Thinking about a digital media player. No streaming. But there's a problem...


I'd like to get a digital media player for my listening room.  I don't really care about streaming or network capabilities.  I basically just want a unit where I can connect it to my pre-amp, attach a hard drive with all of my music files, and go.

The thing is, though, my eyes aren't as good as they used to be.  So, I think I need either a unit with (1) a screen large enough to see from my listening chair about eight feet away or (2) some sort of remote with a screen I can use to browse with.

I *don't* want to use a tablet/phone for controlling the digital media player if at all possible.  I just have nightmares about performing an IOS/Android update one day and finding out that the tablet no longer works with unit.

Any suggestions?
des_esseintes
I can’t really answer your question as you posed it, but I would like to give you a few thoughts. IMO, the obvious answer to the visibility issue is something controlled with a tablet -- a Roon or DLNA system. (That’s what I use, with my 70-yr-old eyes.)

There are concerns, but possibly not the one you bring up. If you choose a DLNA system, it seems unlikely that one morning, the tablet won’t work with your client. There are standard DLNA clients that are not fussy about hardware and that often are better than the manufacturer’s clients. Roon also works on a wide variety of hardware.

The concerns I’d have are the increase in system complexity, the need for good networking, and the need to learn and configure new system elements. Backing up the files also will be critical.


Maybe other users will have some ways of achieving what you want without a tablet, so I’ll stop here. Hope it was a little helpful, at least.

I think Aurrender makes something like what you are looking for.
If I recall correctly, it had a remote with all the info. It sounded good, too.
Bob
After doing some more research, there actually does appear to be something that does almost exactly what I want.

The Tascam HS-20 is a digital media player/recorder from the pro-audio world.
http://https//tascam.com/us/product/hs-20/top

The unit itself isn't that unusual, feature wise.

However, what is *very* unusual is that there is an optional *wired* remote for it, the RC-HS20PD.

http://https//tascam.com/us/product/rc-hs20pd/top

Now, when you hear the phrase "wired remote", you may think of a cheap bit of plastic with a few buttons on it attached to a long, thin cord (like I used to have for my VCR, back in the day).  The  RC-HS20PD is definitely not that!  It's about 8" square and weighs 3 lbs, for one thing.  For another, it has it's own LCD screen that duplicates the screen on the HS-20, so you can easily do things like browse media on the remote itself without having to look at the HS-20.  I was worried that the unit might require it's own power, but Tascam was clever enough to design it so that it receives power from the HS-20 it's connected to.

The  RC-HS20PD even has one feature I hadn't even thought of that makes it even cooler.  It has volume slider on it.  Which may not seem like a big deal, but having that slider means that you can easily control the output volume on the HS-20, meaning that you could completely skip having a preamp and just connect the HS-20 directly to your amp/powered speakers.

Unfortunately, the HS-20/RC-HS20PD combo isn't perfect.

One issue is the itsy-bitty tiny one of price.  The HS-20 isn't bad at about $1,200, but the RC-HS20PD remote is $2K.  Yes, $2K for a remote control.  Ouch.

Another is that, from what I can tell, you can't actually connect a hard-drive to the HS-20.  You need to use compact flash or SD cards.  However, with 512 GB SD cards being available, that doesn't seem like too much of a limitation.

Another issue is that the file formats the HS-20 supports are *very* limited.  As in, only BWF (whatever that is?) and WAV.  It does support up to 192khz WAV files, though.  Luckily, almost my entire collection is WAV files so, for me, this isn't really issue.

One thing that could be a HUGE issue, though, is that, despite all of the many buttons on the RC-HS20PD remote, I'm not sure you can use it to scan through songs (i.e. fast forward or reverse *within* a song).  That seems kind of bizarre, but, after pouring over the manual, it seems to be true.  That could be a deal breaker, especially considering how much the unit costs.

So, I'm not sure I'm going to go this route, but I thought that I would at least post the results of my research in case it assists someone else.
des_esseintes      I'm looking for this too - thanks
The original Auralic Altair has a remote and a good display visible from 8ft.  Built in DAC too if you need it.  You can connect it to an external DAC.

The Aurender A10 has a remote, built in 4TB SSD, an internal DAC, and a good display.  You can connect it to an external DAC.
Just a question -- why is a tablet a no-go but a remote with a screen is OK?
How about a PC with a really large screen?
Just a question -- why is a tablet a no-go but a remote with a screen is OK?

Tablets have a battery which will invariably wear out and may not be easy to replace.  A high-quality wired remote could easily last 20 years.