Friday, February 20, 2009

Music Players

Now that you are better informed on the types of music files that exist out there (don't get to head-strong, we barely did a beginners course), we can talk about the music players that are available. How many kinds are they you may ask? About like the number of fish in the sea. Well, not really, but you get the point.

I'm not going to talk much about the software that's out there. It all boils down to your preference. Are you an iPod - name brand - kind of person or a Zune - break out - kind of person? Use whatever feels good on your computer, it's completely up to you. What I really want to talk about are network players.

Network players are independent devices that play music off of your home network. Now, allow me to step back a little and fill in any possible gaps for you.

Your home network is all set up on a router. You may have a combination router/modum for internet connectivity. Either way, you have a router that has more or less outputs depending on the model. I would suggest getting an "N" type router preferrably the Linksys WRT160N. Anyway, get your network set up and then look to add music to it.

As I mentioned in the original post of this series there are a few players such as:
  1. Sonos
  2. Squeezebox
  3. Grace
  4. Sangean
  5. And many more (check out Crutchfield)
These players sync up to the wireless or wired network and pull music from your devices such as computers or NAS - network attached storage (external hard drives connected via USB or stand-alone devices). No need to load your music on them, although a few do offer that option. Mostly they will pull together all the different music you have, in all the various spots and play it all.

In doing research my personal favorite is the sqeezebox, offered by Logitech (also pictured at top of this post). It's relatively inexpensive and comes with its own controller with an LCD screen to help navigate between not only all your music files, but tons of internet radio and the ever popular Pandora or Rhapsody. Another benefit of the squeezebox is that it naturally plays FLAC formated files - for the best sound experience you can get. The cool thing is you can add multiple receivers around your house, plug in speakers (or get the boombox option) and listen to any music anywhere in your house, any time. The only caveate, is you need to have the source turned on (computer or NAS).

Now, if you've got a large house or a lot of money to burn and you want the very best go with Sonos. It's got everything squeezebox does and a little more. Again, you will be paying out for it though.

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