What is the best client machine for Home Sharing on my stereo? aka What do I want for Christmas.
Well the CD player is starting to breakdown; that makes two this century. Might be time to replace that whole 5 disk CD player thing and get something to use as a player for music in the living room stereo. Maybe a second unit in the office as well.
How to decide what to buy? Am I selecting the right media server option? I am pretty sure I have a server option but how should I set this all up.
Ethernet. The stereo in the living room doesn't have ethernet cable run to it so the Time Capsule could stream over airport Home Sharing from my iMac 2.4GHz or MacMini server to say my lightly used iPad 32gig. This must slow the network down so I could run ethernet cable if I had to, but the iPad doesn't take ethernet. Performance of the network is important.
Power on feature. Ideally the hardware should emulate the existing service. I go to the stereo, turn the power on and it starts playing, usually ramdom songs (shuffle) of a preselected playlist (5 cds).
Remote control. We don't really use this, although changing playlists with my iPhone makes sense. I could hide all the gear in an out of the way closet. Remote control would be a nice feature, and remote control from all devices in the network and over one or two devices. Can I power up/down the stereo, adjust the volume down or pause remotely? This is my most used functionality.
Server or Client. I could put something with the stereo and load the music on it. Share from it instead of share to it. My music library is currently at 20 gig, so a 32 gig device would work. A old PowerBook as well with any respectable hard drive. Or do I use the TimeCapsule or my low use MacMini server as a media server? What do I do if I want a second player in the Office?
Sound quality. Yeah, it has to be there, audiophile wise.
Play a single CD. This is where is gets a little complicated for gear. I do like the option of listening to a cd prior to burning it to iTunes. This starts to require a CD player connected to a iOS device, which is not yet availanble, so drives the gear selection into an older PowerBook. or maybe just add a single disk CD player to a iOS device and let the amplifier select the source.
FM. It would be nice if the device would get FM so I could toss the tuner as well.
Display. My existing CD player permits display of the disk and track, which kinda *****. I would like to know the artist, song and album, so remote control comes back into play here.
Cost. A replacement 5 disk CD player costs about $30 at the local thrift store. New around $200 - $300. I'm getting refurbished iPod 8gb touchs gen4 for $100. I see ebay has iPad 16 gig for around $200. Set the budget around $250. Maybe more christmas is coming : )/
Brand. Been thinking Apple as iTunes sharing is easy, but would consider another brand if the price and quality supported the idea.
Shortlist. Old PowerBook, an iOS device as client players or a stand alone player with out sharing to it but from it. Haven't looked close to see if they meet the functionality of an old CD player.
Workflow. How can we add CD music to the server from any client on the network? How do I change playlists? From the remote control? Can I operate the player from the stereo?
On Hand Gear. My network is running a pair of iMac 24's, iPad gen2, iPhone 3GS 32Gb, iPod gen4 8 Gb, Time Capsule (500Gb), MacMini Server (w/2 500 Gb drives in a RAID 1 config) with SLS. I have several PowerBooks: 17" G4, 14" G3; I could sell or use, USB external CD rw.
Any recommendations would be appreciated, I have some time before the CD player tanks and Christmas list sent to Santa.