View Full Version : Recommended music player & management software?

05-15-2009, 08:44 AM
I've been reading about Asset UPnP for the past hour or so and I think this could help me out in several ways.

First of all, I'm planning on creating a multiroom audio distribution system. Central is a custom built WHS with 5 TB storage and that server is on 24/7. With WHS I also use SageTV for video's & TV via extenders in a multiroom setup. Also I own a 360, PS3 and Pioneer TV that have DLNA/UPnP. However this is less than optimal for music, as all these require to switch on a TV as it does not have remotes with a screen (except to some extent PSP to PS3). I manage my music library on a desktop with J River Media Center (JRMC) and then copy any updated music files to my WHS.

Therefore I'm looking at hardware solutions optimized for music like Sonos, Squeezecenter and Philips NP-players that offer interactive screens and controls for music playback on the device and/or remote control. My listening is very playlist centric (I hardly ever listen to albums, but spent _a lot_ of time creating playlists of tracks for all occassions) so a quick and intuitive way of accessing playlist will be key. Having devices available with speakers and amp is nice, as you don't need to walk over if you're amp happens to be switched off.

So based on your experience, what is the best/most compatible music player for Asset on WHS?

Second question: I like sitting down behind my desk to do music management (inserting cover art, adding metadata/tags, creating playlists) using mouse and keyboard. JRMC is great for this and can store all stuff from its library in the mp3 tags itself. However playlists need to be exported manually, so whenever a playlist is updated, I need to export it to be available on WHS. This annoying, especially as smart playlists evolve continuously based on ratings, number of times played etcetera.

I assume Asset will find all the metadata in the music files itself, and use m3u to server as playlists to players/controls. So my 2nd question is if you guys know desktop software that may be more suitable for music library management (files, directories, tags/metadata, cover art, playlists), with a seamless way of working with WHS and Asset.

3rd question is actually more of a thought/dream - a very economic and attractive method would be to just put an Airport Express in every room, hook it up to active speakers, control playback on that every APX via an Iphone/Ipod Touch app (or other sexy, affordable devices with a touchscreen) and to stream music with multizone and realtime sync capabilities via WHS and Asset to all rooms. Any chance this would be possible? Seems to combine the best WHS, Sonos and Iphone have to offer at a much lower pricepoint for hardware.

I'll try to experiment with some setups of Asset on WHS this weekend but any suggestions are much appreciated.

05-17-2009, 03:58 PM
Current versions of Asset have no playlist reading ability, aside from that the most compatible player would be any of the Linn DS range (they are expensive though), as we test heavily against those, but we also test with Rockusound bridges (interface is poor on these).

Your 3rd question might just come true...it is what we are aiming for (dBpoweramp Renaissance will be paired with Asset and have the ability to stream from UPnP servers to Airports).

05-18-2009, 01:56 AM
Thanks for your reply. Playlists is key for me (and one of the reasons I like JRMC so much). However I'm very interested once Renaissance adds Airport Express support to give it a spin.

05-19-2009, 09:11 AM
"control playback on that every APX via an Iphone/Ipod Touch app (or other sexy, affordable devices with a touchscreen)"

Being a pensioner, putting the adjective "affordable" within spitting distance of the word Iphone strikes me as being something of an oxymoron :-)

Still, with Windows 7 running on my Tablet PC, I'm able to view my music collection held on my WHS using Windows Media Player, create Playlists, and push them to networked audio devices anywhere in my home using the "Play To" feature of the W7 version of Windows Media Player. So your scenario is not so far away...

05-19-2009, 11:39 AM
putting the adjective "affordable" within spitting distance of the word Iphone strikes me as being something of an oxymoron

Touche... The Iphone is not an affordable phone for sure, but it is (IMHO) value for money. And what I meant is to compare the capabilities and form factor of the Iphone as a device to AMX, Crestron and the likes - then all of a sudden an Iphone-based setup looks mighty affordable!

So your scenario is not so far away...

Indeed, in fact I had a somewhat similar setup before using J River Media Center, Netremote and Girder, but this became too tedious to maintain and only supported Windows Mobile devices.

What I'm now trying is this:

Playback clients: USB sound card/DAC connected to a Belkin Network-to-USB hub (basically connect to a USB device like a sound card anywhere that can be reached through LAN)

Server: Vista PC with J River Media Center, set-up in a multi-zone fashion; the server itself is connected to an AV Denon amp in the living room. Each Sound card/playback client is a separate zone, which can both be synced or play music independantly.

Control: a Javascript/web browser using the just release HTTP remote plugin for JRMC, which allow full, bi-directional control of playing now, zone selection, playlists, etcetera - on any device with a decent browser (PC, Mac, tablets, Iphone, Android etc).

05-20-2009, 02:44 AM
Jeroen, thanks for that description of what you're trying to do. It's a new field for me, and I keep learning new words: J. River, Twonky, DLNA, Squeezebox, and so on.

In my forays into the field, I'm finding that the technology is still often at the string and sealing wax stage (http://gcoupe.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!6AA39937A982345B!8242.entry)...