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Old 10th September 2009, 04:41 AM   #1
PB2 is offline PB2  United States
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Default FreeNAS - Anyone Tried it as a Music Server?

I've been reading about FreeNAS and it seems to be a good solution for network storage:
http://www.freenas.org/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5S8ixAR4Opo

I'm looking for the ability to put all the itunes music from several systems here on the server and FreeNAS
seems to support this through DAAP music sharing. I'm wondering if anyone has tried this and how well it
worked out. Are there better nearly free solutions?
I have several older systems that I can use here for FreeNAS since it is BSD Unix based and requires very
little processing power, RAM, or disk for the OS. The OS only needs 32MB of disk storage for the image
and could run out of compact flash as is mentioned in the above video. 256 MB of main memory is more than enough.

First requirement is to provide for the consolidation of itunes databases which it can do.

I'd like to have the support for streaming HD audio, 24/96 or 24/192, not sure if DAAP supports this. Need to
read up a bit more. Does not have to be itunes compatible since I'm probably the only one who will upload music in this format.

Low power standby mode, which any reasonable PC should offer.

PC image backups will be done to the server, so there is redundancy there, music and other content would be
backed up to an external drive on the FreeNAS box - probably.

Any suggestions for PC based media players that can handle high res audio? I'm not interested in itunes
for my own system. Any opinions on the following:
Banshee: http://banshee-project.org/
Amarok: http://amarok.kde.org/
MediaMonkey: http://www.mediamonkey.com/information/free/

Pete B.
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Old 10th September 2009, 05:10 AM   #2
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I have good experience with MMS.

http://gainphile.blogspot.com/2008/1...ia-center.html

For Window$ based system I would go with MediaPortal.
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Old 10th September 2009, 10:31 PM   #3
andy_c is offline andy_c  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PB2 View Post
I've been reading about FreeNAS and it seems to be a good solution for network storage:
http://www.freenas.org/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5S8ixAR4Opo
Hi Pete,

I haven't tried FreeNAS, so I can't add anything there. But I thought I'd mention, have you read the Home Theater Computers forum over at AVSForum? There's lots of discussion of various alternatives including FreeNAS there. One of these is an amazing thread, Guide To Building a Media Storage Server. Some of those folks are IT gurus and have come up with some impressive setups.

As far as player software, I'm using WinAmp. The default UI is rather garish. Many folks don't like it because it's a fairly bloated UI. I run it with the Big Bento skin and XP Noir color scheme, which is pretty subdued and easy on the eyes. I have found the UI kind of grows on you. I like the Shoutcast internet radio integration, and run it with a special "hosts" file that gets rid of the Shoutcast ads. To get bit-perfect output, I use the kernel streaming plugin by Steve Monks. I have tried ASIO, which depends on the Otachan ASIO plugin. But I have found this plugin to be buggy when using it with the gapless function, which is a must for me. The problem was occasionally chopped off sound at the beginning or end of a song. All was fine when not using gapless mode.

Is your interest in iTunes because you or someone else has an iPod? WinAmp has a portables interface which is described here under "The Winamp Media Library". I have not used this, so I can't comment on it. But since the program is free, it might be worth trying to see if the iPod support works for you. When you install, you need to make sure to deselect the unnecessary garbage that the WinAmp install gives you options for.
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Old 10th September 2009, 11:36 PM   #4
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I've been using Freenas as a music, movie and file server for almost 2 years. Runs fine on an older P3 mobo. The only time it has gone down is when I've lost power . I've read that other NAS software has faster thruput - never been an issue for me. I don't know about the DAAP thing though- don't even know what it stands for . FLAC and foobar for me.

I just keep my OS on an ancient WD 6gig job.

Free and simple = worth a try!
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Old 18th September 2009, 12:14 AM   #5
PB2 is offline PB2  United States
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Thanks everyone!
Andy - that looks like an excellent thread, I'll have to read it when I have some time.

I've got several early Dell P4's towers here that are too slow for XP - pathetic, LOL! But they should be fine for this. P4's are slower, clock for clock, than even the PIII ... marketing driven design.

Pete B.
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Old 18th September 2009, 12:25 AM   #6
PB2 is offline PB2  United States
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Default itunes

Yes Andy, our sons use itunes and they might be willing to try Winamp, but who knows they could care less as long as it works and is easy to use. I actually had to upgrade them to over 1 GB of main memory mainly because itunes is such a hog - even just from the code that loads at boot time. So, it would be nice to get away from itunes if possible.

I've used Winamp myself from time to time but not consistently or in any depth. Do you know if the bit perfect output works under Vista also? Not that critical but we do have one Vista system just to try it out. I really dislike it and have been tempted several times to put XP on it. Are you running XP, or ...?

I've read that the audio stack was re-written in Vista - they probably made it worse, LOL.

Last edited by PB2; 18th September 2009 at 12:30 AM.
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Old 18th September 2009, 03:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
By andy C. -As far as player software, I'm using WinAmp.
OMG , someone else uses winamp !! I do all my 320kbs mp3's and FLAC's using winamp's plugin decoders. Another reason I like winamp is , with the plugin, adapt - x , I can use my excellent collection of DX 32-bit EQ's and other effects.

As far as "bloat", v5.2+ is where the package got a lot bigger. I just use v5.02 - minimum install , add just the input /OP decoders I need (5 megs - small).

For a music server , most mp3's do not need to be streamed over even a 100mb lan (1 second is not too bad), With my gigabyte lan ,about 70ms for a 10meg MP3. I use the excellent HFS server to access 30,000 titles. you can set winamp to enqueue by default and "click your way" to a custom playlist.


Quote:
I've read that the audio stack was re-written in Vista - they probably made it worse, LOL.
Vista = DRM = Bloat = $$$ I run XP - sp3 on a core 2 2.6ghz intel with 2 gig mem .. no vista !!!
OS

Last edited by ostripper; 18th September 2009 at 03:40 AM.
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Old 18th September 2009, 04:13 AM   #8
PB2 is offline PB2  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ostripper View Post

Vista = DRM = Bloat = $$$ I run XP - sp3 on a core 2 2.6ghz intel with 2 gig mem .. no vista !!!
OS
Ha, I only have Vista so that I have first hand experience with it, didn't say that I liked it, also have an XP-SP3 machine right next to it on a KVM. And two WIN98/DOS machines (one backup) to run LAUD that requires an ISA slot. That's just in this room.

I remember when 1 MB in a VAX-780 was considered a lot of RAM.
And when 32 MB (Not GB!) drives had 14" platters, LOL!
And when graphics hardware was programmed in microcode.

Pete B.

Last edited by PB2; 18th September 2009 at 04:41 AM.
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Old 18th September 2009, 04:55 AM   #9
andy_c is offline andy_c  United States
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Originally Posted by PB2 View Post
I've used Winamp myself from time to time but not consistently or in any depth. Do you know if the bit perfect output works under Vista also? Not that critical but we do have one Vista system just to try it out. I really dislike it and have been tempted several times to put XP on it. Are you running XP, or ...?
Well, there are two ways that I know of to get bit-perfect WinAmp output under XP. One is the third-party Steve Monks kernel streaming plugin (which is what I use) and the other is ASIO via the third-party Otachan ASIO plugin. I have heard that ASIO still works in Vista, but not tried it myself. I don't know what the situation with Vista and the Steve Monks kernel streaming plugin is. Under Vista, there is a new possibility for bit-perfect output called WASAPI. Apparently there is a third-party WASAPI plug-in for WinAmp, but I have no idea whether it works well or not.

I am using XP, and have avoided Vista like the plague. I will probably update to Windows 7, maybe a year or so after it's released.
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Old 18th September 2009, 05:15 AM   #10
andy_c is offline andy_c  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ostripper View Post
OMG , someone else uses winamp !! I do all my 320kbs mp3's and FLAC's using winamp's plugin decoders. Another reason I like winamp is , with the plugin, adapt - x , I can use my excellent collection of DX 32-bit EQ's and other effects.

As far as "bloat", v5.2+ is where the package got a lot bigger. I just use v5.02 - minimum install , add just the input /OP decoders I need (5 megs - small).

For a music server , most mp3's do not need to be streamed over even a 100mb lan (1 second is not too bad), With my gigabyte lan ,about 70ms for a 10meg MP3. I use the excellent HFS server to access 30,000 titles. you can set winamp to enqueue by default and "click your way" to a custom playlist.
I've got my entire CD collection (and then some ) in FLAC format on a RAID5 array on the machine I'm typing this on in my apartment's spare bedroom. I stream it via ethernet over power line to a silent HTPC in my living room where the stereo is. Not needing big HD space on the HTPC helps very much to keep it silent.

I ended up using WinAmp for some rather weird reasons. My favorite jazz internet radio station has only 64k MP3 and 96k AACplus streams. Every player except WinAmp gave me problems (poor sound quality and also dropouts) on the AACplus stream, while WinAmp sounds surprisingly good given that the stream is only 96k, with no dropouts at all. There's also plenty of bells and whistles to get the UI to work just as one would want. The bloatware seems to be isolated to UI elements that I never access anyway, making it very easy to ignore. At any rate, its CPU usage is as near zero as I could ever expect, going from nearly zero to spikes of 3 to 4 percent when streaming FLAC.
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