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Media Players 102: Kodi for Multichannel Music Playback (features and hardware)

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ssully

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I downloaded Kodi for 64-bit Windows today, from the Kodi site, so I presume what I got is whatever is the latest.

Just to be clear I'm talking about multichannel 88.2/24 files. I haven't tried any two channel files.

The HDMI devices available are DIRECTSOUND and WASAPI. I have always used WASAPI out with foobar2K, and the mch 88.2/24 files play fine from that.

Kodi doesn't throw an error btw; the file is shown as playing, the progress bar moves, but the output is silence. Mch 94/24 and 48/24 files produce correct sound output.
 
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LuvMyQuad

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I downloaded Kodi for 64-bit Windows today, from the Kodi site, so I presume what I got is whatever is the latest.

Just to be clear I'm talking about multichannel 88.2/24 files. I haven't tried any two channel files.

The HDMI devices available are DIRECTSOUND and WASAPI. I have always used WASAPI out with foobar2K, and the mch 88.2/24 files play fine from that.

Kodi doesn't throw an error btw; the file is shown as playing, the progress bar moves, but the output is silence. Mch 94/24 and 48/24 files produce correct sound output.
Sounds like the correct driver.

I assume you did shut down Kodi and restarted it after you configured it.

Can you play 88.2/24 stereo?
 

LuvMyQuad

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WASAPI: DENON AVR HDMI (I'm paraphrasing, as I'm no longer at home)
WASAPI: default

that's all.

There is a DIRECTSOUND output for the Denon HDMI output too, but that's even worse than the WASAPI device in terms of what 'works' ( I can't even get multichannel from it)


The Kodi settings for audio output ,as I said , are what's in the Wiki page, i.e., these:

Kodi SettingsAVR HDMI (HD Audio)
Audio Output DeviceHDMI
Number of channels7.1
Output configurationBest Match
Stereo upmixDisabled
Normalize levels on downmixDisabled
Resample qualityMedium
Keep audio device alive1 min
Enabled passthroughEnabled
Passthrough output deviceHDMI
Dolby Digital (AC3) capable receiverEnabled
Enabled Dolby Digital transcodingDisabled
DTS capable receiverEnabled
TrueHD capable receiverEnabled
DTS-HD capable receiverEnabled

And as I said, the other multichannel formats I've tried -- 96/24 PCM, bistreamed DTS, bitstreamed DTS 96/24, play fine, as do the 88.2/24 files if I pre-convert them up or down. The fact that the DTS files play indicates bit-perfect output.

What are your settings?
It took me a few days to check, but yes. These are basically the same settings I am using except my system is limited to 5.1, so number of channels is different and both Audio Output Device and Passthrough Output Device is HDMI via my pre/pro.

Any further luck with this?
 

HomerJAU

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I believe so. Mini Display port to HDMI adapters support HDCP so it should be ok. They’re not expensive so worth a try, if you don’t already have one.
 

ssully

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Good news: Kodi plays 88kHz files (stereo & multichannel) when I install and use it on a different Win10 laptop than the one I was using before. (Have no idea why)

Bad news: trying to use kodi with just a Win10 laptop keyboard/touchpad is almost hilariously non-intuitive. Examples:

1) I have a folder of music on my hard drive called 'Surround', containing all my surround files. This folder is part of Kodi's music library as a 'source' . I've tried three times now to make a playlist out of the *entire folder*, using the playlist creation tools, with no success. E.g.
Music-->Categories-->Playlists-->New Playlist--> ??

everything I've tried at '??" fails

2) Kodi likes to hog the entire screen. Sometimes I need to leave kodi to see something in, say, a browser. I have yet to figure out a way to do this without shutting down kodi. (E.g., 'esc' doesn't do it; and there's no 'minimize' icon I can see)

3) Navigating around is...surprising. Kodi really really wants me to use its categories.

4) Kodi doesn't like my tagging; a bunch of files have been categorized into a 'Missing' folder as a result. Bite me, Kodi!

5) Kodi sometimes likes to show a large folder icon with a back arrow in it. Clicking this does not take you back to the last screen; in fact it doesn't do anything.

6) Is there any way to get Kodi to display the sample rate and bit depth of a file it's playing?


FWIW, foobar2k is pretty intuitive; you load your files and it shows everything. Making a playlist out of a folder is simple. You can fancy up the GUI as much as you like, or use it in bare-bones text mode. THere's a minimize icon. You can navigate it easily and intuitively using just a keyboard or touchpad. You can make it display sample rates, bit depths, channel number....though that does require some work in Preferences and a knowledge of metadata syntax.


Kodi sure looks slick but I'm not 100% sold yet , for the reasons noted. Its 'setup' options seem quite limited. The online user manuals seem more geared to video heads. But I'm diving in anyway.
 
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HomerJAU

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You need a mouse or remote control to navigate easily. I couldn't use Kodi with a keyboard...

Music-->Categories-->Playlists-->New Playlist--> ??
I don't use Kodi playlist, is that asking you to enter a new Playlist Name? If you have a smart phone or tablet there;'s free Kodi Remote Control apps that work over your network wifi to control Kodi.

If you select an an album or track you can do a 'long click' (hold click down) until a pop-up menu appears, there's options to play next, add to queque etc

5) Is there any way to get Kodi to display the sample rate and bit depth of a file it's playing?
Change the skin to Aeon Nox Silvo and you'll see the sample rates. System, Interface menu


3) Kodi doesn't like my tagging; a bunch of files have been categorized into a 'Missing' folder as a result. Bite me, Kodi!
Kodi needs AlbumArtist and Artist tags. That's usually the problem.
 

ssully

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Thanks. I changed the skin to Aeon Nox Silvo but I don't see any SR etc info. Delving into the skin configuration/customaiztion menus I don't see an obvious option to show them.. (Skin-->Configure skin-->Customization-->Video & Music Information for exaple, offers no options for Music info)

I also set Display to 'Windowed' which lets me minimize Kodi as needed. (Why that isn't default? My guess is because I am not their target user)
 

quicksrt

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Yeah, I was going to ask what is the draw to Kodi over JRiver, but I think that question has been answered written between the lines of other comments here.

Thank you.
 

steelydave

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2) Kodi likes to hog the entire screen. Sometimes I need to leave kodi to see something in, say, a browser. I have yet to figure out a way to do this without shutting down kodi. (E.g., 'esc' doesn't do it; and there's no 'minimize' icon I can see)
There's a setting somewhere in there, I think it's settings -> system settings -> display, you can change it from the default full-screen to 'windowed' or something like that.

4) Kodi doesn't like my tagging; a bunch of files have been categorized into a 'Missing' folder as a result. Bite me, Kodi!
I had this problem too, and finally figured it out through a process of elimination - my music uses the 'Artist' tag only, or sometimes I will use the 'Album Artist' tag as well, like if I have one artist who used a bunch of names, I'll have the 'Artist' tag as the technically correct name, but then use the 'Album Artist' tag so they'll all group together - for example, for Jimi Hendrix Experience, Band of Gypsys, etc. I add the 'Jimi Hendrix' album artist tag so it all sorts under the name Jimi Hendrix.

ANYWAY, I digress. I had a bunch of artists that I knew were properly tagged showing up in that [MISSING TAG] grouping, even though I knew they were correctly tagged, and tagged using the same software and workflow as everything else I have. So I tried adding 'Album Artist' tags to the affected albums, that didn't solve the problem, I tried removing the 'Artist' tag and ONLY having that 'album artist' tag, that didn't work. So I loaded some of the 'bad' files in to foobar along with some 'good' ones that were sorting properly, and the difference I discovered was that when I was tagging the files via mp3tag using the musicbrainz database, it was adding some extra metadata to the tags that wasn't really visible unless I selected the files, right clicked and picked 'properties' in foobar.

As you can see below, below all the normal tag fields there are a bunch of added ones, in ALL CAPS between < > symbols. I think the only ones actually causing the problem are the <MUSICBRAINZ ALBUM ID> and <MUSICBRAINZ ARTIST ID> lines, but I highlighted all of them, right click, picked 'Remove' and then the 'Apply' button to save the changes. After I did that and updated my Kodi library, all the artists that were in the [MISSING TAG] folder moved to their rightful spots.

1583128872790.png



Bad news: trying to use kodi with just a Win10 laptop keyboard/touchpad is almost hilariously non-intuitive.
I agree to an extent, it seems like a lot of it is geared toward touchscreen interfaces. I've posted about it elsewhere, but there's a really nice freeware Android remote called Kore that will turn your phone or tablet into a fully featured remote for controlling your Kodi. It's very responsive and easy to set up - no idea how it deals with playlists etc. but it makes scrolling through (and finding) individual artists and albums much easier than via the mouse/keyboard method.

I think the benefit of Kodi is primarily to people with large (or huge) media libraries - like me for example, between CD, hirez PCM, needledrops, DSD and SACD rips (not to mention audio bootlegs and quad conversions etc.) I have somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 tracks. Being able to brows by various categories other than simply the artist name makes stumbling upon something interesting much more likely, be it by genre, or year, or whatever. There's a point where no matter how immaculately curated your folder structure is (and mine is so tidy you could eat your dinner off of it) your library gets so huge that you lose track of what you have.

By the same token foobar has its uses - aside from some tagging and DR/replaygain calculations, I use it on my laptop for drag and drop playing when I want to listen to something on headphones and I know exactly what I want. It may be that your library (or way of listening) just suits foobar more. Similarly there are people who swear by JRiver Media Center for the same thing, but by the same token I've seen people who hate JRMC with a passion.


It's my fuzzy recollection that a year or so ago @HomerJAU asked the Kodi people about the possibility of adding a "channels" 'Node' (? I think that's what they're called) that would allow you to basically show only tracks with greater than stereo channels, which would probably eliminate your need for creating a surround playlist. I'm not sure if anything ever came of this, maybe he can advise on the progress. I think for me that's the one major functionality from Kodi that I'm missing at the moment, the ability to browse just my surround content.
 

HomerJAU

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You need Artist and AlbumArtist to get Kodi to work as designed.

It groups albums by AlbumArtist, but you get to view songs by Artist too. This covers tracks that can feature multiple artists on an album. Example, Stevie Nicks - Bella Donna has songs the feature Don Henley and Tom Petty. This album was released as a Stevie Nicks, but in Kodi you can see the Don Henley tracks and Tom Petty track when you look at Don Henley or Tom Petty.

It also covers the typical Various Artists album where most if not all tracks are from different artists, here AlbumArtist is Various Artists and Kodi will show it in an artist called Various Artists.
 

HomerJAU

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It's my fuzzy recollection that a year or so ago @HomerJAU asked the Kodi people about the possibility of adding a "channels" 'Node' (? I think that's what they're called) that would allow you to basically show only tracks with greater than stereo channels, which would probably eliminate your need for creating a surround playlist. I'm not sure if anything ever came of this, maybe he can advise on the progress. I think for me that's the one major functionality from Kodi that I'm missing at the moment, the ability to browse just my surround content.
No news to adding Channels to the filters.

You can filter on keywords in the folder path, I’ve used that to get a music menu node for just ‘Quads’ and ‘Atmos’ albums. You can also have multiple Source root folders and navigate and filter on a Source name. I’ve used that to separate: Surround, Stereo and Penteo Upmixes.
 

HomerJAU

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@steelydan I believe the MusicBrainzAlbumID overrides everything, so if you were like me (and didn’t know this) you may have inadvertently tagged two albums with same MusicBrainzAlbumID, that would cause the two to have all tracks merged into a single album in the Kodi library.

I don’t tag my albums with MusicBrainzAlbumIDs.
 

quicksrt

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JRiver has folks who use its library management tools exclusively. Who might prefer Roon or Foo as a player but not for library. That I found interesting.

I use “Album Artist” tag for the main folder for all Bob Dylan. Artist tag for Bob Dylan & The Band, and Bob Dylan & The Dead. This keeps all these albums (for Dylan variants) in the same folder on drive but shows different artists’ sets on display in Artist pane in JRiver.

Is this the opposite of what everyone else does?
 

steelydave

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Yeah it's not something I consciously did, in fact I didn't know that those <MUSICBRAINZ etc> tags were even added to my metadata until I ran in to this [MISSING TAG] problem.

The only reason I use the musicbrainz database in mp3tag is that it's the easiest of the available metadata providers to use - when I'm tagging anything in future I'll definitely delete all the musicbrainz info as it only seems to cause problems.
 

Ninecats

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I have never used Musicbrainz, as nerdy as it may sound I have always done my own tagging. Just keeping the basic fields and nothing else. The news for me coming to Kodi was the AlbumArtist field, that caused some re-tagging but it was worth it since Kodi now separates the artists from a various artist album (Artist) but the very album is still gathered as one (AlbumArtist).

As a kodi user coming from a media player perspective I can only say that it works like a charm. I can’t speak for computers since I only use my laptop for ripping and tagging.
 

DistantEarth

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I use the Plex addon in Kodi on Nvidia Shield TV. It's ugly but the organizing in Plex is so easy. (Once playing, you can back out to the Kodi interface if you really need to see the bitrate.) PlexKodiConnect would fix everything but I can't get it to work for music. All my video files work as intended... I gotta sit down and try to figure that out one day.
 

albertop

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I'm trying Kodi today, on a Win10 64bit laptop, versus foobar2k which is my default. I configured Kodi as per the last column (AVR HDMI) in this chart. Connection is HDMI to Denon AVR. Kodi output device is WASAPI to the Denon. Tested with various multichannel files and formats

Everything works except for 88.2/24 WAV/FLAC files . Which is a pity since all of my SACD rips are in that format.
When converted to 48/24 or 96/24 , such files work in Kodi. Foobar + WASAPI can play the 88.2/24 files without any fuss. So the issue is with Kodi. Any ideas how to fix, if possible?
I'm late to the party. I've only recently purchased an Intel NUC 10th Gen i5, and I am running Windows 10 64bit on it, with Kodi/Foobar, plus other audio/video software. I'm experiencing the same issue, with the follwing sample rates: 88.2 and 176.4. I've tested both stereo and surround files, with various formats, and am pretty sure the problem lies in the sample rate.

I forgot mentioning I am sending audio to my Denon AVR X6400H via HDMI and WASAPI. Kodi and Foobar can play any format correctly and they map the channels beautifully for 2.0, 4.0, 4.1 (Aqualung), 5.0, 5.1 and 7.1. I can also play DTS-MA and Dolby True HD with no problems. As you reported, ssully, Kodi looks like it's about to play the song, but it freezes with 88.2 and 176.4 files. So, Kodi and Foobar have the same exact behaviour, while VLC allows me to play those sample rates. Funny.

@ssully have you been able to find a fix that doesn't involve using another machine? Cheers
 
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