Play MP3 files on home audio system?

soubeagi

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Nov 22, 2015
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I'm not an "audiophile", but I do have a small* collection of mp3 files on my personal file server. Is there a device that would allow me to access (via WiFi?) and play these files on my modest home audio system - without having to copy the files onto the device (and thereby having to maintain two sets of files)?

*"Small" both because I don't buy a lot of music, and because when I rip a CD on my PC (and yes, I'm one of those dying breed that still buys music on actual CDs), I use a compression setting that "audiophiles" would find unacceptably lo-fi.
 

soubeagi

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Nov 22, 2015
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And what would I plug this gadget into? Also, you're talking about Bluetooth, which makes me think you're misunderstanding my question.

The pictures for this device show it getting connected to computers and iPods and things, but the piece of the puzzle that I'm looking for would be something like an iPod that doesn't store its music in internal memory, but instead accesses the files directly off my home network. If I had such a device, getting the audio signals off of it and into the stereo wouldn't be a problem, because I could keep it next to the stereo.
 

BuddhaSkoota

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Aug 16, 2014
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I use a Grace Digital GDI-IRA500 media player which works very well, although there is a newer version of this available. It is able to stream audio from a media server, and connect to other Internet streaming services (Internet radio, Pandora, etc.).

If your file server is DLNA enabled, this player should be able to see all of your audio content.

 

soubeagi

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Nov 22, 2015
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Yes, this looks more like what I had in mind.


My "file server" is a very old and rarely used PC that I essentially commandeered for this purpose, so I don't know about this DLNA stuff; if "DLNA" is a relatively new program, then chances are that the server doesn't have it. All I know is that whenever I need to access my files (music or otherwise), I use the same methods I'd use to access files on the local PC itself (Windows Explorer, etc.) My original intent in using this machine as a server was to make my files accessible no matter which machine I was accessing them from. I was hoping that I could use the same methods for this, too, without having to add anything that might unduly stress that tired old server machine. 1) Is this possible without the DLNA; 2) is the DLNA stuff a simple download; or 3) am I just going to have to bite the bullet and replace the server?

UPDATE: I found and downloaded a manual for what I think is the newer model of this gadget, and it doesn't mention DLNA - but it does mention something called UPnP (that's how they capitalize it). Is this the same thing by another name? If not, is this something that's likely to already be on the server, something else I'll have to install, or another thing that'll make me need to replace the server to get this working? (Had I known that this would be this complicated, I wouldn't have mentioned it to my family, but now I'm sorta committed to getting it working - and I shoulda been committed for suggesting it before getting my facts straight.)
 

BuddhaSkoota

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Aug 16, 2014
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DLNA is more of a media sharing standard for hardware and software. Devices that are DLNA capable will readily see DLNA servers and their shared content.

I'm not sure if the Grace Digital device will see Windows shared media without DLNA, but it will certainly make things easier if your server did have it.

Your server may have DLNA capabilities that just need to be enabled. If not, there is software available that shouldn't take up much of the server's resources. If you need help finding something that will run on your machine, you may want to post the specs or at least the Windows(?) OS being used.
 

BuddhaSkoota

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Aug 16, 2014
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My understanding is that DLNA is derived from UPnP. The newer player should work the same as my older one; it does show my DLNA server under its UPnP menu item.
 

soubeagi

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Nov 22, 2015
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Okay, I looked around on Amazon, and found a competing device to the one you linked to. I downloaded and read that device's manual, and according to it, UPnP is a standard part of Windows Media Player, which exists in some form or other in almost all versions of Windows. All I'd apparently need to do is let WMP catalog my MP3 collection, and maybe keep WMP running on the server. This is finally beginning to look doable!

BTW: Do you have any specific reason for preferring the device you linked to, or is it just that you're more familiar with that brand? (Currently, I'm leaning the same way, but that's based only on what I've read on Amazon. I'd like to see more opinions before making my purchase.)


 

BuddhaSkoota

Estimable
Aug 16, 2014
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4,610
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At the time I purchased the Grace Digital player, it was one of the few devices available that could do exactly what I needed. I have no experience with any other brands, but have been happy with this particular one. I mainly use it to listen to Pandora and streaming from my media server, but there are quite a few other features that I haven't used.
 
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