I have long been connecting things together that their manufacturers probably didn't anticipate. Early efforts included an XT computer and a Sony ProFeel monitor so I could play Flight Simulator on a big screen (1985), and cross-connecting my stereo system to various video sources using a dbx switch long before the concept of home theatre caught on.
When music became digital with the relase of CD's, I assumed that there would be a flood of products to allow one to manage extensive music libraries through the connection of computers and music systems.
It never really happened. The manufacturers seemed content to continue to flog stand-alone units that simply duplicated the way things had worked for years, but did not add any real value. If you had a large LP collection, there seemed little incentive to move to CD's - they didn't sound better, and some of the early pressings were terrible.
There was so much potential to capture the Artist name, the Album, the track Titles, information about the performer, even the cover art. As vinyl became scarce, there was little choice but to follow the crowd and convert.
Ironically, it was the release of MP3 compression and rampant music piracy that brought about the most interesting advances. Suddenly, music really was digital. It could be manipulated, compressed, transferred, indexed, managed.
While music publishers continue to howl about lost sales, the explosion of creativity around the management and playing of digital music continues unabated. On the software side, programs like MediaMonkeyhave allowed even the most unsophisticated newbie to rip and play MP3 files like a pro.
This page was last updated on: November 5, 2019
The pages that follow describe various devices and projects to integrate the intelligence of computers with audio and video content.
SliMP3 -You have ripped and collected enough MP3's to impress anyone, but how do you really manage and use the collection? And how do you listen to that great store of music on your main stereo system? Enter the SliMP3
Wireless Bridge - Nobody wants to run CAT5 cable from their computer to a Hi-Fi setup in another room. The Spousal Acceptance Factor (SAF) is just too low. If only there was some way to add a non-computer to the wireless LAN...Introducing the Linksys WET11 Wireless Bridge.
Slink-e - Using CD Changers to manage large collections of CD's has always been possible, but the usability and management of the music has been questionable. A simple device from Nirvis allows PC control of a Sony CD Changer. It works!
Slink-e Update - It had to happen. The first Sony CX-455 reached it's 400 CD capacity and it was time to add a second jukebox. Should be simple right?
Slink-e Update 2 - Everything was working fine, but there was still the matter of the serial and LAN cables that tether the laptop to the Slink-e. Would be great to cut the wire, but how?
Slink-e Update 3 - Bad news on the hardware front - the people making the Slink-e, Nirvis Systems have announced that they are discontinuing the product by the end of June 30, 2004.
Squeezebox -The folks at Slim Devices have updated the original SliMP3 network music player, and the changes are stellar. The new player has a larger display, wireless 802.11g connectivity, and digital audio outputs.