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Now it appears I need a media player...

OK so we've had a network upgrade at the office. As part of this upgrade I've got a new computer and it is very nice. But there's a problem.

First problem is that we are buttoned down in terms of admin rights and application use. Second problem is that once we are bedded in...it appears that all USB inputs from portable storage media to the computers will be disabled.

The combined problem is that I now have to use Windows Media Player to listen to all my music files on my external hard drives...but in a short time I won't be able to do even that.

So now I'm considering a media player or even server that I can sit on my desk at work, plug my headphones into and dance away the drudgery in my mind...

Does anyone know of any such beasties I should look at? Say up to around $300 to $400. Needs to be able to output via headphones, deal with 1 terabyte external hard drives with over 1500 album file and be capable (if possible) of decoding WMA coded files (otherwise I may have to cope with mp3 or convert all the wma lossless files to flac or some such - sure as hell don't want to re-rip!).

All the usual suspects in terms of outlets like Coem Audio and Wicked Digital that I knew of appear to have 'gone to God' so I don't even know where to look!


  • You could look at minidisc.com.au, they are good guys. And if anything does go really wrong I can go in there and hassle them for you :-P

    I'm not sure if they have anything that would meet your requirements though, they have a lot of portable gear. I'm not even sure there is anything that meets your requirements at all, except for a computer and a headphone amp. Somebody probably makes a headphone amp to plug onto a Raspberry PI....

    If you converted all files to MP3 you could probably find a portable player that would fit them. I'm sure there are batch convertors for Windows, on Mac use XLD.

    What about thinking about it differently? Get a portable player that has streaming, then use it to listen to Spotify/Qobuz/etc. I know Qobuz has an offline mode if you're not allowed to use the network, it's just a matter of thinking ahead...

  • Actually, you could try the streaming idea with your Nexus.

  • Some people, well, they just can't be trusted! X_X

  • Some viruses can't be trusted :-P Gopi got one from the University network, apparently there were "elevated levels of stress" in the IT department that day. I think the head guy got fired.

  • Some quick lunchtime googling turns up a distinct lack of material...not much in the way of offline players that can manage a hard drive as a source (as opposed to an SD card). Especially at a lower price point

    Streaming is no dramas...but that wouldn't be my music!!

  • Yeah I think a small computer of some kind might be the go. Problem is how do you get a screen on it. You may be able to use VNC or similar if it can be connected to the network.

  • JohnR said:
    Somebody probably makes a headphone amp to plug onto a Raspberry PI....


    Like this: http://iqaudio.com/?page_id=454

  • I'm thinking that a simple cheap netbook might be the go...just throw in a USB DAC & amp to big it up?

  • edited June 2015

    So you've got a new computer... what happened to the old computer? Maybe they'll let you keep it on your desk.

    Oh wait - no software. But if you bring your own computer then that won't cause a problem?

  • FWIW I have a Rasp Pi and some audio interface cards on the way.

    Seano, what about using your phone as a player?

  • Yep...new everything. I can bring my own computer. I just can't attach it to our file network though I may be allowed to hook into the wifi network to get interweb access. Neither is important. All I need is a music player/computer with audio software that can use a 1TB hard drive via USB as a source.

    My phone is a Nokia 208...basic, not a smartphone. But it appears it can do USB mass storage. The funniest thing is that it can't manage the WMA file codec despite now being owned/distributed by Microsoft!! I'll give it a whirl...

  • If you go the computer route, this might be a good option for the DAC/amp:


  • I'm trying Google Play in the first instance and we'll see how we go from there...

  • I just remembered I have an 8 GB iPod nano sitting around here somewhere. You can have it if you want. I guess you'll need to set up an iTunes library and sync files to it...

  • Thanks for the offer...but don't worry. Google Play seems to work quite well for the moment (apart from the bandwidth required to get songs into it...let alone out of it) and I do have a couple of other tricks to try.

  • Cool. So... for the Google unwashed, are you using your own music somehow with Google play? Or streaming or...?

  • It has to be loaded to the cloud and then streamed back...clunky. Especially with 20,000 tracks to load up.

    In the long run, I suspect that a media player of some description might be the go...now to find one with a micro USB input and capacity to use external media as a source. Still haven't tried my phone.

    Other option is to invest in wireless hard drive and use the Nexus tablet as a player http://www.officeworks.com.au/shop/officeworks/p/seagate-2tb-wireless-plus-portable-hard-drive-sgwl2000gy

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