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Media Players for Multi-channel Audio and Music Video

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atrocity

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I did try out JRiver for a while. I found a plethora of problems with it, not the least of it was not having a decent 10' interface, and even worse, it has little to nothing to offer with respect to lyrics presentation. Both of those items are very important to me. Kodi has a great 10' interface (especially with the skin treatment outlined by Garry elsewhere on this board) and a lyrics presentation that is decent (but could be improved). You would think that a paid product like JRiver would have an edge over a freeware product like Kodi, but I found it to be the complete opposite.
Given that the free and open source Logitech Media Server is the greatest thing ever invented, I'm not surprised. I paid for JRiver and almost never use it. It's not awful, but it has some stupid quirks. They may well have been fixed by now but I don't feel any great compulsion to pay to update.
 

quicksrt

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Given that the free and open source Logitech Media Server is the greatest thing ever invented, I'm not surprised. I paid for JRiver and almost never use it. It's not awful, but it has some stupid quirks. They may well have been fixed by now but I don't feel any great compulsion to pay to update.
Logitech Media Server? I think I have a mouse that say Logitech on it??? Never heard of this. But you are saying iit is better than JRiver for your needs?
 

atrocity

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Logitech Media Server? I think I have a mouse that say Logitech on it??? Never heard of this. But you are saying iit is better than JRiver for your needs?
Yes, it's the same Logitech. They bought a company called Slim Devices that had created a nice networked music player known as the Squeezebox. They hung onto it for a few years and built some nice new hardware before abandoning it because while it was profitable it was apparently not profitable enough. But they still have a developer devoted to the software and there are quite a few options out there for use as players even though it's been years since Logitech sold dedicated hardware. The Raspberry Pi is probably the least expensive and best supported.

It's a fantastic architecture with one serious flaw: It's 2-channel only (though that includes DTS and AC-3 in a FLAC container). It will play pretty much any file you throw at it, is gapless, easy to use, reliable, etc. My current library is 101,382 tracks and is a mix of CD quality, high-rez up to 192k, AC-3 and DTS and it all just works. But for multichannel FLAC you'll need something else. I have yet to see anything multichannel friendly that comes anywhere near the flexibility of LMS, sadly.
 

quattroatl

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Yes, it's the same Logitech. They bought a company called Slim Devices that had created a nice networked music player known as the Squeezebox. They hung onto it for a few years and built some nice new hardware before abandoning it because while it was profitable it was apparently not profitable enough. But they still have a developer devoted to the software and there are quite a few options out there for use as players even though it's been years since Logitech sold dedicated hardware. The Raspberry Pi is probably the least expensive and best supported.

It's a fantastic architecture with one serious flaw: It's 2-channel only (though that includes DTS and AC-3 in a FLAC container). It will play pretty much any file you throw at it, is gapless, easy to use, reliable, etc. My current library is 101,382 tracks and is a mix of CD quality, high-rez up to 192k, AC-3 and DTS and it all just works. But for multichannel FLAC you'll need something else. I have yet to see anything multichannel friendly that comes anywhere near the flexibility of LMS, sadly.
I use SPMC (a Kodi fork) through Amazon Fire TV to play all my movies and music. It even plays 5.1 flac files perfectly over network. SPMC does a much better job with DTS passthrough and multichannel files than Kodi on Fire TV.
 

HomerJAU

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I got a promo email from DVDFab about this new unit:

http://www.dvdfab.cn/movie-server.htm

It seems pretty inexpensive. Anyone else see this? Any thoughts?
I've used DVDFab quite a bit. Its quite a lot faster the MakeMKV when decrypting a BD to ISO or folder image (around twice as fast from tests I did a few years back)

If you are planning on doing lots of BDs then I'd recommend it (save around 10 - 15 minutes per disc). I think DVDFab had a 30 day trial version so you could test it out.
 

HomerJAU

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I use SPMC (a Kodi fork) through Amazon Fire TV to play all my movies and music. It even plays 5.1 flac files perfectly over network. SPMC does a much better job with DTS passthrough and multichannel files than Kodi on Fire TV.
SPMC (a Kodi fork for Android) solves some MCH audio issues such as DTS passthrough on (mainly older) hardware running Android and is pretty much the recommended 'Kodi' for many Android devices from what I've read..
 

Robert van Diggele

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Yes, it's the same Logitech. They bought a company called Slim Devices that had created a nice networked music player known as the Squeezebox. They hung onto it for a few years and built some nice new hardware before abandoning it because while it was profitable it was apparently not profitable enough. But they still have a developer devoted to the software and there are quite a few options out there for use as players even though it's been years since Logitech sold dedicated hardware. The Raspberry Pi is probably the least expensive and best supported.

It's a fantastic architecture with one serious flaw: It's 2-channel only (though that includes DTS and AC-3 in a FLAC container). It will play pretty much any file you throw at it, is gapless, easy to use, reliable, etc. My current library is 101,382 tracks and is a mix of CD quality, high-rez up to 192k, AC-3 and DTS and it all just works. But for multichannel FLAC you'll need something else. I have yet to see anything multichannel friendly that comes anywhere near the flexibility of LMS, sadly.
Using the DLNA bridge should give you the possibility to play multichannel flac to a DLNA player with iPeng for example. It worked with my Oppo 105. No gapless, but that is a limitation of the Oppo 105.
 

SMS

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Yes, it's the same Logitech. They bought a company called Slim Devices that had created a nice networked music player known as the Squeezebox. They hung onto it for a few years and built some nice new hardware before abandoning it because while it was profitable it was apparently not profitable enough. But they still have a developer devoted to the software and there are quite a few options out there for use as players even though it's been years since Logitech sold dedicated hardware. The Raspberry Pi is probably the least expensive and best supported.

It's a fantastic architecture with one serious flaw: It's 2-channel only (though that includes DTS and AC-3 in a FLAC container). It will play pretty much any file you throw at it, is gapless, easy to use, reliable, etc. My current library is 101,382 tracks and is a mix of CD quality, high-rez up to 192k, AC-3 and DTS and it all just works. But for multichannel FLAC you'll need something else. I have yet to see anything multichannel friendly that comes anywhere near the flexibility of LMS, sadly.
I use LMS as well and have for years! Love it! By installing 3rd party plugins, you can stream Spotify (and other similar services) through it. It can be controlled by your phone or tablet through one of many apps available in Google Play or the Apple store. I personally use either Squeeze Commander or Squeeze Ctrl in Google Play.

What do you use to run the server? I use an old desktop PC that runs 24-7, and has for the last decade. I worry it is nearing EOL, and am looking for a new solution. Some NAS hardware used to run LMS, but most newer NASs do not. I read about raspberry-PI or Odroid hardware running LMS, but I worry that wouldn't handle a large collection like mine (and yours). Any suggestions? Thanks!
 

milt

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I got a promo email from DVDFab about this new unit:

http://www.dvdfab.cn/movie-server.htm

It seems pretty inexpensive. Anyone else see this? Any thoughts?
On the face of it Jon, this looks like a really nice piece of gear at a fantastic price, especially the pre-order price.
I have 2 questions:
Does it support a NAS via the ethernet connection or is it strictly limited to the internal HD?
Maybe I missed it, but what about firmware updates?

I've been a DVDFab for a long time, like since 2000ish and their business model and updates are excellent.
Lifetime license & regular updates.
 

HomerJAU

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I've used DVDFab quite a bit. Its quite a lot faster the MakeMKV when decrypting a BD to ISO or folder image (around twice as fast from tests I did a few years back)

If you are planning on doing lots of BDs then I'd recommend it (save around 10 - 15 minutes per disc). I think DVDFab had a 30 day trial version so you could test it out.
Apologies Jon I didn't view the link you gave in my last reply.

I don't know what this DVDFab box is but I wouldn't buy it until you see reviews. Many new devices suffer from issues especially related to MCH audio playback, DTS passthrough, and MCH with an Android operating system (not sure if it uses Android) etc. There are cheaper boxes that work perfectly for MCH audio.

It does look interesting (especially the internal hard drive which may suit some non-technical users planning on storing audio only)
 

HomerJAU

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On the face of it Jon, this looks like a really nice piece of gear at a fantastic price, especially the pre-order price.
I have 2 questions:
Does it support a NAS via the ethernet connection or is it strictly limited to the internal HD?
Maybe I missed it, but what about firmware updates?

I've been a DVDFab for a long time, like since 2000ish and their business model and updates are excellent.
Lifetime license & regular updates.
I'm sure it will support media playback over ethernet or wifi. (But there's no mention of FLAC or MCH FLAC).
 

atrocity

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What do you use to run the server? I use an old desktop PC that runs 24-7, and has for the last decade. I worry it is nearing EOL, and am looking for a new solution. Some NAS hardware used to run LMS, but most newer NASs do not. I read about raspberry-PI or Odroid hardware running LMS, but I worry that wouldn't handle a large collection like mine (and yours). Any suggestions? Thanks!
Because I'm completely insane, I run multiple servers on different devices. I've got several Wandboards and Raspberry Pis as well as an Acer nettop and they all work. My primary server is one of the newer RPs (I think it's a 3...) and it handles the large library just fine.

One bit of advice I have for those tiny computers that run from microSD cards is to invest in one of the allegedly high-endurance cards and buy a much larger size than you need. I've started using 32GB Transcend high endurance cards in the hope that the inherent longer life combined with (I hope!) wear-leveling will make them last much longer. The biggest issue I've had with the tiny computers isn't the boxes themselves, it's that the microSD cards are fragile. The server will usually work fine with only an 8GB card, but the same areas get rewritten over and over and eventually they just give out.
 

atrocity

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I use SPMC (a Kodi fork) through Amazon Fire TV to play all my movies and music. It even plays 5.1 flac files perfectly over network. SPMC does a much better job with DTS passthrough and multichannel files than Kodi on Fire TV.
I just looked at the price and I'm VERY intrigued. Is playback reliably gapless? Have you had any issues with HDMI? Does it downrez everything to 48k? (Not that I'd really mind, just curious.)

I've run Kodi on several different generations of Raspberry Pi as well as on a Cubox i4Pro and always, ALWAYS have issues with HDMI dropouts when playing multichannel FLAC. I've never been sure if the problem is the Pi itself (my trouble doesn't seem to be universal) or some incompatible HDMI implementation in my Onkyo receivers.
 

quattroatl

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I just looked at the price and I'm VERY intrigued. Is playback reliably gapless? Have you had any issues with HDMI? Does it downrez everything to 48k? (Not that I'd really mind, just curious.)

I've run Kodi on several different generations of Raspberry Pi as well as on a Cubox i4Pro and always, ALWAYS have issues with HDMI dropouts when playing multichannel FLAC. I've never been sure if the problem is the Pi itself (my trouble doesn't seem to be universal) or some incompatible HDMI implementation in my Onkyo receivers.
I have zero hdmi issues with my two Fire TV (Gen1's), and one Fire TV 2. Unless the file is DTS 24bit/96kHz, all files are down-sampled to 48kHz. DTS 24bit/96kHz files are sent raw bitstream passthrough to both my Denon AVR4520 and Denon AVR3310 perfectly. DTS Master and Dolby TrueHD are software transcoded to PCM 48kHz.

I only have a handful of multichannel sacd's and dvd-a's ripped to flac on my Imac, but they all play perfect through SPMC. I use Plex Media server and PS3 Media server to serve up the media files for dlna access.


I use NETGEAR Nighthawk X4S as my router which is located in my upstairs bedroom. The Imac server is wireless on the main floor. Two floors down in my basement is the Netgear R6300 router setup as a bridge. It has my Oppo 93 and Fire TV 2 connected to it via wired ethernet. I can even "stream" 1080p mkv files with DTS Master audio without a hitch through the OPPO 93 and PS3 Media Server via dlna. Not bad!

SPMC does a wonderful job playing all the files without a hitch. As far as gapless playback is concerned, I have no idea. I have never cared enough too much about gapless playback to even check.

I am still hoping that one day someone can figure out how to play sacd iso files via dlna or another method. Foobar is a great windows program, but it's just not for me.
 

SMS

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Because I'm completely insane, I run multiple servers on different devices. I've got several Wandboards and Raspberry Pis as well as an Acer nettop and they all work. My primary server is one of the newer RPs (I think it's a 3...) and it handles the large library just fine.

One bit of advice I have for those tiny computers that run from microSD cards is to invest in one of the allegedly high-endurance cards and buy a much larger size than you need. I've started using 32GB Transcend high endurance cards in the hope that the inherent longer life combined with (I hope!) wear-leveling will make them last much longer. The biggest issue I've had with the tiny computers isn't the boxes themselves, it's that the microSD cards are fragile. The server will usually work fine with only an 8GB card, but the same areas get rewritten over and over and eventually they just give out.
Thanks for the response atrocity!

Where is your library actually stored while LMS is running on the Raspberry Pi? It it attached to the Pi through USB, or is the library on network storage?
 

atrocity

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SPMC does a wonderful job playing all the files without a hitch. As far as gapless playback is concerned, I have no idea. I have never cared enough too much about gapless playback to even check.
Thank you for the information. Looks like there's a new FireTV coming in a few days and for now it's not possible to buy one.

In the meantime, I've started the tedious process of converting my single-track DVD-A rips into single files with cue sheets because that seems to work great with the Oppo 105. Maybe some day I'll figure out how to do the same with SACD rips.
 

atrocity

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Where is your library actually stored while LMS is running on the Raspberry Pi? It it attached to the Pi through USB, or is the library on network storage?
Everything is on NASes. Anything the Squeezebox stuff reads is stored on a 6TB drive that's backed up to two different 8TB drives. That allows the same music to easily be accessed by multiple servers/players and lets by backup routine run on computers that aren't also running LMS or Squeezelite.

I've found that running multiple servers is convenient with a huge library. I can have one rescan the library while another plays without the interruptions that a library rescan can cause. I also have one dedicated to overnight use that plays previously-unplayed albums (well, unplayed by that server!) while I sleep.
 

quicksrt

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Everything is on NASes. Anything the Squeezebox stuff reads is stored on a 6TB drive that's backed up to two different 8TB drives. That allows the same music to easily be accessed by multiple servers/players and lets by backup routine run on computers that aren't also running LMS or Squeezelite.

I've found that running multiple servers is convenient with a huge library. I can have one rescan the library while another plays without the interruptions that a library rescan can cause. I also have one dedicated to overnight use that plays previously-unplayed albums (well, unplayed by that server!) while I sleep.
What is the purpose of this? Maybe to break in those bits of ones and zeros?
 
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