Music Servers?

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by Douglas, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. turboman808

    turboman808 Senior member

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    Douglas, excellent thread. Guys, excellent answers.

    So I'm going to piggie back.

    I have a huge music library of ripped and purchased music in the Apple format on a big Netgear NAS. Those are built around a little linux server. Is there a way to stream that through the net to my iPad or netbook when I'm not hooking up to my home LAN?


    I was doing this with VLC about 7 years ago. I would have it broadcast over the net and would pop up tv shows while I was at work. If I wanted to load something new into the channel I would do that thru remote desktop.

    I'm sure it's pretty straight forward to do the same thing in several different software. I've just never had a reason to do it.

    I don't see how a networked server is the most complicated. To me it's the most flexible and easy to setup.
     


  2. gtg732w

    gtg732w Active Member

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    I built my own server at home specifically for this reason, and wired a Cat-5e cable from the server into the living room to a PS3 as the end-user interface.

    If you're just looking for audio, and no video, it might be overkill, but with this setup I can stream music/movies over a 1Gb/s network, and my wife can touch one button on the Harmony remote to set everything where it needs to be. You can go wireless with this route, which will work for music, and theoretically could work for HD movies, but I chose the wired network for reliability and guaranteed speed.

    For audio, FLAC can stream to the PS3, then through an optical cable to my receiver for complete digital all the way to the receiver, and if I want to play back high resolution audio 192/24 it will transcode from FLAC to WAV (to maintain the integrity of the lossless signal) since the PS3 supports WAV.

    This is definitely DIY-able, and I've encountered and resolved a lot of potential issues along the way. Total cost for the setup was $300 for the PS3, $150 for the remote + $40 for the PS3 connector, $200 or so in parts to build the server.

    For music only, the Squeezebox is probably the most cost-effective route, and Logitech has an app that will turn the iPad into a remote control using your wireless network.
     


  3. gtg732w

    gtg732w Active Member

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    Douglas, excellent thread. Guys, excellent answers.

    So I'm going to piggie back.

    I have a huge music library of ripped and purchased music in the Apple format on a big Netgear NAS. Those are built around a little linux server. Is there a way to stream that through the net to my iPad or netbook when I'm not hooking up to my home LAN?


    You could also probably use something like No-IP, which just provides you a DNS name for your server at home that allows you to access it from the outside world. Then, you can just map the drive to see your media, and as long as your connections up and down have the throughput you can stream and watch directly on your iPad.

    Not sure if there are any Apple specific requirements to map drives and things, but I'm assuming it's possible...?
     


  4. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Suitsupply-sider

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    What does this mean? How do I "leave myself open" to it?

    Design in flexibility to do hirez as it sounds much better than CD or Apple Lossless format sound quality. Also, try it if you don't do it already as you have a decent audiophile system although the B&Ws can sound bright in my experience.

    The higher the res the more storage space you'll need. Also, not all DAC's can run 24/96 so I think that's Fran's way of pushing you in that direction.

    Storage space is cheap so you should buy a lot and then keep larger, better sounding files.

    I'm not sure I understand this. The HRT devices are basically just USB soundcards. You may use them if you want to improve your computer's sound quality, but it doesn't let you stream music throughout the house.

    In my experience and many audio reviewers, wireless audio in terms of music streaming has some sonic degradation so I was not even thinking of that. The HRT recommendation is because they typically sound better, often MUCH better, than many typical soundcards (Lynx and such being exceptions). And the installation is super easy. USB into the input, RCA outs to the stereo preamp.

    Now what is nice about my outboard DAC approach is that you can also upgrade CD playback (and in the case of my Benchmark DAC1 get a great headphone amp) in one purchase.
     


  5. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Suitsupply-sider

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    One more bit of advice...

    Don't focus on wireless playback. Think more about wireless remote control. Such as iPad or iPhone to control a Mac Mini or Mac laptop to playback hirez files in iTunes.

    This way you get better sound and the convenience of wireless operation.
     


  6. A Y

    A Y Senior member

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    Design in flexibility to do hirez as it sounds much better than CD or Apple Lossless format sound quality.

    Differences are subtle at best.

    I have never seen this reported, but I guess it is possible to screw anything up. The Squeezeboxes actually have really good jitter measurements, probably because they have to buffer in order to even work, and are well-reviewed.

    If you do want a USB soundcard, don't get the HRT. They appear to have some kind of bit truncation issue and mediocre analog performance. The Benchmark DAC1 USB is good, as is the CEntrance DACport for a cheaper option.

    --Andre
     


  7. chobochobo

    chobochobo Rubber Chicken Dubiously Honored Moderator

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    Squeezebox works quite well. I have the Duet, the controller died but you can control it with iOS or Android devices, thank goodness for the config app on the latter.
     


  8. deaddog

    deaddog Senior member

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    Havent carefully read entire thread so apologize if this is old news

    I've used lots of systems over the years and - assuming you are not a natural IT/network guy - I think the best compromise on sound quality/flexibility/easiest setup, operation and maintenance/price is the Sonos system. Make sure all your music is FLAC or ALAC Lossless, have a big hard drive and an always-on computer (or go NAS which is only slightly more complicated/less reliable), set it up for "fixed" digital output to bypass internal volume control, and spring for the CR200 Controller (don't rely on ipod/ipad controller which has a lag) - and you are good to go.

    Sonos tech support is superb and readily available by phone.

    BTW, my bias is towards hard-wire vs wireless - but I have to admit that my one Sonos unit that is wireless sounds great, and as good as the several wired Sonos units I have running
     


  9. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Suitsupply-sider

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    Differences are subtle at best.
    No and especially not with the gear Douglas has.
     


  10. A Y

    A Y Senior member

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    No and especially not with the gear Douglas has.

    Evidence?

    Sonos is an excellent suggestion.

    --Andre
     


  11. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Suitsupply-sider

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    So what did you do Douglas?

    A bit more advice...

    It's good to have extra ram if you go the computer route and ideally you want to run a very clean box with no programs running in the background.

    There is a Computer Audiophile website run by Chris Connaker that is pretty good.
     


  12. Douglas

    Douglas Stupid ass member

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    I haven't done anything yet. I'm probably 4-6 months from executing this plan, but one of the inputs to the decision is whether or not to run Cat-5 cable throughout my house (which is about to start being renovated) so that I can go wired. Thanks to the help here I've been able to do a little googling and have learned that some people complain about signals cutting in and out when they go wireless.

    Follow-on question: Can I use the same setup (e.g. a NAS) to serve video as well? Are there similar "satellites" that can handle the streaming on the "client" side? Or are there receivers set up to do this already?

    Anyways, FYI I am probably leaning towards using a NAS setup because it seems cheap, easy, and relatively flexible. I don't like the Mac solution because I have an iMac and I sort of hate it, I loathe iTunes, and also it's pricier than the NAS. Will probably go with Squeezebox "clients."
     


  13. eg1

    eg1 Senior member

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    Good luck! Wireless has worked well for me (provided the router is OK [​IMG] ). I like it because I can use it anywhere in the yard, on a porch, etc. YMMV. You could always go wired since you are renovating anyway, as you say. If you ended up leapfrogging to wireless later, how much sunk cost would you be eating?

    I cannot comment on video, since I have no experience with it.
     


  14. Douglas

    Douglas Stupid ass member

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    Thanks! I appreciate your viewpoint on wireless.

    I want to put in a wired connection in just a couple of rooms where I know I want a strong, robust connection that can't be messed with - e.g. to my den (where I'll have home theater) and living room (where I'll have my hifi) and the library (where I'll put the computer). All of those rooms are very easily reached via the basement - Frankly, I can probably wire the damned thing myself with a drill and $20 of hardware from Home Depot.

    I'm presuming I'll still also use wireless for laptop and smartphone access - a wireless router costs what - $30 these days? So I don't think I'll really eat anything actually.
     


  15. otc

    otc Senior member

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    I use XBMC to do this with audio and video content.

    I have a little acer Revo box that does digital (optical or HDMI) out to my receiver. It streams music from a shared network drive quite nicely.

    I usually just turn on the TV and use a handheld keyboard/mouse to control it, but it has a nice web interface as well as iOS/Android remote control apps.
     


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