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Question: Serving the same songs to multiple hosts?

Posted by schwarzemann on Thu 10 Nov 2005 at 10:44

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to have music integrated into my home. To me what I wanted was simple, a stereo in just about every room all capable of playing music from a central location as well as independent operation (i.e. volume control and "local" music source).

As time went on, I decided that the best way to facilitate such a dream is to convert my CD collection to a digital form and store them on a central networked computer. This computer, would then stream to other computers located throughout the house.

To date I have settled on a Debian box to act as the music archive and server.

The trick now is to figure out how to stream the music to other boxes throughout my apartment.

So far, I have tried gnump3d, after seeing an article on this site about it, and slimp3.

Both servers were pretty easy to use, slimp3 has the advantage of keeping track of each connected media player (by ip address) and allowing you to control the playlist for each device from any computer.

gnump3d has the advantage of serving both MP3 and OGG Vorbis files.

The one thing missing, from what I can tell so far, is the ability to allow multiple computers to play simultaneously from the same playlist.

Remember the biggest requirement for my full blown system, admittedly still a few years away, is to have all of the computers playing from the same source (i.e. song).

With this in mind, what are some options for streaming music over a home network?

 

 


Re: Question: Serving the same songs to multiple hosts?
Posted by Nik_Doof (84.9.xx.xx) on Thu 10 Nov 2005 at 11:27
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How about using VLC? you can set it up for a streamed output via HTTP, or multicast, or set it up as a on-demand system. Theres a few howtos about and the VLC docs are also good.

-- Andrew Williams

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Re: Question: Serving the same songs to multiple hosts?
Posted by Anonymous (218.101.xx.xx) on Thu 10 Nov 2005 at 12:12
Is there any particular reason not to just treat the main music store as a file server and just let each client cook up it's own playlist?

Streaming servers are only really useful if you want to set up one or more "radio station" style playlists that everyone on the network can connect to, and perhaps control via HTTP.

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Re: Question: Serving the same songs to multiple hosts?
Posted by suspended user schwarzemann (209.168.xx.xx) on Tue 15 Nov 2005 at 15:59
The reason to not treat it as a files server w/individual client-based playlists is to treat my music collection like a radio station. There are days when I'm doing mundane housework that requires me to move from one end of the apartment to the other. Days like that it's nice to have (the same) music playing at both ends. Which is virtually impossible (from what I've seen) w/out use of a "radio station" style broadcast. Each machine will still be able to make its own playlist but there are occasions where streaming is prefered.

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Re: Question: Serving the same songs to multiple hosts?
Posted by megaprogman (66.0.xx.xx) on Thu 10 Nov 2005 at 13:15
Two things you can look at are shoutcast and icecast. Shoutcast is pretty much a standard for internet radio stations and can be found at www.shoutcast.com , that will let you use the same playlist in multiple locations.

Shoutcast runs on linux, but it can only server mp3 files, however there is also a similar program called icecast which can handle ogg files if you need that ability.

http://www.shoutcast.com
http://www.icecast.org -- also found in your local apt repository
http://darkice.sourceforge.net/ -- also in apt

good luck!

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Re: Question: Serving the same songs to multiple hosts?
Posted by Anonymous (213.235.xx.xx) on Thu 10 Nov 2005 at 14:16
You could try KPlaylist - http://www.kplaylist.com to start with. Fairly snappy on a slower server, allows you to set up playlists, or just quicky stream/download albums to whatever machine you want to play it from.

Shout/icecast are also good, and are built from the point of view of broadcasting the same stream to multiple hosts. (Has anyone found a nice & simple web frontend to setting up and playing playlists through shoutcast?)

My final suggestion is mpd (as in apt-get install mpd) or music player daemon at http://www.musicpd.org/ -> One backend player that plays audio through the server's audio hardware, and multiple frontends to control the running playlist, from curses to pretty GTK flavours. (With the GTK frontend, gmpc, it hard not to think of it as acting like a network enabled XMMS.)

Now my dream is for a single app to pull in all these features.... oh yeah.

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Re: Question: Serving the same songs to multiple hosts?
Posted by mverwijs (131.211.xx.xx) on Thu 10 Nov 2005 at 17:16
I had this working about a year ago. Can't for the life of me remember how or with what software, but finally it worked. One server, streaming songs to xmms's on different machines throughout my 4 room appartment. Sweet? No. Because of lag. In every room the music was slightly delayed compared to the other rooms, even though they were tuned in to the exact same stream.

So: I forgot the software sollution. Got an amp that would allow me to hook up a lot of speakers and was able to switch sets of speakers on/off. I dragged wires throughout the appartment to hook up the speakers. Hooked the amp up to the music-server. Installed MPD on the server, and client software on the clients. Done!


Greets,

Maarten

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Re: Question: Serving the same songs to multiple hosts?
Posted by suspended user schwarzemann (209.168.xx.xx) on Tue 15 Nov 2005 at 16:08
Yeah, the more I think about it I keep coming to the same conclusion. Streaming will introduce enough lag that it'll likely annoy me to the point that I'll just crank one stereo and call it good (much like I do now). But if nothing else it'll give me a project to work on for now.

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Re: Question: Serving the same songs to multiple hosts?
Posted by netmedic (64.102.xx.xx) on Tue 22 Nov 2005 at 14:40
My "lo-tech" approach to this involved an FM modulator and a Tivoli PAL. Works great.

However, something like VLC might work on the player side, due to its cross-platform nature and the ability to tune buffer sizes, etc.. Still, I'd be leary of varying delays imposed by the network stacks.

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Re: Question: Serving the same songs to multiple hosts?
Posted by Anonymous (195.137.xx.xx) on Thu 10 Nov 2005 at 19:26
I used to use liveice with icecast for mp3. Now I use icecast2 with ices2 for ogg. Ices2 serves only ogg so if you want both mp3 and ogg streams use ices 0.4.

Regards,
rjc

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Re: Question: Serving the same songs to multiple hosts?
Posted by Anonymous (203.83.xx.xx) on Sat 12 Nov 2005 at 06:12
Hi,

Could you give me a hand on this ?

I tried liveice with icecast but can never get the password right, no matter how I put the password and generate it through makepasswd.

Also, where can I get ices 0.4 for debian ?

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Re: Question: Serving the same songs to multiple hosts?
Posted by Anonymous (80.177.xx.xx) on Sat 12 Nov 2005 at 14:47
It worked for me :-S When I get home I'll check and post the part of the config file which is resposible for the passwords.

You can get ices from http://icecast.org/ ;-)

Regards,
rjc

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Re: Question: Serving the same songs to multiple hosts?
Posted by Anonymous (222.166.xx.xx) on Sun 13 Nov 2005 at 11:27
Thanks. found the problem. The cfg file shipped with liveice(in sarge) is very confusing. It has two PASSWORD entries there.

I think in general both liveice and icecast is sort of being left in the cold in terms of help and documentation and packaging in sarge, I believe because of icecast2.

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Re: Question: Serving the same songs to multiple hosts?
Posted by rjc (87.74.xx.xx) on Sun 13 Nov 2005 at 03:32
Are you using icecast or icecast2?
Icecast2 doesn't use crypto passwords.

rjc

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Re: Question: Serving the same songs to multiple hosts?
Posted by Anonymous (61.10.xx.xx) on Sun 13 Nov 2005 at 11:32
I have both, but was talking about icecast. As I believe liveice doesn't support icecast2.

thanks for the info anyway.

It is a bit tough in using icecast2 as there is no mp3 streaming client in sarge(due to patent? but then why liveice) and mp3 is still the most accepted format in client where there is unforntunate many windows there and for unmanaged home PC, installing ogg/vorbis capable player is really not desirable.

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Re: Question: Serving the same songs to multiple hosts?
Posted by taketwoaspirin (209.198.xx.xx) on Fri 11 Nov 2005 at 01:42
When I researched this a couple of years ago, there were very few options. An expensive multi-zone preamp and very long wires is the only option I could find that will guarantee synchronization.

The slimp3 server will synchronize multiple players, but only if they are hardware slimp3 players from slimdevices.com. Every other solution I could find, whether software-only or a hardware-software combination carefully advertises the ability to play different things on different players but is curiously silent about the ability to synchronize multiple players. The slimp3 server doesn't guarantee synchronization, partially because it's dependent on the quality of your network, but I can't hear any lag going from one player to another (I own three slimp3 players).

What might work for you is to get a newer version of slimdevice's server software from www.slimdevices.com. The version in Debian is several years out of date by now, and there have been 4 generations of hardware players introduced since then. While synchronizing still only works with a slimdevices client, they now include an emulator written in Java (softsqueeze), which you can run on each client computer. Slimserver also now includes the ability to play or transcode many more formats. The hardware (and softsqueeze, since it's just a hardware emulator) natively plays mp3, flac and wav; other formats, including ogg, are supported via transcoding.

The downside to this is that the software has fairly high overhead; slimserver does not scale well with large music libraries (people with 40k+ tracks regularly complain about bloated memory requirements and slow performance), and you'll have to have Java on each client to run softsqueeze. Transcoding formats adds a bunch of overhead to the server, too. Slimserver also only synchronizes players at the beginning of each track, so the mismatch might get to be annoying if your clients have clock drift.

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Re: Question: Serving the same songs to multiple hosts?
Posted by Anonymous (203.122.xx.xx) on Fri 11 Nov 2005 at 14:15
My article on this site, http://www.debian-administration.org/articles/145 (use and abuse of pipes with audio data) shows you how to abuse netcat and such to do the job in a cheap and nasty way. The music stays in sync.

PJ

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Re: Question: Serving the same songs to multiple hosts?
Posted by mverwijs (131.211.xx.xx) on Fri 11 Nov 2005 at 15:30
This looks nice! Have to check if there's a gui-way to do this, since there's no way I can sell this to the missus. ;-)

MV.

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Re: Question: Serving the same songs to multiple hosts?
Posted by Anonymous (222.166.xx.xx) on Sun 13 Nov 2005 at 11:38
this could be a very cool way in solving the sync problem, as I believe it use UDP so while frames may be dropped, it still would not get out of sync too much ? so long it is a LAN.

anyone can comment on this ?

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Re: Question: Serving the same songs to multiple hosts?
Posted by Anonymous (82.46.xx.xx) on Wed 16 Nov 2005 at 20:25
If you want a system that integrates well with iTunes (and devices that are designed to work with iTunes - http://www.rokulabs.com/ -, have a look at:

http://www.opendaap.org/

and

http://www.mt-daapd.org/


although to the best of my knowledge there aren't any debs available, but it should be fairly straightforward to build

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Re: Question: Serving the same songs to multiple hosts?
Posted by Anonymous (203.220.xx.xx) on Fri 20 Jan 2006 at 06:18
What you should do is attatch a FM transmitter to audio output on the machine you control the 'global' playlist from and use normal radios. Its simple and you dont need a full blown computer to play music in each room. I currently use gnump3d as well but my house is small and can here music everywhere from the one PC. In fact so can the neighbours.

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Re: Question: Serving the same songs to multiple hosts?
Posted by suspended user schwarzemann (209.168.xx.xx) on Fri 20 Jan 2006 at 16:36
I had actually thought about that, but haven't had the time to look into an FM transmitter.

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Re: Question: Serving the same songs to multiple hosts?
Posted by Anonymous (24.173.xx.xx) on Mon 28 Apr 2008 at 15:09
I use an FM transmitter at home for this purpose, and it's worked great for me. Make sure you get a good one though because the difference between the quality and no-good ones is substantial. Also make sure you get one that you can plug into the wall as most are made for car/battery power (I was able to buy an AC adapter for mine)

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