Connecting my hard drive and my amp?
January 17, 2007 8:55 AM   Subscribe

Connecting an external hard drive to my amp without a physical connection to my computer?

All my music is on an external hard drive. One disadvantage of this is that it constrains me: the hard drive must be connected to the laptop for me to play music, even if I'm using a wireless method (Airport Express or whatever) of sending the music from my laptop to my stereo system.

Any workarounds people can think of for this, aside from buying a cheapo computer dedicated to being the middle man for my hard drive and my amp? Bonus points if the solution is compact and not ugly, and extra bonus points if allows but does not require my laptop to wirelessly connect to the hard drive.
posted by louigi to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: What you want is something like this or this. The latter has a built-in hard disk, but can also have an external drive attached. (Despite having wireless networking, though, it does not let you copy files to the device wirelessly, it appears.)

What you want for that is a NAS box that comes with a UPnP media server (or can have one installed, like Twonky). Server devices that support Twonky; client devices that support it.
posted by kindall at 9:08 AM on January 17, 2007

Best answer: I'll warn you this solution is a little involved, but it works for me. I use a NSLU2 connected to an external USB drive (I don't know if it will work with a firewire drive - my guess is no) and running Firefly Media Server software, which acts as an iTunes server. I connect to this with a Roku Soundbridge to play music. The NSLU2 isn't wireless, but I have it next to my wireless router. The Soundbridge is wireless, so it can be separate and next to the stereo. The external drive is available over the network to the laptop, etc.
On preview - this is along the lines of what kindall suggests above.
posted by exogenous at 9:11 AM on January 17, 2007

Response by poster: Those are some good ideas, thanks. exogenous, is the interface on the Soundbridge decent?
posted by louigi at 9:30 AM on January 17, 2007

Yes, I like the Soundbridge interface. The remote is used to browse by artist, genre, etc. I guess my biggest complaint is that it can take a little while to scroll through long lists, but I don't see any way around that short of them putting a shuttle wheel on the remote. I have the smallest version (M500 I think) and the display nicely shows the currently playing song title, artist, and so on.
posted by exogenous at 9:44 AM on January 17, 2007

This would require your laptop to be up and running, but the new Airports (not sure if they're out yet, or about to be) have USB ports in the back that you can use for connecting printers and hard drives and such to the network.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 10:02 AM on January 17, 2007

How about an ipod with a line in interface?

Or a device for multitrack ipod recording
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 10:15 AM on January 17, 2007

Similar to exogenous's idea is using a Squeezebox instead of a Roku.

posted by rbs at 12:48 PM on January 17, 2007

I have a LaCie Silver Screen which is an external hard drive and a/v player in one tiny unit. Not sure if it's ideal for your situation, since it requires a TV to navigate the menu system. I suppose you could memorize the steps needed...
posted by nomisxid at 1:56 PM on January 17, 2007

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