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Easy to Use Home MP3 Player for Older Person

Posted: Sat Jan 04, 2020 3:14 pm
by Stainless
My mother has a collection of about 80 CD’s. She likes to play them from time to time and has a Sony CDP-CX151 (100 disc) CD player connected to a home stereo system. A little background on the Sony unit – you label each CD (manually) into the player and, using a job dial, select the CD you want to listen to and press play. You can also “group” CDs and play just a group. There is a group labeled “Christmas” for an example - she presses that group button and all of her Christmas CDs play.

Pretty simple setup for her, however, the CD player is a good 20+ years old and starting to give her problems. I would like to convert all her CD’s to mp3’s and load them onto something she could play them on through the home stereo; just like the CD player she has now. She’s in her 70’s, and the technology needs to be extremely user friendly. My problem is I cannot find anything out there that wouldn’t be over cumbersome for her. Seems like most people are streaming their music from their phones or computers and that would be way too complicated for her.

Prefer to not use a docking station with a portable mp3 player setup – I’m afraid something like that the screen would be too small and worried about the player falling out of the dock or loosing connection. Plus, I’m a little funny about portable devices being under a constant charge. She does have a desktop computer – I would be okay using that to store the files but to have her directly use the computer to select and play the albums would be too complicated. Internet at her house is not reliable. She has internet, but speeds are not the greatest and usually requires a reboot of the modem and router before doing any streaming.

So, looking for thoughts, suggestions, ideas, anything! I start looking on the internet and find either outdated information or way too complicated/expensive solutions and just give up.

Requirements are:
Self-contained unit
Touch screen interface (or at the very least a really good LCD display with simple controls)
Nothing that would require a constant internet connection to operate but okay with a LAN connection
Something that, from an OFF state, would power up “ready to use”

Re: Easy to Use Home MP3 Player for Older Person

Posted: Sat Jan 04, 2020 5:33 pm
by CeaSaR
Does her computer have Windows Media Player? It's really easy to use. You can make up playlists like the CD player and do the same thing. I do believe that if you have the playlist saved and the file extension (I think it's .PLS) associated to the program, you could make a shortcut to it on the desktop. Just a double click and it launches. Plus, if you allow it to download the album art, it can show that while playing.

I have an old software I use to this day (found it when I was on Win98 and dialup) to play audio files. It's called (Chime) TrayPlay. It sits in the taskbar and uses a Windows Explorer type interface. It doesn't do playlists, but if you make separate folders for such and copy songs over to them, it'll perform similarly. Plus it's tiny. I think it's only 36 kb. It's only other limitation is the bitrate it can play, which is limited to the native resolution of the computer (I believe). I have some higher bitrate mp3s that it just skips over. I'd have to find a way to get it to you since the website is gone.

Now, there are some very inexpensive players that use SD cards. They are available on the web. You'd just have to figure out how to hook it up to her system.

If any of this sounds promising, I'll do my best to help.


**If none.of this fits the requirements, let me refine it to get closer to a solution.

Re: Easy to Use Home MP3 Player for Older Person

Posted: Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:29 pm
by Stainless
It does but that would not work for her. She really only uses the computer for the internet and type up the occasional letter. And even that usually end up in a call to me because something pops up on the screen she doesn't understand. Plus the computer is in another part of the house as the stereo system - I think having the components apart like that would be too confusing for her! I would be okay using the computer to store the files, but the interface would have to be at the stereo.

The players you are talking about, I can only find portable devices. Something along the lines of a tabletop unit would be nice but not seeing that.

Re: Easy to Use Home MP3 Player for Older Person

Posted: Mon Jan 06, 2020 1:34 pm
by haklesup
Both Alexa devices and Facebook portal can play music with voice commands from cloud libraries or I heart music, Spotify, Pandora etc. If she is not too connected to her own library, this is the easiest way to go and you get other features too. Google and Apple also have Smart Speakers, I think this is the way to go for now and into the future. ... t-speakers

A little more research is needed to see how one can access their own local library of music. I found some 3rd party sites to store your music, the best way to access is TBD, can probably go through the browser on the Portal but not get the benefits of voice commands for most sites generically. I've used Pluto TV over Portal for example but it refuses to stream Xfinity to this device. ... es-2438771. Prime no longer offers an upload library, not sure about facebook. Alexa devices have better sounding smart speakers if sound quality is important. The portal offers a way for you to fact to face chat with mom while you are helping her.

There is probably a smart phone app that can help too, a 64G SD card can hold a heck of a lot of songs. A permanently located tablet slaved to some good Bluetooth speakers might work out.

I have a WD cloud drive, A local HDD at home that I can access like a cloud server. Its a bit more effort to access but can eliminate storage fees if you can link it to a program to play the music.

All the music I own on CD I consider to be oldies by now, I often listen to the radio or curated streaming playlists now anyway.

Re: Easy to Use Home MP3 Player for Older Person

Posted: Tue Jan 07, 2020 6:59 am
by CeaSaR
Most of the MP3 readers I see are on Banggood or AliExpress. They are dirt cheap, accept SD cards and require a minimal amount of additional hookup to work. Here's one: ... mds=search

With that out there, my second thought was as hacklesup suggested - either an inexpensive tablet or a non-SIM card (off-network) cell phone (I prefer Android). Trim out the app "fluff", leaving just 1 or 2 icons on the screen and you have a very capable digital player you can hook up either by headphone out or Bluetooth. RIP the songs down and put them on a good sized SD card, and it'll allow you to play them pretty much anyway you want. She would just have a bit of a learning curve.

The CD player, have you taken any time to give it a good cleaning inside? Might solve some of the problems.

Re: Easy to Use Home MP3 Player for Older Person

Posted: Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:12 am
by Janitor Tzap

New Juke Box Audio CD-players aren't cheap, and most are designed for restaurants.

Getting a service like Alexa, etc.....
Can be costly, and I found it was very finicky, and wouldn't always play the songs I wanted to hear.
CeaSaR wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 6:59 am
The CD player, have you taken any time to give it a good cleaning inside? Might solve some of the problems.
I agree.

Even getting this CD-Player repaired, is going too be cheaper, then trying to get a new replacement for it.
I've checked E-bay and found a good used one for $75.00. ... gJ97fD_BwE

Signed: Janitor Tzap

Re: Easy to Use Home MP3 Player for Older Person

Posted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:15 pm
by haklesup
Yes, Alexa with a prime membership with Music Unlimited will run you about $225 per year plus the device. Apple will cost about half that because you don't need the prime membership.

The Android play store has many Jukebox apps, I haven't tried any but after all her CDs are ripped, this would be the cheapest. and add IHeartRadio to round it out or similar free streaming radio. Might as well install Pluto, Crackle, tubi for some Free TV and movies too.

I might know someone with a 100 disc player to sell

Re: Easy to Use Home MP3 Player for Older Person

Posted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:31 pm
by CeaSaR
Only reason I suggested what I did was because of the state of the internet at the target residence. If you can get a larger phone or even a lower end tablet, you can use either the headphone out or get a Bluetooth dongle to connect to the original stereo via an auxiliary input. Either rip and store on that device, or if you can get them networked, store on the big computer. She just has to remember to turn them on in order to be available to the network. Really, that's probably the easiest way to achieve all your goals. And if the internet gets good enough, you can stream. I have a number of stations I listen to through Chrome, so there really isn't a great need for individual apps.

Re: Easy to Use Home MP3 Player for Older Person

Posted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:34 pm
by CeaSaR
Have you thought about any of these answers? Have you talked to your mother to see what she wants?

I have my own questions about the CD player.
1. What is it not doing or not doing correctly or as it used to?
2. Where are you located? I don't need pinpoint, just generality is fine. Might be able to direct you to help.

That's really it.