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Topic # 26401 21-Sep-2008 19:36
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A few months ago the old TDK speakers that I have been using with my computer died and I'm now shopping for something to replace them.

I've noticed that Sony and Panasonic now make stereos with USB inputs on them and I'm quite keen on this idea, but before I flash around my credit card I want to clarify what this actually allows me to do. Can I directly connect my computer to the stereo via USB and access all of the music that I have stored on my hard drive via the stereo? Would I then use Windows Media Player, or the controls on the stereo itself, to select and skip tracks?

Any advice would be appreciated, particularly from anyone who may own and use a stereo with USB inputs.

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  Reply # 166085 21-Sep-2008 19:53
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The Amps with USB inputs bypass your computers soundcard and uses it's own DAC inside the amp. So the only thing the amp would be doing is controlling the volume, Things like play skip track is done on the computer.




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Reply # 166089 21-Sep-2008 20:02
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wmoore: The Amps with USB inputs bypass your computers soundcard and uses it's own DAC inside the amp. So the only thing the amp would be doing is controlling the volume, Things like play skip track is done on the computer.


Okay, thanks. So basically I would just plug a USB cable into both devices, fire up Windows Media Player and go? Would the PC need any driver software?

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  Reply # 166091 21-Sep-2008 20:07
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alasta:
wmoore: The Amps with USB inputs bypass your computers soundcard and uses it's own DAC inside the amp. So the only thing the amp would be doing is controlling the volume, Things like play skip track is done on the computer.


Okay, thanks. So basically I would just plug a USB cable into both devices, fire up Windows Media Player and go? Would the PC need any driver software?


No just plug and play.




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  Reply # 166113 21-Sep-2008 21:01
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I would pick the usb would only work on devices like USB keys so that the stereo can access files off a usb key - like music files.

Also depending on the size some larger keys may not work.

TV's like sony have usb ports on them as well, but i've heard the formats it takes are fairly limited.

EDIT: I saw an onkyo and a pioneer receiver the other day with front USB ports.




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Reply # 166136 22-Sep-2008 00:27
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do they install as "usb audio devices" or actually decode the formats from files internally?  I'm lost now. I assumed the former, my crazy amp I built up got a USB audio device installed in it but I made the mistake of using a 12 bit usb 1.1 solution (16 pin DIL c-media chip) doh.

USB audio is kind of handy, when plugged in they become the default sound device too making it low fuss but ensure it's usb 2.0 and not the usb 1.1 like I used which has interpolated noise and limited resolution floor..



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  Reply # 166151 22-Sep-2008 08:28
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paradoxsm: do they install as "usb audio devices" or actually decode the formats from files internally??


I think this is the key point in answering my question. Some of them seem to have brochures which promote their ability to connect to portable audio devices but say nothing about connecting to a PC, so I would assume that many systems probably aren't able to behave as a usb audio device. It obviously pays to check the technical specs thoroughly.

I'm now thinking that I may just go down the bluebooth route instead as Sony have a couple of models which support A2DP.

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  Reply # 166158 22-Sep-2008 08:41
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I have a Philips Mini System, it has USB and some software for the PC, the stereo can play tracks off the PC, with the stereo being in control.

Never used it myself.

I am pretty sure it supports unprotected WMA / MP3.




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Reply # 166172 22-Sep-2008 09:34
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Actually, the other idea that I've just had is to leave a portable hard drive permanently connected to the stereo (I think I have a spare 20Gb drive which would be big enough to hold my entire music collection).

I'm sure that will work on the Panasonic model that I'm looking at since the hard drive should identify itself as a 'portable music player' (as I understand it, USB mass storage is all generic). With that solution the stereo will have access to all of my music, I can play music without needing to have the computer powered up, and I can fully control everything from the stereo remote, so this seems like a good plan.

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  Reply # 166175 22-Sep-2008 09:49
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It seems like there are 3 options, Usb Audio, Mass storage device and "peripheral-HID-USB audio hybrid" the one which can  control and play back the audio from a running PC. wow confusing.

With the USB-Stick stereo, ensure it works with the hard drive usb controller-adaptor you intend to operate it with and also I have had partitioned drives cause issues especially if USB-SATA, I have come across devices that work flawlessly with multiple drives, usb hubs, CDroms and other unusual  usb mass storage devices and some what will only work with USB sticks and nothing more, then there is the issue over file systems and directory heirachy.



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  Reply # 166179 22-Sep-2008 10:03
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paradoxsm: With the USB-Stick stereo, ensure it works with the hard drive usb controller-adaptor you intend to operate it with and also I have had partitioned drives cause issues especially if USB-SATA, I have come across devices that work flawlessly with multiple drives, usb hubs, CDroms and other unusual? usb mass storage devices and some what will only work with USB sticks and nothing more, then there is the issue over file systems and directory heirachy.


Interesting. I had always believed that all USB mass storage devices are the same in terms of how they identify themselves and interact, but obviously it's not that simple.

Unless someone here specifically has experience with the Panasonic models then I guess I'll just have to take a USB hard drive into the shop and try it.

I don't intend to partition the hard drive so that shouldn't be an issue.

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  Reply # 166197 22-Sep-2008 10:47
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I had a car stereo with front usb, it would take my 1gb usb key, but didn't like my 40Gb Hard drive.  So I think your approach is the best to try it out...




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  Reply # 166252 22-Sep-2008 13:01
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Potentially an interesting option - http://www.1day.co.nz/products/ADJOCP8AH




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Reply # 166286 22-Sep-2008 14:56
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davidcole: Potentially an interesting option - http://www.1day.co.nz/products/ADJOCP8AH


Thanks for the suggestion, but the RMS output of that product falls well short of what I need.

That Iomega portable hard drive sure looks tempting though...

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  Reply # 166308 22-Sep-2008 16:38
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alasta:
I'm now thinking that I may just go down the bluebooth route instead as Sony have a couple of models which support A2DP.


a2dp sounds like crap, barely acceptable for listening on a crap boombox type thing, but totally unacceptable for anything even 10% decent.

And its different compression to MP3 etc so those sound doubly bad when played via a2dp.




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