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Old 04-26-2011, 04:11 PM
ravFlight76 ravFlight76 is offline
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Exclamation Help Needed in picking the right MP3 player for my cafe

Hey everyone,

I run a cafe with a diverse mix of music that plays over our internal speakers. This causes a serious problem because when it switches from an old jazz song to a new rock song, the sound volume JUMPS wildly and we are constantly fiddling with the volume.

I hate iPod (and therefore loved to have found this forum), so I'm looking for another option, if possible. I don't need a lot of the specs that are discussed as it is not for personal use.

I used to have a old as hell Creative Zen that was modified with a 120gb hard drive that did everything I needed. I am blown away that I can't find the simple features in a new player. But maybe I don't know what I'm looking for.

Here are the key ingredients I am looking for.

1) Sound Equalizer! This is most important! I need something that will adjust the volume of tracks so they are about the same decibel level.

2) Large capacity - Preferably 120gb (or higher).

3) Ease of uploading/naming tracks. (I really have not liked the way our Zune has categorized music. Sometimes mp3s don't category easily under one album.)

4) Preferably the ability to delete tracks/albums right from the player. Often, there is a tech glitch, or the song is just awful, and needs to be deleted. I'd rather not have to zync up to do that.

Things I don't care about:

Screen graphics - My Zen used to have a bit screen and that was fine. text only is fine.

Sound Quality - It's in a public cafe over speakers. Any player is going to have good enough sound quality to cover what I need.

Video/photo capabilities. - Only need this for music, nothing more.

Can anyone help me and tell me some places I can look or what I should consider. Thank you!!!

- Ryan
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Old 04-26-2011, 04:19 PM
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McDougal McDougal is offline
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Unfortunately.....if you need that capacity, the iPod Classic is your best bet (there are many others here who would agree). Its got tons of space, you don't have to use iTunes to sync it (you can use a program like MediaMonkey), and is simple to use.

As far as the volume ranges of different types of music, I have a perfect solution for you. The solution is something called ReplayGain. This will level the overall volume to a single level, the default 89dB. You can apply it through a program called Foobar2000, which can also be used to sync the iPod Classic. iPod "Sound Check" is like ReplayGain for the iPod...

If there was a better player out there I would suggest it to you, but as of I know there isn't....
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Old 04-26-2011, 04:24 PM
ravFlight76 ravFlight76 is offline
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That's so disappointing! My ancient Zen had all the features I needed, and with that mod it was perfect. I just crapped it out and the guy who did the mods isn't on eBay anymore.

PS - Cost isn't really an issue in this discussion either. what I mean is, don't worry about making suggestions because you think it might be too expensive.
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Old 04-26-2011, 04:33 PM
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McDougal McDougal is offline
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Thanks for the info on the cost, there are a couple of Archos tablets that are high capacity and Android OS. Don't know much about those though, don't know if they support ReplayGain (they probably do), and aren't as reliable as the Classic.

Might want to wait for someone else here to give you help on the Archos's, but either way you go, make sure you get something that's ReplayGain compatible, it'll help you out A LOT , it did for me, at least

And lol, I know its disappointing....but there's not really a competitor now, the Zunes were around but they're discontinued and not worth buying anymore....
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Old 04-26-2011, 05:02 PM
Olley Olley is offline
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Consider the android-running Archos 70it 250gb. Several music apps to choose from. Interesting potentials if you want to be more creative in your cafe. Send music over Bluetooth so the tablet doesn't need to stay wired to the amp. Should you ever install a big HDTV in the place, the UI can be show on the HDTV and controlled from your android cell phone. Anyone in the place would appreciate the cover art displayed and info about what song is playing. Just a thought.
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Old 04-26-2011, 05:07 PM
saratoga saratoga is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ravFlight76 View Post
Hey everyone,
1) Sound Equalizer! This is most important! I need something that will adjust the volume of tracks so they are about the same decibel level.
Thats actually normalization. Equalization is when you adjust what frequencies are in a track, not the volume. Pretty much everything does EQ, but normalization requires either replaygain support or Soundcheck usually.

So ipod (soundcheck), sansa (replaygain), Cowon (replaygain) something with rockbox (replaygain), Android, etc.

That or mp3gain all your tracks.
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Old 04-26-2011, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Olley View Post
Consider the android-running Archos 70it 250gb. Several music apps to choose from. Interesting potentials if you want to be more creative in your cafe. Send music over Bluetooth so the tablet doesn't need to stay wired to the amp. Should you ever install a big HDTV in the place, the UI can be show on the HDTV and controlled from your android cell phone. Anyone in the place would appreciate the cover art displayed and info about what song is playing. Just a thought.
I'd say this is his best option, the HDTV and Bluetooth is nifty too

MP3Gain would be a fine choice (as saratoga suggested), if you want universal compatibility (otherwise use ReplayGain).
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Old 04-26-2011, 07:55 PM
ravFlight76 ravFlight76 is offline
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I looked at the Archos, and it is very interesting option AND not terribly cost prohibitive.

So (and thank you for correcting my language), please forgive my technical stupidity, of which I am great...but once I get the tracks onto the Archos, does the player have a normalization feature built in, or do I have to download and use one of the aforementioned programs?
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:07 PM
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Archos - no,...Cowon X7 - yes. All but replaygain,...
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:10 PM
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IMO the Archos is your better option, good choice !

Unfortunately, the feature is not built-in. You may have to enable ReplayGain thru the player (again, don't know much about Archos), or you may have to MP3Gain all your MP3's for universal compatibility (link to program is posted earlier in this thread). Program's pretty easy to use.

If you want to use ReplayGain (not universal compatibility, may or may not be compatible w/Archos), then its a little more complicated. I'll be happy to explain the best I can if you want.

Good luck !

^The X7 is also a great choice, if no replaygain he can use MP3Gain (not best option, but works)
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Old 04-26-2011, 09:13 PM
Olley Olley is offline
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Noticed my Sansa Fuze+ has replay gain in Settings. Looks like there is a 16gb version that will take up to 32gb microSD cards. Just a thought.
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Old 04-26-2011, 10:04 PM
Carson Dyle Carson Dyle is offline
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For such an installation where you want that kind of capacity I'd consider:
  1. A sub $300 netbook running audio software of your choice such as foobar2000 or Winamp or J-River. Most software will support ReplayGain for volume normalization. If the audio quality of the headphone jack out of the netbook isn't sufficient you can add an inexpensive USB DAC.

  2. If you have a network in your cafe then a Squeezebox Touch with Squeezebox Server running on a computer somewhere on the network. It might be the computer in the back office, but it needs to be running to stream to the Touch. Squeezebox Server runs in the background and should use very little resources on the computer. The Touch could be connected wirelessly to the network, but would be more trouble-free if you run an ethernet cable to it.

  3. An older iPod 5.5G ("iPod Video") with Rockbox. Yeah, it's an iPod, but it doesn't look or behave like one. You can find them with drives up to 80GB, but you can upgrade the hard drive to (IIRC) as large as 200GB.

The netbook has an advantage in that it's standalone, and essentially just a big audio player. You don't really need the portability of a portable music player for your use. If you have a wireless network it can also play internet radio, or music services such as Pandora One. Pandora One is the pay subscription version of Pandora for $3/month that offers higher quality 192k streaming and no commercials. Actually, it doesn't necessarily need to be a netbook. It can be any computer. My buddy has a bar & grill and uses a small 'nettop' computer with separate screen, keyboard and mouse to play music over the house audio system.

With the Squeezebox solution, since the library resides on a server you have potentially unlimited disk capacity. It's going to be a bit more compact than the netbook, and it has a nice touch screen user interface. It can also play internet radio, but can't do Pandora One.

With either the computer or Squeezebox you have the advantage of running much more powerful software than that running on a portable music player. For instance, one thing you can do with Squeezebox Server is play songs randomly from a selected set of genres.

The iPod with Rockbox would be most similar to what you're currently using, but it would need a hard drive upgrade. Managing the music on a Rockboxed player is just as easy as if it were on a computer.

Last edited by Carson Dyle; 04-27-2011 at 05:42 PM.
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Old 04-27-2011, 04:55 AM
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BruceBanner BruceBanner is offline
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Just a thought.

I worked in a bar in edinburgh. It was ILLEGAL to play music without the correct licenses etc to the artist. What i mean is we had a special cd player that ONLY played cd's supplied via the breweries that played in this cd player. A shop bought cd would not play in this cd player and we were limited to playing whatever the brewery supplied us

But my point is the brewery was playing the music LEGALLY, and very often 'secret shoppers' would frequent the bar making sure our measurements, music and other things were correct and in order.

I don't know where yer from or where yer cafe exists, but a HD tv displaying album art etc (although cool) might attract the wrong/too much attention and along with it a hefty fine.

Like i said.. just a thought.
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