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Digital Music Player

Posted: Sun Dec 14, 2014 5:35 am UTC
by Yakk
I'm trying to set up the modern equivalent of a CD player.

I have a receiver/amp, speakers, BluRay player (that can play music), and a TV.

Right now if I want to play music, my best solution involves turning the TV on, putting the CD in the BluRay player, navigating menus, and hitting play. It then plays the singe CD exactly once.

I am looking to modernize.

What I am looking for is the ability to take CD or digital music content, RIP it, store it on my Synology NAS (all of which can be done legally in my jurisdiction), arrange it by genre/artist/theme/album, and play either single pieces or other playlists, without turning the TV on.

One possibility consists of getting a Roku, a HDMI splitter with optical audio out, an android tablet or el-cheapo phone, installing plex on the NAX and on the Roku, and using the android to control it. This seems rather complex, and I am unsure if the Roku will be happy playing the music with the TV off.

Variations with a WD TV and DLNA, or a Nexus Player, or some other digital TV controller could be done.

Now, when I go looking for audio hardware to do the above, the prices start around 600 and go up and up. The NAD solution is 2500$, for example. Who knows that the pixie dust is they use!

Is my plan sane? Has anyone here done any of this?

Re: Digital Music Player

Posted: Sun Dec 14, 2014 3:27 pm UTC
by Zamfir
There is a myriad ways to do this. The choice depends on fairly detailed choices about what you want to do, exactly. Where do you want to store the music, what other music sources do you want to play, where do you want cables, how many devices do you want involved, how much maintenance/installations, from where do you want to control the setup, do you want choice over the control interface, do you want the same setup to double as TV sound, do you want the system to send videos to the TV as well, etc.

What I am looking for is the ability to take CD or digital music content, RIP it, store it on my Synology NAS (all of which can be done legally in my jurisdiction), arrange it by genre/artist/theme/album, and play either single pieces or other playlists, without turning the TV on.

I have build something like that at (for me) zero cost and little work. I had an old IBM X41 laptop lying around. I installed Ubuntu server and Music Player Daemon (MPD) on the laptop, MPD turns on at boot. I shoved the laptop under my amplifier, and connected the sound-out of the laptop to the Aux of the amplifier. MPD can be controlled by clients on any other device on the network, PCs, a tablet, phones. I felt no need to buy a dedicated control device, I just installed an app on my phone, my wife's phone, the kitchen tablet, etc.

MPD reads my music directly from a shared network drive on the NAS. No streaming, it just reads the files over the wifi network. It's not 100% stutter-free, but I had some headache experiences earlier with streams, so this was a quick-and-robust solution. A network cable would take out the stutter, I guess. Or there is apparently a program called djmount that makes DLNA streams appear as a file system, I should try that one day.

If you want to buy a dedicated tablet to control the setup, you might just skip the Roku. Connect the audio-out of the tablet to your amplifier, plex app on the tablet. As simple as it gets. No guarantees on audio quality though. I used the laptop because it had better processing, Wifi and audio card than any device I could buy for throwaway money.