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Wireless MP3 Player help needed

Discussion in 'Music Streamers' started by Jedfordski, Aug 18, 2005.

  1. Jedfordski

    Jedfordski
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    Hi guys,

    I'm looking at getting a wireless MP3 player for use in my kitchen.

    I've spotted a few candidates and was wanting some opinions:

    Netgear MP101
    Creative Sound Blaster Wireless Music
    Philips STREAMIUM SL50i
    SlimDevices Squeezebox

    The netgear is pretty cheap (£72 from PC World online), but it's only tared at 11mbs. Could this be a problem? I know the Squeezebox is rated as "802.11g " not "802.11b" so I assume it has at least a 54Mbs connection. I'm just about to get a 108Mbs wireless router ...

    Any thoughts or other models worth taking into account?

    Also, I'll need some active speakers. Any ideas? There's no room for a Sub ... so I know that that's a lot of speaker packages out ...
     
  2. Demon

    Demon
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    the MP101, would be ideal.. the fact it is 'only' 802.11b is not an issue, you only need a fraction of this to stream music.

    I would recommend using the strangely named, but popular Twonkyvision music server (free) from www.twonkyvision.de. This runs on your main computer, and 'streams' the mp3's to the device. It also handles SHoutcast Internet radio. The MP101 and has a nice display, and easy to navigate remote control.

    All of the others are also excellent, but as you are finding out, price is a big issue.

    As for speakers, maplins do a few active speakers that are smallish.. www.maplin.co.uk, do a search for 'active speakers'
     
  3. Northern Monkey

    Northern Monkey
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    I would echo the comments re Twonky- the software supplied by Netgear is extremely unstable and stopped working altogether on mine after a couple of weeks to the extent that I cannot even reinstall it. Also now get an annoying error message every time I boot up which I think is attributable to the Netgear server as well.
     
  4. GazzR

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    I've had a Squeezebox2 since June this year, and it is excellent.
    Simple to install. Doesn't need tha PC to stream radio, and hasn't had any problems yet.
     
  5. andrew1810

    andrew1810
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    I sell these players so have tested them all quite a lot, here is a brief review:

    1) Netgear MP101 - bigger than the others but the cheapest, bundled software is terrible, use TwonkyVision instead. internet radio is a pay-for service. Sometimes takes a while to boot up (fails to get IP). only supports MP3's

    2) Terratec Noxon - Small, large backlit screen and free internet radio without even needing the PC switched on. Only supports MP3's and only has a 3.5mm out so will need a 3.5mm to RCA cable or an adaptor (its not suitable for headphones). Mine has booted up first time every time and have had no problems yet. Again use twonkyvision. Only wifi, no network port

    3) Philips Streamium SL50i (as post above) - roughly the same price as the terratec but has RCA outs and network port. Free internet radio (requires PC to be on) but again only supports MP3's. Very small unit, but I found the screen too small and the lack of a backlight was a problem from anything over a couple of meters away. Again, supplied software is poor, uses loads of system resources, but works with Twonkyvision

    4) Creative Soundblaster Wireless - not tested this one yet, but screen is only on the remote which could be awkward

    5) Roku Soundbridge M1000 - I sold these before, but dropped them from the range as it lacks the features of the Squeezebox2 which is only £20 more!! Also, unable to search which is a problem with 000's of tracks

    6) Slimdevices Squeezebox2 - Best of the lot by miles, absolutely stunning product. Very reliable, supports all formats, internet radio, computer control if wanted (over a webpage so works on any pc on the network), visualisations on screen and a digital out for improved quality (people have chosen this over very expensive CD players!!)
    Also doubles up as a wireless bridge if needed (e.g. plug the PS2 or X-box into it to add wifi!)
    Software is excellent and reliable and can display album covers etc. on the PC

    Any questions, just ask

    Andrew


    Edit: Northern Monkey, what is the error message you are getting? I used to get one a while ago from the Netgear software and might be able to help.
     
  6. Jedfordski

    Jedfordski
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    Thanks for your replies guys.

    I went for a Netgear MP101 in the end and am really pleased with it. I got the active speakers from Maplins and they were reduced from £50 to £20. Alright, they don't quite sound as good as my Mission 752s ... but then they cost me £600 about 7 years ago :) They sound good enough for use in my kitchen while doing the dishes though ...

    In fact, I'm so pleased that I've just ordered myself a refurbished MP101 for use in another room for just under £50. This will be used when I'm doing my weights, coupled with my newly purchased wireless Sennheiser HDR 130s - which are also excellent ...

    Right then ... I'm currently using I-Tunes to import my CDs and have obviously noticed the lack of options in the bundled Netgear software. I've now installed the free music version of Twonky and simply haven't got a clue of what I need to do to swap over. Any got a complete beginners guide?
     
  7. andrew1810

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    Thats an excellent price for the netgear and mine has been working very well recently so I think the recent firmware updates have helped.

    There are two ways to use twonkyvision, easiest is to copy the .exe file into your My Music\iTunes directory and simply run it from there, that should find the music.

    The alternative is to run it from the normal instal place and alter the .ini file to match, if you want to do it this way, drop me an email (andrew@audiofi.co.uk) with the location of your itunes music and I'll send you a ready altered ini file.

    Andrew
     
  8. Jedfordski

    Jedfordski
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    Thanks for the quick response Andrew.

    I've copied the exe into the root and run it. The icon pops up in the bottom RH corner task bar. I've selected rescan content directories and it's come up with: "rescan initiated on content root directories!" Is this right? Does it take a while to find everything?
     
  9. andrew1810

    andrew1810
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    Yep, thats right, it usually rescans on load as well.

    The page normally sits like that, just ignore it, leave it 5 mins and it should all be there (might be longer depending on the number of songs)

    If in the future you find it fails to resume from pause, let me know as that is a setting which sometimes needs adjusting.

    Andrew
     
  10. andrew1810

    andrew1810
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    One other thing, running twonkyvision as a service is sometimes unreliable.

    If you find it doesn't run on startup just copy a shortcut to the .exe to your startup folder. (make sure it is a shortcut though, I've copied the program before)
     
  11. Jedfordski

    Jedfordski
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    Ahhhh ... think I've got it working now. I've selected the Twonky server on the MP101 when I turned it on. I thought the Twonky software was a front end program, but it looks like it's just an interface between ITunes and the MP101 ... am I right?

    One problem so far ... it doesn't seem to see my playlists. The only options under playlist are Recently Played and My Top Rated ...
     
  12. andrew1810

    andrew1810
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    Yep, thats right, it can be used as a front end, but if you use iTunes anyway it is good at simply grabbing the iTunes database and showing that to the Netgear.

    I've not tried playlists myself yet, but I'll have a quick look now for you.

    Are they itunes created ones?

    Thanks

    Andrew
     
  13. Jedfordski

    Jedfordski
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    Yep ... I-Tunes created ones ... both standard and smart. Only a couple I've knocked together as examples ...

    Whats the Twonky front end like? I've literally just entered this world, so I-Tunes certainly isn't something I'm particularly familiar with ...
     
  14. andrew1810

    andrew1810
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    I would suggest sticking with iTunes to be honest, it is much better at keeping things organised and just use Twonky as a link to the Netgear (its what I do with all of mine except the Squeezebox)

    It seems that iTunes uses a different format for its playlists, the netgear looks for the more standard .m3u playlist files.

    I have found a way to convert the itunes playlist into a .m3u though which should work:
    http://chimpen.com/itunes2m3u/convert.php

    If you have the .NET framework on your pc, there is a proper program to do it instead of a webpage (it will be quicker):
    http://chimpen.com/things/archives/001450.php

    I'll try these out myself as well, but let me know if they work.

    Thanks

    Andrew
     
  15. andrew1810

    andrew1810
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    Just tried it out on mine (the webpage one) and the m3u file has to be saved into the "iTunes music" folder (the one with loads of artist subfolders in)

    Then you need to go to c:\windows and find a file called "twonkyvision-musicserver.ini"

    Load that file up

    About 3/4 down you will see this:

    "# param -playlists [NAME] = new name for Playlists folder, leave empty to not get the folder at all
    # category: music
    playlists=Playlists"

    Simply remove the word playlists at the end so it reads this:

    "# param -playlists [NAME] = new name for Playlists folder, leave empty to not get the folder at all
    # category: music
    playlists="

    Save the file, terminate the server and reload it and that should then work

    Andrew
     
  16. Jedfordski

    Jedfordski
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    Okay ... converted the iTunes Music Library XML file and changed the ini file. The only playlist it shows is iTunes Music Library...

    I also opened up the converted file to see what it was and it opened up iTunes but doubled the amount of songs. I then noticed that it it had added a load of songs but prefixed by the bands name. So for example I had Cochise by Audioslave and also had Audioslave-Cochise by Audioslave. I've gone through and deleted all the doubles but they are still showing doubled up on the MP101

    Also ... when I select Artists on the MP101 there's no longer a submenu of albums ... it just shows all the tracks ...
     
  17. andrew1810

    andrew1810
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    ah. I know what the problem is.

    What you had to do was click in the playlist and click File - Export song list and select the XML option.

    Then you convert the playlist file rather than the entire library

    By clicking on the converted file you have added a playlist with your entire library in it which is why everything has doubled and the menu has gone wrong. I'm not entirely sure how to fix that, but I think clicking Advanced - Consolidate Library should do it.

    Just noticed you have already deleted the doubles, try restarting twonky which should then remove them from the mp101

    You also want to delete the newly converted itunes library.m3u file

    Sorry about that, I was one stage ahead of myself in the last set of instructions

    Andrew
     
  18. richard plumb

    richard plumb
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    any of these work with NAS - i.e with no PC on? My modded Xbox does, but the software is a little flaky at times with a largish collection.
     
  19. andrew1810

    andrew1810
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    Apparently Twonkyvision can be used on a NAS (this works with the Netgear, Roku, Terratec and Philips Streamiums)

    The Slimserver from the Squeezebox I think has also been modified to work on one, check here: http://forums.slimdevices.com

    Andrew
     
  20. Jedfordski

    Jedfordski
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    Well ... still can't get it working. Twonky is showing twice the number of songs in iTunes, the playlists aren't there and neither are the album groupings. Any ideas?

    I've done the following:

    iTunes - File - Export Song List and saved as Library in the C:\Documents and Settings\Jedfordski\My Documents\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Music directory.

    I've then converted this to M3U from your link into the same directory.

    Twonky exe is also in this directory.

    I've removed "Playlist" from the Twonky ini file in C:\Windows directory.

    Anything else?

    EDIT - okay ... found that I need to export each Playlist as a seperate file - I was only exporting the Library before. Playlists are now showing, but have found that the Album sub catagories are now under Folders in the list (artist, playlist, folder ... etc). Is this right? Or should I still be able to see the album lists directly under the Artist option?

    Also ... I'm showing 3 servers on the MP101, all of them named the same. How do I remove the extra two?
     
  21. andrew1810

    andrew1810
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    When you clicked Export Song List, were you in the main itunes library, or in a playlist you have built?

    To export the playlists you have to have clicked on them on the side bar and then Export from there, then convert them as before.

    The double the number of tracks sounds like you may have created a new playlist holding all of the tracks, iTunes will then see this and think there are two copies of each.

    Best way to fix this is to remove both the xml and m3u copy of any playlist files you have created, then reload iTunes and click Advanced - Consolidate Library

    One other thing you could try, load up iTunes Music Library.xml in your web browser to see if it has doubled the tracks in there as well.

    Hopefully that will sort the problem, if it doesn't let me know and I'll try and recreate it here.

    Andrew
     
  22. Jedfordski

    Jedfordski
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    Aha ... read my edit above.
     
  23. andrew1810

    andrew1810
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    Not sure about the albums showing as folders, I'll have to plug mine in later on and have a look to see if its the same.

    I have seen it show 2 or 3 servers before, check you don't have TwonkyVision running more than once, it might be running as a service as well as a program

    Start - Settings - Control Panel - Administrative Tools - Services

    If its in there, stop the service
    Also close any you have running (including any hidden ones in task manager)

    Then try running it again to see if that removes any.

    Andrew
     
  24. AMc

    AMc
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    I'm not wanting to stick my oar in too much here but I haven't had to do any of this with Twonky to get it to interface with iTunes and my 2 MP101.
    My library shows up as do playlists, smart playlists and party shuffle without doing anything else.

    I run Twonky as a service
    http://www.twonkymedia.de/UPnP/MediaServerUsage2.9.html#service-version

    Then used the local web server to configure it by typing "http://192.xx.xx.xx on the local machine.
    Then set the destination of the iTunes DB - NOT the music files themselves.
    Usually "C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\My Documents\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Music Library.xml"
    http://www.twonkymedia.de/UPnP/MediaServerUsage2.9.html#iTunes

    And Bob's your uncle. I have also set the enableweb attribute to 2. This means that my XP Pro laptop can see the Twonky Server in Network Places. Double clicking on that allows me to fiddle with the settings.

    The Artists\tracks thing is a deliberate limitation of the Free MusicServer. If you want to specifiy a menu tree of Artists\albums\tracks then you need to spend the £10 on the full version.
    http://www.twonkyvision.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=82&highlight=artist+album+search
     
  25. Jedfordski

    Jedfordski
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    Is the service version you run the one you need to pay for? I don't mind spending the money, especially if it also gives me the better tree options.

    What's the ip address I need to type in? Is this the web page you see when you right hand click the Twonky icon and select configure? I recognise the destination route of the iTunes database. I've set this on a web page (I assume it's the one you mentioned above) but I didn't add the filename of the database at the end - I just put the music address. I'll try adding the database file to the address when I get home tonight.
     
  26. andrew1810

    andrew1810
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    The one you pay for is called MusicServer++ and this does give better menu options, its at www.twonkyvision.de

    Yes, the itunes bit is kept in the web page when you right click, or you can put it in directly in the twonkyvision ini file in the Windows directory that we modified earlier.

    Andrew
     
  27. AMc

    AMc
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    The filename in the end of the path is REALLY important - Twonky doesn't scan for the iTunes XML.

    You do not need to include the path to the music files themselves - if you do it may cause trouble I'm not too sure. It will definitely work if you just point Twonky at the XML file.

    You can run the free musicserver as a service just substitute "musicserver -install" for "mediaserver -install" at a command prompt in the directory you extracted the musicserver to. You get an alert box that tells you it worked.

    The IP address you type is the ip address of the computer running the server. Be aware that if you manually start the server it will put it's config in the same directory as the program. If you run it as a service it keeps a seperate config in the windows directory somewhere which is why I recommend you configure how I suggested.

    ---------------------------

    A word of caution. If you're playing music with iTunes on the same PC while the Twonky service is running, I find Twonky will make copies of the XML file everytime iTunes updates the XML. Twonky then seems to reread the file. iTunes will do that at the end of each track and if you alter the descriptions of a file etc. I have a small partition for the OS and a big partition for music and a 13MB XML file and found that that my OS partition was filling up with these copies. If you're planning on using iTunes for anything significant it's worth uninstalling the service and reinstalling the service when you're done. I have shortcuts on the desktop to make that easy.

    I'm currently using the free music server, but as I've just got a 2nd MP101 I think I'll register - partly for the Artist>Album>track listing (and you can add more 'menu items' to the MP101 interface!) and also to support the development of a great product.
    One of the developers spends quite a lot of time helping users over at http://www.media-servers.com/forums and helped me get up and running with iTunes.

    Good luck - it's worth the hassle!
     
  28. Jedfordski

    Jedfordski
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    Your word of warning sounds exactly like the problem I'm encountering ... I'll check it out after work.

    Think I'll buy the full version as well ... it's certainly cheap enough.
     
  29. Jedfordski

    Jedfordski
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    Wahay .... that seems to have done the trick. Pointing to the xml file seemed to work.

    Next problem - how do I stream radio? iTunes is showing, for example, 39 stations under Alternative / Rock, of which one is Virgin. However, there's only one shown through the MP101 list.
     
  30. andrew1810

    andrew1810
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    Its been quite a while since I plugged in my MP101 (I usually demo the Squeezebox or Terratec) but from what I remember it has a limited selection of radio stations.

    The radio stations in iTunes are solely within iTunes, the MP101, Squeezebox, Terratec etc. completely ignore these lists and allow access to a selection of stations (usually shoutcast etc.)

    Best bet is to look through them all, according to the Netgear site there are 50 free stations available, but as I said, I have never used mine for internet radio as a couple of the others have don't need the PC for the radio so I normally opt for those.

    Hopefully someone else will have a better idea, if not I'll plug mine in and have a look for you.

    Andrew
     

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