the itjerk

my adventures with technology

Tag Archives: squeezebox

rip logitechmediaserver, squeezebox

sqebay

It is with a touch of sorrow that I have retired both Logitech Media Server and my Squeezebox v3 Network Music Player, and all ancillary programs. Not only was it my gateway into all things Linux, but it was also my introduction to streaming music. The interface remains stuck in the 00s, and my other hardware have eclipsed it; perhaps this is a problem with opensource. The interface does need a major, major refresh. Ultimately, I have just moved on with Roon server. So for all your names, Slimdevices, Slimserver, Squeezeboxserver, Squeezelite, Logitechmediaserver, I loved you all.

Originally purchased in April 2007, I have my Squeezebox up for sale on eBay:

On the web:
eBay

aries mini vs node 2 | roon

Two very popular streaming devices, one from Auralic, the latter from NAD/PSB affiliate Bluesound, are very tempting to purchase at $499. While neither have displays, they have all the guts of a good streamer, perhaps an update to my decades old Squeezebox, or better version of my Hifiberry Pi. I’m a bigger fan of streaming every day, because, it sounds just as good if not better than CDs, and is so, so convenient. Plus, playing music directly from my computer is getting… passé?

But there are some downsides to these streamers: Foremost, no display; to get visual, I’d have to spend more money. Also, each of these players has a serious fault: The Aries Mini has no native Android app, while the Node 2 doesn’t support UPnP/MiniDLNA. Sure, I could fork of some $$$ for a Roon Core, which both support, but I’m not sold on that either. I’d like to use an existing music server (UPnP, Logitech), and I have only Android devices in my home.

I’ll admit, Roon is tempting. At $499 for a lifetime license, it could be the future of my streaming server. Or at least, another one. It supports Linux, it’s got a good UI, combining the rich content of the web to file names and folders. But wouldn’t it be even cooler if I could pull up my music collection via Roon on my TV and use that as an interface, instead of a little phone screen? Tell me it’s so Roon, and I might sign up!

On the web:
Node 2
aries mini
Roon Labs

audio bliss with the piCorePlayer + HiFiBerry

If one thing has changed in the past forty years of my listening to music, it’s not the music; as Lemmy said in his documentary, (to paraphrase) “you always return to the music of your youth because that’s when you figured out what music you like”. What has changed is how I listen to music; as much as I still enjoy flipping a vinyl record over (and that delicious analogue sound), nothing beats the convenience of digital streaming. Basically, I want all my music on a computer so I can access it, with a click, wherever I may be.

Not like any of this is new. Since the iTunes revolution, music has been reduced to ones and zeros, in more ways than one. The album has vanished, and CDs are mere content delivery units. Services such as Spotify, Pandora, Google Music, Amazon Prime, iTunes Airplay, etc… are the new record stores, serving and predicting what music one wants to hear. Their respective apps, and devices such as Sonos, Beep, Amazon Echo, and the newly announced Chromecast Audio are all there to push that music your way.

But I want my music, the music on my computer. Logitech Media Server, aka SlimServer or Squeezebox Server, has been my go-to for music streaming for probably a decade now. Problem is Logitech stopped making Squeezeboxes years ago. Beep seemed like a nice substitute, but honestly it mostly crashes, far too often to be considered usable.

Screenshot from 2015-09-30 04:04:27

The most elegant and inexpensive solution is the Raspberry Pi equipped with a HiFiBerry DAC running piCorePlayer. The latter has made some serious leaps in the past year in terms of usability and stability, and with the addition of the HifiBerry, sonically as well. So all of this is a long winded way of giving the trio another, hopefully louder shout-out for earning the top spot in my hifi rig. It works, it’s simple and it sounds fantastic. Thank you!

On the web:
piCorePlayer

squeeze2upnp + beep = lms

Screenshot from 2015-03-11 18-56-42

Logitech Media Server (LMS), the old Squeezebox Server or Slimserver, is my go-to for playing my music library on hard disk. I use a Squeezebox v3, various Raspberry Pi’s, and now with the help of this nice little program, my Beep. Squeeze2upnp (sq2u) is as it says, “a bridge between LMS and uPNP devices”. It translates LMS instructions for UPnP devices. More simply, it makes my Beep appear as a playback device in any LMS app or webpage.

You can download Squeeze2upnp below, it’s precompiled for Linux and Windows. There’s instructions in the user guide on how to set it up and get it running. Make sure your Beep is playing while Squeeze2upnp is in “discovery” mode, and be sure to daemonize it with the “-z” option, otherwise CPU usage goes through the roof. You will also have to edit the config.xml file to support FLAC playback. Also, you may have to monkey with your firewall, I’m not sure what ports it uses, but it caused an issue for me. (more later).

to discover UPnP devices on local subnet and configure sq2u to play them:
./squeeze2upnp-x86 -i config.xml
to daemonize sq2u:
./squeeze2upnp-x86 -z

That’s it, give it a few minutes and your UPnp device will appear
Big shout out to philippe44 for his active development of the Squeeze2upnp program. I had an issue with it crashing, sent him a debug file, and all is now well. That’s the beauty of FOSS.

Update: philippe44 is currently working on a third-party plug-in for LMS that automates discovery and playback to your Beep inside the LMS interface. Check out the thread above at slimdevices.com for more info.

On the web
https://github.com/philippe44/LMS-to-uPnP

this is beep

Just before the holidays I received Beep, a $99 music streaming device. It’s a very simple thing, whose purpose is to provide wireless streaming capability to dumb systems, like a pair of powered speakers, stereo system, boom box, well, just about anything that has an audio input that accepts either 3.5mm analog or digital optical output. I especially like that last part, digital. The Beep runs on 5VDC, sports a metallic finish and consists of a large multifunction knob (start/pause/skip/stop/volume) and some cool flashing lights.

It’s controlled by an app, available on either Android or iOS, that also helps you setup the player on your network. When I first got it, Beep was pretty limited. I could play either Spotify or Pandora, or in my case, neither (because I don’t use either service), though it now also supports SomaFM radio. Okay, it’s still pretty limited. No support for Google Play, Amazon Music, that iTunes thingy, etc.
Screenshot_2015-03-09-17-01-40
Recently however, Beep have added support for DLNA music servers. This is great news, because I can now play all the music on my local media server via the Beep. In order for me to do so, I first installed MiniDLNA software on my Ubuntu box using apt-get, manually edited the config file to get it setup, and opened a few ports in my computer’s firewall, 8200 TCP and 1900 UDP to let MiniDLNA out. It would have been easier if the Beep would just connect to my Squeezebox Server (aka LMS), but it’s just not there, yet…

It would also be better if Beep were a little more stable, and transparent. Throughout the day it randomly lights up “smiley face” (looking for network connection) and “sun shining” (all lights glowing, who knows what this means). That’s ultimately going to be the hard sell on Beep: without a display, no one wants to decode blinking lights; what’s it doing? why is it doing that? It just needs to work.

To use Beep as a renderer (something that plays media from a DLNA server), I had to get another Android app, BubbleUPnP. It’s a fairly straight forward app, though I did have to install the “demo server” in order for it to find my MiniDLNA server. Not sure if this is me or the app, but it was not very intuitive to figure out. That done, however, I can stream my server’s music library to whatever I connect my Beep to.
Screenshot_2015-03-09-16-50-06

On the web:
Beep | Bringing music to every room in your home
MiniDLNA
BubbleUPnP Server

piCorePlayer

Screenshot from 2014-03-23 18:59:18

piCorePlayer

Another Raspberry Pi distro today, this one is piCorePlayer, a “dedicated Squeezebox player .. for your Raspberry pi board.. that runs a Microcore and Squeezelite.” Small it is, I used an ancient Palm 64MB SD card to write the image on, and it runs in RAM so no need to worry about the image ever getting corrupt; you can simply unplug the RPi to stop it. Everything worked effortlessly, I even got the USB wireless going, along with the USB DAC from Xitel. The RPi shows up in Logitech Media Server just as any other Squeezebox player. The benefit here is that I don’t have another interface to get used to; I am already using ol’ Slimserver. piCorePlayer supports a lot of outputs from the RPi, including analog audio, hdmi, usb audio (though the tweak for fixing crackles didn’t really work for me), and the I2S interface, which means I’ll be able to try it when I receive my HifiBerry!

update: upgraded to piCoreplayer 1.14d crackles still remain via usb output.

squeezeslave and the raspberry pi

Ever want to listen to your digital music collection at home while you were at work? Specifically, the idea here is to connect to my Logitech Media Server (aka Slimserver or Squeezebox Server, and LMS for short) that's at home, with my Raspberry Pi (RPi for short) at work. (I'm going to assume that you know the drill about opening ports on computers and routers, your work's tech security policies, and all that jazz). Technically, it's relatively simple – make an ssh connection to the LMS, forward a few ports to the RPi, and then launch the player! Of course, this could all be done using just about any media player on just about any computer, and a web interface – that's the beauty of the LMS. But this is about the RPi, and I'd like to keep this as basic as possible – without even using a gui for playlists.

Squeezeslave is a great little program that emulates a Squeezebox player, providing both a SLIMP3 type interface and the capability to stream music. It's truly turns the RPi into a virtual machine. The program is an already compiled binary for ARM6 (the chip that the Rasberry Pi uses), which saves a lot of work. But be sure to get the "hard float" version for Raspbian Wheezy.

Installation is simple, this taken from Paul Webster's more than informative blog:

wget http://squeezeslave.googlecode.com/files/squeezeslave-1.2-367-armhf-lnx31.tar.gz
tar -xvf squeezeslave-1.2-367-armhf-lnx31.tar.gz
mv squeezeslave-1.2-367 squeezeslave

Before we run Squeezeslave, we have to connect to the LMS server at home. This is done via ssh and port-forwarding. I've configured my home router (and LMS computer) to accept connections on ports 22, 3483, and 9000, the latter two which Squeezeslave uses to connect to the LMS. I've also setup keys (using ssh-keygen) between the LMS and RPi so that a password isn't required to login. Finally, I also know the LMS's WAN and LAN addresses (using DynDNS for the former).

First, we connect to the LMS using the ssh command. The -L switch can be repeated, which is great because we need both ports 3483 and 9000 forwarded for Squeezeslave to work. The -N switch prevents remote commands, since we are just using ssh for port forwarding. Finally, by ending with &, we stay in the local terminal, and can immediately issue our next command. Note that all addresses are for your LMS computer.

ssh -L <3483>:<lan address>:<3483> -L <9000>:<lan address>:<9000> -N <username>@<wan address> &

Running Squeezeslave is simple: all we do is enter the IP of the localhost for the LMS, and give it the -D switch to open its display.

./squeezeslave 127.0.0.1 -D -R

What a cool interface!

Here are the key options for the display:

Now, if I point a browser to my home computer and bring up the LMS web interface, I'll find a player called "Squeezeslave". One performance note, I did need to edit Server Settings in LMS for the Squeezeslave to change Bitrate Limiting to something from "unlimited" to get smooth playback over the internet. That said, sound was excellent, making the Raspberry Pi one inexpensive SqueezeBox player!

Extending this little exercise, both commands could be scripted to run automatically at boot, making this a completely auto-on operation. And because of Squeezeslave's simple interface, I'm sure the RPi could be hooked up to a cool little LCD display instead of a monitor, add a remote…

Isn't computing fun?!

On the web:
Squeezeslave
Sourceforge
Installing Squeezeslave

logitech’s squeezebox, rip

Logitech leaves Squeezebox fans wondering what's next

Sad news indeed, but Logitech has put the death squeeze on the entire Squeezebox line. Good news is that the software (Logitech Media Server formerly SlimServer, SqueezeCenter and Squeezebox Server) will live on in some form or another (as it is licensed under the GNU General Public License), but bad news is they own the patents? for the devices and their firmware. Will someone come along and buy the line? Will the old SlimDevices team buy it back? Will someone integrate SqueezeBox functionality into, say a universal player like Oppo, or setup box like Roku? We can only hope…

Editorial: I am reminded of all the pro-Logitech zealots at this time, and all I can say is I told you so. No armchair quarterbacking either, theirs was nothing but vitriol and contempt to my protestations towards the big giant. The big corporate purchase may have been good for SlimDevices, but what analyst wouldn't have figured that this was a niche device?

In the meantime, off to eBay to find an old v3?

Here are a few Squeezebox alternatives:
For Android SqueezePlayer
Java player SoftSqueeze
Software player Squeezeslave
Slimserver Community Page

raspberry pi and the squeezebox server

Here's something that's really easy to setup – streaming music from your Slimserver/Squeezebox Server/Logitech Media Server to your Raspberry Pi. Not a lot of assumptions here; my Squeezebox Server is at home, and I'm at work; I've opened the necessary ports at on my home computer and router (22 tcp, 9000 tcp, 3483 tcp/udp), and I know it's WAN and LAN addresses. I'm also going to assume that you know the drill about opening ports on computers, your work's security policies and all that jazz.

Please note that all this can be done using your remote computer's host name; just open a stream to yourhomecomputer.com:9000/stream.mp3 in just about any media player, play it, then open a browser to yourhomecomputer.com:9000, select the remote player, queue up some music and press play! All this assumes that your Squeezebox Server is set to use port 9000.

But for security's sake, I'm going to use ssh port forwarding to send all the traffic through a tunnel. This not only secures the stream by using ssh, but allows you to load the stream and view the web interface using the localhost interface on your RPi.

Okay, first setup a port forward from your Squeezebox Server at home on your RPi using the terminal. Note that all addresses are for your Squeezebox Server computer.

ssh -L <local port>:<lan address>:<lan port> <username>@<wan address>

Next, just add the music stream to mpc and play it:

mpc add http://localhost:9000/stream.mp3
mpc play

Now, point your browser to http://localhost:9000 (or whatever local port you are forwarding to), select the appropriate player (mpd on your RPi), queue up some music, and viola, you can enjoy all the music from your Slimserver/Squeezebox Server/Logitech Media Server wherever your Raspberry Pi is connected!

chumby one


What's a chumby? A funny-named device that's a cross between a clock radio and data-enabled cellphone? Chumby Industries says, "Just plug in your chumby, connect to your network, and use your computer to create a lineup of favorites from over 1,500 apps in more than 30 categories. Then let your chumby do its thing — streaming everything you like, from sports scores to stock quotes, from video clips to interactive games, from photos to trivia." So yeah, it's a computer-ish device that's connected to the internet. I want one!

A coupon code (HOLIDAY10) from their Facebook page and $90 later, the chumby one (actually their second model) arrived at my door. Very much the size of a small clock-radio, it sports a 3.5" color touch-screen interface, a large volume knob on its side, 5V AC adpater (it does run on battery, not included), and an amazing 2W mono speaker. After flashing it with the latest firmware (1-0-7) via USB, I was able to connect to my home wifi network. From there, I used my computer to create an account at chumby.com and activate my chumby (now called "chumbly"). Next, again through their website, I set off to configure a "channel" with various "apps" by deleting most everything from the default channel, and adding a flip-style clock, the Weather Channel, Spongebob, XKCD, you get the drift…

When on, the chumby continuously cycles through the various apps on a channel; each time the app refreshes itself with new information from the net. Whether rss feeds, stock quotes, word of the day, Facebook news feed, Flickr albums, Gmail, Twitter, you name it, there's probably an app available. And if you can't find what you want, write your own; each app is basically an Adobe Flash animation. The chumby also plays music very well, from terrestrial FM radio (well, not so well in my case), to Pandora, Shoutcast – why it even connects to my Squeezbox server as player "Neptune"; the only rub is I need to compile its playlist from a computer. And because the chumby is basically a linux computer running an ARM processor, you can do all sorts of geeky things with it too! BTW, it has a fantastic "night" mode that dims the screen perfectly.

Okay, it's a gizmo, it's slightly gratuitous, and really should be offered in other colors. The app selection is superfluous, but it's rather strange that there isn't a "children's" category, because my kids love this thing! The chumby is certainly extensible, but a lot of its value depends on intended use. In the bedroom, it's little more than a clock radio – do I really need to wakeup to Facebook or Engadget news feeds? No, though that might be useful in a kitchen setting, somewhere a computer isn't. It is however the best clock radio I ever bought, one that even connects to my Squeezebox server. What fun the chumby is!

On the web:
http://www.chumby.com/guide
http://wiki.chumby.com/mediawiki/index.php/Main_Page