Re: mp3 advice?

Steve Dossick (
Tue, 17 Aug 1999 14:31:22 -0400 (EDT)

We've done this in our research lab here at columbia. We took an unused
dual pentium pro 200 (your DARPA-funded tax dollars at work :) and threw a
10gb drive into it to make it an MP3 player.

A couple of tips/cool things to do:

o IMHO, the analog outputs (the 1/8" headphone connectors) on the backs of
most sound cards are total sh*t. If you're serious about using this
system for most of your music, get a sound card that has an SPDIF output,
and an amplifier (or receiver/amp) with a compatible SPDIF input. This
will send digital data from your machine to your stereo. Most computers
are too electrically noisy to do a really good job at D/A conversion.

On the other hand, if you just want to use your desktop speakers, the
analog outs are probably ok.

o Get a remote control system for your mp3 player. Our mp3 machine runs
linux, and we use lircd (look it up on, I don't have the URL
handy). You can get IR remotes now for like $9, including an IR receiver
which hooks to the serial port of your machine. In our lab, we have 4
identical remotes, so we can all skip songs, change volume, etc.

I'm sure others here are doing things like this. I'd love to hear about
your experiences!


On Tue, 17 Aug 1999, Joseph S. Barrera III wrote:

> Hi guys,
> So I recently had my house wired with cat-5 so now I have 100Mb/s Ethernet
> running everywhere. I also just a couple days ago started playing with mp3.
> I'm currently using RealJukebox Plus to convert (rip?) my CDs into mp3.
> My first question is, what sampling rate do you use? I'm currently using
> 192Kb/s variable bit rate (RealJukebox doesn't offer a higher VBR rate). How
> does 192Kb/s VBR compare to 320 Kb/s constant bit rate (the highest CBR that
> RealJukebox offers)? I know, I should just listen for myself, but I don't
> trust my sound card and I haven't had time to hook up to my stereo with the
> good speakers.
> Second question -- advice on sound cards? What are the best, highest
> fidelity sound cards? I don't care about how many fancy digital features are
> on the card; I do care about the D/A with high quality on the analog side.
> This may mean that the best sound card for, say, games may not be the best
> for a dedicated hifi mp3 player?
> I should probably explain what my grand plan is. Disks and PCs are amazingly
> cheap these days. You can buy a 17 GB Ultra/ATA 66 drive for $200 (see
> So
> my plan is to buy a case and motherboard and processor ($200 to $300), four
> 17 GB drives ($800 total), and a sound card ($100). This gives me a box with
> 67 GB for mp3s (subtracting a GB for the OS & misc). At 100 MB per converted
> CD, that would be enough space for about 670 CDs, which would fit most of my
> CD collection (well, at least the stuff I still listen to)... for $1100.
> Last question: what mp3 ripping/jukebox software should I use? Is there
> something significantly better than RealJukebox Plus? (Free is a plus, but
> not that important.)
> Has anyone already done this? (Undoubtably yes...) If so, I'd love to
> hear/read about it.
> - Joe