External Harddrive MP3 Player

June 5, 2005 at 13:25:40
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I'm tryign to find a simple, cheap, MP3 player that can read MP3s from an external USB harddrive. Any suggestions?

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June 6, 2005 at 16:10:46

The interface for the External USB drive is the problem.

Lots of little MP3 players can plug into the USB connection on a PC in order to transfer mp3s (the mp3 player essentially becomes a little usb driver).

But to do the opposite....the little MP3 player to access another usb device like an additional hard drive....that's a completely different story and requires a lot more "stuff."

There may be something cheap on the market that does that now....I kinda doubt it.

If you are wanting something stationary....imo the cheapest way to go is to simply get the oldest used PC you can find with a USB connection. Folks are throwing them away these days. You don't need much of a PC to play MP3s.

While that is bigger....it would be cheaper that any other option to allows the player to access an external USB drive. The only thing along those lines that I've seen is (I think)an after-market adapter for an I-Pod that allows it to access a USB drive.

I've also heard there's a way to connect a PDA that has a compact flash slot to a usb drive via a rigged-up adapter and special software.

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June 6, 2005 at 21:34:13

Well i see players that will let you plug in a USB flash drive, but I don't know if that will work USB hard drives too. I doubt it as the I/O messages for each are different. I need somethign small (including the screen) so a computer is out of the question.

-Ryan Adams

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June 7, 2005 at 10:34:36

Well...if you're able to spend a bit more...shop PDA's....especially ones that have flash drive or PCMCIA slots (may have to get a used one).

From there...you may be able to rig something up...as described above...that will allow the PDA to access an external drive as its own memory. I'm pretty sure I've seen such a setup described from time to time.

Also....the MP3s mentioned that you can plug a USB thumb-drive into....can you provide a link to one of those? Are you sure that the USB connection is not just for connecting the MP3 player itself to a PC?

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June 7, 2005 at 11:20:50

PDA is out of the question. I have an old, USB hardrive that I want to put in my car, and I need an MP3 player to read the files off it and play them through my stero. I don't want to leave a PDA or anyhting that valuable in my car, nor do I want to ahve to take it out every time. I want somethign small and cheap.

The USB players I'm talkign about are on eBAY. They are a USB player and FM transmitter all in one. YOu plug a falsh drive into it, and then plug it into your 12v car socket and it plays to a radio station.

-Ryan Adams

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June 7, 2005 at 12:24:20

Oh yeah...I've seen those. They definately cannot access an external hd.

Well...there is no option to use that external drive as described...not with a small cheap device (yet).

But...when you said " I don't want to leave a PDA or anything that valuable in my car, nor do I want to have to take it out every time."

Would you be leaving the external USB drive in your car? That would be as expensive as a used PDA.

Anyways...outside of that...the only option I can think of that would be close is to get the largest USB Thumb-drive that a cheaper MP3 player could access (those little things are up to 4 gig these days). You can put A LOT of mp3s even on a 1 gig.

Maybe others have other suggestions.

But...I get the picture...it would be cool to have a no-worry, no-fuss device with endless storage for songs.


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June 7, 2005 at 12:59:08

Well I already have the USB drive, and it isn't being used for anyhtign else, so in my mind that isn't the same as buying a brandnew $400 PDA. Also, the drive will be monted behind the dash, so no one would steal it. I could mount a PDA or somethign back there, but that seams like a waste.

-Ryan Adams

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June 7, 2005 at 15:26:17

I see.....If you do end up doing that...be sure that the drive can get plenty of ventilation. If it's in a tight area with little airflow it will overheat and fail.

But...another issue...if you ever could get this to work...is naviagtion. Having 20-30 songs in one thing....but having hundreds or thousands is another. Navigating and displaying such a list is going to require some sort of larger touch-screen. Simply using forward-back arrows that are on the low-cost mp3 players would not be practical. And....when any type of device with a larger LCD screen is added...cost will be an issue.

Considering that.....I don't see a way around the necessity of a more complicated (and therefore costly) interface device.

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June 7, 2005 at 23:13:45

I emailed the seller of one of those eBay players I was talking about and here is what I got:

You asked:
"Will this also work with external USB drives?"

yes, it take USB flash drive to plug and play thank you! www.premiertek.net

Taking a wild guess I'd say English is not their primary language, but in any case, he said yes. Now I'm 99% sure it won't work. I really wish there was a simple way to play music from a hard drive.

-Ryan Adams

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June 8, 2005 at 17:33:22

Yeah...you gotta be careful with that Ebay stuff ("thank you....come again")

Accessing large caches of songs is simply gonna take a more computer-like device.

I just looked at that item....it is pretty cool...but again, consider that it only has Play, Previous, and Next buttons.

Even if you could connect it to a giant HD....what are you gonna do? What you are playing MP3 file #15....and you want to skip to file #85....are you gonna sit there and click 70 times to get to it? Sheesh.

Again....it's cool...but I would use it with a small flash drive....like maybe 128 mb...you could prolly find one for $10 or less....which would hold 25-30 songs.

That would be about my limit to have to scroll back and forth through. You can update your play list as desired by just taking the thumb drive to your computer.

Here's a link to a 128mb drive.


I think the site you posted sells them too, though.


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June 8, 2005 at 20:55:17

Well I generally don't go lookign for one song, I usually jsut play a song and if I don't like it at all I skip it. So not havign a dispaly is ok. I jsut don't want to shell out more money for all that stuff when it seams liek it shoudl eb easy to do soemthign with the stuff I already have. (But it's not)

-Ryan Adams

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June 28, 2005 at 09:53:58

Here is an alternative:

1. You buy an HDD enclosure with OTG capability (such as Apacer CD211 Share Steno - USB 2.0 OTG). Accepts up to 80 GB. Chepeast OTG solution out there with LCD.

2. You buy a flash based MP3 player (no need for more than 128 MB).

When you want to listen to a particular album, you copy the folder content from the HDD to the MP3 player using the Share Steno.


p.s. The technology is there. But I think the industry is blocking such integrated devices, as they are too much expandable.

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July 8, 2005 at 21:52:58

what you want is a device that connects to a hard drive and plays mp3 files off of it.

I seriously doubt the industry is trying to "block" this - it is in their best interest to create more customers at any entry level.

best one:
they sell an enclosure for any hard drive without the drive for $129 that has an AV out so you can play your music files off the drive with an included remote control .

Cheapest one:






or search for a portable mpeg4 player with av out

Hope this helps

"the only solution to the RIAA debacle is to boycott the artists they represent"

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July 11, 2005 at 09:44:38


The options you have mentionned do not answer's RTAdams89's needs, as you need a TV or monitor to browse the content of a portable mpeg4 player (except Vosonic X's-Drive with its build in LCD, but very pricey).

The USB MP3 FM Transmitter for Car Radio only plays files sequentially. So forget about it for large capacity HDs.


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July 15, 2005 at 10:10:07

The Muzio JM-200 can do it ... but unfortunately 1 file at the time.

Just search for "usb host mp3 player". I think there are a few more players that can do it (Samsung, Cowan, etc ...). But, fat chance, 1 file at the time also.

Apparently, the Hana USB flash drive could do multiple files ... However it is still unavailable :(

Good luck!


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