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Topic # 95662 10-Jan-2012 10:44

Hi
Is anyone using a cheap(ish) android tablet to stream web radio (via wifi) to their home theatre/stereo.

I got a rather nice bump up in my internet  data pack and over the hols I had my laptop hooked up to my stereo and was streaming a couple of 'stations' through the stereo.

I had a look for some wifi 'radios' and they are all quite expensive and not quite as flexible as a laptop.

But I want something a little more compact than a laptop.

It occurred to me that a 7" android tablet hooked into the stereo may be a quite nice/cheap solution. 

I was looking at something like this:
http://pbtech.co.nz/index.php?z=p&p=TABAPD20704&name=Xmas-special-APAD-Starter-4GB-VIA8650---800MHz-256

Anyone got any thoughts?

The other option was to hook up a little fm transmitter to my PC and tune the radio tuner on the stereo to that - but I suspect that might be a little clunky and not sure how far they can transmit. 




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  Reply # 566811 10-Jan-2012 11:13 Send private message

What HT receiver are you using, and in particular, what networking facilities does it offer?

I haven't done what you seem to be wanting (since my Onkyo 609 supports vTuner and AUPEO directly), but I have explored how to send music from my Android phone to the Onkyo via Wifi, the key being the Onkyo's support of DLNA.

Several apps were no use to me, mostly I think because of my phone's slow processor and small screen. Twonky was nice, but streaming was discontinuous; the Onkyo app was not supported as my screen was too small.

I finally settled on iMedisStream, which supports a variety of media types, but the playlist management and interface is quite clunky. Poweramo also looked interesting, but isn't an android DLNA server, so a direct connection was needed, and quality suffered as a result.

Still, for about $160 for my Huawei X1 phone, another $60 or so for a 32 GB SDHC card, and a few dollars for apps, I'm streaming my music wirelessly to my Onkyo with only a very occasional glitch.

Maybe something in there will give you some ideas.



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  Reply # 566878 10-Jan-2012 12:53

I just have a Marantz stereo (6 years old) that I want to put the web radio through.

Currently I just have my laptop using wifi and have the audio output from the laptop going to the RCA inputs on the back of the Amp. It works ok. Just wondered about replacing the laptop with a little android tablet doing the same sort of thing.

I guess an android tablet should be able to playback/stream audio pretty much like a windows laptop.

Just wondered if anyone else was using an android tablet for this sort of thing.

Maybe the question for anyone with an android tablet is - can you go to absolute80s.com and click the "Standard Quality" button - and does the tablet play the audio ok.

Also - if you go to shoutcast.com and choose a station that is mp3 - does it playback ok.

Maybe I just need to create a new post under the android tablet forum and ask those 2 questions...

EDIT: It had occurred to me that a android phone with wifi would probably work - but would probably cost more than a cheap wifi tablet. 




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  Reply # 566890 10-Jan-2012 13:12 Send private message

Without any network facility on your receiver, you will need a wired connection such as a 3.5 mm stereo plug to an RCA input on the receiver. Given that, anything that can produce sound on your android device will also work when it is attached to your receiver this way. You may need to tweak input levels, and the quality will depend on how well the device produces analogue output.

There are many internet radio apps for android that will do the job. The one I have on my phone is TuneIn Radio.

I don't know the pricing for android tablets - are they cheaper than $160? That's what I paid for my Huawei X1 android phone from The Warehouse. It does so much other cool stuff that it being a phone is almost just an added feature!



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  Reply # 566898 10-Jan-2012 13:28

xarqi: Without any network facility on your receiver, you will need a wired connection such as a 3.5 mm stereo plug to an RCA input on the receiver. Given that, anything that can produce sound on your android device will also work when it is attached to your receiver this way. You may need to tweak input levels, and the quality will depend on how well the device produces analogue output.

There are many internet radio apps for android that will do the job. The one I have on my phone is TuneIn Radio.

I don't know the pricing for android tablets - are they cheaper than $160? That's what I paid for my Huawei X1 android phone from The Warehouse. It does so much other cool stuff that it being a phone is almost just an added feature!


Thanks xarqi - what you have outlined is exactly what I am looking at.

The Huawei phones are great value arent they - Didnt know that model had wifi until I just looked now.

The tablet that I linked to at PBtech is $148 (inc gst).

As I said - I might just flick a post into the android forum and see if a 2.2 Android tablet would play the sites I mentioned without mucking about with apps - I am just curious now... 




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  Reply # 566901 10-Jan-2012 13:37 Send private message

Im planning on just using my Huawei IDEOS 8150 phone with a set of small speakers plugged into it (Something along the lines of these : http://www.playtech.co.nz/afawcs0139235/CATID=482/ID=6884/SID=1051025654/productdetails.html ) - could connect to the stereo as well via a 3.5mm to 2x RCA.





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  Reply # 566947 10-Jan-2012 14:56 Send private message

For audiophile quality you can't beat a Squeezebox Touch. I treated the house to one for Christmas and I'm loving it.

Once issue with low end tablets etc is they audio connections and associated DACs are low quality.




Generally known online as OpenMedia, now working for Red Hat New Zealand as a Solution Architect for all things Linux, Virtual and of course Cloud. Still playing with MythTV and digital media on the side.

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  Reply # 566956 10-Jan-2012 15:12 Send private message

openmedia: For audiophile quality you can't beat a Squeezebox Touch. I treated the house to one for Christmas and I'm loving it.

Once issue with low end tablets etc is they audio connections and associated DACs are low quality.

That's true. The same source material sounds noticeably better when I send it wirelessly using DLNA from my phone to my receiver than when I directly connect them with an audio cable.  What's annoying for me is that the PowerAmp interface (wired, with poor quality) is MUCH better than that of iMediaStream (wireless DLNA server; excellent quality, albeit with the occasional glitch).  If only those two apps would interbreed!

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  Reply # 567201 11-Jan-2012 08:36 Send private message

Portable gear tends to have pretty useless DA converters, and the output is a headphone level not a line level so there is a mismatch there to start with, which will not help.

The audio processing on android is a big unknown to me at the moment, casual listens on my SGS2 via a MHL cable seem fine, but I have not gone and compared it to a PC over HDMI or optical to be sure. certainly the weak link will not be a digital connection to the device when playing lossy internet streams in anycase.

I have heard 3rd hand that a USB on the go adpter will allow using a USB DAC on some devices, but again it isnt something that I have had any reason to try yet as there is no way I could live with a small touchscreen interface to my tunes vs a windows app.




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  Reply # 567251 11-Jan-2012 10:07 Send private message

Ive had the same thoughts.

At the moment I have an ipod touch in a logitech dock/speaker combo in the kitchen almost exclusively for streaming either radio (both NZ and overseas) or audio from the server downstairs. Tunein Radio and StreamToMe do the job nicely.

Tunein Radio allows me to timeshift when I miss something, record if I dont want to miss something and it all just works brilliantly. I dont know what I would do without it now.

At work I have a Dell D620 I picked up for $100. I dont stream radio content (but its easy enough) its just an 'ipod' using foobar and asio4all to ignore the soundcard and just pump the audio to my usb dac/amp through to my Senn 595's. The sound quality walks all over an ipod so perhaps thats another option for you.





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  Reply # 567328 11-Jan-2012 13:00

Not quite sure what I will do.

Might just keep dragging out the laptop and hooking that up to the stereo for now.

I also found this device (around $120):
http://jaycar.co.nz/productView.asp?ID=AR1853&keywords=bluetooth&form=KEYWORD

Means you could have a laptop nearby (within 10m)  and stream via bluetooth to a regular stereo (provided it has RCA inputs). Pretty neat huh?

 




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  Reply # 568985 15-Jan-2012 01:58 Send private message

Or for $198.00 you could buy an FV-1 Android TV (warehouse stationary)

It has Android v2.2 HDMI, 3xUSB 2.0, Bluetooth, Ethernet, WiFi 802.11n and does accept any USB keyboard/mouse connection. No battery, just power.

I have one and stream Internet radio via my 12Mbps Internet connection to my box via 100Mbps Ethernet.
Plus you get Youtube, flash video, email/gmail, weather and anything Android and 'borderline' 720p video.

The WiFi on the Android box is not that strong, so you'll need a good signal if you're relying on WiFi.

Have xiialive installed and listen to Internet radio via my LCDTV or ONKYO receiver OR streamed via bluetooth to a Bluetooth headset or as I do, to a notebook with bluetooth and then to wired Sennheiser headphones.

Currently have it connected to a 24" Full-HD monitor with audio via HDMI and the output to speakers via 3.5mm from the monitor.

I use a four port HDMI splitter which includes SPDIF,Coaxial and analogue 3.5mm output as my ONKYO is old and only has HDMI pass-through, but does have digital input. Four port HDMI Splitter from Jaycar may add value to your Marantz too with it's combination of HDMI and audio.

The audio quality is as good as the quality of the station you're listening to. I tend to stick to 40kbps and sounds great on 7.1 KEFs.

With the FV-1 Android box and installing BSPlayer Lite you can also watch 720p DVD quality videos (vob,mkv,mp4,avi).

The other options is to get a WD Live media player at approx $199.00 (WiFi one)

Just consider that most of these 'budget' Android devices have REALLY crap 720p video playback, dubious apps market support and limited OS upgrade ability etc.

I also use my Sony Ericsson X10i mobile phone and plug in a 3.5mm RCA to AUX on the receiver. Using my home broadband via WiFi again the mobile sounds great on my ONKYO/KEF setup.

With your Bluetooth Jaycar box, Bluetooth 1.2 rings warning bells for me, unless it's a typo and they meant Bluetooth 2.1
I wouldn't go with Bluetooth option anyway as you only get 10m range and pay approx $120 for a very specific service.

Other options give you a wider range of services for only a few more dollars.



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  Reply # 569001 15-Jan-2012 09:01 Send private message

Or for $175 you could buy an apple tv, which has internet radio and wifi built in... /troll.

Jon



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  Reply # 569125 15-Jan-2012 15:22

I already have an apple TV2 (with XBMC installed) and an AC Ryan Playon HD as well as an older mediagate MG-350HD.
These all work ok as far as streaming video etc - but do require a TV turned on to navigate etc.

The reason I was thinking about an android tablet (a cheap one) was that I could just have that hooked up to my basic Marantz stereo/Jamo spakers and not only would the tablet (hopefully) be able to stream audio through to the inputs on the stereo - but I would be able to see what was going on - and being lazy I could just leave in permanently plugged in. I have a separate home theatre unit with the TV in another room and dont tend to listen to music in that room..... So the boxes above arent really what I had in mind in that respect.

I have plugged my Galaxy Ace into the stereo and it worked ok - might just do this for a while and see how it goes.




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  Reply # 569682 16-Jan-2012 22:16 Send private message

I found it interesting that you were asking about your solution rather than your problem. I don't fully understand why it needs to be small when your stereo I assume always stays put and is part of the room. Also are you only interested in internet radio or do you have a number of CD's or file based music say MP3's you want to listen to as well?

You are right that you can use the 3.5mm stereo jack output of a PC, Laptop tablet or phone to get audio out of these devices to play on the stereo. They are all devices that are designed at a price point to do a huge number of things, one very small part of which is to output audio. Doing high quality audio is not one of them. You can watch you tube video at 320p on a cheap laptop screen or the same movie on a 55" LED TV from a blueray player. 

Some of the solutions talked about here like the Squeezebox are the 55" LED TV end and produce great results along with a good interface that can play radio, MP3's or other stuff with top quality.

I have recently gone through this at my home with a nice amp and speakers in my bedroom and also in my living room. I choose two different solutions.

In the bedroom I had a Mac so i go UBS out to a Cambridge Audio DACMagic Plus DtoA converter then RCA cables into the amp. This sounds stunning. I can use iTunes to play the music or radio stations.

In the lounge I purchased a Sonos Connect, this is a small box like the squeezebox that is on the network and has audio outputs either analog or optical to plug into the amp. The great thing about this one is the interface which is any wireless android phone, iPhone, PC or Mac on the network. It is easy to find your way about your music and the small box is not obvious.

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