15,000 Songs on your Credenza

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Date: Monday, May 1st, 2006, 08:22
Category: Hardware

iPods are great little sound machines, with the emphasis on little and they pack enough power to drive a pair of earbuds for hours and hours. If you don’t need portable, you can get a lot more bang far a lot less buck. Whether you use an all Apple solution or even a PC, older computers make cheap digital jukeboxes and iTunes is free. Keep in mind that most PCs used for computing tasks are attached to some seriously lo-fi speakers. This is not what I am talking about. I have cobbled together a number digital jukeboxes, many on the cheap.
My first digital music box came pre-configured. You see, I still have my Twentieth Anniversary Mac and it was designed to play music. The Bose sound system is decent, considering the size limitations of the small drivers in the TAM head unit. The fan in my TAM always runs because of a G3 upgrade, I only have a 20GB laptop drive in it and the version of Quicktime running on OS 9 does not support Apple’s Fair Play. But, with it’s built in remote control, CD drive and iTunes, it makes for an elegant integrated music system.
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iPods are great little sound machines, with the emphasis on little and they pack enough power to drive a pair of earbuds for hours and hours. If you don’t need portable, you can get a lot more bang far a lot less buck. Whether you use an all Apple solution or even a PC, older computers make cheap digital jukeboxes and iTunes is free. Keep in mind that most PCs used for computing tasks are attached to some seriously lo-fi speakers. This is not what I am talking about. I have cobbled together a number digital jukeboxes, many on the cheap.
My first digital music box came pre-configured. You see, I still have my Twentieth Anniversary Mac and it was designed to play music. The Bose sound system is decent, considering the size limitations of the small drivers in the TAM head unit. The fan in my TAM always runs because of a G3 upgrade, I only have a 20GB laptop drive in it and the version of Quicktime running on OS 9 does not support Apple’s Fair Play. But, with it’s built in remote control, CD drive and iTunes, it makes for an elegant integrated music system.
A more modern and relatively cheap all Apple solution is a slot loading iMac with a big hard drive combined with an iSub. My recently acquired Indigo iMac cost $120 used plus a Harman Kardon iSub for an additional $40. I stuck a spare 80GB drive, pulled from my G4 tower, in it and loaded up Panther. I have 10,000 plus songs available and the machine has no fan, so all you hear is the hard drive and the music. It even supports deep sleep, so I don’t shut it down. It makes a very nice basement stereo with its built-in Harman Kardon Odyssey speakers and can play Internet radio along with a nearly endless selection of my own music. No need to run upstairs to check that eBay auction either since it is also a working computer running Mac OS X.
My desktop computer is a G4 Quicksilver and I decided to take advantage of the built-in audio amplifier and bought a pair of dead iSubs and a used pair of pro speakers for $40 total. I disconnected the Y cable from the pro speakers and hooked it to the two iSubs and then fashioned simple crossovers from a pair of capacitors and inductors and ran wires to the Pro speakers. The resulting sound is very satisfying and requires no additional power connection for an external amplifier. The Pro speakers are the poor man’s Orbs.

G4.jpg

My Frankenstein system consists of a recently acquired G3 tower connected to a Yamaha Cavit USB amplifier, some all weather Audio Source 300 speakers and a 15 inch powered subwoofer. Now I have a formidable system for the pool house, once I get around to building it!
G3.jpg

Another beige G3 Gossamer mini-tower is the center of my retro system. With a big old Marantz 2245 receiver and some AR-2ax speakers, this is a truly old school system in Apple Platinum and fine walnut veneers. I topped it off with an original azul blue Apple Studio Display and Apple Adjustable Keyboard. The computer cost me $25 and everything else came from the attic. 15,000 songs on my credenza.
retro.jpg

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