I like the appeal of using a different media library app, especially with how bloated/shitty/slow iTunes has gotten over the years (it still blows my mind the mess that that app is), but I have over a decade of playcounts and rankings organized there, so I’d be hesitant to chuck that all away.
Roon, as suggested by @therk, looks like it can just piggyback on your existing iTunes library, which is fantastic, but it’s a complete non-starter because of the price.
Plus I still have an iPhone, so syncing music to that is useful/important at the moment.
So for those of you that run a separate media server, how do you integrate that back into a closed platform (i.e. iTunes/iPhone)?
Yup, all this is probably correct. From my perspective:
It just works out of the box with no great thought from me - I’m not inclined to try to get separate stuff to talk to each other and maintain them
Soundwise, I don’t need audiophile quality (whatever that is) in much of the house. In my kitchen, for example, there is constant other noise from appliances, the boiler, clock, etc…
But your solution is most likely cheaper and sounds better…!
anyone have any experience with audiopro wireless speakers? They seem comparable to Sonos, but I have no idea if the multiroom capability and software is as reliable
I’m also a happy Squeezebox user, a receiver in my kitchen with an old amp & speakers, a second in my livingroom hooked up to a good hifi, and a Boom in the bedroom. Sadly the hardware isn’t produced anymore but as you suggest it ought to be easy to replace with a Pi. The software can be a bit fiddly, but its OSS (though Perl, which wouldn’t be my favourite language to work with).
So I finally got a Sonos One for the bedroom and I’m really happy with it. Sounds good, particularly after doing it’s little impulse response routine, and the fact that it’s available as a playback source from all the devices is fantastic.
Quite curious to see how expensive the Sonos/IKEA Symfonisk speaker is when it comes out next week, as that could be great for rooms in the house where awesome quality isn’t needed (kitchen etc…).
I’m presently looking up some NAS stuff as that would be good for moving my iTunes library onto (as just an iTunes server), as well as setting up some Plex server fun for shows and movies that I have on my computer, in that I can just keep everything on the NAS instead.
As the moment I’m looking at the WD My Cloud stuff, as it has good reviews overall (eek, Amazon reviews look like dogshit actually, complaining about the software), and has built-in iTunes and Plex servers. One thing that seems pretty awkward, from all the NASs I’ve seen is that they all seem to use some app and awful UI thing, rather than showing up as a network drive. I guess that’s handy for accessing the files when you are away from your network, but it sure looks clunky.
What NASs are people using?
I probably don’t need anything bigger than 4TB, and having a fixed drive is probably ok, since it will just be a media server, and I don’t really have a static (movies) media library that takes up much space.
I’m using a Synology DS418play, and am pretty happy with it so far. I’m mainly concerned with backup, redundancy and easy of use all of which it seems to be pretty good at. One of these days i might find time to explore the media aspect of it, but I’ve got to sort out an offsite backup first.
Love my Sonos Play:3 that I have in the living room of our house. Only issue is the wifi receiver broke and it costs more to fix it than what I paid for the speaker, so now it sits next to the router plugged in via ethernet cable. Sounds is awesome and I like that the app plays my Bandcamp purchases and Spotify via my iPhone.
I’ve a Synology and a WD NAS. I’d go Synology if I had the choice again. The WD firmware is/was very restrictive. I’ve got a lot of files on mine that are difficult to move or copy.
Also, make sure you get one that can back-up via USB.
So does the Synology mount as a “normal” drive that you can copy stuff too, or do you have to go through an app to transfer files?
Not sure how much you know about NASs, so forgive me if there’s too much info here. I’m also not a huge techie, and may be working off old info. But here goes:
The NAS is not a normal drive at all. Because it needs to work unattached to a PC/Mac, it’s a small computer running Linux dedicated to storing and serving files. So in the main you need to use the applications that come on in.
To get files on/off the NAS, you can see the drive on your network devices, and use your laptop/PC to copy. But this copying process involves the transfer going via your computer and it’s RAM, and it’s a bottleneck for moving large files around. If you have a USB drive attached to your laptop with your music on for example, you’ll need to copy this to your NAS via your laptop.
So to get round this, the OS on the NAS typically comes with a suite of tools to help with all this file activity, that you can access remotely via a web browsers. And this should include some back up/in take stuff. In my experience, the Synology has the better suite of tools (although the UI won’t win any awards).
What I would look for is a NAS that has the ability to add an external HD via USB (a fast USB connection), and the NAS software offers the means to read/write/backup to that drive. My original rubbish WD product didn’t offer that.
The other - obvious thing - to point out is that the NAS rapidly becomes the largest storage device you have, so you will need an equivalent sized drive to back-up…
I’m happy to be corrected by more knowledgeable people on the forum…
Thanks, that’s super helpful.
I’m presently looking at some Synology options to see what would fit well.
It just gets confusing if I’m picturing how I would use the NAS. Like if I want to get some files, I need to remember that they are on the NAS, fire up the app, then manage it from there.
In reality I don’t think it will be that complicated as I plan on mainly using it as a media server, so it will only hold music/videos.
Even then I’m not sure how it works as an iTunes server (as in, I select the library on the NAS (how does it show up in the finder to select if it’s in the NASs app?)). Can I then add/remove/manage/tag the library from any of my computers and those changes would propagate, or will it just be a mirror of what’s happening on one of the computer’s iTunes library, and then I would need to manually update the NASs iTunes server each time I add music to the local library.
Two more comments. Firstly if you want 4G of space, you’ll need to buy more. One of the points of a NAS is redundancy in the drives, which gives you resiliency to failure. For me, I simply mount it to my laptop as a network drive and use Carbon Copy Cloner to mange the backup process.
Secondly, in terms of using it as an iTunes server:
Not quite. The NAS will appear on your local network as a shared drive, like another computer with file sharing on. In MacOS you’d copy files via the Finder, just choose the network drive from the sidebar and browse it like any other drive.
It more like having a Linux machine on your network that you can access as a remote drive, or connect to via the browser based management software for other applications.
And you can run all sorts of things on a Synology. I use mine as a Plex server, iTunes server, and have a few different files sharing drives setup to keep my stuff organized.
I have a 4 disk Synology running full redundant RAID and it is fantastic.
Riiiight. I gotcha.
That’s what I was unsure about when I was looking up some of the WD NAS vids, as it seemed to be that the files only existed on the app, and not via the finder directly.
Looking at a 2drive Synology now, but wondering if a 1drive might be enough since I’m not as worried for RAID/redundancy (I keep all my important stuff synced via sync.com, so there’s multiple hard copies on all my machines, as well as the cloud versions).
I’ve seen vids like that, but from the looks of it he’s manually managing the music by copying it over. I think I’ve seen others where the “actual library” is on the NAS, instead of just placing individual files on it like that, and you option+click in iTunes to tell it where the library is, but it’s still not clear to me how one adds music to it this way. Like if you just treat your NAS’d library (via a local iTunes) like you would a local iTunes.
From the looks of it, it would be the same for Synology as for WD, and I’ve seen more vids on the WD process, since an “iTunes Server” is just an app that runs on the NAS.
Right - how I get the Sonos thing to work is this way:
My iTunes library file is on my Mac.
The audio files are on the NAS.
There is an iTunes option - can’t remember where - as to the location of the iTunes media folder - point this at the NAS.
I don’t think the iTunes media server thing is relevant here - it’s your Sonos that is doing the heavy lifting?
What you will need to do is copy your iTunes library file regularly to the NAS. The Sonos App can read native iTunes playlists from that library file.
If you set it up like this, when you import a song via iTunes it saves directly to the NAS.
There are probably other non-iTunes methods that are much cleaner, but this works for me.
Anyone looking for an affordable alternative to Sonos? I have a pair of Edifier R1280DB with 2x stereo line input, optical input, coax input and bluetooth input. Soundwise at the pricepoint of € 125,- for a pair they are hard to beat. Please take note that the speaker that has the power amp+bluetooth on board is connected to the other speaker by (yep, you’ve guessed it!) a wire.
Here’s what Edifier offer in the US: https://www.edifier.com/us/en/speakers
This is definitely getting a bit OT from the Wireless speakers theme (and probably more a Data management thread thing) but just following the through-discussion here.
After a bit of time, finally got and setup my Synology NAS. Initially way more confusing that it seems to be, with it’s whole “looks like a Windows desktop” DSM thing, and then the fact that you can’t seem to actually transfer any files or do much with that interface.
The first big hurdle was setting up a Plex server and getting that playing nice on an Apple TV. Not trivial (again, surprisingly), but got there in the end. God, this is soo much nicer than having to AirPlay everything from my laptop.
I’ve also set it up on all our computers so it’s an alias to some of our more commonly used backup stuff. Very handy.
Now the iTunes thing is really kicking my ass. For whatever reason the approach @GoneCaving mentioned doesn’t seem to work at all. I can install and enable the iTunes Server on my NAS just fine, but it doesn’t show up on any of my devices. I’ve tried copying some music to the folder and reindexing (as in the linked video) and still nothing too.
Initially I was wanting/hoping to completely move my iTunes Library (media and all) to the NAS and then doing the option+click thing on all of my computers so they all point/refer to that library, letting me manage it (add/delete music) from anywhere, but in reading online a bit, it seems that people strongly suggest against that because it can corrupt the library if more than one computer is accessing it at a time. I don’t really plan on doing that, but I also don’t want to fuck my library file.
Does anyone have any experience with this last one? (a completely NAS’d iTunes Library)
I also tried doing the vanilla “Home Sharing” thing, as I mainly just want to be able to play my whole library from my Apple TV (which is in the living room with ok speakers set up). This works out ok BUT it frustratingly doesn’t work if the computer hosting it falls asleep (even with “wake for network access” turned on).
I think I offered few comments on this one earlier. Don’t think it’ll help much, but I have the iTunes library file on the local machine, and the audio files on the NAS. So my iTunes interactions are only ever through my MacBook, but the Sonos devices can also see the files to play them.
Yeah I thought about that too, though still having to manage it on a local machine would mitigate the usefulness of having the media files on the NAS.
What I’m also thinking of doing is just duplicating my whole music library on the NAS and then playing it via Plex or something, and then manually update/duplicate it everyone once in a while.
My horrible experiences with iTunes and NAS caused me to swear off iTunes forever many years ago. There are alternatives.