Good alternative for Sonos: streaming Spotify and NAS files from 1 app?

annekrijn

Member
Hello all,

I've used my Sonos Connect for many years and am happy with it. But now that Sonos is steering away from this "old hardware", I thought I'd treat myself with some new gear.

My desired setup:
  • the ability to stream from both Spotify and local NAS files (FLAC), from 1 app (Android).
  • a streaming device with a decent DAC, since I'm running it through my Marantz SR7009, which is not built for achieving great stereo sound.
  • not the Sonos Port, I've read some bad reviews, and am not willing to pay hundreds of euros for a downgrade in audio quality.

I've already bought the Bluesound Node 2i, expecting it to allow me to search, browse and play music from Spotify Premium. Just like Sonos does. But it can't, apparently, I have to stream it from the Spotify app. Which I don't want to do, I'd like to play all my music from one app. So I'm afraid I'll have to return to Node 2i.

I considered switching to Deezer because the Node 2i natively supports that. But I'd rather not leave Spotify, which my family loves. Hi-res music I'll stream from my NAS anyway.

A CD player / streamer would be good as well, but all the units I've researched seem to use wobbly apps for streaming (HEOS, Play-fi.)

Is Sonos really the only platform that ties all my streaming wishes together nicely? I refuse to believe so :)

Thanks in advance.

Best regards, Akka
 

Cebolla

Member
As far as I'm aware, all commercially available streamers out there with official Spotify support are similar to the Node 2i, in that they have a built-in Spotify Connect player, meaning you can only use them with the official Spotify apps.

The free Logitech Media Server, used to control & provide Squeezebox type streamers with their audio, is the only software I know of that's designed to get around that problem (requires you enable the Spotify for Squeezebox, aka Spotty, 3rd party LMS plugin).

As a bonus, LMS should also allow you to use your Sonos Connect streamer as if it were controlling a Squeezebox player (by enabling the UPnP/DLNA Bridge 3rd party LMS plugin).

Control would be via your favoured web browser app on your Android device or any Squeezebox controller app. Enable the Material Skin and the Music & Artist Information 3rd party LMS plugins for a very decent controller user interface on the web browser. The Material Skin plugin will also allow you to use the Android lms-material-app as an alternative to the web browser on Android.

What make/model NAS do you have?
You may be able to install the LMS on it; otherwise you can install LMS on a Raspberry Pi and get LMS on the RPi to access your NAS's FLAC files via its network shared folders.
 
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annekrijn

Member
As far as I'm aware, all commercially available streamers out there with official Spotify support are similar to the Node 2i, in that they have a built-in Spotify Connect player, meaning you can only use them with the official Spotify apps.

The free Logitech Media Server, used to control & provide Squeezebox type streamers with their audio, is the only software I know of that's designed to get around that problem (requires you enable the Spotify for Squeezebox, aka Spotty, 3rd party LMS plugin).

As a bonus, LMS should also allow you to use your Sonos Connect streamer as if it were controlling a Squeezebox player (by enabling the UPnP/DLNA Bridge 3rd party LMS plugin).

Control would be via your favoured web browser app on your Android device or any Squeezebox controller app. Enable the Material Skin and the Music & Artist Information 3rd party LMS plugins for a very decent controller user interface on the web browser. The Material Skin plugin will also allow you to use the Android lms-material-app as an alternative to the web browser on Android.

What make/model NAS do you have?
You may be able to install the LMS on it; otherwise you can install LMS on a Raspberry Pi and get LMS on the RPi to access your NAS's FLAC files via its network shared folders.

Cebolla, thanks for your reply.
I wasn't aware that Sonos was actually the exception on being able to use Spotify from within their own app. Having used Sonos for quite a few years, I never paid attention to any other platforms, which made me think other serious streaming equipment would work in a similar fashion. My mistake.

I'll check out LMS. My NAS is an Netgear ReadyNas 102.

Now that I've fiddled a bit with the Spotify Connect feature, it turns out that mt SR7009 also acts as a Spotify Connect device. So where streaming Spotify is concerned, my need for a new streaming device would disappear altogether. Another thing I never knew, and never felt I needed before.
The only thing that I then have to solve, apart from accepting that my streaming experience will from now on go through 2 different apps, is stream my FLAC albums to my SR7009, from a device that has a decent DAC. Having the Node 2i just for that seems a bit excessive.

I could also add a dedicated stereo amp to my setup, that has AVR-inputs that bypass its own pre-amps so I can keep using the receiver to control the volume. But then again, that way I'd still be using the SR7009s DAC, and that's not spectacular.

As you can see, I'm going back and forth between needing an additional device, or more, and just using the right parts of my current equipment. I feel a bit forced to leave Sonos because my Connect won't last forever, but I'm not sure about the direction from here.
 

jamieu

Well-known Member
+1 on Cebolla's suggestion of running LMS on your NAS (or a RPi).

You could then get LMS to stream to either your current Sonos Connect (bypassing the Sonos app) or directly to your SR7009 via the UPnP/DLNA plugin mentioned above.

I haven't heard the DAC in the SR7009. But I can't imagine it being a magnitude better or worse than an external DAC. Your speakers and room placement are far more likely to have a noticeable effect on sound. Unless you have squeezed even last inch out of those already, I'd suggest a new external DAC is going to offer little in the way of significant improvement (at least diminishing returns).

Easy enough to download LMS to a PC to try it out before installing it on your NAS. As Cebolla says enable the Material Skin plugin once you have LMS installed or else the interface will look terrible dated.

But if you really feel your SR7009 is lacking then a RPi + DAC HAT running HiFiBerryOS or RopieeeXL (for example HFB's DAC2 HDHat) might be worth looking into. That device would then act as an 'headless endpoint' (ie. it has no control app of it's own to speak of) for both Spotify and LMS (while also offering AirPlay and Bluetooth as an added bonus). It will also auto-switch between LMS (squeezelite) and Spotify (Spotify Connect) automatically, so you can just leave your SR7009 switched to that input for both sources.

If you're willing to splash out then Roon is another option for centralised library management and can steam to both Sonos and a RPi running RoopieeXL/HiFIBerryOS. Think of it as a more polished / commercial version of LMS.
 
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annekrijn

Member
+1 on Cebolla's suggestion of running LMS on your NAS (or a RPi).

You could then get LMS to stream to either your current Sonos Connect (bypassing the Sonos app) or directly to your SR7009 via the UPnP/DLNA plugin mentioned above.

I haven't heard the DAC in the SR7009. But I can't imagine it being a magnitude better or worse than an external DAC. Your speakers and room placement are far more likely to have a noticeable effect on sound. Unless you have squeezed even last inch out of those already, I'd suggest a new external DAC is going to offer little in the way of significant improvement (at least diminishing returns).

Easy enough to download LMS to a PC to try it out before installing it on your NAS. As Cebolla says enable the Material Skin plugin once you have LMS installed or else the interface will look terrible dated.

But if you really feel your SR7009 is lacking then a RPi + DAC HAT running HiFiBerryOS or RopieeeXL (for example HFB's DAC2 HDHat) might be worth looking into. That device would then act as an 'headless endpoint' (ie. it has no control app of it's own to speak of) for both Spotify and LMS (while also offering AirPlay and Bluetooth as an added bonus). It will also auto-switch between LMS (squeezelite) and Spotify (Spotify Connect) automatically, so you can just leave your SR7009 switched to that input for both sources.

If you're willing to splash out then Roon is another option for centralised library management and can steam to both Sonos and a RPi running RoopieeXL/HiFIBerryOS. Think of it as a more polished / commercial version of LMS.
Thanks for the insightful reply.
I surely have not squeezed every last inch out of my speakers, they're a set of Q-Acoustics 2050i's, so nothing really fancy. I think you guys are right, a separate DAC would not be the first logical step in upgrading my system, it would be the speakers, and later on perhaps a different stereo amp to drive the front speakers.

I've tried to install LMS on my NAS, however I can't get it to work. I've asked on a dedicated Netgear forum to resolve that issue.
What i did get to work on my NAS, is Plex media server. That works quite well, with the controller being my Android phone. I'm willing to pay for a subscription or one time fee if it suits my needs well.

Plex is mainly for video, but it also has a music section in the server and the controlling app.
What I can't seem to find out if I can 'push' or 'cast' my FLACs from the NAS to my SR7009 using Plex. What I can do, is make the server accessible through DLNA, so that I can access it from the receiver. But the 2014 SR7009 has no useable app to browse and play media. I want to the server to 'push' the music to the SR7009 (just like Spotify Connect does), not have the receiver 'pull' music off the server.

Would you know if that's possible?
 

jamieu

Well-known Member
Thanks for the insightful reply.
I surely have not squeezed every last inch out of my speakers, they're a set of Q-Acoustics 2050i's, so nothing really fancy. I think you guys are right, a separate DAC would not be the first logical step in upgrading my system, it would be the speakers, and later on perhaps a different stereo amp to drive the front speakers.

I've tried to install LMS on my NAS, however I can't get it to work. I've asked on a dedicated Netgear forum to resolve that issue.
What i did get to work on my NAS, is Plex media server. That works quite well, with the controller being my Android phone. I'm willing to pay for a subscription or one time fee if it suits my needs well.

Plex is mainly for video, but it also has a music section in the server and the controlling app.
What I can't seem to find out if I can 'push' or 'cast' my FLACs from the NAS to my SR7009 using Plex. What I can do, is make the server accessible through DLNA, so that I can access it from the receiver. But the 2014 SR7009 has no useable app to browse and play media. I want to the server to 'push' the music to the SR7009 (just like Spotify Connect does), not have the receiver 'pull' music off the server.

Would you know if that's possible?

Unfortunately, while Plex can act as a DLNA server (as you've discovered, you can't use the native Plex apps or web interface to stream content to a DLNA renderer. Those apps / interfaces only allow streaming to devices running the Plex client or to a Google Chomecast device. A used Chromecast Audio (CCA) connected to your AVR via a 3.5mm MiniTosLink to TosLink cable is probably the simplest option (for audio) if you wanted to stick with Plex/PlexAmp.

If you'd rather stick with the DLNA route then either the mConnect (free 'lite' version) or BubbleUPnP DLNA controller apps will allow your SR7009/DLNA renderer to pull content from the NAS/Plex DLNA server. Effectively they act as the missing remote control/glue between the DLNA server and renderer.

What was the issue with LMS on your NAS?

Might be worth trying LMS out on a PC first and seeing if you prefer it to the DLNA route. If you still can't get LMS to work on your NAS you could always look at getting a Raspberry Pi and installing PiCorePlayer on it (which is an easy to install RPi operating system for running LMS). PiCorePlayer/LMS would then access the music files on your NAS over the network via SMB and be controlled by the LMS web interface (in a browser) or via a compatible LMS control app like JiveLite (desktop) or iPeng (mobile).
 
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annekrijn

Member
Unfortunately, while Plex can act as a DLNA server (as you've discovered, you can't use the native Plex apps or web interface to stream content to a DLNA renderer. Those apps / interfaces only allow streaming to devices running the Plex client or to a Google Chomecast device. A used Chromecast Audio (CCA) connected to your AVR via a 3.5mm MiniTosLink to TosLink cable is probably the simplest option (for audio) if you wanted to stick with Plex/PlexAmp.

If you'd rather stick with the DLNA route then either the mConnect (free 'lite' version) or BubbleUPnP DLNA controller apps will allow your SR7009/DLNA renderer to pull content from the NAS/Plex DLNA server. Effectively they act as the missing remote control/glue between the DLNA server and renderer.

What was the issue with LMS on your NAS?

Might be worth trying LMS out on a PC first and seeing if you prefer it to the DLNA route. If you still can't get LMS to work on your NAS you could always look at getting a Raspberry Pi and installing PiCorePlayer on it (which is an easy to install RPi operating system for running LMS). PiCorePlayer/LMS would then access the music files on your NAS over the network via SMB and be controlled by the LMS web interface (in a browser) or via a compatible LMS control app like JiveLite (desktop) or iPeng (mobile).
Ah ok.
I've installed BubbleUPnP (free version for now), and that works. I can select the SR7009 as the player/renderer. When I pick the Plex server as the libraby (server), it plays my FLAC files, quite smoothly as well.
Am I correct in that the Android phone with BubbleUPnP is just acting as a controller now, not streaming any data of the music itself?

In the 'library' section of the BubbleUPnP app, I can choose between the Plex server running on the NAS, or the NAS itself. Apparently the NAS itself acts as a DLNA server as well, without Plex having to be installed on it. Am I understanding that correctly?

It looks like I can be perfectly happy with the equipment that I have now, using BubbleUPnP, and the Plex server. Or maybe not even the Plex server, and just my NAS acting as a DLNA server.

One thing that I haven't wrapped my head around yet: you talk about "the DLNA route" vs "sticking with Plex". As I understand it, the BubbleUPnP combined with the Plex server, that I got working, combines both routes. Am I missing a vital point here?

To answer your question: the issue with LMS:
  • I downloaded LMS from here: My Media - Welcome to mysqueezebox.com! (the debian ARM version, suited for my NAS);
  • I installed it via the NAS's UI, and it prompted a notification that the install succeeded;
  • then the 'app' is nowhere to be found. Doesn't show up in the App section of the UI, not after reboot either.
It's the exact same issue as described here, I haven't found a remedy yet. I've sent this user a message to see if he got it fixed somehow.
 

jamieu

Well-known Member
Ah ok.
I've installed BubbleUPnP (free version for now), and that works. I can select the SR7009 as the player/renderer. When I pick the Plex server as the libraby (server), it plays my FLAC files, quite smoothly as well.
Am I correct in that the Android phone with BubbleUPnP is just acting as a controller now, not streaming any data of the music itself?

Exactly that

In the 'library' section of the BubbleUPnP app, I can choose between the Plex server running on the NAS, or the NAS itself. Apparently the NAS itself acts as a DLNA server as well, without Plex having to be installed on it. Am I understanding that correctly?

Yes, highly likely your NAS already has a DLNA server. Although different DLNA servers differ slightly in how they index / present listings — so you may want to see what you prefer.

It looks like I can be perfectly happy with the equipment that I have now, using BubbleUPnP, and the Plex server. Or maybe not even the Plex server, and just my NAS acting as a DLNA server.

Excellent news!

One thing that I haven't wrapped my head around yet: you talk about "the DLNA route" vs "sticking with Plex". As I understand it, the BubbleUPnP combined with the Plex server, that I got working, combines both routes. Am I missing a vital point here?

I meant if you wanted to use Plex's own apps like PlexAmp or the Plex web interface. You can't use those with a DLNA renderer (like your SR7009)

It's the exact same issue as described here, I haven't found a remedy yet. I've sent this user a message to see if he got it fixed somehow.

Sounds like a Netgear NAS thing — not familiar with those, hopefully someone will come back to you. Although sounds like the DLNA route will tide you over for now and may be all you need anyway.
 
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Stumper

Active Member
Hello all,

I've used my Sonos Connect for many years and am happy with it. But now that Sonos is steering away from this "old hardware", I thought I'd treat myself with some new gear.

My desired setup:
  • the ability to stream from both Spotify and local NAS files (FLAC), from 1 app (Android).
  • a streaming device with a decent DAC, since I'm running it through my Marantz SR7009, which is not built for achieving great stereo sound.
  • not the Sonos Port, I've read some bad reviews, and am not willing to pay hundreds of euros for a downgrade in audio quality.

I've already bought the Bluesound Node 2i, expecting it to allow me to search, browse and play music from Spotify Premium. Just like Sonos does. But it can't, apparently, I have to stream it from the Spotify app. Which I don't want to do, I'd like to play all my music from one app. So I'm afraid I'll have to return to Node 2i.

I considered switching to Deezer because the Node 2i natively supports that. But I'd rather not leave Spotify, which my family loves. Hi-res music I'll stream from my NAS anyway.

A CD player / streamer would be good as well, but all the units I've researched seem to use wobbly apps for streaming (HEOS, Play-fi.)

Is Sonos really the only platform that ties all my streaming wishes together nicely? I refuse to believe so :)

Thanks in advance.

Best regards, Akka
Hi

Just my 2 cents on this one I have been in a similar position and tried many different solutions with different hardware software streaming services etc. Its all very subjective stuff but for ease of use i have kept a Sonos port in my system and I have to say coax from that to my Marantz SR7012 sounds the same as my old connect and I still used it to my current dac for convenience for spotify and local files. Sonos is the only main stream company with Sonos support natively. LMS works brilliant in my opinion but I'm an IOS not android user. I have also tried Volumio as it integrates Spotify though wasn't as impressed. If you can get LMS working it may be perfect for you and if you fancy splashing out a bit Innuos streamer servers are built around LMS and are in my opinion outstanding units that integrate with Sonos easily but as you already have a NAS this may be overkill. Plenty of options especially if your willing to go a bit home brew but its all part of the fun and adventure I think.
 

annekrijn

Member
Exactly that



Yes, highly likely your NAS already has a DLNA server. Although different DLNA servers differ slightly in how they index / present listings — so you may want to see what you prefer.

I can't seem to find any settings the DLNA server built in to the NAS, and Plex seems to be working fine. So I'll stick with that.

Excellent news!



I meant if you wanted to use Plex's own apps like PlexAmp or the Plex web interface. You can't use those with a DLNA renderer (like your SR7009)

Aah OK, got it! I don't need to stick to the Plex app. BubbleUPnP works great, and the premium version only a few euros, instead of a monthly fee.

Sounds like a Netgear NAS thing — not familiar with those, hopefully someone will come back to you. Although sounds like the DLNA route will tide you over for now and may be all you need anyway.
Seems like it, yeah. I read a lot of good things about LMS so it would be great to give it a try.

@jamieu and @Cebolla ,thanks very much for your insights and clear explanation. It helped me a lot. Big kudos!!
 

annekrijn

Member
Exactly that



Yes, highly likely your NAS already has a DLNA server. Although different DLNA servers differ slightly in how they index / present listings — so you may want to see what you prefer.

I can't seem to find any settings the DLNA server built in to the NAS, and Plex seems to be working fine. So I'll stick with that.

Excellent news!


I meant if you wanted to use Plex's own apps like PlexAmp or the Plex web interface. You can't use those with a DLNA renderer (like your SR7009)

Aah OK, got it! I don't need to stick to the Plex app. BubbleUPnP works great, and the premium version only a few euros, instead of a monthly fee.

Sounds like a Netgear NAS thing — not familiar with those, hopefully someone will come back to you. Although sounds like the DLNA route will tide you over for now and may be all you need anyway.


Seems like it, yeah. I read a lot of good things about LMS so it would be great to give it a try.

@jamieu and @Cebolla ,thanks very much for your insights and clear explanation. It helped me a lot.
 

annekrijn

Member
OK, I have no idea how I ended up posting this twice, and how I can't find the delete button on any posts. I feel like an digital noob which I thought I was not :)
 

annekrijn

Member
Hi

Just my 2 cents on this one I have been in a similar position and tried many different solutions with different hardware software streaming services etc. Its all very subjective stuff but for ease of use i have kept a Sonos port in my system and I have to say coax from that to my Marantz SR7012 sounds the same as my old connect and I still used it to my current dac for convenience for spotify and local files. Sonos is the only main stream company with Sonos support natively. LMS works brilliant in my opinion but I'm an IOS not android user. I have also tried Volumio as it integrates Spotify though wasn't as impressed. If you can get LMS working it may be perfect for you and if you fancy splashing out a bit Innuos streamer servers are built around LMS and are in my opinion outstanding units that integrate with Sonos easily but as you already have a NAS this may be overkill. Plenty of options especially if your willing to go a bit home brew but its all part of the fun and adventure I think.
Thanks @Stumper , I will check out the Innuos streamers. But when I can get LMS to work on my NAS, I think I don't need any more hardware. For now :) I'll start with trying LMS out on my PC and seeing if I like it.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
OK, I have no idea how I ended up posting this twice, and how I can't find the delete button on any posts. I feel like an digital noob which I thought I was not :)
You cannot delete posts, only mods are able to do that. If you wish to have a particular post deleted then simply edit it pub a 'Please delete' there instead. Mods will oblige.
 

Paddywhackery

Active Member
As far as I'm aware, all commercially available streamers out there with official Spotify support are similar to the Node 2i, in that they have a built-in Spotify Connect player, meaning you can only use them with the official Spotify apps.

The free Logitech Media Server, used to control & provide Squeezebox type streamers with their audio, is the only software I know of that's designed to get around that problem (requires you enable the Spotify for Squeezebox, aka Spotty, 3rd party LMS plugin).

As a bonus, LMS should also allow you to use your Sonos Connect streamer as if it were controlling a Squeezebox player (by enabling the UPnP/DLNA Bridge 3rd party LMS plugin).

Control would be via your favoured web browser app on your Android device or any Squeezebox controller app. Enable the Material Skin and the Music & Artist Information 3rd party LMS plugins for a very decent controller user interface on the web browser. The Material Skin plugin will also allow you to use the Android lms-material-app as an alternative to the web browser on Android.

What make/model NAS do you have?
You may be able to install the LMS on it; otherwise you can install LMS on a Raspberry Pi and get LMS on the RPi to access your NAS's FLAC files via its network shared folders.

Hi Cebolla and thanks for sharing so much detail. I'm one step further back in the chain and want to load 500+ CD's onto a server and then stream them. And I'm unsure how best to start. I guess starting from scratch allows me to ask all the silly questions. Apologies.
 

Paddywhackery

Active Member
Assuming you are not UK based, where of course it is still illegal to back up CDs, presumably you are after recommendations for decent CD ripping software. Here's a couple:
Exact Audio Copy
dBPoweramp
I’m on a rock in the Atlantic not far away :)

CD ripping software is most helpful and what to put them onto so I can access them would be an added bonus.

I have some already on an iMac but stopped some years ago when I discovered they were converted to AAC files. Sorry if I sound like a luddite but I’m going to do this right and take advice. Much appreciated.
 

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