Turtle Beach AudioTron

Written early in the evening in English • Tags: ,

I added a Turtle Beach AudioTron to my stereo system this week. It’s an MP3 / WMA player that fits comfortably in a rack together with all the other hi-fi gear. I have already been storing the best parts of my CD collection on the home network as MP3 files, so I can listen to my favourites on the train (just copy files to a portable MP3 player) and while working on the computer. With the AudioTron all those files can be played on the stereo system.

By default the player finds all shared audio files from your network. I had to create an account for it to be able to access the servers. I also told it where to look, so it won’t have to spend time looking around.

Once the player has found the files, it reads ID3 tags from them to catalogue the music. I was a bit daunted by the prospect of having to tag all the files — some of the files were ripped a long time ago, and tags didn’t work well with many players. But then I ran into information about the TOC file and Deadman’s AudioTron TOC Generator. Inspired by the examples I wrote a script that generates a TOC file, using the file-system hierarchy that stores my MP3 files and MP3::Info to retrieve file details when available.

With good quality data to work with, the AudioTron provides a powerful interface to browsing and selecting music to play. The front panel and remote control were a breeze to use — it just works exactly the way I’d expect. The web interface took a few moments to digest, but once you follow the drill-down approach, it becomes an excellent browsing tool.

The sound quality is good, provided your MP3 files are good quality. The AudioTron also passes the gapless playback test with flying colors (on par with Winamp with the Gapless Output Plugin enabled).

Thanks to network problems I haven’t had a chance to try out the Internet Radio feature much. Configuring stations seems to require the use of the Turtle Radio web site, which can be a bit of a pain. They have a good selection of stations, though, and you can also define custom stations outside of their selections. I was happy to find Digitally Imported channels already on the list.

Next shopping list item: more hard drives for the media server…