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Rpi, DX3pro, iTunes, Macbook, PC, NAS and oh my...

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#1
I really tried to write a concise list of questions but failed, hence the simplistic question below and the amorphous blob of background information that follows!

My questions boil down to what software should I load on to my Raspberry Pi and where and how should I store and curate my music?

My 'hifi' is a STAX headphone setup and some dynamics driven by a Topping DX3 pro via usb from my PC and bluetooth from my Macbook I may add other endpoints in the future but my flat is small and I favour quality over quantity.

I would like to un-tether the 'hifi' from my computers and eliminate the lossy Bluetooth connection so I am setting up a headless Raspberry Pi 4 to connect to the DX3 either directly by USB or optical/spdif using a Hifiberry Digi, but I'm not sure what software/OS to load on it: Moode, Rune, PiCore Player, Roon endpoint etc - I expect this will be determined by the information below. I am doing a lot research on this myself but am having dificulty narrowing down the scope of my reading as I am new to music streaming in general as well as the Raspberry Pi platform, but sufficiently technically minded to build my own hardware or write my own software if needed.

My music is currently organised on the Macbook in iTunes but I buy digital music from several sources including Bandcamp, Bleep, Amazon etc and purchase it using several different computers including the PC. I would like my music library to be centralised without having to copy files from one place to another using a USB stick. Maybe it can live on a NAS or USB storage connected directly to the Pi if this was still remotely and simply accessible for management, adding new music etc?

Ultimately the usability of my music library is important - having resolved hardware issues what really matters is the music and how I interact with it, curating playlists, ease of finding artists, songs, albums, following a musical path once I start listening so the selection of one track leads to another with minimal interuption - perhaps this aspect is something Roon promotes?

I don't currently pay for a streaming music service like spotify, but I'm not wedded to the Apple/iTunes ecosystem either, it's just something I've put up with for many years. I happen to think that actually owning music leads to curatorship in a way that the availability of the infinite via streaming does not but I may be wrong. A lot of my music is new and/or obscure (hence Bandcamp) so I'm dubious about the relevance of Tidal, Qobuz etc as I am about paying $10/month for Roon which just seems to be a player with a pretty picture and a few bells and whistles.

Help :eek: Thanks :D
 
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SJ777

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#4
I use and like Moode, it works w a NAS just fine.
A second from me on Moode. You can use it as NAS, but you need to make sure that you have big enough micro sd card to store your local music. You can also attach a USB flash drive to the RPi4 and store your music that way (I presume you can attach multiple flash drives and the RPi4 has several available USB ports).
 
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mnemonix
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Thread Starter #5
So some very basic questions about Moode...

Moode runs on the Rpi providing a web interface to play my music?
I point Moode in its settings at my audio files - it could see them on a NAS - could it see the iTunes music folder on my Macbook?
What else can it 'see' as a source of music?
If my audio files are stored on something connected directly to the Rpi, can Moode 'manage' them in terms of organising and allowing me to add new files to the library via its interface?
 

SJ777

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#6
So some very basic questions about Moode...

Moode runs on the Rpi providing a web interface to play my music?
I point Moode in its settings at my audio files - it could see them on a NAS - could it see the iTunes music folder on my Macbook?
What else can it 'see' as a source of music?
If my audio files are stored on something connected directly to the Rpi, can Moode 'manage' them in terms of organising and allowing me to add new files to the library via its interface?
You'll need to use Moode as a UPnP renderer and then stream from your source via software on the source. I'm now out of my depth because I have zero knowledge about all things Apple. I'll explain how it works for me (Android user)

Source (Android phone running Bubble UPnP app) - I have locally stored music on my phone that is streamed to the RPi and also this allows me to use my streaming service of choice: Qobuz.

RPi4 (running Moode) - This handles the streamed data, but I don't need to use the Moode web interface. Everything is done via the App

USB out to DAC etc.

All my local music is stored on my phone (flac files) so I don't have anything stored on the RPi4. I think you only need to use Moode's interface if you're listening to music stored on the RPi itself. However, as always, I might be wrong.
 
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mnemonix
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Thread Starter #7
You'll need to use Moode as a UPnP renderer and then stream from your source via software on the source. I'm now out of my depth because I have zero knowledge about all things Apple. I'll explain how it works for me (Android user)
...
Thanks that's helpful. So although Moode seems like a decent solution for some streaming needs it doesn't sound like it really does what I'm looking for. I want to centralise, simplify and manage my music library as well as facilitate network streaming/playback through a Rpi. I was hoping there was something that did all this (and it still might be Roon if there is). The last thing I want is music stored across multiple devices and on my phone that is simply played back or interacted with using different players on different platforms (I'm already doing that). If streaming services can be integrated great, but I predominantly play my own files not streaming music services.

What I'm finding with most of the websites for this type of software is a big download link, a glossy bullet point list of 'features', but very little in the way of "this is exactly what it does and how it does it", hence the apparent need to ask such basic questions! I'm by no means an IT beginner, but very much so in the field of network audio.
 
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SJ777

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#8
I'm by no means an IT beginner, but very much so in the field of network audio.
That's exactly the place that I found myself in when I started looking at network solutions. It was easier for me as I was starting completely from scratch - up to that point all my music was on CD.

I think that whatever you go for, it will need to involve something in addition to that which is on the RPi, unless you load everything that you've got on to the RPi, either the micro sd or usb.

From other threads I understand that Roon does offer perhaps the best "full listening environment" so that might be the best starting point.
 
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mnemonix
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Thread Starter #9
Well I think I'm going to try Moode because it appears to support Airplay so I can keep my iTunes library and interface and stream to it until I find an alternative - in the meantime I'll be able to play around with it and see what else it does.

It's the damndest thing. I've trawled the official website and literally all I can glean from it is that Moode is a "music player for raspberry pi" (well duh) and boasts features such as "Album and Radio one-tap Instant Play " (nope, no idea at all). Beyond that the setup guide is an ascii text file on Github with cli commands. Honestly I've never found the barrier to a useful, entry level understanding of something so high, and by useful, I just mean knowing enough about what it does and how to make a choice whether to try it or not!
 
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FooYatChong

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#10
I started with my music on a MacBook using iTunes and my iTunes-library on an external 2.5" drive. Later switched to JRiver for playback, still using iTunes for library management.

Then got a Pi4 with JRiver installed on Raspbian OS and attached my (exFAT formatted) iTunes drive.

JRiver has a nice iOS app to remotely control the player on the Pi. I use it to play music from the Pi over a Topping E30, stream music from the Pi to my iPad or stream music from the Pi to a DNLA player on the network.

The JRiver install on my MacBook is now set up to use the JRiver-library on the Pi.

I could set the Pi up so I can copy new music to it over the network but for now I reattach it to the MacBook and add music via iTunes.
 

MediumRare

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#11
Look into Audirvana with your library on a NAS, all on a WiFi router. All your files will move wirelessly and you can control via the Mac or the Audirvana app.
 
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mnemonix
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Thread Starter #12
I could set the Pi up so I can copy new music to it over the network but for now I reattach it to the MacBook and add music via iTunes.
OK, interesting, this is helping me see the bigger picture. I'm frustrated by having to move files from pc to my macbook on a usb stick as it is hence the desire for them to be at a single, easily managed location since I download new music every few days it's a regular occurance.
 
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mnemonix
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Thread Starter #13
I started with my music on a MacBook using iTunes and my iTunes-library on an external 2.5" drive. Later switched to JRiver for playback, still using iTunes for library management.

Then got a Pi4 with JRiver installed on Raspbian OS and attached my (exFAT formatted) iTunes drive.
So JRiver is essentially an iTunes alternative but also installable on the Rpi (which iTunes is not) so the core so to speak can run on the headless Rpi and you can control it remotely using the phone?

Is your Macbook JRiver install working differently then? Is that reading music files from the RPi library and then playing/streaming it back to JRiver on the Rpi to play rather than simply working it all by remote control?
 

FooYatChong

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#14
OK, interesting, this is helping me see the bigger picture. I'm frustrated by having to move files from pc to my macbook on a usb stick as it is hence the desire for them to be at a single, easily managed location since I download new music every few days it's a regular occurance.
You can share the music folder (or disk) on the Pi so you can copy music to it over the network. JRiver scans it's music location(s) regularly, so it will pick up the new additions. With a JRiver master license ($80) you can install it on your Pi, you MacBook and your PC. The latter 2 using the library on the Pi.

The only major drawback for JRiver is that it doesn't support streaming services (Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify). But for playing local content it's great.

So JRiver is essentially an iTunes alternative but also installable on the Rpi (which iTunes is not) so the core so to speak can run on the headless Rpi and you can control it remotely using the phone?
Yes.

Is your Macbook JRiver install working differently then? Is that reading music files from the RPi library and then playing/streaming it back to JRiver on the Rpi to play rather than simply working it all by remote control?
I use it to play music from the Pi on my MacBook using headphones.

BTW Jriver has a free 30 day trial.
 

HionHiFi

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#15
...

My questions boil down to what software should I load on to my Raspberry Pi and where and how should I store and curate my music?

Ultimately the usability of my music library is important - having resolved hardware issues what really matters is the music and how I interact with it, curating playlists, ease of finding artists, songs, albums, following a musical path once I start listening so the selection of one track leads to another with minimal interuption - perhaps this aspect is something Roon promotes?

... A lot of my music is new and/or obscure (hence Bandcamp) so I'm dubious about the relevance of Tidal, Qobuz etc as I am about paying $10/month for Roon which just seems to be a player with a pretty picture and a few bells and whistles.
Based on your statement..."Ultimately the usability of my music library is important..." I'd say go with Roon. It is known for it's usability. There is a fee. The lifetime membership is $699.99 (less than some people pay for cables!) and you'll have one of the best user experiences even compared to my normal choice of PiCorePlayer.
 

bluefuzz

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#16
Firstly, I would get all your music off the Macbook and onto a proper NAS. I would recommend bliss to organise your library. There are alternatives like Songkong or beets but they are rather more involved. If possible get a NAS that can run bliss natively.

The Pi 4 limits your options a bit as not all the players have been updated to work on the Pi4 as yet but Moode and Volumio both work fine on the Pi4. I would recommend Moode, but the beauty of the Pi is that you can install any image on an SD card and quickly change between OS installations until you find what fits you best.
 
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Thread Starter #19
Firstly, I would get all your music off the Macbook and onto a proper NAS. I would recommend bliss to organise your library.
Bliss looks interesting, being sold on the basis of "fixes" to your music library and in fact seems to have originated as an album art manager for iTunes if this old page is anything to go by!

In its current guise then it basically manages/fixes music file metadata, tags, album art and... folder structure too?

While it claims to have a web interface so it can run on your NAS/server, which implies a service that runs continually managing the library, this seems at odds with the one-off "fixes" approach?
 
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Thread Starter #20
And a progress update... Thanks for the help and suggestions so far; I'd been reading for weeks but getting nowhere with my understanding of it all which prompted my post this morning, however the Raspberry Pi arrived this afternoon and the opportunity to actually do something with it proved much more useful.

I now have Moode running on it and its USB output configured to the Topping DX3 pro. I've Airplayed to it from iTunes on my Macbook as well as played files from local USB storage which I can easily see as a Samba shared folder from the Macbook and PC for maintenance.

This suggests the Raspberry Pi could serve as the NAS as well as the player. I could manage it by setting it as the library for iTunes on my Macbook or ditch iTunes completely and use something else such as suggested, like Bliss, to manage the files on it which I would copy over using the Samba share. Or I could do any of this on a separate dedicated NAS.

Moode seems to work well, is flexible but somewhat basic in its presentation of your music.I think I'd like to try several options and configurations before settling on a solution.
 
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