Linksys NSLU2UK and Netgear MP101 for MP3 Media Server

Discussion in 'Music Streamers' started by Kirk, Sep 5, 2005.

  1. Kirk

    Kirk
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    Hi There,

    I am knocking about a plan in my head for building a cheap and cheeful Wireless Media Server to connect to my existing Arcam Stereo A80 Amplifier in order to playback my MP3 collection I have.

    I was toying with buying the Linksys Storage Link, attaching a couple of 300Gb USB 2.0 Drives and installing the TwonkyVision Server software on the Linksys.

    I then get a Netgear MP101 (or similar) and attach this to my Hi-Fi, configure it to talk to the Linksys and bobs yer uncle, one 600Gb MP3 collection available for listening.

    Has anyone out there done this (or similar?)

    I was just wondering how you get on, does it work, any better suggestions?

    Anyway, It seems like an interesting idea to me.

    The best benefit, is that I dont need to have my PC on while listsening to the MP3's and the Linksys is near silent and uses very little power.

    Cheers,

    Kirk
     
  2. AMc

    AMc
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    Sounds like a good idea and should all work...but there are always issues and having got 2 MP101 and read a lot of people having troubles they may not be the best choice - but they are cheap. Any uPnP media client will talk to Twonky (or another uPnP server).

    A couple of forums worth reading up in
    http://www.media-servers.com/forums/
    http://www.twonkyvision.com/forum/
    Especially before committing to hardware.

    FWIW I use an old HP eVectra (low power (30W peak) PIII desktop PC with Win2000Pro) as my server with a 160GB drive. It has the advantage that it can run iTunes for importing and sorting the library which is a pain to do seperately and copy around a LAN. It runs Twonky as a service so I tend to turn it on in the morning and off at night (without needing to login or even switch on the monitor). You can pick this kind of system up really cheap. It's not totally silent but then it's not in the room!

    I assume your big collection is a lot of tracks at high quality? You might want to check out the specs of everything in dealing with high bitrate MP3 not sure what the limits are in Twonky and the MP101.
     
  3. Kirk

    Kirk
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    Hmm that is food for thought. Thank you for you reply.

    I dont currently have my CD collection (300+) ripped to any format, but was thinking of a minimum of 192 bit rate. I am also trying to decide what format to keep the files in, i dont want to convert them.

    MP3 is a good open source standard, but not necessarily the best. I have to admit I next to nothing about itunes.

    I have read somewhere that you can hack the Linksys and load what is effectively iTunes server software onto it (I forget the name of the software :oops: ).

    Another solution could be to use the linksys, load the itunes server software and then use an Roku M1000 media player to link to the Hi-Fi....this may be good.

    Just not sure what the implications are of going down the itunes route. Does it encode in a proprietry codec that I can't then change my mind about and use different software?

    Hmmm....lots of reading ahead I think!
     
  4. hinesle

    hinesle
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    I use the NSLU2 solution with the mt-daapd (that’s the name you forgot) software and it pretty good (although a little slow at browsing artists, albums etc with a 9000 song database) so I also use a laptop for serving music to the ROKUS at Parties (due to the ease of creating playlists via the GUI etc)

    Device choice - I went down the ROKU route (over the squeeze box) solely because of its versatility around the servers it can support (I loath proprietary formats as it ties you into a single manufacturer for products) and the range of file types it supported e.g wma, wav mp3 etc.

    ROKU supports the following types of server
    • UPnP servers - such as twonkyvision and Windows Media Connect
    • Daapd servers – Itunes and mt-daapd
    • SlimServer – The server squeeze box uses


    Server choice - This was the hardest decision as ideally I wanted to use a UPnP as it is an open standard (The proprietary thing again)
    I had two problems
    • I wanted to store my music on the NSLU2 so I could access the music “share” from any one of my PC’c.
    • Would have ideally likes the ability to turn all PCS off and still access the music from the ROKU

    Windows Media connect (or any other UPnP server apart from twonkyvision) at the time does/did not support music shares that are network based. Twokyvision (again at the time) did not have a client that I could load onto the NSLU2. So I opted for the ITunes/daapd solution (for laptop and NSLU respectably) and I’m pretty happy with it.

    I would recommend researching the twonkyvision VS mt-daapd route for the NSLU2 (hopefully somebody will comment on this). I am currently sitting tight until Windows Media Connect V2 is launched to see if it supports network based music libraries (before I finally decide on migrating to a UPnP server backend)

    Ripping Music –The proprietary thing again raised its head as I didn’t want to rip my music in any proprietary format so that ruled out WMA and apples alternative, leaving MP3 or WAV. Wav ultimately won because of the music quality of wavs compared to MP3’s +the £ per GB is minimal and it is always going to go down.
    (My ROKUS are also hardwired so bandwidth is not the issue either).

    The only issue I have with Wav files is the lack of HD3 (or alternative support). Which is an issue when you want to switch music library organisers (e.g. between ITunes and Windows Media player). As the artist/alum info is not transferable. :lease: :lease: please can somebody help me out on this as I am trying to determine how to migrate from Itunes to windows media player to organise my music without going through a laborious manual exercise.

    Anyway hope this helps
     
  5. andrew1810

    andrew1810
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    I think you can now put the Squeezebox software onto the Linksys player as well, they have excellent forums at http://forums.slimdevices.com where you could ask the same question, both the CEO and CTO from Slimdevices are usually on hand to answer questions.

    Andrew
     
  6. simon100

    simon100
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    I have no knowledge on the hardware, although I am considering something similar.
    But I do have 450+ cds ripped to 192kbps AAC (Apple format) which has taken up less than 40 gb of space. So you might want to adjust (downwards) the size of hard drive that you are considering.
     
  7. andrew1810

    andrew1810
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    That depends on the format though, I have about 1200 tracks in AIFF format and they take up 25Gb alone (that equates to about 100 cd's)

    It depends on the hardware though, the netgear/terratec can only do mp3's, but if going with the Roku/Squeezebox, they support all formats and really deserve AIFF/WAV/FLAC to take advantage of the quality.
     
  8. hinesle

    hinesle
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    Couldnt agree more!
     
  9. Kirk

    Kirk
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    You know what chaps.....yer all 'kin genious! :)

    I am pretty comfortable with the Linksys NAS(lite) solution and am pretty sure I am going down the mt-daapd (cheers hinesle!) route. (Going to compare it to Twonky for starters)

    I want to get good quality so I like the idea of lossless WAV. Dropping the HDD size is certainly doable and sensible, although I will probably keep the size to 160Gb minimum as diskspace is something you NEVER have enough of.

    A chap at work showed me the slimdevices website today, so I think I will compare the Roku M1000 with something from there.

    I will have the Linksys near my Router so it can use the Ethernet ports, however the Roku (or whatever) will more than likely be a wireless solution due to the location of my Hi-F1 stack. I have a 108 Mbps network, although 54 is probably the best I can hope for from the Roku.

    Thank you all for your input....I have started the ball rolling, getting a Linksys SLUG now and still thinking throught the software and streaming hardware solution. :clap:

    P.S. Hinesle you sound like a Linux chappie.....true?
     
  10. andrew1810

    andrew1810
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    You can actually try the squeezebox before hand, if you download the server software (www.slimdevices.com) and then you can get softsqueeze (http://softsqueeze.sourceforge.net/) which is a squeezebox emulator. This is identical to the squeezebox in menu, remote etc.
     
  11. hinesle

    hinesle
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    Sorry to disappoint by I’m a Microsoft boy (Microsoft consultant by trade) – despite what I have said about proprietary formats! as for Linux is relatively uncharted territory for me but the NSLU2 thing is pretty well documented and easy to install.
    The best you can hope for with the roku is 11mbps (11b card that supplied) so your internal LAN will be slow (unless you of course you use a wireless bridge) cant comment on the Squeeze box NIC but hopefully Andrew1810 should be able to enlighten us.
     
  12. andrew1810

    andrew1810
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    I'm here!

    The Squeezebox runs on the 11g network so you get 54mbps, I knew I had forgotten something. I have found that even on the 11b the squeezebox buffers less than the Roku.

    Another thing is that the squeezebox can double up as a wireless bridge so if you have an x-box you can plug it into that and give it access to the wireless network.

    Andrew
     
  13. hinesle

    hinesle
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    Andrew,
    Is there any indication form the slimdevices if the Squeeze Box will ever support a UPNP or daapd server?
     
  14. andrew1810

    andrew1810
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    To be honest, I find it unlikely as the slimserver software powers the whole menu structure etc. and being opensource it does allow for extra plugins etc. (ability to play BBC radio being an excellent example)

    You could try asking at http://forums.slimdevices.com , I'm sure someone from slimdevices will answer.

    Andrew
     
  15. hinesle

    hinesle
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    cheers,

    I used the slimserver software with the roku when I was “deciding on server software” and I must say it is pretty slick. MT-daapd was the only thing out at the time that satisfied my requirements so I was forced into a corner so to speak.

    I still find the need for server software a bit annoying since I owned a Turtlebeach audiotron before which just browsed network shares but because the audiotron was black I was forced into selling it by the missus :mad: .
     
  16. Kirk

    Kirk
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    LOL! :D I have to admit I thought you sounded like and opensource kinda guy! I am am M$ techie as well, but am beginning to look at Linux as a hobby. (eek)

    Pity about the Roku only managing 11b, as I dont have much choice at the moment but to use a wireless solution close to the Amp....anyway, Its still in the running.

    Top idea Andrew, thank you.....I will take a look at those downloads and have a play.

    Anyway, I have bought the Linksys Slug and am awaiting delivery. I will then take it to bits and bring it back up to speed. (its odd that Linksys have it underclocked....anyhoo simple enough mod to speed it back up)

    Out of interest Hinesle, what kind of HDD's do you have attached to your slug? I am either looking at buying something like an Icybox enclosure and a 160Gb + Drive or maybe something like a Maxtor Onetouch II.
     
  17. hinesle

    hinesle
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    I have 2 x 250GB Maxtor One touch II slung (excuse the pun) out the back, I selected these because the firmware allows you to spin them down (although this must be set in windows first!). I have also disabled the “auto scan for new songs feature” in mt-daapd as this was causing the disks to spin up on a regular basis.

    Under clocking well that’s news to me ill have to investigate now . just praying no soldering is required as I’m pants…..
     
  18. HMHB

    HMHB
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    Does the Linksys NSLU2UK force you to reformat the usb drives you have hanging off the back of it ? I'm sure I read somewhere that it doesn't support FAT or NTFS drives.
     
  19. simon100

    simon100
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    Staples were recently, last week, selling 160gb Buffalo Drive Stations for £74 inc vat. USB 2 and 7200 rpm. Windows reports that it is a Samsung drive.
     
  20. andrew1810

    andrew1810
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    Glad I could help Kirk, I have been very happy with my Squeezebox, haven't used the CD player for months.

    I use an IcyBox for demo's and it does what I need nicely (its upgradable which is always good!) but I have heard reports about some damaging the drives and needing re-formating, this hasn't happened to me, but its something to be wary of, I wouldn't want to suggest something faulty!!
     
  21. Kirk

    Kirk
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    :D Yip, out of the box the Slug is running at 133Mhz...whereas the chip itself is designed to run at 266 Mhz. Linksys have added a resister to slow it down, simply remove this offending item and bobs yer uncle!

    Here are the instructions on what needs to be done:

    Speedy Slug

    Yep soldering is the preffered way, however some small and sharp cutters can just snip (destroy) the resister and the same is acheived.

    Hmmm not sure what to do, the Maxtor Onetouch way is nice and clean....but the Icybox is nice and upgradeable.....too many decisions! Doh!
     
  22. hinesle

    hinesle
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    Correct, most of the these little NAS storage devices use Ext2/3 as there are no licensing costs associated with it.

    Lea
     
  23. hinesle

    hinesle
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    Nail clippers will be the best approach for me! :rolleyes: although I’m a bit disappointed there isn’t chainsaw removal instructions as well. Seems my McCulloch will have to stay in the box a bit longer now.
     

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