One of the things that I’d meant to do with this blog is some technical-review sorts of things for my toys. I don’t tend to get a lot of tech toys. I don’t make enough money to get a lot of tech toys. But I do get some, and I’d like to talk about ’em so that you could have some idea if you would like to add them to your tech toy-chest. Actually, this won’t be a proper review, as I’ll not be detailing all of the operational minutiae nor giving a well-reasoned pro-and-con list. I’ll just be sharing my excitement for this new toy.
Today, I purchased an Audiotron AT-100 through eBay. For reasons that I don’t entirely understand, Turtle Beach no longer creates/sells the Audiotron, though they’ve thankfully left the Audiotron website up and active.
The basic idea is that it’s a music server without the hard drive. It searches your private network for shared MP3 music files and plays them. It also plays internet radio stations
I already had an internal file server running Linux with Samba. I was already storing my MP3 music collection on that machine, and serving it to my workstations for playing my music sitting at the computer. When I had the house wired, I included network drops in the den next to the cable TV entry for networked TV/Audio components.
So, I put the Audiotron on the network and connected it to my 6.1 component stereo system, and it’s working like a dream. I just need to pick up a digital optical cable so that I can hook it up ’round back (and not worry about the analog cable data transmission).
While I’m looking forward to setting up some play-lists for easy access (Jazzy stuff for guests, head-banging music for when Carolyn’s out of the house, etc), right now, it’s the Internet radio access that has me so excited. Through “TurtleRadio.com” I can access more than 300 radio stations already sorted and categorized. But, I can also add my own radio stations so long as they stream in a format that the audiotron can recognize. One of the first things I did was to add WNRN to that list.
WNRN is my favorite radio station. While I’ve heard some horror stories about how general manager Mike Friend treats some of the DJs, it’s really an exceptional station. This is especially true as it’s a commercial-free radio station supported by Charlottesville-local business underwriting and a volunteer DJ (and news crew) base. Now, I can listen to WNRN on my stereo again!
Already pre-programmed in TurtleRadio was WUNC, the (NC) triangle area public radio station that I listened to in my youth. WUNC is the home of nationally syndicated shows “The People’s Pharmacy” and “Back Porch Music”, in addition to being a “normal” NPR affiliate station, if such a thing as a normal NPR affiliate exists.
I wound up with the Audiotron AT-100 which only has an Ethernet connection as opposed to an Audiotron AT-101 which also includes a home phone networking (HPNA) connection. The eBay ad was (deliberately?) ambiguous, but not in such a way that it occurred to me to ask the seller which model it was. Caveat emptor. But since I have Ethernet, and don’t have HPNA, this wasn’t a problem. Just a surprise.
The Audiotron also has an API and apparently lots of third-party software exists for it including weather information and more. I’m looking forward to playing with that some too. I suspect it’s kind of Micro$oft-y though as the internal web server for the turtle beach uses ASP. Maybe I’ll report more on that once I’ve played with it more.
In the meanwhile, I’m ecstatic about my new toy.