Home network music / audio server solutions

PK0001

Novice Member
Hi all
I am looking into solutions for setting up a server for local music files; but here's the thing: I don't want to consider a NAS drive. Why? Well I have some experience with NASs and I feel that they are essentially very underpowered units which take up space and have very limited versatility (unless, of course, you are prepared to spend mega-bucks for a powerful model - and I'm not). I have the following solutions which go from very crude to somewhat more sophisticated - I would appreciate some thoughts on them.
  • Simply sharing a networked music folder on my Windows 10 laptop (keeping the machine from sleeping to prevent disconnection and far away enough to mitigate fan noise). This one is a crude solution - but it's simplicity will surely work without hitch?
  • Simply installing specialist audio UPNP server software (MinimServer, Asset, other suggestions welcome) on the Windows laptop and stream to PiCorePlayer. I actually already have this solution up and running; but I would be interested in your thoughts as there may be glaring issues which are not apparent to me.
  • Turning a Raspberry Pi into a cheap NAS drive to serve music - is this possible? My thinking here is that the cost would be so low (compared to a standard NAS) so as to make the solution attractive and other functions (like Roon Core) can be undertaken on my Windows laptop.
  • Use an Intel NUC or other small PC to function as a NAS. Unlike an actual NAS, my thinking here is that the NUC is versatile enough to be used for other functions too. For instance, whilst at the moment I'm somewhat undecided, I may wish to use the NUC as a Roon Core device and music file server (the NUC would give me such an option, a NAS wouldn't). Just a couple of queries on a NUC/small PC setup:
    • Would using a Linux OS be preferable to installing Windows on a NUC? I'm not versed in Linux so I acknowledge that I would be on a steep learning curve here. Is serving music over the network using a NUC with Linux OS reasonably straight forward?
    • Is there a way of controlling a NUC with Linux heedlessly, so over remote desktop or something so avoiding the need for a monitor and keyboard to be always connected?
  • NUC running Roon ROCK - this is probably the "best" solution but it does turn the NUC into a single-purpose device.
I realise that this is perhaps not the most sophisticated of posts but I got to start somewhere. I would really like to hear some thoughts on the above and happy to consider any alternatives.
 

wizball1974

Active Member
I use a Raspberry Pi with an external drive plugged in. Serves as NAS, Logitech Media Server (with local player installed as well as other devices around house), DLNA server and pi-hole. It's provided everything I have needed from it.

It's running Raspbian and I connect to it remotely when needing to do anything on the device itself i.e. no monitor or keyboard mouse hooked up - all running headless. You have options on Pi of VNC or a Windows Remote Desktop compatible service.

Not familiar with Roon, so cannot comment about how such a setup would translate to a Roon environment.
 

TheHighFlyingBirds

Well-known Member
I use a Raspberry Pi with an external drive plugged in. Serves as NAS, Logitech Media Server (with local player installed as well as other devices around house), DLNA server and pi-hole. It's provided everything I have needed from it.

It's running Raspbian and I connect to it remotely when needing to do anything on the device itself i.e. no monitor or keyboard mouse hooked up - all running headless. You have options on Pi of VNC or a Windows Remote Desktop compatible service.

Not familiar with Roon, so cannot comment about how such a setup would translate to a Roon environment.
Similar setup as me, although using a cheap nvme ssd I had from a knackered notebook, which the pi boots from and stores my music on. Its low power, on 24/7, cheap and does what it needs to which is to host music on your network for you existing picoreplayer to work with.
 

the groundsman

Active Member
I have an old netbook running windows 10 with my ripped music files and Logitech media Server that serves Chromecast Audios and other streamers around the house. I very very occasionally listen in the room with the laptop using the Squeezelite application but mostly it sits there and works extremely well for me. This seems to be similar to your existing solution too.

I like the fact I'm reusing otherwise redundant hardware and LMS is free and very flexible and has a very active development community.
 

Going Grey Now

Active Member
Another Raspberry pi 4 user here. Have previously connected an external hard drive but have now gone very minimal and all my music is stored on a tiny usb stick, plugged in to one of the Pi’s 4 ports. I have recently installed a SPDIF HAT ( Allo Digione Signature) which I honestly believe has taken things up a notch. Co-ax out to my Schiit Modius DAC. software used is Moode, but I’ve previously run Volumio. Couldn’t be happier.
 

PK0001

Novice Member
I have an old netbook running windows 10 with my ripped music files and Logitech media Server that serves Chromecast Audios and other streamers around the house. I very very occasionally listen in the room with the laptop using the Squeezelite application but mostly it sits there and works extremely well for me. This seems to be similar to your existing solution too.

I like the fact I'm reusing otherwise redundant hardware and LMS is free and very flexible and has a very active development community.
I'm running PiCorePlayer currently plus streaming to a Chromecast Audio puck. I think the LMS/Squeezelite is great but I the organisation and structuring of "classical" albums flows from that of my Tidal subscription and is frankly just terrible. This is why I'm considering Roon.
 

T1berious

Member
Another PiCorePlayer / LMS / Squeezelite user here.

Got my music share on a NAS and it does a great job, plays nicely with Tidal and Spotify which is a decent bonus.

Also use an Allo Digi one feeding a DAC.
 

kit1cat

Active Member
Does this turn the Pi into a NAS-only device (not really a problem if it does, just curious)?
Yes, while you are using the SD card with OpenMediaVault on it. In my setup I run two pi 3's as players/streamers with moode connected via wifi to my pi 4 running OpenMediaVault Which I store my music files on.
 

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