Friday, 6 April 2012

Whole House Audio - Step 1

SqueezeBox Radio
As noted, I've bought into the Squeezebox line of audio playback devices. I started with Squeezebox back when it was a Slimdevices product. It's subsequently been bought out by Logitech who've let it languish and there's a big question mark over it's future. However, I like it, it still works and there's a few reasons I'll keep using it;

  1. I've invested in some hardware (Squeezebox II & Squeezebox Radio)
  2. The SqueezeServer (now Logitech Media Center) Software is flexible & mature
  3. There are software players available as well as the command line SqueezeSlave

Based on all of the above, I'm happy to stick with the system for my DIY whole house audio set up and want to get it configured on the MediaServer8. First step is getting the SqueezeServer software installed...

In keeping with the philosophy of compartmentalisation, I rejected the idea of installing the Windows version of Logitech Media Server on the Windows Server 8 OS itself. If nothing else, having it in a VM gives the setup greater portability should I wish to change OS in the future.

So, the options become a new VM or install it into an existing one. I've already got the NZBAPP Turnkey VM set up for Sabnzbd et. al so why not there?

First step was to ssh into the VM as root and download the Media Server Software as follows;


Once downloaded, I installed with;

dpkg -i logitechmediaserver_7.7.2_all.deb

Easy as pie! Navigating to revealed the UI and launched me into setup.

I'd already mounted my Music directory on Storage Spaces to /mnt/music in this appliance so it was a case of pointing the software to this share and letting it index the library.

I use iTunes on one of my macs for managing/purchasing/storing all music but the library files themselves are stored on the server. This way, I can manage the library from any mac. Also, Logitech Media Server has a nice feature; an iTunes plug-in that reads the iTunes library file and can use iTunes album art. It's a really nice integration.

Configuring iTunes integration in Logitech Media Server

Having switched on and configured the iTunes plug in, I fired up my Squeezebox Radio, connected to the new server and had tunes straight away. The whole thing took about 5 minutes to do and worked out well.

I know from previous experience that I need to install LAME alongside SqueezeServer to allow it transcode the Apple Lossless files I store my music in to MP3 for streaming to SqueezeSlave software players. This was again a simple operation. On the NZBAPP command line;

apt-get install lame libmp3lame0

I restarted the appliance and was delighted to discover SqueezeCenter auto-started and automatically picked up the LAME installation and configured itself to do the transcoding.

SqueezeServer configured to transcode Apple Lossless to MP3 using LAME

I'm a little concerned that I may be overloading the NZBAPP appliance as I'd allocated only 512MB RAM to it. I'm wondering if it will suffer when I connect multiple music players and also ask it to download/extract media with Sickbeard/Couchpotato/Headphones/Sabnzbd. Time will tell.

As a final step, I've added SqueezeServer to the NZBAPP appliance web front end;

The framework for the Whole House System is now in place. Later I'll be setting up zones and  control systems. Stay tuned.

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