"Pono, the Neil Young-endorsed Kickstarter project, is drawing more and more pledges. Now past the $2 million mark (with an expected goal of $800K), this project aims to create a audiophile friendly FLAC player along with its ecosystem (and by that they mean their own music store and syncing application).
The device itself features 2 audio outputs, one 'specially designed for headphones' and the other 'specifically designed for listening on your home audio system'. The player is controlled by an LCD touchscreen, and its triangular 'Toblerone' shape makes it easy to hold it upright with one hand or to lay it flat on surfaces. The player, which has 64GB of internal memory, comes together with a 64GB microSD card.
The board and its components, as well as a 'pre-prototype' model, are pictured in the project's Kickstarter page.
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How about adding the ability to tune in internet radio stations? A standalone (or stereo system component) internet radio device would be a nice thing to have, but they don't seem to exist on the market at all today, even though there's zillions of internet radio stations out there. There are some consumer devices that tune in internet radio stations, but they all seem to be horribly hobbled by being limited to only being able to tune in certain stations that the device manufacturer wants you to be able to access (generally pay-only stations), rather than being able to program the device for any arbitrary internet radio station. My wife's been complaining about this for years, and I'm thinking of building a custom device using some kind of dev system running embedded Linux.
So your wife doesn't have a "smart"phone ?
I'm not sure if you're serious or not. But every smartphone has some type of internet radio app, either loaded stock or in an app market.
Can I just give them a URL and have them start playing a stream from that?
And how do I hear it through decent speakers? How do I connect it to my stereo? How do I do that without having a bunch of ugly cables and a phone just lying on a table with multiple cables (headphone, power) hanging out? This sounds like a totally ghetto solution.
Get a bluetooth adapter for your stereo (or replace with a bluetooth speaker). Now your phone can output to your stereo without any wires.
Then get an internet radio app on your phone (eg, Jamendo). Bob's your uncle.
And how do I hear it through decent speakers? How do I connect it to my stereo? How do I do that without having a bunch of ugly cables and a phone just lying on a table with multiple cables (headphone, power) hanging out?
My preference would be a couple right-angle cables / adapters, so you'll only see a tiny lump and the cable can be easily hidden.
Or you can go the bluetooth way, and take away one of those two cables.
Or you can buy an iPhone "dock" that hides those connectors in a "base station" which also keeps your phone upright. OR you could cut out a case that'll fit your phone, yourself, for cheap, and use that to hide the cables, keep the phone standing, and perhaps mount it to a wall, or similar.
Or you could buy a decent mini shelf system, which already includes a built-in iPhone docking bay, like most do these days.
I don't have an iPhone or any other Apple crap. I want a solution that looks nice and doesn't involve a bunch of stupid cables. I never had to have this back in the "old days" when component stereos ruled; everything sat on a shelf and looked nice together, was easy to operate, and didn't have a bunch of cables lying all around. I guess that's just not cool enough these days.
Component stereos had TONS of cables... A real mess of spaghetti.
You've failed to name ANYTHING you dislike about ANY of the solutions I've listed.
Are you really that dense? The cables were all behind the stereo, and you didn't have to plug them in every time you turned on the stereo. Once everything was set up, you just pressed the power button and it would play music. With a phone, you have to mess around with a bunch of cables every fucking time you want to play something. What kind of shitty solution is that? It's ghetto.
I have two old smartphones, might be crude but perfectly capable of running TuneInRadioPro app or whatever its called. I do basically what he describes using one of the older phones as a mini-tablet. I have no reason to ever remove the cabling or touch the cabling. From memory the battery only lasts 30 minutes anyway.
There are probably people currently using their first and only smart phone as a phone, but there's enough people with old phones laying around that its no issue to "perma-wire" one into place.
It still looks ghetto. The whole point of old-style stereo systems was that they looked attractive when installed in a proper cabinet; all the cables were hidden, the components were all the same width (and generally you bought them from the same mfgr so they matched cosmetically too), and they all had nice front-panel controls. You didn't have to pick anything up or fiddle with anything; it was like rack-mount equipment but without the rack. Having cables lying around (as opposed to hidden in the back) totally goes against the point. What you're describing is a solution for people who don't give a shit about appearance at all, and don't mind having a totally messy-looking house with crap lying around, piled on the floor, etc. I guess young people these days like things like that, but in the old days people liked things in their home to look orderly.
"young people these days"
LOL that made my day
Aside from that, your description sounds very much like a Roku plugged into the TV (or a small monitor?) perhaps with a decent pair of speakers.
Yeah, that's what someone else said here earlier, so I'm going to look into that. They recommended the now-discontinued "SoundBridge" (available on Ebay of course), which sounds like what I'm after: something you stick on your stereo, plug into its Aux inputs with RCA cables, and it just sits there. It's not quite as conformist as regular rectangular stereo components (I think the outputs come out one side for some odd reason), but it has a VFD like regular stereo components and is meant to be stationary.
It looks "ghetto" if you make it look "ghetto". If you mount the phone properly, it looks like the control panel on the Enterprise. And as components get smaller and smaller, they can be entirely hidden.
Longing for the days of the huge, clunky POS component systems is like saying you prefer the looks of a giant wooden console TV to a flat-screen, or a Model-T over Mustang... Sure, it's more "orderly"... Uhh, riiight.
A modern Mustang (or any new car) generally has everything extremely well-integrated, and there's no extra cables hanging around. Your phone solution has cables hanging around unless you design and build a custom phone mount it seems. I've never seen any such mounts on the market for Android phones, only iPhones, so you're talking about building something entirely custom.
Your phone solution has cables hanging around
FAR less than ANY flat-screen TV (may only need ONE for power), and FAR easier to hide than a flat-screen TV.
Huh? I don't know about your TV, but my flat-screen TV is sitting on a low cabinet (the kind designed for modern flat-screen TVs), with a Blu-Ray player on one of the shelves of the cabinet, and no cables are visible anywhere because they're all hidden behind the components.
I suppose if you attached your TV to a wall this could be an issue, but not everyone does that. If you're going to go to the trouble of bolting your TV to a wall with a special wall-mount, you might as well drill holes in the wall and route the cables inside the wall too, since at that point you're building a home theater. For those of us who go the more pedestrian route, we just buy a TV, buy a stand/cabinet for it, and stick the TV on the stand. As long as it's not one of those dumb all-glass cabinets, you won't see any cables.
There are some consumer devices that tune in internet radio stations, but they all seem to be horribly hobbled by being limited to only being able to tune in certain stations that the device manufacturer wants you to be able to access
Get an IP radio that uses the Reciva [reciva.com] service. I can get everything from Soma FM to local stations on mine. Never had to pay for any of them.
So I'm limited to stations this "Reciva" service approves of? What happens when Reciva goes out of business? How does the radio work after that? How much does Reciva cost? I don't want to pay anything. It doesn't cost me anything to point my Amarok player to a streaming URL, I just want a nice-looking standalone box to do the same thing.
Well if you're going full Stallman about something as throwaway as radio then I doubt anyone can please you.
I go full Stallman with my music, and I'm perfectly pleased. Got a cheap Sansa, put Rockbox on it. Listen to live music from archive.org freemusicarchive.org, magnatune.com, Jamendo, etc.
What about when they all go out of business, what then?
I'm not going "full Stallman", I want something that's simple to use and doesn't cost any money (besides the initial purchase price of course). Back in the old days, when you bought a component stereo, you set it up, and you were done: you could tune into any FM radio station you wanted for free, as long as your antenna could pick it up. You didn't have to worry that the radio maker wouldn't let you listen to a certain station because the station hadn't paid them off. And you didn't have to worry about having an ugly, messy-looking pile of electronics linked together by a bunch of cables (the cables were all hidden behind the devices, and you left them plugged in, rather than messing with them every time you wanted to play some music), or having to use a different device (that you might want to use for other things besides playing music) and then having to plug that into some stupid "dock".
It seems like there should be a market for a device that plugs into your stereo amplifier and lets you tune into any internet radio station you want, which fits in with your stereo, is easy to use, and isn't a device of some other kind that's been repurposed and needs to be "docked" (and then undocked when you want to use it for something else, like a simple phone call) (don't forget, Android devices can't be docked; I've never seen docks for any Android phones). Instead, the only things I've seen are either 1) discontinued (namely the Roku SoundBridge someone else mentioned) or 2) only let you listen to stations the radio maker wants you to listen to, which is bullshit.
Roku ($50) + Tunin app (free)
The only limitation seems to be that it can only tune in stations that are offered as a stream. It can't tune in stations that insist on launching their own player. I don't think any generic player is going to be able to get around that.
I'll check that out, thanks. That sounds like exactly what I'm looking for. I don't care about shitty stations that insist on launching their own player, I just want to be able to tune into streams.
I have an even better idea - why not also put in mp3 and mp4 decoders? Oh, and a camera and with it a one-touch picture-sender with hooks into the Facebook and Twitter APIs, so my friends can watch me be about to listen to music.
Oh, and it should also be in a ruggedized and hermetically-sealed enclosure so I can listen poolside or out in the desert. And it should have wireless and X11 protocol transmission, so I can listen to my music through all the AC wall outlets in my house. And one of the points on its enclosure should be a bottle-opener, another a toothpick, another a Philips screwdriver, and one of the faces on the enclosure should be triple-reinforced so I can use the device as a chisel. And they should be magnetic so I can stick them to metal things where convenient. And it should have a light, for night-playin'. And it should also be loaded with high-explosive and a detonator switch(located on the opposite side as the power switch, heh) so I can use it as a landmine in case the RIAA declares it illegal and their goons try to take it away. And it should shine with a twinkle, generating it's own "bling" sound, because that's what sharp pointy shiny things do in Anime flicks. And it should have a tape dispenser, because those are handy. And it should be biodegradable and arrive wrapped in 100% post-consumer recycled cardboard colored with environmentally-friendly food-based inks.
Wait, what do you mean it's ten years late and fifteen-million dollars over-budget?! Fuck!
Oh well, I have plenty of time to wait. And in the meantime I have some suggestions for the administrators of Soylent news: First I want...
'internet radio' is about as bad as it can be, audio wise. high compression (in the source audio plus post-compression even though this is NOT FM RADIO and does not NEED any more compression!) really kills internet audio.
there is a semi-common problem in modern cheap 'dollar dacs' called gibbs, where the audio will clip if the sustained volume is too close to 0db. there is not enough math precision and errors compound so that the wave can do bad things after clipping, sometimes even inverting 180 degrees! I've seen this on a few dac chips I've tested (considered using in my builds but abandoned after I saw this issue).
the only way to get those chips to work well is to digitally attenuate to, say, -2 or -3db and then send that signal to the dac chip. better chips do not have this problem but most 'single chip solutions' are of this poor design style.
its strange that 'internet radio' puts more burden on the dac chips than regular cd audio would, but its true. if you do hear clipping or strange artifacts and you have the ability to attenuate digitally (before the dac chip) give it a try and it may fix your problem.
that said, its hard to justify a bitrate higher than 88 or 96 for portable music use! home audio deserves 88/96k but portable audio? that's a pretty strange use-case. when portable, you want to have more music on your device, not less; and taking up more bit-space is working against you.
finally, my old android phone can play bit-perfect flacs just fine and I can store music on removable sd cards. some phones can use OTG usb adapters to expand storage even more. the line-out of typical phones really sucks badly, but again, some android phones can be modded (at the kernel level) to support usb audio and once you send audio thru usb, you can pick a LOT of very clean outboard dac solutions (even spdif solutions) that will blow away any onboard low-end dac chip design.
Assuming you are on Android ...
I used TuneIn for a while, but then they started changing the app too much and it became annoying (can't remember the details now, but perhaps it was ads?).
So, I moved to rad.io [google.com], which pretty much has the same line up of stations, which you can browse [www.rad.io] on their site.
There is also vTuner [vtuner.com] which has an impressive channel lineup, but does not have an app by itself.
It is however, embedded in many devices today, ranging from portables to full blown network receivers and home theaters. I found their app included in my flat screen LG TV, and also in Sony's network receiver.
Here are some devices and manufacturers with vTuner support [vtuner.com].
Both services allow you to listen on a regular desktop PC as well, though not from your app like Amarok or Clementine, rather, their web based flash widget.
All of the above (rad.io, and vTuner) is free, with no subscription or fees. You just pay for the internet connection.
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