Jump to content
IGNORED

iTunes remote interface


rom661

Recommended Posts

Hey guys. I looked, but sorry if I missed anything that has already been posted along these lines. If so, please point me in the right direction. Anyone who has read any of my posts, will know that I own a high end music store and believe that is a service to our customers and an opportunity for my business to embrace the idea of a truly high end server. I am making progress along those lines, thanks to the input from people on this forum plus Gordon at Wavelength.

 

My question is about the interface. We sell Escient music servers. They are intended for whole house audio and I won't bore you with the comparisons that we have made, but will just state that they do not compare well sonically to the approaches that are recommended here, either as a server or most definitely as a DAC. However, their GUI, their interface to the user is excellent. Beautiful stuff, very intuitive, looks great.

 

My question is twofold. Is there something that can overlay iTunes that makes it looks more "slick" and what should I consider for a really nice remote ? We sell remotes that are very good, but getting two way communication starts at over a grand. One of my thoughts was the iTouch but frankly I don't completely understand its purpose. I know that it is a mini iPod in some regards but I believe it offers two way communication between the server, in my case a MacBook at present, and the iTouch. I am looking for feedback as to how well it works and also what is necessary for the communication between the two devices. I hope that made sense.

 

Thanks, as always. If I can help with the audio end of things to compensate, please let me know.

 

 

Audio Research DAC8, Mac mini w/8g ram, SSD, Amarra full version, Audio Research REF 5SE Preamp, Sutherland Phd, Ayre V-5, Vandersteen 5A\'s, Audioquest Wild and Redwood cabling, VPI Classic 3 w/Dynavector XX2MkII

Link to comment

Rick - Your first question about the interface is one I have been thinking hard about for a few weeks. People I know who use the Sooloos music server have said even their mother-in-law uses it all the time and she won't even touch a standard CD player. As you know the Sooloos system is an orange compared to the apples we're talking about here (no pun intended). Right now I know of no off the shelf way to provide a better interface for iTunes. It is possible that you could buy a touch screen Mac which would allow the user to scroll with cover flow in a pretty neat fashion. Also, you can snoop around Apple's built-in application Front Row which gives a very slick interface to iTunes, but I think it is more form than function. I'd be very interested to hear if you think your customers would actually prefer Front Row to the iTunes interface. Please let us know. As I said earlier I have been researching for a few weeks and I am continuing to pursue this. I have kind of challenged my self to "build a better Sooloos."

 

On to the remote control question. If you want to stay below the price of the other really nice remotes, the best method is the iPod Touch. I'm not sure if you had a chance to read my series on remtoes. I look at three options from very cheap up to the iPod Touch which is very reasonable. I use the iPod Touch solely as a remote. Sure it has the regular iPod functions, but I have a larger iPod for than. You can get an 8 GB Touch for $300. Use either the application Signal from Alloysoft or Remote Buddy from IOSPIRIT. There is nothing to configure with Signal. Load the app on your Mac and your done. Then on the Touch, open Safari and connect to your Mac. You'll get full cover art and be able to browse you complete library. The Apple interface on the Touch is beyond anything out there today. It is essentially an iPhone without the phone functionality. In addition Apple is going to release the Software Development Kit (SDK) very soon. Once this is out there will be a good number of applications built. I was very skeptical at first, but after using this I will never go back. I do understand what you mean by a really nice remote and I'm familiar with the Crestron units. But, for $300 you'll be pleasantly surprised by this configuration. Feel free to give me a call if you want to chat about this one.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

Link to comment

Chris, that was my first thought and $300 is OK for our application. However, I just got off the phone with Apple's tech support and they assured me it wasn't designed for that and wouldn't work. I went out to buy one for that purpose today and Microcenter told me to forget it as well.

 

So basically this would be like sitting in front of the server, except with the bonus of the touchscreen? That is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks, Apple (sarcasm). And thanks, Chris (serious).

 

Rick

 

Audio Research DAC8, Mac mini w/8g ram, SSD, Amarra full version, Audio Research REF 5SE Preamp, Sutherland Phd, Ayre V-5, Vandersteen 5A\'s, Audioquest Wild and Redwood cabling, VPI Classic 3 w/Dynavector XX2MkII

Link to comment

Hey Rick - Apple and Microcenter are out of it. Apple has to cover their ass and possibly has a vested interest in telling you it wasn't designed for that. With the SDK coming out soon they will probably release the same app or are trying to keep the market free for developers to create apps that they sanction. Microcenter has possibly the worst in store help I have ever seen. The one here in Minneapolis has even worse help in the Mac department.

 

Here is what Apple probably didn't tell you. The iPod Touch has the Safari web browser built-in. Thus anything that works with Safari will work with the Touch (with the exception of flash movies and other small things, but this app is so basic and does work). Signal from Alloysoft is just a web application that runs on your Mac. The Touch only uses the Safari web browser to access a web page served up by the application on your Mac. This is beyond simple seriously. I am even willing to send you mine if you want to try it out. I'm that confident in it and the fact that it will work for the foreseeable future.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

Link to comment

Thanks for the loan offer but your vouching for it is good enough. I may bug you off-site if I have issues if that's OK. I'm curious here, and trying to improve my understanding of the underlying infrastructure; how do the two see one another? Is the Mac a wifi hub and the iTouch logging on to that? I don't really need to understand as long as it works, which it obviously does, but it would be nice to be able to explain it if we end up recommending it.

 

Rick

 

In fairness to the Microcenter here in Kansas City, I have dealt twice with a guy who seemed knowledgable, was interested, and helpful. He was off today and the guy in the Mac department was condscending and incompetent. Bad combination.

 

Audio Research DAC8, Mac mini w/8g ram, SSD, Amarra full version, Audio Research REF 5SE Preamp, Sutherland Phd, Ayre V-5, Vandersteen 5A\'s, Audioquest Wild and Redwood cabling, VPI Classic 3 w/Dynavector XX2MkII

Link to comment

The iPod Touch connects to your wireless network. Both devices have an IP address and communicate through the wireless router. You do have a wireless router don't you :-) The Touch has a very intuitive interface to connect to your wireless network. If there is no security it will connect even easier.

 

Feel free to contact me anytime about this. Once you get rolling with it you'll laugh at how easy it is.

 

Here is a link to the Signal application website.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

Link to comment

Yes to the router. I have a freestanding Airport Extreme located by my PC where the cable modem is located and I believe the MacBook has one as well.

 

Good. I could use a laugh. This seems to be our little discussion so I won't worry about diverting it. I have gotten a little carried away and have about 30GB of music on the laptop. I am going to connect the firewire hard drives soon. I know it would be a piece of cake on a PC to simply move the folders to the new drive. It seems like Gordon warns about messing things up by doing this with iTunes on a Mac. I want everything on one drive. It just seems like that would be more straight forward. I may locate the drives where the cable modem and Airport Extreme are.

 

Rick

 

 

Audio Research DAC8, Mac mini w/8g ram, SSD, Amarra full version, Audio Research REF 5SE Preamp, Sutherland Phd, Ayre V-5, Vandersteen 5A\'s, Audioquest Wild and Redwood cabling, VPI Classic 3 w/Dynavector XX2MkII

Link to comment

Gordon is correct in his warning.

 

A good way to move your music to the external drive is to change the location of your music folder within iTunes and then chose to consolidate your library. iTunes will move everything for you in a manner it prefers. When it is complete you can delete the music in the old folder if you want.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

Link to comment

Hey Rick,

 

I got the same story from two sales folks at the local Apple store. They had no clue what I was even talking about, so I quickly gave up on questioning. Nor, had they ever heard of a Drobo. So they didn't have much knowledge, but their stores look real cool. Go Apple.

 

 

Link to comment

Hey Chris. Everything is up and running and the iTouch is everything you said it would be. You would have to spend a fortune to get that interface in a regular remote, the biggest difference is that it could control all your components, albeit at a huge price differential.

 

I do have one small but significant issue; when I select anything from the iTouch it plays one track and stops. If I select an album, one track and stops, playlist, one track and stops. If I press either arrow key it just stops in mid song. Since it is reflecting iTunes and my iTunes isn't doing that, I'm confused.

 

As always, any feedback would be welcome. I'm being lazy, I haven't tried to get help from Signal yet.

 

Rick

 

Audio Research DAC8, Mac mini w/8g ram, SSD, Amarra full version, Audio Research REF 5SE Preamp, Sutherland Phd, Ayre V-5, Vandersteen 5A\'s, Audioquest Wild and Redwood cabling, VPI Classic 3 w/Dynavector XX2MkII

Link to comment

Hi Rick,

 

I think I responded to you already via email, but I'll post the response here as well for the benefit of others:

 

Signal's media library interface currently works on more of a find and queue up model. The idea is that the user is adding various items to the queue rather than playing just what's visible within in the current group. I've been thinking about modifying this to have an explicit add mode and by default have Signal work more like the iPod application, what do you think of this?

 

In the meantime, you can easily play an album by browsing to or searching for the album and tapping the plus sign next to the album (or artist) name, then select Play Now. This will clear the current queue then add and play all of the tracks in the album. You can queue up whole albums or artists this way as well.

 

Hope that helps, just let me know if you have any further questions.

 

Matt

 

 

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×
×
  • Create New...