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Thread: Potential Asset Use Cases

  1. #1

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    Potential Asset Use Cases

    Iím looking at a couple methods for storing ripped FLAC files, artwork, logs, etc. from CD Ripper and playing the files on my Cambridge Audio 851N network player.

    Method 1 (short term)
    Store up to 100 GB of FLAC files and related data on my Windows 10 laptop SSD
    Connect laptop to the 851N via USB
    Backup FLAC files and related data periodically to a couple USB thumb drives


    Method 2 (longer term)
    Store FLAC files and related data for a couple hundred CDs on an external HDD
    Backup FLAC files and related data periodically to one (ideally two) HDDs
    Option A: Connect the HDD to the laptop via USB
    Option B: Connect the HDD directly to the 851N via USB


    Questions
    For either of these scenarios:
    1. Would Asset running on a Windows 10 laptop be a candidate for server software?
    2. Would I also need player software? Suggestions?
    3. Cambridge has their StreamMagic app, details are sparse, and I think it only installs on smart phones or tablets, donít currently have either one of those.
    Anyone using StreamMagic app?

    Comments/feedback appreciated

  2. #2
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    Re: Potential Asset Use Cases

    Asset can be used as the server software, you need a control point to control it, which the StreamMagic app will be.

  3. #3

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    Re: Potential Asset Use Cases

    Quote Originally Posted by Spoon View Post
    Asset can be used as the server software, you need a control point to control it, which the StreamMagic app will be.
    Thanks, Spoon.

    I reviewed most of the user comments on the Cambridge Audio site for the StreamMagic app today, starting around the 2019 timeframe, I think, till present. Recurring review themes of StreamMagic issues are not real encouraging, so I looked at some other player software possibilities.

    Foobar2000 seems like it might be worth trying, but don&*8217;t know much about it or if it would provide the control point function you mentioned. Assume Foobar and Asset would both be running on my laptop with USB from laptop to the 851N network player, not sure how all this works together. Would this combination support the use case with all of my FLAC files on my laptop internal SSD? That&*8217;s a short term concept (I will have more FLAC files than SSD open space) but would get me down the road until I figure out something else. Seems like sharing the internal SSD with Windows processes could be an issue as well.

    Any thoughts appreciated.

  4. #4
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    Re: Potential Asset Use Cases

    With Method 1 you'll just need a player, and foobar2000 would be a great option.

    Regarding Method 2. From the user manual:
    USB audio
    The 851N USB Audio input is intended to connect directly to a PC or Mac computer.
    The default 851N configuration is USB Audio profile 1.0 which works with nearly all common operating systems and computer types without needing additional drivers. In this configuration sample rates from 16-bit/32kHz to 24-bit/96kHz are supported.
    So Method 2 Option B doesn't look like an option.

    If your only speaker setup is the 851N then it's probably easier to stick to Method 1/Method 2 Option A.

  5. #5
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    Re: Potential Asset Use Cases

    USB connection to the 851N might seem confusing since it has three kinds of USB ports - one "Wi-Fi dongle", one "USB Audio" and three regular USB. But since 851N is a network player, you would usually connect via network.

    Your options to connect to 851N would be:

    A) Connecting the laptop to the dedicated "USB Audio" input on 851N, which will then act as a DAC only. With this method you have no use of Asset UPnP or the StreamMagic app. And you can't use the remote to browse your music. Instead, you must use a player on the laptop, e.g. foobar. Also there won't be any artwork on the 851N display.

    B) Connecting a HDD or USB stick to one of the regular USB ports on 851N, which will then act as both player & DAC. Metadata support is limited so this method is much less powerful with a big music library than using method A or C. As with method A, you have no use of Asset UPnP or the StreamMagic app - but you can use the remote to browse your music.

    C) Connecting the laptop via network (wired or wireless) to the 851N, which will then act as a network player & DAC. With this method you have the power of a server (Asset UPnP) and a control point (e.g. StreamMagic app or BubbleUPnP app). But you don't need an app as you can use the remote to browse your music.


    Method C is really the intended use of 851N. If you need a control point app they usually require a smart phone or tablet which you don't have. There are very few CPs for Windows. The best one is probably the now retired Asset Control which I think isn't compatible with Cambridge players. Foobar has an old UPnP plugin which is "abandonware" but it's fiddly to say the least.


    If someone has suggestions for a Windows CP please share your thoughts.

  6. #6

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    Re: Potential Asset Use Cases

    Vilsen and simbun &*8211; thanks for your feedback and suggestions, there are several things I can try to keep making progress on my journey.

    I currently have around a dozen CDs ripped and on a USB thumb drive, which plays fine from all three of the non-allocated USB inputs on the 851N. Some of these rips are FLAC and WAVE, the more recent ones are FLAC, only. Both types of files play with no issues.

    Also have the 851N connected to my router via Cat 6 network cable. I have tried plugging my USB thumb drive into the router USB inputs and the 851N sees the drive, catalogs the music folder contents and can play from the drive. As with using the 851N USB inputs, album art is displayed after an album/track has been selected from the displayed list.

    For my Method 1 short term storage of the audio files on my laptop, as Vilsen noted this would use the USB Audio input on the 851N rear panel. Needs an appropriate cable to mate that input. Also from Vilsen&*8217;s input, this approach would need Foobar, which I could download from the Foobar.org website.

    For my Method 2A "connect an external drive to my laptop", would this also require foobar?

    Vilsen&*8217;s method C network approach is something I had not considered but I can see how it is a key element of 851N (Network Player&*8230;.) capability. As noted, this approach could use Asset which would not be a problem except for the control points, or, 851N front panel control. Since control points are a sticking point currently, for this approach I would use 851N front panel control.

    So, my near term plan is to get the cabling and software (foobar) needed to implement suggested approaches which do not need control points, and report back with progress and any issues. Thanks for the suggestions and details, much appreciated!

  7. #7

    Re: Potential Asset Use Cases

    Not sure how much this will help, so please disregard if my setup is too different...I'm using StreamMagic to play music stored on my Mac(ish) desktop, served by Asset, on my Cambridge CXN. StreamMagic is pretty simplistic, there are a lot of usability features they should add, but I've never had any trouble using it without problems. My CXN was never reliable using a wireless network, so I connect it to my home network via CAT-6. Most of my library is FLAC, but there are other assorted formats all of which play fine.

    As mentioned above, I could get by without StreamMagic and just use the browsing features of the CXN, but I have a very large library and it helps to have a larger screen to scroll quickly, so the app on a tablet is important to me.

    I've been very happy for many years with this setup.

  8. #8

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    Re: Potential Asset Use Cases

    Quote Originally Posted by MuseOfOne View Post
    Not sure how much this will help, so please disregard if my setup is too different...I'm using StreamMagic to play music stored on my Mac(ish) desktop, served by Asset, on my Cambridge CXN. StreamMagic is pretty simplistic, there are a lot of usability features they should add, but I've never had any trouble using it without problems. My CXN was never reliable using a wireless network, so I connect it to my home network via CAT-6. Most of my library is FLAC, but there are other assorted formats all of which play fine.

    As mentioned above, I could get by without StreamMagic and just use the browsing features of the CXN, but I have a very large library and it helps to have a larger screen to scroll quickly, so the app on a tablet is important to me.

    I've been very happy for many years with this setup.

    Thanks for sharing your experience using Asset with StreamMagic app running on a tablet, very helpful data point. Reading the Cambridge Audio website reviews of StreamMagic paints a discouraging picture of this app, so your input added some balance. I'll keep the Asset/StreamMagic-tablet solution as a future possibility.

  9. #9
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    Re: Potential Asset Use Cases

    In my view, here's the bottom line of your options with the 851N:

    With your "dozen CDs" there's no point using laptop/Asset/network/StreamMagic or laptop/foobar/USB-Audio. A tiny library like that is easily handled by the 851N itself, especially if you don't make use of metadata. So you can just connect your external HDD or USB stick directly to 851N and select your music with the remote control or the front panel buttons.

    With your "couple hundred CDs" it's better to use laptop/Asset/network. Then you can tag your music files with metadata which Asset reads so you can browse by genre, year, composer, country, rating - or whatever custom tag you like. You can still use the remote control or the front panel buttons, but also have the option to use a CP like StreamMagic or BubbleUPnP (the latter offering more features).

    You could use laptop/foobar/USB-Audio and still make use of tags, but I think that's an awkward setup for a network player. You would be limited to laptop/foobar for browsing & playing, so you couldn't use a CP nor the remote & front panel buttons on 851N. And there would be no album art on the 851N front panel.

  10. #10

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    Re: Potential Asset Use Cases

    Quote Originally Posted by vilsen View Post
    In my view, here's the bottom line of your options with the 851N:

    With your "dozen CDs" there's no point using laptop/Asset/network/StreamMagic or laptop/foobar/USB-Audio. A tiny library like that is easily handled by the 851N itself, especially if you don't make use of metadata. So you can just connect your external HDD or USB stick directly to 851N and select your music with the remote control or the front panel buttons.


    Vilsen
    Thanks for the additional thoughts, I am very much learning as I go with ripping CDs and devising a method to play the files. A bit of a learning curve, though, and inputs from the folks on these dBpa forums are helping me move forward one step at a time.

    I am connecting USB memory stick directly to an 851N USB input for now, using front panel control and remote.

    Clarification on the number of CDs mentioned in earlier post. I have around 150 to 200 CDs and Hybrid SACDs combined, best guess around 35 or 40 Hybrid SACDs, so I will be ripping the Red Book layer from those. Eventually, using the 851N front panel for navigation of all those CDs and tracks will become a bit tedious, so having the options you and others have suggested is great. For now, I have tried to resist the temptation to start ripping all of the discs until I have had a chance to make some mistakes and/or fine tune the ripping and cataloging process on a small group of a dozen or so discs. This is working well, except that I keep adding just one more, so the small group has been expanding slowly.



    With your "couple hundred CDs" it's better to use laptop/Asset/network. Then you can tag your music files with metadata which Asset reads so you can browse by genre, year, composer, country, rating - or whatever custom tag you like. You can still use the remote control or the front panel buttons, but also have the option to use a CP like StreamMagic or BubbleUPnP (the latter offering more features).

    Metadata is one thing I am fine tuning for my early rips using CD Ripper.

    I am also taking a fresh look at tablets to define technical requirements and how they fit into tablets price structure, and my budget. My laptop is a Windows machine, I have no Android devices and would not plan to enter the Apple product line. Would the control point apps (StreamMagic or BubbleUPnP) run equally well on an Android or Windows tablet? Are these apps processor and/or memory intensive, or would a mid or lower end tablet be acceptable?



    You could use laptop/foobar/USB-Audio and still make use of tags, but I think that's an awkward setup for a network player. You would be limited to laptop/foobar for browsing & playing, so you couldn't use a CP nor the remote & front panel buttons on 851N. And there would be no album art on the 851N front panel.
    Good points. Holding off on the foobar approach, planning to look into BubbleUPnP.

    Thanks again

  11. #11
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    Re: Potential Asset Use Cases

    Quote Originally Posted by bettersound99 View Post
    Good points. Holding off on the foobar approach, planning to look into BubbleUPnP
    AssetUPnP/MinimServer with the BubbleUPnP control point and BubbleUPnP server (for openhome functionality) is the gold standard if you want to play your music across multiple devices (it's what I use), but it obviously means buying an android tablet (although I believe Windows 11 will work with it) and server software, and whilst if you went the foobar route you won't have any metadata/album art on the front panel, I don't think you'll be losing much as there are some absolutely beautiful skins that'll trump any UPnP control point.

    Either way, you're not tied to anything so just have fun exploring.

  12. #12
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    Re: Potential Asset Use Cases

    Quote Originally Posted by bettersound99 View Post
    I am also taking a fresh look at tablets to define technical requirements and how they fit into tablets price structure, and my budget. My laptop is a Windows machine, I have no Android devices and would not plan to enter the Apple product line. Would the control point apps (StreamMagic or BubbleUPnP) run equally well on an Android or Windows tablet?
    Your question was hidden in your quote so I didn't see it at first. I don't think that StreamMagic or BubbleUPnP has Windows versions, so you are limited to Android or Apple products. I think your plan to not enter the Apple product line is a great decision, you would be locked-in for life... Thats's their business strategy...

    There are some alternatives to a tablet though. If your 851N is positioned next to your TV, some of them have Android in-built, if so you could install StreamMagic or BubbleUPnP there, using your big TV screen to enjoy album art. I could be fiddly though, as Android for TV isn't the same as Android for phone. I haven't tested this myself, but I think it's doable.

    Likewise, if you have an Android TV-based media streamer like Nvidia Shield it would be possible to install StreamMagic or BubbleUPnP there. But again, it could be fiddly.

    Quote Originally Posted by bettersound99 View Post
    Are these apps processor and/or memory intensive, or would a mid or lower end tablet be acceptable?
    I'm not sure. But I think those CP's work ok on most new phones - don't know if tablets have similar performance. Scrolling pictures is resource heavy I think. Maybe someone else can chime in on this.
    Last edited by vilsen; 02-02-2023 at 06:13 PM.

  13. #13
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    Re: Potential Asset Use Cases

    Quote Originally Posted by vilsen View Post
    There are some alternatives to a tablet though. If your 851N is positioned next to your TV, some of them have Android in-built, if so you could install StreamMagic or BubbleUPnP there, using your big TV screen to enjoy album art. I could be fiddly though, as Android for TV isn't the same as Android for phone. I haven't tested this myself, but I think it's doable.

    Likewise, if you have an Android TV-based media streamer like Nvidia Shield it would be possible to install StreamMagic or BubbleUPnP there. But again, it could be fiddly.
    Neither BubbleUPnP, Hi-Fi Cast or StreamMagic will install on the Nvidia Shield. I assume that applies to all Google TV devices but I don't know that for sure.

    I brought a cheap tablet a year or two ago (Samsung Galaxy tab A7) mainly to see if I'd make use of one, which I don't, but it's certainly capable of running BubbleUPnP once all the images are cached. The rest of the system is a bit slow so you'll obviously get a better experience by spending a little more, but it'll get you started.
    I actually prefer the browsing experience on a phone. Whilst it may be a little small (especially if you want to browse your albums in a grid layout) you can't go wrong with the Pixel 6a.

  14. #14
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    Re: Potential Asset Use Cases

    Quote Originally Posted by simbun View Post
    Neither BubbleUPnP, Hi-Fi Cast or StreamMagic will install on the Nvidia Shield.
    Are you sure it won't work even with an apk?

  15. #15
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    Re: Potential Asset Use Cases

    Quote Originally Posted by vilsen View Post
    Are you sure it won't work even with an apk?
    I hadn't considered sideloading because you'd need to register the app to remove the trial restrictions.

    I just tried with Hi-Fi Cast and whilst it seemed to install ok, it failed to open.

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