You want a bluray/universal player that has the ability to play ALAC files, has a USB hard-drive input and also has analog RCA outputs. An example of this would be the Panasonic DP-UB820. It's currently on sale at Crutchfield for $399. There are many others as well. The past couple generations of Oppo players will play ALAC files (103/105/203/205), but they are likely going to be too expensive for you and they are only available as "used".
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You've always got the option of getting a Raspberry Pi and running the Picoreplayer OS on it. You can plug in a USB thumb drive (or regular USB hard drive) and play music from that, including on a random basis.
If your home system handles USB output, this will set you back about $50 or $60 for the RPi, case, SD card and power supply. If you need analog output, add a HiFiBerry DAC Hat to the player for another $50, depending on the model you buy (they have several options.) Or, if you want to stay on the cheap side, you can use the built-in audio on the Raspberry Pi and run a 3.5 mm plug to RCA adaptor cable to your stereo, though the sound quality is not as good this way.
The RPi player can be controlled from your smart phone, table or any computer that has a web browser.
It's not a plug and play system, so you'll have to study and learn a few things, but the price is right and, properly set up, they sound good.
If you want plug and play you can get a BluSound N150. It’ll play any PCM file to 24-192.
It will power any thumb drive or a SSD up to 500 Gb. Optical out, a cheap DAC and cheap amp included.
guys, the OP is asking for something that "would output on analog rca connections". This was the main reason I had to recommend something as expensive as the $399 Panasonic bluray.
If he has the ability to take a USB or digital COAX signal, then the lower end Sony bluray players will do this just fine (probably around $100 or less).
All information provided is appreciated.
Amazes me that it is not super easy to find a reasonably priced plug and play solution. There have got to be literally millions of folks that play USB drives in their cars that they could also enjoy in their homes.
Perhaps MP3 is good enough for the masses so that cuts way down on the potential market.
@mlsstl - got it. I suppose it comes down to how much of a technical DIY person the OP is (morestereostuff). The Rasberry Pi solution is definitely not an out-of-the-box plug and play solution. I'm not sure that he want to spend the hours / days on that project to get it to work. And before you start saying "it's easy", there is a big gap between what you might find easy and what a general consumer would find easy. lol.
"I suppose it comes down to how much of a technical DIY person the OP is (morestereostuff)." - I'm (OP) a probably retired electrical engineer and I've played around a bit as a technician/panel builder/circuit board development person post semi retirement and I put together one of the Hagtech Dac kits.
Main problem is it is sort of like working on cars, yea I can do it but there is no fun in it for me anymore and there are other things I'd like to do.
Hmm. Haven't checked Hagerman technology and don't even know if Jim is still dabbing with this stuff anymore, he used to be great for kits with paint by the numbers instructions.
I have a few Sony Blueray players and they all have USB drives and support a wide variety of music files type. They also support 24 bit audio. I use the digital outputs into a DAC but sounds like you want to use the onboard DAC (RCA outputs) which I can't comment on. I will say the quality of the Sony UBP 8000 Mk2 is quite good in terms of build quality, decent power supply etc. I purchase mine recently for $199 on sale. Lower end models will do this as well but generally use a wall wart power supply. Many of these can play SACDs as well. These are not OPPOs but inexpensive and good sounding solutions.
The Panasonic mentioned upthread is very high quality.