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Brand new to forum, looking for guidance setting up raspberry pi 4 as dedicated music server, the best player to use, no streaming.

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#1
Just getting started here on the forum, I've gotta say its been so helpful cutting through all the misinformation out there today about digital audio gear. Finally getting round to switching over to a dedicated music server for my digital music, my system is is primarily for vinyl.

Planning on using a pi 4 as a server, got the smsl sanskrit and love the sound as well as a surface pro tablet to use as a controller, storage is on a ssd. I'm a total meathead when it comes to computers, though I do love a bit of soldering and rebuilding tube amps and turntables. What is the best player to use for playing music from a library, no streaming, no fussing around, simple and bug free? I'm not looking for a new hobby to spend endless hours trying to get my library to work, just want to find a good way to play my music and be done messing with this stuff.

I'm new to pc's been trying out different players on the tablet, tried media monkey but I couldn't get it to recognize new music in my library. There's just too much out there for me to wade through trying out every player. So, with players I've had alot of issues with cataloging problems from ripped, downloaded, etc. music, primarily programs that rewrite the Metadata after I have gone through and individually renamed albums and songs, itunes was killing me. I'd like to avoid that in the future, and I'd like a simple interface, preferably big icons like the album browsing view in iTunes, small type isn't great when you have thousands of albums. I'm not interested in streaming or subscriptions at all and won't stream in the future. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated! I'm really hoping to save time time trying out every option through the experience of the knowledgeable people on this forum. Not interested in roon. Not interested in endlessly troubleshooting a mediaplayer.

Secondly the setup. Like I said I'm a lunk with the computers, any basic guides to set up a pi as a server out there people can recommend? What's the best software to use for controlling the pi with the Microsoft tablet? I'm assuming I install everything with the pi os off a memory card. Anything else I need to know? Designing a psu is beyond me but anyone have links for a schematic? Or is that really a waste of time? I was planning on using an oversized heat sink on the pi with no fan to eliminate noise,will that be a problem? Any old power work as well as the factory one? How many gigs for no lag with the interface? Dreaming of being able to just browse my library, press play on an album then hear it coming out of the speakers, seams like a fantasy right now.
In the future I'd like to rip albums from lp's or external drive, recommendations for this.

Thanks in advance for any and all help, this community is an island of sanity in a sea of, well, you get it.
 

Daverz

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#2
Yes, you would download and write the image for the OS on a microSD card with a program like Etcher, then insert it into the Pi, hook the Pi up to your network router, and power the Pi up. Typically there is a web address to navigate to for configuration. Some of the different images you can try are Volumio, Moode, and PiCorePlayer. You'll need a microSD card reader/writer if you don't have one already. You can get kits with everything you need at the online Pi shops (like pishop.us).

Where are your music files now?
 
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Thread Starter #3
Thanks for the response, all my files are on a 3tb external hard drive, I was planning on using one of the pi's usb's for the drive, the other for the Sanskrit, unless there's a better way to do it. Will the external drive lag? It's a fast ssd.
 

Daverz

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#4
Thanks for the response, all my files are on a 3tb external hard drive, I was planning on using one of the pi's usb's for the drive, the other for the Sanskrit, unless there's a better way to do it. Will the external drive lag? It's a fast ssd.
I don't think it will be a problem for the Pi4 at all. The starter kit has everything you need:

https://www.pishop.us/product/raspberry-pi-4b-starter-kit/
 
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Thread Starter #5
Great, thanks. So I got a pi4 going to try to install the os. Any experience as to which of those three players is best, pros and cons. I have a huge library to navigate, looking for ease of use, reliability, functional interface, controlling with a tablet. This forum is great because so many people here have tested so much out and figured out what works and what doesn't. Do I need to install programs off the SD card rather than download them?
I've seen some hifi music servers using the pi and they seam to be just a pi with a dac and a power supply . Some of the power supplies seam way overkill to me, any real benefits to these, any recommendations, schematics for good psu. Thanks!
 

Beershaun

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#7
I recommend getting a 5 pack of microSD cards, you only need 2gb cards so they are very cheap, and trying out the different players side by side. Most of the players are free software. Write a player OS to one card, put it in, configure it and try it out. Then get a second microsd card, write a different playerOS to it and set it up. They you can quickly swap back and forth by changing cards.
 
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Okay, that sounds great, i'll do that. Seams like I've got alot to learn about the pi before I'll be able to do anything. So the players are operating systems, do I have to install an os before installing a player? I didn't get a monitor, assumed I'd be able to setup and configure the pi with another pc over wifi, just looking into that briefly on the net though and it's looking more complicated than I originally thought.
Or if I'm using the pi purely as a music server is it as simple as uploading the disk image for, say, volumio, plugging the pi via Ethernet into my router and going on to the volumio website to setup the pi?
 

Daverz

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Okay, that sounds great, i'll do that. Seams like I've got alot to learn about the pi before I'll be able to do anything. So the players are operating systems, do I have to install an os before installing a player? I didn't get a monitor, assumed I'd be able to setup and configure the pi with another pc over wifi, just looking into that briefly on the net though and it's looking more complicated than I originally thought.
Or if I'm using the pi purely as a music server is it as simple as uploading the disk image for, say, volumio, plugging the pi via Ethernet into my router and going on to the volumio website to setup the pi?
Yes, it's that simple. You'll need a microSD card reader/writer to write the image to the microSD card with something like Etcher:

Edit: incorrect link removed
 
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Beershaun

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#10
Adding to the above comment. The players are complete system images so no need for an operating system. You use an image writer program like balena etcher as mentioned above, write the image to the card. Plug the card I to the pi and power it up. Then you can remotely access the user interface of the player on a separate pc usually via a url in your web browser. I suggest plugging the pi into the network with a cable at first to make it that much easier to get started. Then you can set up your wifi settings after that.
 

Jinjuku

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#11
To add on to the network portion after boot:

You will need to log into what ever router/device is doing DHCP on your network and look in the DHCP Lease section for the MAC address of the Raspberry Pi4.

Mine start with b8:27:eb. Not sure about the Pi 4.

So once you see the b8:27:eb it will have the IP address next to that. Copy that to your web browser address bar and it should take you to the web UI. You then setup the WiFi connection from there.

Bit of a pain in the arse. I wish they just put on a static address that you temporarily change your computer to and setup that way.
 

rkbates

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#12
Okay, that sounds great, i'll do that. Seams like I've got alot to learn about the pi before I'll be able to do anything. So the players are operating systems, do I have to install an os before installing a player? I didn't get a monitor, assumed I'd be able to setup and configure the pi with another pc over wifi, just looking into that briefly on the net though and it's looking more complicated than I originally thought.
Or if I'm using the pi purely as a music server is it as simple as uploading the disk image for, say, volumio, plugging the pi via Ethernet into my router and going on to the volumio website to setup the pi?
If you're using moode you access the pi via http://moode/index.php, so you don't need to know its IP address. Similarly volumio is http://volumio.local. The comment above about buying a few SDs cards is excellent - try a few players and see which suits you best, very easy since the OS and everything you need is on the SD card. Once you've settled on one and got your configuration right, take an image copy as a backup. I'd go with 16GB, allows you to use a player that keeps it's library metadata on the SD card.
 

ctakim

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#13
If you're using moode you access the pi via http://moode/index.php, so you don't need to know its IP address. Similarly volumio is http://volumio.local. The comment above about buying a few SDs cards is excellent - try a few players and see which suits you best, very easy since the OS and everything you need is on the SD card. Once you've settled on one and got your configuration right, take an image copy as a backup. I'd go with 16GB, allows you to use a player that keeps it's library metadata on the SD card.
Let us know how this goes. I'm using my RPi4 as a Roon Endpoint with a MacMini as the Roon Core. I have Roipeee running on the RPi4 and it worked seamlessly. I also tried Volumio, which loaded but I could not get it to read the music files on the networked computer. But Volumio streamed Internet Radio music without issues. Looks like you want to use your RPI as the Music Server, which I haven't been able to get working yet. Good Luck!
 

JSmith

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#14
Always wondered why an SD card and reader to USB needs to be used... why doesn't simply USB work with an OS on same? Must be heaps of readers and cards out there only used once for this.



JSmith
 

rkbates

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#15
Let us know how this goes. I'm using my RPi4 as a Roon Endpoint with a MacMini as the Roon Core. I have Roipeee running on the RPi4 and it worked seamlessly. I also tried Volumio, which loaded but I could not get it to read the music files on the networked computer. But Volumio streamed Internet Radio music without issues. Looks like you want to use your RPI as the Music Server, which I haven't been able to get working yet. Good Luck!
All the players I've tried have their quirks unfortunately - often related to accessing files on a networked pc. An SSD plugged straight into the Pi should be easy. I access all media through a Plex server, so once you get the client to see Plex it can see everything connected to it.
 

Daverz

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Thread Starter #17
Followed that etcher link posted above and installed, now I have a half dozen unwanted apps to uninstall that are at best fishing and at worst doing god knows what to my computer. This is why people hate tech. I think the link you meant to post was https://www.balena.io/etcher/ maybe? Might want to delete above mentioned link from your post. I do appreciate the helpful advice though, but gotta call a spade a spade, that sucked. I'll be trying to get the pi running volumio once I've cleaned up my computer.
 

rkbates

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Followed that etcher link posted above and installed, now I have a half dozen unwanted apps to uninstall that are at best fishing and at worst doing god knows what to my computer. This is why people hate tech. I think the link you meant to post was https://www.balena.io/etcher/ maybe? Might want to delete above mentioned link from your post. I do appreciate the helpful advice though, but gotta call a spade a spade, that sucked. I'll be trying to get the pi running volumio once I've cleaned up my computer.
That's disheartening to say the least. Never had any dramas with Balena Etcher - can't recall where I sourced it though. Raspberry Pi Imager is good - you can get it straight off the foundation's site so pretty safe. USB Image Tool is good as well.
 
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#19
I think balena etcher is the one you want.

I’ve used both Volumio and Moode. Using Moode right now because of the built in eq for my headphones, though maybe Volumio’s interface is a little cleaner? Both should pick up files on a USB drive, but I’ve always used them with a network drive... which currently is another Raspberry Pi serving files over SMB for both my Pi headphone setup and all the Sonos speakers around the house.
 

Daverz

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#20
Yes, it's that simple. You'll need a microSD card reader/writer to write the image to the microSD card with something like Etcher:

Edit: incorrect link removed
Oops, I hope it wasn't a porn link.
 
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