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Masochism and the Linux Music Server


Ned Kelly

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Reading Chris' trials and tribulations when he evaluated Linux as one possible OS for his C.A.P.S. server was a bit like 'deja vu all over again'. As he indicated, although he learnt a hell of a lot after wading through hundreds of forum posts, he eventually abandoned Linux as a viable alternative - audio definitely isnt the only area where enthusiasts go through similar pain only to throw their hands in the air, and its especially annoying when you reach that final hurdle (ok, what you believe to be the final hurdle..) and google returns an exact match on your problem - its a 6 month old forum post from someone with the exact same issue and zero replies. You sigh and go back to vanilla Ubuntu or Windoze, vowing that your days of kernel recompiles and patching source code are behind you.

 

Inevitably, the masochist in you decides that its time for another shot at glory. The prospect of having a computer that has no GUI and the bare minimum of processes required to support audio playback is just too alluring. Small footprint, battery-powered, USB and optical out, very basic requirement for 44.1/96 playback - how hard can it be ?

 

I hope to have an update on Monday morning - just not sure which Monday :)

 

Ned

 

 

 

Just one more headphone and I know I can kick this nasty little habit !

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Voyage-MPD looks interesting - the advantage of a distro like DSL is that it has a large user base, but I may as well start with MPD. Who knows - this might be my lucky weekend - thanks for the tip :)

 

Just one more headphone and I know I can kick this nasty little habit !

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Hi Chris,

 

The 'post with zero replies' isnt the most annoying, IMO - its the post where someone has supplied a (now dead) link to a fix, accompanied by a host of replies indicating that said fix/workaround worked a treat. The wayback machine is a wonderful thing but I'm hoping I wont need it this time.

 

Ned

 

Just one more headphone and I know I can kick this nasty little habit !

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Thanks, Chris - Ubuntu has made me massively lazy :)

 

Just a note that may be of no consequence - installed voyage-mpd on one partition and Xubuntu 10.04 on the second, booted into both and ran top - to my surprise, Xubuntu is only using .5GB of the installed 2GB DDR2 on my Asus N10J, while voyage-mpd is registering over 1.5GB in use. Xubuntu claims to be the 'minimal' version of Ubuntu, granted, but its still running X and a GUI - clearly V-MPD must be running some heavyweight daemons to incur this kind of memory use with nothing beyond a command-line. I read that mpd loads everything into memory to minimise hard-disk usage, but clearly that cant include your entire playlist - will keep digging.

 

Ned

 

Just one more headphone and I know I can kick this nasty little habit !

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OK, I guess I spent too much time flicking between different Linux distros on the new hard drive yesterday - went back and checked 'top' - < .4GB RAM being consumed with mpd running. Weird, but I can definitely live with that. I couldnt get V-MPD running from a USB stick - it copied the files but wouldnt boot - but it would be very interesting to see this installed on something like the C.A.P.S server : personally, I am happy with 'only' 16/44.1 and 24/96, but I accept that wont suit everyone.

 

Until I get something better in the way of kit (Chinese DAC/amp into Grados atm) I wont try to give any listening impressions - even with better gear, I just don't have golden ears that demand hi-rez playback.

 

Viewed purely as an exercise, I see the Voyage-MPD distro as a viable means of setting up a cheap, headless networked music server, but I agree with Chris that command-line Linux isnt for the masses. As I said earlier, distros like Ubuntu tend to make us lazy - I dont even use apt any more, so being left at the command line without utilities like 'lshw' was a bit like standing outside your hotel room in a towel :)

 

(Those with other distros can, of course, install mpd and the various clients which will let you hook up to it - the advantage of V-MPD is the small footprint, making it ideal for that 2-year old machine that you have no further use for)

 

Ned

 

Just one more headphone and I know I can kick this nasty little habit !

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I have just the ticket! It's some place between voyage-mpd and unbuntu and it's called vortexbox! When you make the iso your pretty close to done and it's easy install from that point. It's headless and you can setup the alsa device and control playback via a web gui from any computer on the network. Here are some links in case you want to check it out:

 

http://vortexbox.org/downloads/

http://sonore.us/Sonore-Manual.html

 

Jesus R

www.sonore.us

 

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I just got one of these transports.

 

I am well impressed. It really provides MPD via bnc - for dummies (like me).

 

Have come from MBP/Amarra/Ayre Wave SSD/6Gb and the Auraliti is, IMHO, a significant step forward both in terms of use-ability (codecs, folder view, bnc out etc) but also because of that GREAT MPD sound - so transparent, so dynamic, so clean.

 

Nothing shabby about the bnc from the [email protected] either.

 

This is one seriously under rated/ unknown/ ignored piece of kit.

 

Best Wishes

Andrew

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Thanks for the feedback on that Andrew - if Linux were to take off as any sort of mainstream music server, I'm willing to bet that it would be like Android - people might know the name, but they wouldnt care too much about the internals as long as their phone/whatever worked.

 

Just one more headphone and I know I can kick this nasty little habit !

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It took me about 6 months of fiddling to get Voyage and MPD to work well enough to see if it could be made into a product. Its much easier now since you should not need to compile drivers and other modules to make it work. Punky seems to be actively supporting it on his mail list.

 

I had been working on other Linux media stuff for several years and had learned a lot of tricks and techniques for making things work. Its now stable enough that I can get back to hardware, something I'm much more comfortable with. But the other +/- of Linux is that it changes constantly and quickly. There is no central control on the process so its like managing cats. Grab and hang on. However once it works it will continue to work the same until the circuitry finally fails from old age.

 

Demian Martin

auraliti http://www.auraliti.com

Constellation Audio http://www.constellationaudio.com

NuForce http://www.nuforce.com

Monster Cable http://www.monstercable.com

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Demian, kudos to you for getting off your butt and creating something while many of us seem content to argue the toss re USB-vs-Firewire-vs-Toslink etc. The history of Linux and Open Source is full of people who dragged themselves away from the forums and made something happen, often while many of the keyboard warriors were still intent on proving that 'it cant be done'. If I had to choose two hobbies where people were prone to religious fervour, computing and audio would be at the top of the list - just keep an eye out for villagers with flaming torches :)

 

 

Just one more headphone and I know I can kick this nasty little habit !

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