Streaming advice please

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Max N
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Streaming advice please

Post by Max N » Sun Jan 05, 2020 3:53 pm

Help......too many options......my brain can't cope....

I've used Sonos for many years (and will continue using it as the 'family, whole house' solution because its just so easy and reliable). Same goes for Spotify.

I'd like to try higher res streaming, just for the main stereo system and/or the AV system. Sonos have stated many times that they will never implement hi-res so I need to experiment with other options.
I flirted with Roon, really like their engineering approach but at the moment can't justify the subscription.

Available hardware:
  • My music library is on a Synology NAS.
  • I have a Raspberry Pi 4 but don't have a DAC hat for it.
  • I have a Google Chromecast Audio.
  • I have a 2012 mac mini which I have just updated to Catalina (possibly a mistake because of issues with LMS?)
  • Main stereo is currently a Mission Cyrus 2, so only analogue in - although I do have a couple of DACs I could press into service.
  • AV system is a Marantz NR1403, which has HDMI, optical and coax spdif (and analogue of course)
For the benefit of others who (like me) find it hard to get a handle on all this (and also as an aide-memoire for myself and because writing this out will clarify my thoughts), this is my current understanding of what seems to be a popular option among audio-talkies. Please feel free to correct anything I have wrong:
  • A long time ago, Slim Devices created a client-server streaming solution. The clients were Squeezeboxes, and the server was the SlimServer software which was notable for being open source.
  • Logitech bought the company, and SlimServer became Logitech Media Server, or LMS. Logitech no longer sells any hardware devices which are LMS clients, but LMS is still being developed (presumably by the user community?)
  • To get up and running, you need a computer of some sort running LMS, and as many clients as you want/need to play music.
  • Various projects exist which aim to make it easier to implement this client-server architecture. Ironically, this was one of the things I found it particularly difficult to get my head around - how all these projects fit together......
  • Daphile - based on Squeezebox Server, Squeezelite and Linux. You take a spare PC or Mac and convert it into a headless server, dedicated to audio, with various nice features (nice web interface, NAS functionality, apps...). If you are familiar with Roon, then I think Daphile performs the same system function as a Roon Core...? Looks nice but I don't want to dedicate my Mac Mini......
  • PiCorePlayer - runs on Raspberry Pi. Can run the server or the client or both. The simplest architecture would be a Pi running LMS and then however many Pis as clients.
  • Max2Play - an alternative to PiCorePlayer for running LMS, but also able to do other things....?
So this afternoon, after researching for the umpteenth time but still unable to decide between all the options, I thought I would just try something simple to get going. The plan was to install LMS on the Synology NAS, using the official Synology Beta package (keeping it simple), and then try either the Pi running PiCorePlayer or the Chromecast as a client. This looks surprisingly easy - the web interface for managing the NAS allows for installation of apps, and LMS is listed as an available app - hooray!
The thing that is holding me back is that the Synology NAS wants to install Perl first (because LMS is written in Perl?), and I don't know enough to know whether that will make my NAS vulnerable to....er.....nasty stuff?
So my first question to the wise ones is, am I OK installing Perl on the Synology NAS?
While I'm at it, does this seem like a sensible first step?
If not, what would you recommend?

Thanks

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Nick
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Re: Streaming advice please

Post by Nick » Sun Jan 05, 2020 4:05 pm

Perl is just a language so I dont know of any likely explotes.
Resistance isn't futile it's V / I.

izzy wizzy
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Re: Streaming advice please

Post by izzy wizzy » Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:10 pm

My standalone Vortexbox died just before Xmas and after fumbling around with other options, I bunged LMS on my Synology NAS (stumbled across it by accident) where I have the music too. I didn't consider the Pearl thing and didn't know anything about it until I read your post. Install was easy peasy and I've been up and going ever since. I've used picoreplayer since the beginning and run up to 4 PIs off it; 3 networked, 1 WiFi.

Max N
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Re: Streaming advice please

Post by Max N » Sun Jan 05, 2020 8:45 pm

izzy wizzy wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:10 pm
My standalone Vortexbox died just before Xmas and after fumbling around with other options, I bunged LMS on my Synology NAS (stumbled across it by accident) where I have the music too. I didn't consider the Pearl thing and didn't know anything about it until I read your post. Install was easy peasy and I've been up and going ever since. I've used picoreplayer since the beginning and run up to 4 PIs off it; 3 networked, 1 WiFi.
Nick wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 4:05 pm
Perl is just a language so I dont know of any likely explotes.
OK, thanks both, I shall go ahead. Cheers

Max N
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Re: Streaming advice please

Post by Max N » Sun Jan 12, 2020 5:45 pm

Thanks again to everyone who answered my questions in this thread and others.
I hope the following will help anyone who is feeling hesitant about trying a Pi as a streamer (or as anything else).
I went ahead and installed the Logitech Media Server on the Synology NAS. It was pretty straightforward in the end. Pointed LMS at the music folder (in my case this is also on the NAS so that was very straightforward). The LMS web GUI is a little bit awkward on a hi-res screen - the tiny little 'next' button down in the bottom right corner completely escaped me at first. I set LMS off to scan the music library, which probably took a couple of minutes.
So that was the server side up and running! Easy in the end!
It was then time to turn to the Raspberry Pi 4b. I had bought the starter kit from PiHut, which came with an SD card with NOOBS pre-installed. I would recommend this for anyone who is getting up and running with the Pi for the first time. I have used Linux in the past in a couple of real-time applications, but I've forgotten pretty much everything I knew (which wasn't much). NOOBs makes it very easy to install the default Pi operating system, raspbian. I plugged in a USB keyboard (borrowed from my iMac), connected the HDMI lead to the AUX input on my AV amp and switched on the TV. Then powered up the Pi. I followed the NOOBS instructions and soon had the raspbian desktop on my TV:
2019-07-12-095513-1680x1050-scrot.png
I don't know what I was expecting, but this was the first it really hit home that this tiny little box is a fully-fledged computer........I mean I knew it was, but it was still a nice moment somehow. The 4b actually supports 2 4K screens, which would have been even more impressive - but I don't have a 4K TV.
I had a quick play, then powered down the Pi. Took the SD card out and put it to one side for when I have time to play with raspbian a bit more.
I had bought a second SD card, and now it was time to set this card up to be the client - basically, a surrogate squeezebox.
I wish I had taken notes of this bit....hopefully the following is close enough to be useful.....
I downloaded an image file of PiCorePlayer, double clicked on it, and it appeared as a virtual drive on the mac desktop. Somehow I needed to get the contents of this onto the SD card. I downloaded a free program called Balena Etcher. I can't recommend this highly enough.
I put the blank SD card into the card reader on the mac. Fired up Balena Etcher.
OK, you need to be careful here - you're going to over-write the contents of whatever you select as the destination drive, and Balena Etcher will perform this operation with just a couple of clicks - so make sure you select the correct destination drive!!!!! It would be easy to wipe out all data on the wrong drive!!!!!
Etcher_1.4.9_running_on_Windows_10.jpg
OK, select the PiCorePlayer image as the source, and the SD card as the target, and Flash.
Put the resulting SD card into the (powered down) Pi. This time, when you power up the Pi, you're not going to see a nice GUI desktop, you're going to see a command line interface.

Max N
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Re: Streaming advice please

Post by Max N » Sun Jan 12, 2020 6:11 pm

I have a feeling I'm missing some steps here, but from what I can remember, if the server (LMS) is running, and the client (piCorePlayer) is running, and they are both on the same network, they will see each other.
You may need to go into the LMS server web interface to tell it to use the player as a client. To do this, point your web browser to:
<IP address of the NAS drive>:9002
With a bit of luck, if you navigate to settings, players, you'll see the PiCorePlayer and be able to select it.
Oh yeah, I had to open an account with my squeezebox.com......I'm not sure what this is used for......
You'll probably want some convenient way of choosing what to play - I installed SqueezePad on my iPad, or you could try Peng. They both cost less than £10.
FullScreen.jpg
I am using the HDMI out from the Pi into my AV amp - I'm really pleased with the sound quality. No need to buy any DAC or other hardware for the Pi, so this has worked out very cheap for me.
I already had the NAS drive, which happened to have LMS available as an app.
The Pi 4B starter kit is £69 for the 2Gb version. Includes the micro HDMI to full HDMI lead, which you will need.
I have added a Flirc case, because the Pi was getting a bit warm in the case that came with the starter kit - £16
RaspberryPi4_persp_Amazon_600x.jpg
RaspberryPi4_persp_Amazon_600x.jpg (6.79 KiB) Viewed 1170 times
I have hard-wired the Pi into my network, because I have a switch handy at the back of the TV, so no reason not to.
If I was doing this over again, and I only wanted the Pi to use for this specific application, I would probably get a model 3B+ instead of a 4. Not so much to save a few quid, more because it runs a bit cooler, plus it uses a full-size HDMI socket, more robust and you probably already have an HDMI lead spare...

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The Stratmangler
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Re: Streaming advice please

Post by The Stratmangler » Sun Jan 12, 2020 6:24 pm

Max N wrote:
Sun Jan 12, 2020 6:11 pm
You may need to go into the LMS server web interface to tell it to use the player as a client. To do this, point your web browser to:
<IP address of the NAS drive>:9002
Try :9000
In my case it's 192.168.0.16:9000
Chris :happy3:

Max N
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Re: Streaming advice please

Post by Max N » Sun Jan 12, 2020 7:56 pm

Cheers for that Chris.
Please add any more tips or corrections or anything I’ve missed.
I wish I’d taken the plunge a long time ago, hopefully this will encourage others as well

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Re: Streaming advice please

Post by The Stratmangler » Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:18 pm

I run LMS on piCorePlayer, hence my comment about :9000
I just read through your earlier post again, and spotted the bit about a NAS running LMS, so :9002 is definitely a possibility.

I turned LMS off on my NAS around about the time that Spotify changed their service provision, and the ARM processor in my NAS was not compatible with the LMS Spotify app fix.
Which is why I put LMS on a RasPi.

What I like about running LMS on the RasPi is that it's shit off a shovel fast when accessing streaming providers such a Spotify and Tidal, and doesn't need to wake up a NAS in order to do it.
Chris :happy3:

Max N
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Re: Streaming advice please

Post by Max N » Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:01 pm

Yep, it’s definitely 9002 on my NAS, but well worth pointing out that it can be 9000 or 9001 on other devices
So do you run LMS and the player on a single Pi?

I just wanted to get up and running as simply as possible, and it was certainly simple getting LMS running on the NAS.

If I persist with LMS (as opposed to Roon or something), then I may end up using the pi4 for the server and buy a pi3 for the player.

Had a good long listen last night, and I remain very pleased with the sound quality from hdmi into my av amp

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Re: Streaming advice please

Post by izzy wizzy » Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:05 am

The Stratmangler wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:18 pm
I run LMS on piCorePlayer, hence my comment about :9000
I just read through your earlier post again, and spotted the bit about a NAS running LMS, so :9002 is definitely a possibility.

I turned LMS off on my NAS around about the time that Spotify changed their service provision, and the ARM processor in my NAS was not compatible with the LMS Spotify app fix.
Which is why I put LMS on a RasPi.

What I like about running LMS on the RasPi is that it's shit off a shovel fast when accessing streaming providers such a Spotify and Tidal, and doesn't need to wake up a NAS in order to do it.
Was a bit surprised to read the problem running Spotify on the LMS on the NAS coz that's what I do. Is that the proper Spotify app?

I use the Spotty plug in coz the Spotify one stopped working ages ago on my Vortexbox with the main controller being the old logitech one on an ancient tablet. That logitech controller wouldn't work on later versions of Android.

Gee, reading back all that, hope it makes some sense.

But was interested to hear how well the pi performs as a server which was where I was going until I couldn't get it to see the NAS. That's when I found the NAS had an install for the LMS.

It's like going round in big circles sometimes.

Cheers,
Stephen

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Re: Streaming advice please

Post by simon » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:13 pm

There was a trick when I was getting LMS on the pi to see my NAS. I don't recall exactly but the path wasn't what the instructions said and I had to try two or three different things.

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Re: Streaming advice please

Post by izzy wizzy » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:29 pm

simon wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:13 pm
There was a trick when I was getting LMS on the pi to see my NAS. I don't recall exactly but the path wasn't what the instructions said and I had to try two or three different things.
I can't be the only one in that position. I tried for days to get it to go, net searches etc. At least now there's no pressure to get it going but one day, I'd like to.

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Re: Streaming advice please

Post by ed » Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:14 pm

izzy wizzy wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:29 pm
simon wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:13 pm
There was a trick when I was getting LMS on the pi to see my NAS. I don't recall exactly but the path wasn't what the instructions said and I had to try two or three different things.
I can't be the only one in that position. I tried for days to get it to go, net searches etc. At least now there's no pressure to get it going but one day, I'd like to.
see here, It sounds like the same problem I had:
http://www.audio-talk.co.uk/phpBB2/view ... =21&t=7618
There's nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be

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Re: Streaming advice please

Post by The Stratmangler » Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:34 pm

simon wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:13 pm
There was a trick when I was getting LMS on the pi to see my NAS. I don't recall exactly but the path wasn't what the instructions said and I had to try two or three different things.
This is how I got my NAS to play nice with piCorePlayer

Image

The Spotty app is the one my NAS wouldn't entertain - if it had I wouldn't have dipped my toe in the RasPi pool.
Chris :happy3:

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