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iTunes and storing your music files on a central server...


timbo
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Here's something I have been having fun with recently :-)

 

a) One location for iTunes Music Folder on my media server (Windows Home Server in a cupboard)

b) Two computers both with iTunes on them, both looking at the same server for their iTunes Music Folder

c) One location for iTunes Library (.xml/.itl etc) on my media server (Windows Home Server in a cupboard)

b) Two computers, both looking at the same server for their iTunes Library

 

Up until I became the proud owner of my new MacBook all worked well, I used the PC attached to my server via ethernet cable to rip songs in iTunes (both 'Copy files to music folder' and 'Keep iTunes music folder organised' ticked)... brilliant. I used my laptop (attached to my hi-fi in my living room) to play music from iTunes. I also used the desktop PC to play music when I was in the office... great! Obviously you don't load iTunes on both PC's at once, it gets a little upset if it tries to open a library already open on another PC - basic network stuff, and it should be multi-user, but I understand Apple didn't intend for this use so no problem really - I can't be in two places at once anyway :-)

 

Like I say, all was well - then in came my MacBook - shiny, silver (bloody cold to rest your wrists on till it warms up in the morning though! I need a MacBook warmer!:-) and all of a sudden we get the old 'Mac don't like PC' issues (and vice versa!) I can share a central library, but every time I access it on the PC the Mac has to spend around 30 mins (big library) updating itself. Same goes for PC iTunes of course. Checked and this is indeed the standard situation. So, back to drawing board.

 

As I only really 'listen' to music on the laptop and don't rip music to my server from it over wireless network, I devised a plan 'B':

 

a) One location for iTunes Music Folder on my media server (Windows Home Server in a cupboard)

b) Two computers both with iTunes on them, both looking at the same server for their iTunes Music Folder

c) Two locations for iTunes Library (.xml/.itl etc) one on my laptop and one on my desktop

b) Two computers, each looking at their own HD for their own individual iTunes Library

 

Now I simply erased my library on the MacBook then asked iTunes to Add Folder (my whole music folder on the server!) and sat by for quite a while (but not half as long as I had thought!) till it had updated its local library with all my music, including processing album art embedded in the file, and all was well!

 

Now when I add stuff via my desktop to the central library I simply have a smart playlist that find files added 'today' and I then export this. Loading up iTunes on the laptop I then 'Import' that playlist and all my new music is available from my laptop in no time at all (make sure you choose '.xml' to save the exported library as it defaults to '.txt' and that doesn't seem to import).

 

I am a very happy bunny! :-)

 

Of course not quite as happy as I would be if all my dreams came true and I could simply insert a DVD or CD (I have bought and that doesn't need copy protection because I am not stealing it, I just want to access it a different way) into a sexy little box, and that little box ripped the files down to a central server (offering to 'Play', 'Play and Rip' or 'Just Rip') and that little box spoke to my 50" plasma nicely with no borders or squashed faces (computer he like VGA - plasma he like HDMI/DVI!) and output bit perfect 24bit/192 (if I fancied) to my DAC (or my lovely ADM 9.1's :-) and had an interface just like Plex (wow!) but that worked for mere mortals (damn!) - oh do bring it on...perleeze :-)

 

Provisos:

If you fancy implementing something like this there are a couple of provisos..

 

1) It should be absolutely fine to set both 'Copy files to music folder' and 'Keep iTunes music folder organised' on both computers - after all your Laptop should know where your music folder is (on the network) and realise you don't want to move files to a local drive just because you are importing them from a place they already exist...er...well actually that is true - but I found my laptop often didn't mount the network drive in such a way as iTunes could see it straight from boot up, so it reverted to a local folder. So not only do you get those little exclamation marks that go away once you have repeatedly tried to play a file that iTunes knows where it is really - but also you don't want to sit and watch 17gb move locations like I did before I realised what was going on!

 

Secondly, I use Ripstation Micro DS to rip and embed album art in the file so iTunes always has a nice cover to show me. But iTunes doesn't do this... >/rant mode on> please Mr. Jobs, please stop storing album art in millions of little files down hundreds of folder trees on my drive - stick it in the music file itself, it takes up no room and is then available to every bit of software on the planet that might like to display album art - its called 'compatibility' >/rant mode off> :-) - so you might find you have to get album art again for those files you originally ripped with iTunes when you do an update import.

 

Now...I wonder what the new Mac Mini will do about video out compatibility issues...my next project is the complete Mini media centre! :-)

 

 

Tim.

Qobuz -> Auralic Aries Mini -> Chord Mojo DAC -> Heed Obelisk SI -> Mark Audio Pluvia 11 Custom Built  Mass Loaded Transmission Line Speakers

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  • 5 months later...

Any new updates on your system? I want to do pretty much the same thing, central iTunes library, shared by to Macbook Pros, that could feed my DAC and TV......

 

Jeff

 

\"It would be a mistake to demonize any particular philosophy. To do so forces people into entrenched positions and encourages the adoption of unhelpful defensive reactions, thus missing the opportunity for constructive dialog\"[br] - Martin Colloms - stereophile.com

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Not really Jeff - I now use a slightly different approach, keeping only one library on the laptop (as I found I rarely used the PC for music), I also use iTunes on the laptop for ripping (to the server via ethernet wired) and a program called Coverscout for the Mac to insert album art in the files - it takes ages over the network, unusable wireless. I have invested in the ADM sub, but think it is a tad over the top size wise for my room - just took delivery of another sub with a smaller footprint that gets good reviews so looking forward to trying this out :-)

I hear the new Mac Mini is happier with talking to TV's with the new graphics card, but haven't gone any further down this route yet.

 

Tim.

 

Tim.

Qobuz -> Auralic Aries Mini -> Chord Mojo DAC -> Heed Obelisk SI -> Mark Audio Pluvia 11 Custom Built  Mass Loaded Transmission Line Speakers

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