NAS200 and audio via USB: odds of success?

Discussion in 'Cisco/Linksys Network Storage Devices' started by NowWhat, May 1, 2011.

  1. NowWhat

    NowWhat Networkin' Nut Member

    Greetings, all.

    I've been following jac and alejandro and linksysinfo for a while now, but I admit about a year ago I unplugged the thing as the speed is intolerable. But recently I saw jackito's UFS200 update in a search results page, and it had got the NAS200 in my mind again, right as I ran into a situation where I needed a self-contained storage solution. So now I hope to make use of it again!

    I want to make a sound server+client for a remote location (with electricity obviously, as well as a wireless router and an amplifier & speakers), and while twonky would do I guess I'd rather stick something on it like MPD. The idea being, you could plug the unit in and let it boot up, and then using a client on your handheld, either a GUI and something neat, twonky manager, or even opening up a shell ... but the end result is to play the audio through the NAS200, not stream it elsewhere, just to one of the USB ports.

    What I wanted to ask, as I know it's come up before regarding other uses for the USBs, what are my odds of getting a USB DAC to work? Or even a USB sound card, although I suspect that will be driver specific...

    Anyone got any idea? I guess I should just dig it out and try it. I don't want to spend a lot of time on it, but I do hate wasting money if something that's sitting on a shelf can actually do this. Let's not mention that my android phone with it's 32G micro-SDHC already makes a pretty good media server (and has twonky on it) -- I want something I can leave at this location and not really care about it getting destroyed or stolen.

    O/T: The recaptcha checks around these parts is getting me angry! (ADMINS: Once is enough! Please implement an authentication token and a timeout/logout solution, this is both weak and lazy!) Anyway--; apologies if this is clearly answered already. Aplologies also for any typos, I will not hit preview again if it means entering another damn string. :)

  2. morgan_greywolf

    morgan_greywolf Addicted to LI Member

    The biggest problem you're likely to run into is memory. The NAS200 can probably handle something like mpg123 just fine with 128 Mbps quality MP3s CPU-wise, but memory is going to be a problem. Unfortunately, the NAS200 only has 28 MB of RAM, and I'm not sure if this going to be enough.

    As for USB sound cards, the SoundBlaster Live! is known to work well on Linux and has a built-in hardware mixer. Probably other USB sounds cards will work, especially if they conform with the USB audio standard.

    You're probably better off streaming audio to a handheld device via UPnP.
  3. jac_goudsmit

    jac_goudsmit Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    At 133MHz, decoding MP3 is definitely going to be a chore. I remember running a 150MHz Pentium and it could barely decode MP3 (128kbps) at real-time. And USB requires a LOT of extra cycles from the CPU.

    If you're serious about this and there's no other way for you to do this than the NAS200, I would consider playing uncompressed WAVs or at least MP1 encoded files at 384kpbs (4:1 compression instead of 10:1). Storage is cheap anyway.

  4. NowWhat

    NowWhat Networkin' Nut Member

    Thanks for the replies.

    re:format, yep I was thinking the same thing, whatever format was the least overhead since just copying a bitstream over USB would be taxing enough without adding decompression cycles.

    You say 133MHz is too weak to decode, this must be the inefficiency of the RDC RISC chip emulating a 486. I have fond memories of teaching my circle of friends about this cool MP3 compresson thing from Fraunhofer IIS, back when I was sporting a monster 486 DX4/100 8M machine. I was about to say "man I feel old" but really, that was only like 1994. ;^)

    Anyway, thanks again. I won't bother attempting and will leave the NAS200 in retirement.
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