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norman

XBOX ONE S as FLAC music source - good news story

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First off, I am not a gamer, the XBOX is unknown territory to me. I wanted to put together a 4K UHD Blu-Ray player / FLAC music source for our coast house. And I wanted to do it on the cheap 🙂. I read heaps of web posts, and realised that an XBOX ONE S console might do what I was after, so I hunted down a secondhand-but-new condition 1 terabyte unit, complete with a 4K rated HDMI cable, and brand-new game controller for well under $150.

 

I powered it up, added myself and then deleted the former owner's credentials and games. It then decided to undertake a nearly 4 Gb slow wifi download of a system update, it took about 5 or so hours, most annoying when itching to start, but it means it is basically free of any old software rubbish from its original life. I had to do the update away from the coast as we don't yet have NBN connected.

 

With the system upgrade download sorted, I downloaded Kodi and VLC as FLAC capable music players (or so I had read), downloaded the MS CD player and 4K UDH blu-ray apps too, and for good measure added Spotify just in case. Kodi so far seems easier to use and quicker to index files than VLC.

 

The music lives on a 2 Tb Seagate (or maybe WD) 2.5 inch USB powered drive which is plugged into the console's USB. I haven't yet been able to find out if the XBOX can play music from its internal HDD, let alone how one would go about copying files to the internal drive.

The digital to analog decoding is handled by a Cambridge DACMAGIC unit I bought here several years ago that was spare, connected by a (you guessed it) spare Toslink cable.

 

Initially it is pushing sound out to a pair of (spare) small self-powered studio monitors. I am now thinking of buying a reasonable amp and a set of speakers and maybe a sub to do the analog duty instead of the small speakers.

 

And guess what - it is bl**dy brilliant, at least to my old ears. The 4K UHD HDR video playback is also brilliant and definitely the lowest cost blu-ray unit going, and watching videos on my new low end Samsung Series 7 4K  HDR 65 inch TV, I can't now understand why I have waited so long to try this tech kit out. I don't believe there is any transcoding going on from FLAC to MP3 or anything similarly horrid, there's no jitter, the console is extremely quiet (maybe I'm just lucky but I suspect that some clever engineering is inside the unit). My FLAC sources were carefully ripped using EAC. Maybe I now need to somehow digitise my 800+ vinyls (if I get time and motivation) as these are not going to live at the coast, they are staying home.

 

Does anyone here have any experience to share using such gear as music sources? Any software / setup / DAB radio / internet music knowledge or other clues will be marveled at and most appreciated.

I would also love information about using the XBOX as a music streaming source if that is possible.

 

Oh, as I am not of the gamer generation, I have ordered a $28 remote control to use instead of the game controller to make it easier and less susceptible to clumsy button use.

 

Also, if anyone reading this lives near Merimbula and wants to offload a nice but low cost amp and / or speakers or sub, let me know!

 

Many thanks, Norm

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I have one and use it as my HT media unit, gaming, movies, Netflix, Fox when GOT was on, DVD, and most importantly Youtube TV watching. It’s very good for that.

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interesting to read about your experience using the Xbox as a music source. have read about folks trying out the sony playstation ps4 as a source (transport) for music with poor results. Good to hear that the Xbox seems to fare better

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That's awesome, I didn't even know kodi was on Xbox oneS! I'm a big fan of kodi since the original Xbox days when it was xbmc and still use it in my bar / theatre room. I knew that kodi was never on the Xbox360 so presumed it wasn't on the Xbox one either. 

 

I did the same as you a few weeks back and bought a oneS for it's 4k capabilities with our new TV. The new lg smart tv is so awesome with all the apps on it, spotify, Netflix, plex, YouTube, etc etc etc. 

 

I run my Xbox and foxtel via hdmi to the TV and then optical to my dac which feeds into my amp. It's awesome having everything come through the one source so there's never any source switching- (first world problems hey haha).

 

I have foobar on my laptop and run that through USB to the dac when I want to play my high quality rips.

 

I so far only have one 4k movie which I bought to watch with the kids and test the system, The Greatest Showman, which looks and sounds brilliant. I look forward to the 4k concert movies which are sure to start rolling out soon! 

 

Anyway, I'm off to download kodi now and do some testing of my own 👍

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Hi all - Just received the remote for the unit, will get this sorted shortly. Thanks for the idea about DVD sound to the amp/speakers that I use for the music, surround has never done it for me, so that will be a bonus.

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I’ve started using my Xbox OneS for DVD and Blu Ray watching and find there’s a lot of jitter in the video which is disappointing. The internet suggests there’s a few fixes which I’m yet to try. I have a 12 year old LCD so no 4K and disappointed it’s not smooth out-of-the-box and have to fiddle with it to get a watchable picture. Haven’t thrown out the Sony Blu Ray player yet. Was hoping the Xbox would be an all-in-one solution.

 

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2 hours ago, 943 said:

I’ve started using my Xbox OneS for DVD and Blu Ray watching and find there’s a lot of jitter in the video which is disappointing. The internet suggests there’s a few fixes which I’m yet to try. I have a 12 year old LCD so no 4K and disappointed it’s not smooth out-of-the-box and have to fiddle with it to get a watchable picture. Haven’t thrown out the Sony Blu Ray player yet. Was hoping the Xbox would be an all-in-one solution.

 

 

Thats interesting, we have been using Xbox one S as our only media source for both TVs and never had a single issue with video quality via streaming DVD, BD, or 4K.  I love the things as they greatly simplify the system and the box counts.  Much, much better interface and app support than TVs as well.

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Posted (edited)

Hi again - I am confirming that the remote control I bought makes using xbox one as a source easier for my hands than using a game controller. No setup involved other than putting in a paIr of included AAA batteries. It even lights up when moved. The sound of flac sent via toslink into my old Cambridge Dacmagic is phenomenal. Recommended if you have an xbox one s lying around and want to try it out. Ideas on other software etc appreciated. Oh, and its an awesome 4K player too....

Edited by norman

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