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pzwief

Headless Computer Audio without Internet

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I've got a cabin "up north" where there's no reliable internet.  I've got a conventional analog stereo, an external usb hard drive with my music on it, and an iphone & ipad.  I'm looking for a box that would link my hard drive to my analog stereo, allow me to control it with an iphone/ipad via bluetooth & without internet.  Does such a device exist?  

 

Thanks. 

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Assuming you’re not looking for serious sound quality, I’d use a Raspberry Pi. You can load any music player you like (Google it - there are at least 20), plug your USB drive into the Pi, and use its analog output to drive a line input on your stereo. Control it with your iStuff - Pis have built-in Bluetooth and WiFi for that connection. You only need an internet connection to download and set up the Pi.

 

The Raspian OS comes with VLC player now, as I recall. It’s pretty good for basic music playback and management, so you don’t even need an additional player unless you prefer the look and feel of Volumio, Rune, etc to VLC. Any such player will sound the same through the analog output - and that’s not bad at all.

 

You’ll need to put the appropriate remote app on your iStuff for the player you choose.

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I’m researching this, as I may be wrong. I can’t find a remote app that will control a player via BT or a direct WiFi link without a WLAN.

 

Apple used to sell a camera connection kit that could connect a USB drive to an iPhone or iPad. If it’s still available, you could use an iThing as the player with your drive as the file source.

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Any old router will do this without requiring a connection to the internet. All you would need is a streamer of some sort to control the audio, but you can control network devices on a local network without an internet connection easily.

 

How much do you want to spend for the box?

 

edit: If you have a Mac mini you may be able to do this by just sharing its wifi...  Hmmm, I've never tried.


“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be One.” – Marcus Aurelius

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Thus far you've been very spare on details.  Cabin up North could imply large second home with floorstanding speakers in commodious listening room or much simpler needs and desires. 

 

Smaller and simpler in acoustically challenged room would push me towards all in one solution within desired budget.  Forgoing HDD and older stereo equipment.  More outlets and better sound... a more robust streaming solution as mentioned above.

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6 hours ago, AudioDoctor said:

If you have a Mac mini you may be able to do this by just sharing its wifi...  Hmmm, I've never tried.

 

That was my thought. But I was unable to get VLC on a Pi to hook up to my iPad directly by WiFi. I’m still playing with it, but so far it only works using a wireless router to create a WLAN to which both are connected. Bluetooth was equally unsuccessful.

 

Adding a cheap wireless router is probably the simplest solution. Set up a $35 Pi and control it from iThings.

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2 hours ago, bluesman said:

 

That was my thought. But I was unable to get VLC on a Pi to hook up to my iPad directly by WiFi. I’m still playing with it, but so far it only works using a wireless router to create a WLAN to which both are connected. Bluetooth was equally unsuccessful.

 

Adding a cheap wireless router is probably the simplest solution. Set up a $35 Pi and control it from iThings.

 

Did you have a Mac computer in the middle? A long time ago, and what seems like another lifetime, I used my MacBook (PPC cpu and all) to share our internet connection when our house router went bad until we got a new one.

 

Michigan kids are very ornery when they can't get their homework finished even though none of it was online back then...


“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be One.” – Marcus Aurelius

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I do have a Sonos connect, but I’ve given up on it, due to poor Internet connection.   There’s a router upstairs with a Sonos boost connected to it. The Sonos connect is downstairs And connects wirelessly to the boost.

 

It sounds like I could simply get an inexpensive router and ethernet cable it to the Sonos connect and things should work even with out Internet?

 

Thanks. 

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2 hours ago, AudioDoctor said:

 

Did you have a Mac computer in the middle? A long time ago, and what seems like another lifetime, I used my MacBook (PPC cpu and all) to share our internet connection when our house router went bad until we got a new one.

 

I haven't had a hardware Mac since 1998 when I went to business school & had to switch to a PC laptop.  I run MacOS 14 on VMware from Linux boxes when I need to do something Mac-ish.   Apples could be set up as a kind of WLAN back in the day using the Internet & Wireless-Sharing menu.  Here's a link to the instructions.  It would work as a WLAN router even without an internet connection.  There's a similar function in today's Macs - here's a link to the how-to.

 

1 hour ago, pzwief said:

I do have a Sonos connect, but I’ve given up on it, due to poor Internet connection.   There’s a router upstairs with a Sonos boost connected to it. The Sonos connect is downstairs And connects wirelessly to the boost.

 

It sounds like I could simply get an inexpensive router and ethernet cable it to the Sonos connect and things should work even with out Internet?

 

As I recall, the Sonos Connect has to be on a wired LAN - it does not incorporate an internal router and can't function as one.  But you may be able to use your iPhone (or iPad, if it has cellular capability - this won't work on  a Wifi-only version), depending on which model you have.  Make sure cellular data is turned on and activate the hotspot.  It will display a password you can use to log other devices onto it. Connect a Raspberry Pi to the hotspot, connect your USB drive to the Pi, and you should be able to connect to and control the player from the iDevice if your model supports this.

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3 hours ago, bluesman said:

I haven't had a hardware Mac since 1998 when I went to business school & had to switch to a PC laptop.  I run MacOS 14 on VMware from Linux boxes when I need to do something Mac-ish.   Apples could be set up as a kind of WLAN back in the day using the Internet & Wireless-Sharing menu.  Here's a link to the instructions.  It would work as a WLAN router even without an internet connection.  There's a similar function in today's Macs - here's a link to the how-to.

 

I know how to do it. If you didn't have a router in the middle between your Pi and your iPad that's why it didn't work. That's what I was getting at. The Pi would need that router like functionality. I know nothing about the Pi, but the lack of a Mac/Router is why it isn't working. I think you know that and we are telling each other the same thing though.

 

So, I'll go listen to some good blues.


“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be One.” – Marcus Aurelius

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2 hours ago, AudioDoctor said:

I know how to do it. If you didn't have a router in the middle between your Pi and your iPad that's why it didn't work.

 

A router is not necessary.  There is a way to use the Raspbery Pi as a Wifi router and the good news is that my original answer is correct after all - I KNEW I'd done this before.  I found the instructions I was looking for HERE!  It's been a while since I did it (the linked web page is 6 years old) and I simply forgot how.  And when I did it before, Pis did not yet have onboard Wifi and therefore required a USB network adapter.

 

Now that Pis have onboard Wifi, the USB adapter is not necessary. You have to install two packages: isc-dhcp-server and hostapd, but it's pretty straightforward overall.  By following the linked instructions, you will be able to network an iPad and/or iPhone with the Pi, so you can control a music player.  As I stated before, VLC is a pretty good player.  Assuming the OP intends to use the Pi's onboard DAC and drive his stereo system with the analog output, no other player will sound any better.  The only reason to install another player would be personal preference for look, feel, and library management.

 

So, in summary, I'd buy a $35 Raspberry Pi and run the bone stock Raspbian OS on it. Plug the USB drive with the music files directly into the Pi and plug the analog audio output of the Pi into the line ("aux")  input of the stereo system.  Set up the Pi as a Wifi router per the above instructions, and use the remote app of choice on the iPad or iPhone to control the player.  No muss, no fuss, no hassles!

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Alright, I don't mind admitting when I am wrong. I don't know anything about the Pi.


“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be One.” – Marcus Aurelius

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On 6/18/2019 at 11:21 PM, pzwief said:

I've got a cabin "up north" where there's no reliable internet.  I've got a conventional analog stereo, an external usb hard drive with my music on it, and an iphone & ipad.  I'm looking for a box that would link my hard drive to my analog stereo, allow me to control it with an iphone/ipad via bluetooth & without internet.  Does such a device exist?  

 

Thanks. 

 

The Lumin D2 is one of the best out of the box solutions out there
http://www.luminmusic.com/lumin-d2.html

 

Will connect seamlessly to your USB drive and comes with a very good iOS app.

 

 

.


Win10 Transport + Fidelizer 8 + JRMC 25 & HQPlayer | TotalDAC D1 USB Filter | Job INT | Western Electric 12GA | Green Mountain Audio Eos HX

 

 

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Since Lumin is mentioned I'd like to provide some info on whether internet is required.

 

Internet is not required if internet firmware upgrade, Tidal, Qobuz, and TuneIn internet radio features are not to be used.

 

However, a local WiFi network is always required.  A Lumin setup requires a WiFi router.  The iPad (running Lumin app) connects to its WiFi.  The Lumin connects to the router via a network cable.

 

Lumin does not currently support Bluetooth.


Peter Lie

LUMIN Firmware Lead

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If you're willing to load your music files on your tablet or phone, then you could purchase an inexpensive UPnP/DLNA streamer with built-in DAC (perhaps something like the Arcam rDAC). You would connect the analog output of the streamer to your stereo.  And you would connect the streamer to your network by WiFi or ethernet.  Then you can control the streamer with an iOS device (using the mconnect app) or an Android device (with the USB Audio Player Pro app).  

 

If you want to leave the music files on the external USB hard drive, things are a little more complicated. The easiest way to do it then would be to use a proprietary solution, like the Lumin streamer and the Lumin app for iOS (I don't think they have one for Android) as mentioned by @wklie above.  I believe you can plug the USB drive into the Lumin streamer  Perhaps @wklie can confirm?

 

Also, you can find a similar solution from Auralic.

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Yes, you can simply plug in a USB storage device to a Lumin.  For a larger library running the freeware MinimServer on a computer or NAS is preferred, as it offers better browsing speed and more artist / album views.

 

Lumin app is available on Android but the iOS version is more mature.  Lumin is OpenHome compliant so it's also possible to use other Android apps including Linn Kazoo and Bubble DS Next to control a Lumin player.


Peter Lie

LUMIN Firmware Lead

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Short answer is "yes".

Longer answer is that a lot of these solutions others are giving you _could_ work without "internet" you're probably still going to run into problems. Before you even get into solving your music request the network needs to be functional and stable without it being connected to the internet. 

 

For example, most devices get their address from a DHCP server. This is pre-configured on most consumer routers. You generally never have to think about it. You buy a router, you plug in into the Internet, it boots, it verifies the Internet is there, and it starts handing out addresses using its internal DHCP server to all your devices. Some of these devices won't hand out an address if the Internet never shows up. Then you have to figure out name resolution (maybe). Doable without the Internet absolutely. You can even statically configure addresses on everything and there is no need for DHCP. But, both require at least a basic understanding of how IP addressing works. That's a long paragraph basically saying there is a lot to get working before you are at the point you're listening to music.

 

If you have a Mac OSX makes it easy though and it's only a few steps to get an Ad Hoc network running. Look for "how to set up an ad-hoc wifi network on mac". The Delora link looks pretty good to me. This will get your Apple devices talking and most, not all, of your other wifi devices. Some wireless devices will not connect to an adhoc network. Once you've got your apple devices connected I'd stick the HDD on the Mac, plug the Mac into a DAC (USB or optical depending on year of mac), plug the DAC into your stereo, and use Audirvana and the Audirvana remote app on the iPad. Audirvana needs access to the Internet sometimes so it can refresh it's own license so just be aware of that. If you truly have no Internet then you can probably use iTunes and iTunes remote. However, I've not tried the latest version authenticating through anything other than Apple Share which would require access to the Internet at least once.   

 

I, personally, like the Lumin idea others are proposing but that requires a functional wifi network (it may work with an ad hoc network but I cannot identify yes or no specifically). You'd need to find a router that will serve DHCP and be functional without its "WAN" port active. Most do but not all. Certainly test somewhere where you have Internet access before hauling the package up to the cabin. Otherwise the Mac ad hoc network and plugging the HDD into the mac + DAC may be the more straightforward option. Good luck. 

 

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15 hours ago, ipeverywhere said:

Short answer is "yes".

Longer answer is that a lot of these solutions others are giving you _could_ work without "internet" you're probably still going to run into problems. Before you even get into solving your music request the network needs to be functional and stable without it being connected to the internet. 

 

For example, most devices get their address from a DHCP server. This is pre-configured on most consumer routers. You generally never have to think about it. You buy a router, you plug in into the Internet, it boots, it verifies the Internet is there, and it starts handing out addresses using its internal DHCP server to all your devices. Some of these devices won't hand out an address if the Internet never shows up. Then you have to figure out name resolution (maybe). Doable without the Internet absolutely. You can even statically configure addresses on everything and there is no need for DHCP. But, both require at least a basic understanding of how IP addressing works. That's a long paragraph basically saying there is a lot to get working before you are at the point you're listening to music.

 

If you have a Mac OSX makes it easy though and it's only a few steps to get an Ad Hoc network running. Look for "how to set up an ad-hoc wifi network on mac". The Delora link looks pretty good to me. This will get your Apple devices talking and most, not all, of your other wifi devices. Some wireless devices will not connect to an adhoc network. Once you've got your apple devices connected I'd stick the HDD on the Mac, plug the Mac into a DAC (USB or optical depending on year of mac), plug the DAC into your stereo, and use Audirvana and the Audirvana remote app on the iPad. Audirvana needs access to the Internet sometimes so it can refresh it's own license so just be aware of that. If you truly have no Internet then you can probably use iTunes and iTunes remote. However, I've not tried the latest version authenticating through anything other than Apple Share which would require access to the Internet at least once.   

 

I, personally, like the Lumin idea others are proposing but that requires a functional wifi network (it may work with an ad hoc network but I cannot identify yes or no specifically). You'd need to find a router that will serve DHCP and be functional without its "WAN" port active. Most do but not all. Certainly test somewhere where you have Internet access before hauling the package up to the cabin. Otherwise the Mac ad hoc network and plugging the HDD into the mac + DAC may be the more straightforward option. Good luck. 

 

 

"Some of these devices won't hand out an address if the Internet never shows up."

"You'd need to find a router that will serve DHCP and be functional without its "WAN" port active. Most do but not all."

 

The part in bold here is the key.  Every router I ever owned (and I owned many) including those provided by my ISP served DHCP without an internet connection.  So if you know of any routers that won't, it would be better to list them.

 

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