probably have your reasons for wanting to do this with the songs stored on the device.

I already have a 64GB thumb drive in the travel router now, which works awesome for car trips with the kids: they can stream any movies or music store thereon as we hurtle down the road in our minivan. The rest of the time I miss having access to all of my music the way I used to. I guess I could cull it down to fit on a 128GB card/stick, but... *grump* Want a pony!!

I suppose the Amazon Music cloud account would work most of the time (since work pays for my phone & data use!), but my neighborhood is a cellular dead zone, and it would fail totally on vacation where we lack Internet access (aloft, and at the lake cabin). Hmmm....
posted by wenestvedt at 1:30 PM on October 31, 2016

Response by poster: (These are all very interesting ideas so far -- thanks!)
posted by wenestvedt at 1:30 PM on October 31, 2016

You probably have your reasons for wanting to do this with the songs stored on the device. But, just for the sake of argument, a person can get a music storage account from Amazon Music for $24.99 a year that can hold 250,000 songs.

Possible alternative to portable storage and/or Amazon Music: If you have a computer running at home, you can set it up as a Plex media server which can keep your entire media collection (music/movies/etc) at home, and then stream or sync it (via a sufficiently robust WiFi/4G connection) to any iOS or Android device wherever you happen to be. I use one at home, and also use it to load up my phone and tablet with entertainment before I go on trips. I've only used the full streaming capabilities a couple of times, but the results have been encouraging.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:44 PM on October 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

Could a budget-conscious possibilty be just getting a USB hub/SD reader? Then collect all the thumb drives/ SD cards you have lying about (everyone has half a dozen in the fruit bowl, right?) and distribute the media to taste.
posted by quinndexter at 2:51 AM on November 1, 2016

Response by poster: I do indeed run a Plex server at home -- which is why I am spoiled abut having all my music on tap again! :7)

As it is, I bought a 128GB thumb drive last week for just $27, and am filling it up with music: for now I can share it out via my older HooToo TripMate. Then for Christmas I asked that someone give me a smaller travel router that I can flash into an OpenWRT box and stream from its DLNA server, which would probably be more like what i was seeking -- especially if I can get hold of a solid-state drive in a slimline box and load that up.

Thanks, all!
posted by wenestvedt at 10:39 AM on November 29, 2016

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