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Looking for laptop on ebay to use as a Music player

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Looking for laptop on ebay to use as a Music player

Postby Baldo » Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:11 pm

I'm thinking about buying an old laptop on ebay to use as a music player. All I need is to have a couple of USB ports so that I can connect an external high quality sound card and an external 2TB USB HDD that contains all my music files.

I just really need it as a display to show what is playing and to browse the music library. My main music Player is JRiver Media Centre and I will get a high end Sound card like an RME.

Any recommendations for good sturdy laptop names to go for and also ones to avoid like the plague?

I could get a tablet that has at least 2 USB ports and can be connected to the mains.

I really dont need any thing fancy, I mean, its just going to do ONE job, nothing else.

I may not even have to put Windows on it, I might even just install a fast Linux OS.
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Re: Looking for laptop on ebay to use as a Music player

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:41 pm

I guess you need a display and keyboard but if not how about an old MacMini and a Stream Deck mini set up to navigate your music files?

Or a Raspberry Pi with a small touch screen display?
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Re: Looking for laptop on ebay to use as a Music player

Postby Baldo » Thu Mar 21, 2019 1:31 pm

A Rasberry Pi sounds like a really interesting way to go.

Could I build something like this: Nativ Hi Res Audio player.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1VOWLzQAIw


The audio work would be done by the Hi End DAC, the storage would be taken care of by the external/ bolted on Hard drive. All the system would do is be the contact point.
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Re: Looking for laptop on ebay to use as a Music player

Postby InactiveX » Thu Mar 21, 2019 1:51 pm

Second-hand ThinkPad.

They are very well built, have good Linux driver support, and just keep ticking away.

Many good s/h deals to be had and spare parts always easy to get.
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Re: Looking for laptop on ebay to use as a Music player

Postby Mike Stranks » Thu Mar 21, 2019 5:24 pm

I've just switched-back to a PC laptop after a couple of years using Android tablets - good ones. Simply too unreliable.

I've just bought a refurbished DELL with 11.8" screen running Win 7 Pro for £99.

I've bought 5 or 6 refurbed laptops in my time. I always buy from a business not a private seller. That way you know the machine's been checked over and you have a warranty. Only needed it once... machine replaced within 24 hours.

And you don't need a fancy interface. I use a Small Behringer which works just fine.
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Re: Looking for laptop on ebay to use as a Music player

Postby Baldo » Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:01 am

The Rasberry Pi solution got me thinking........

Is there some way that I can put a high end Dac into one of the those machines?

My idea was to have the input audio files from an external USB drive and then the DAC being an external USB DAC (something more like and RME). However, is there someway that I can use the same internal converters as the RME and include it into the RPi?

going a bit OT here....
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Re: Looking for laptop on ebay to use as a Music player

Postby The Elf » Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:15 am

Take a look at stuff you already own. I can access my music library from my Playstation, my Blu-Ray player, my TV and my AV amp. I can even access it from my little Roku USB stick. There are so many ways to do this kind of stuff now you may not need another device.
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Re: Looking for laptop on ebay to use as a Music player

Postby InactiveX » Fri Mar 22, 2019 12:59 pm

Baldo wrote:The Rasberry Pi solution got me thinking........

Is there some way that I can put a high end Dac into one of the those machines?

My idea was to have the input audio files from an external USB drive and then the DAC being an external USB DAC (something more like and RME). However, is there someway that I can use the same internal converters as the RME and include it into the RPi?

going a bit OT here....

I seem to remember that Adafruit were selling a RasPi DAC.
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Re: Looking for laptop on ebay to use as a Music player

Postby ef37a » Fri Mar 22, 2019 1:42 pm

I bought my grandson a W7 Lenovo thinkpad a couple of years ago, still going strong AFAIK.
Last October bought son a T430 i5 8G ram 240G SSD. Well under £400 and 12 months warranty. Loves it.

Note, g'son's TP does not have an optical drive. PITA that at the time but these days not so much? Saves battery power and the slot can have other uses I understand?

I would definitely NOT buy from ebay.

BTW, I am looking for a cheap XP laptop and have been recommended "Morgan Computers".

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Re: Looking for laptop on ebay to use as a Music player

Postby Mike Stranks » Fri Mar 22, 2019 3:48 pm

ef37a wrote:
BTW, I am looking for a cheap XP laptop and have been recommended "Morgan Computers".

Dave.

:thumbup:
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Re: Looking for laptop on ebay to use as a Music player

Postby James Perrett » Fri Mar 22, 2019 6:02 pm

ef37a wrote:I would definitely NOT buy from ebay.

Lots of refurbishers sell on Ebay as well as elsewhere. I bought a high spec Dell Precision laptop for a good price on Ebay from a refurbisher with a warranty. It was fairly described as having a few scratches on the outside but the keyboard and screen were pristine and, after using it for 18 months, all seems fine.
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Re: Looking for laptop on ebay to use as a Music player

Postby Folderol » Fri Mar 22, 2019 6:17 pm

I agree with Dave. Very risky. Apart from anything else, the very first thing you would have to do would be to open it up, then remove and destroy the hard disk. You could have intermittent keys 'e', 't' and spacebar especially. Also you'd have no idea what percentage of the battery's capacity remains.
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Re: Looking for laptop on ebay to use as a Music player

Postby ef37a » Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:07 pm

James Perrett wrote:
ef37a wrote:I would definitely NOT buy from ebay.

Lots of refurbishers sell on Ebay as well as elsewhere. I bought a high spec Dell Precision laptop for a good price on Ebay from a refurbisher with a warranty. It was fairly described as having a few scratches on the outside but the keyboard and screen were pristine and, after using it for 18 months, all seems fine.

Well I meant a private seller on ebay James. I bought both refurbed Lenovos via Amazon since I have always had first class backup with any problem. The actual seller was a company called "Second Life" (I think) . I had a small query and they came back with solution via email PDQ.

Cheers Will.

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Re: Looking for laptop on ebay to use as a Music player

Postby Agharta » Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:05 pm

Plenty of good deals on refurbished Dells to be had direct from Dell.
They frequently have discount codes also.
Mainly customer returns and they come with the same warranty as a new one meaning that the premium ones have a next business day on site warranty.
The Latitudes are often 3 years as standard also.

https://m.dell.com/h5/m/r/www.dell.com/ ... l=en&s=dfh
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Re: Looking for laptop on ebay to use as a Music player

Postby jerrii » Sun Mar 31, 2019 9:22 pm

If you don't wanna spend much then look for refurbished Dell or Lenovo workstations with i7 3rd or 4th gen processors. They are really good laptops with great battery backup too.
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Re: Looking for laptop on ebay to use as a Music player

Postby n o i s e f l e ur » Sat May 04, 2019 6:40 pm

Another thing to consider is drivers, or more accurately "output plugins", if you end up running on Windows. You mention you use JRiver Media Centre - does this have WASAPI output?

IME, just switching away from DirectShow (or Direct Sound, whatever) to WASAPI output improved audio quality considerably even just using the built-in soundcard. Most recent laptops have surprisingly decent DAs, at least for casual listening. It's not as if you'd need rock-solid clocking and phenomenal jitter specs etc. for media-player duties.

What you DO lose by using WASAPI output plugins is usually stuff like crossfades, fade-out on pause / stop. Not a huge loss compared to the jump in clarity or improved stereo image.

Then again, the RME stuff is excellent, I use it myself and won't seek to discourage you from going that route. Highly recommended.

As for alternative media-player soft (should JRiver not do WASAPI), FB2K while fiddly to set up at first is excellent. Hell, there's even a patched final version of Winamp 5 series floating about that does a great job . . . it's fugly, but again highly configurable library and filtering. Subject of course to the usual bit of work to set up.
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Re: Looking for laptop on ebay to use as a Music player

Postby anamusingalias » Tue Jul 16, 2019 12:46 am

n o i s e f l e ur wrote:WASAPI

Proper equalization will improve sound quality much more than WASAPI, which makes using system-wide equalization like Equalizer APO impossible.
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Re: Looking for laptop on ebay to use as a Music player

Postby Guest » Sun Jul 21, 2019 1:19 am

Baldo wrote:I just really need it as a display to show what is playing and to browse the music library. My main music Player is JRiver Media Centre and I will get a high end Sound card like an RME.
.
I don't know what you intend to do with this music but if you want to play mp3 or mp4 files, I have an old laptop myself that I bough from eBay on the cheap with 2 or 3 USB ports that I use for playing mp3 and mp4 files on only!. I just use the 3.5mm jack as the output though so not great but would sound better with an external sound card. It had no operating system on when I got it so I bough a pirate version of xp for a couple of quid off eBay. And windows xp dose not have a pre installed video file player program on it so I downloaded and installed the very popular "VLC media player"

The only big issue I have with this laptop is it crashes/ freezes when you blast a lot of sound next to it. I noticed this when it was placed very close to one of my PA speakers
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Re: Looking for laptop on ebay to use as a Music player

Postby ef37a » Sun Jul 21, 2019 7:26 am

night ans day wrote:
Baldo wrote:I just really need it as a display to show what is playing and to browse the music library. My main music Player is JRiver Media Centre and I will get a high end Sound card like an RME.
.
I don't know what you intend to do with this music but if you want to play mp3 or mp4 files, I have an old laptop myself that I bough from eBay on the cheap with 2 or 3 USB ports that I use for playing mp3 and mp4 files on only!. I just use the 3.5mm jack as the output though so not great but would sound better with an external sound card. It had no operating system on when I got it so I bough a pirate version of xp for a couple of quid off eBay. And windows xp dose not have a pre installed video file player program on it so I downloaded and installed the very popular "VLC media player"

The only big issue I have with this laptop is it crashes/ freezes when you blast a lot of sound next to it. I noticed this when it was placed very close to one of my PA speakers

Drop a score on a Behringer UCA 202/222. They are generic USB so work on anything and the replay quality is far better than most inbuilt laptop sound cards.

Dave.
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Re: Looking for laptop on ebay to use as a Music player

Postby Guest » Sun Jul 21, 2019 3:42 pm

ef37a wrote:[
Drop a score on a Behringer UCA 202/222. They are generic USB so work on anything and the replay quality is far better than most inbuilt laptop sound cards.

Dave.
As I recall those models require drivers for them to work on win xp but plug and play on win 10, but win 10 is prone to problems like needing rebooting for them to work

Given that these sound cards are less then $25, manufacture don't tend to bother to keep up with the latest driver and support for newer machine, infact when they blatantly publish in there manuals that you will receive a CD with all the drivers on to install on your machine and there simply is no disk supplied. Just don't expect a lot of help and support for an old sound card under $25!
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