HTPC or otherwise for poorly organized audio?

iroc409

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 17, 2006
Messages
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I've always kind of avoided setting up a Plex server because my music media is a train wreck. Multiple collections, untagged data, separate FLAC and MP3 collections, etc. Over the years I've worked hard at times to get things organized, but it's a very daunting task for this collection. I don't think my DVD collection is organized per Plex specifications, but is much, much smaller so it's easier to deal with. It's easy on my PC to navigate (for the most part) and find what I want to listen to, but it seems like doing this through an organized server like Plex (or similar) would be an issue. I was thinking of building a basic PC out of the overload of parts I have laying around, but so many people seem to suggest going the route of an Nvidia Shield, or some other device, as it's easier, smaller, lower power, etc.

Are there apps for these devices that I can just browse the local network and play MP3, FLAC or even just movies from my file server? Are there better options or is just setting up a PC the best?
 
Most Smart TVs support DLNA playback, if that's all you want to do with your existing collection. That handles music and video.

There should be a media playback portion of your TV, both for if you plugged an external drive with media into the USB port, Or if you point it to a DLNA server.

Plex is for folks who want to be control freaks: you cans serve the media outside your house, and beautify the entire presentation of the media collection.

For the basics, you don't need anything more than DLNA, and as long as you like your current media layout DLNA won't care - it just lets you browse through organized folders and select individual files. You also get random access while playing.

Since DLNA players will cycle to the next file in the folder after completion, Just make sure your media is in alpha-numeric order if you want to make things easier for playback of and entire series, or all the tracks on a single album.

Just be warned that you can have issues with subtitles working on DLNA, but everything else works fine.
 
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Well, perhaps embarassingly enough, my TV is not smart nor does it have DLNA. I will probably update the TV sometime in the not too distant future but it's an older Panasonic 55" plasma, I think 720p (maybe?). I've never really spent a lot on televisions, it hasn't been a big priority. It's probably how I can get by on an older Roku as well.

I am probably moving my network services off the Raspberry Pi and onto a Proxmox server, maybe I can use that until I update the TV.
 
Okay, then Kodi will be your go-to. It will fil-in for the missing smart functions on your TV.

But you will have to buy a more expensive Roku replacement, or you will have to build a cheap HTPC to run Kodi on. Kodi is free to download.

Some suggestions for more capable Roku replacement: Shied TV is the name-brand route, or you can take your chances with any of the generic Android Kodi boxes on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_sc_4_7?url=search-alias=aps&field-keywords=android+tv+box&sprefix=andoid+,aps,139&crid=1FXC3GUSRV35U

If you build the PC, it will cost about a hundred more than a Shield TV. And the only easy way to control it would be to use your smartphone/tablet running Kore. So you have to decide if you want a custom PC,or if you want an easy-to-use IR remote.
You can get an MS Media Center remote to work with Kodi, but it's way more labor-intensive remapping the buttons.

So you just have to install a DLNA server, then setup Kodi for DLNA. I prefer Universal Media Server, which is also free.
 
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OK, I assume I run the DLNA server on the network... do I need much power? I'm not sure how much headroom I'll have on the Proxmox server but I should have some. I've been looking at the Nvidia Shield and that looks like a very compelling alternative. I've heard of the Universal Media Server, so I'll check that out.

I have a couple PCs that would be an option, so building one would have negligible cost. I have a fully built desktop with a G3258 and 8GB RAM. It's running Windows but has had some sort of issues with network, where it takes several minutes to open File Explorer. I would need to address that, or use an alternative OS which is no problem. I also have my old motherboard/CPU/RAM from my last desktop, a i5-2500 (not K), 16GB RAM and an Intel motherboard. It would either need a video card and/or power supply, or I could pick up one of the Dell SFF type systems barebones and drop my parts into it. I've seen some of them around $50, but I'm not sure if I still have to get a video card since it's a non-K processor.

I also have a couple older laptops, but I think I'm going to get rid of them. I'd rather sell as much as I can just to get rid of stuff.
 
One thing you could do is install plex server wherever you rmusic and movies are located. I am assuming a windows PC? Or is it all on a rasberry pi?

Then install plex on the old roku and see what you think. You haven't said how you plan to play said music, just through the TV speakers?
 
That's the problem, everything is disorganized so Plex won't like it. I guess I can try it out, but last time I looked into Plex the forums and such that I read said everything had to be fairly tidy for it to work. Organizing my music collection has proven to just be kind of a mess, so I leave it how it is as I know how to find what I want (usually). I once tried to let iTunes (years ago) have a go at organizing my collection, and it turned into a huge failure. I've worked on MusicBrainz and stuff and that hasn't really worked out as I'd hoped, either.

The files are on a generic FreeBSD server running Samba and ZFS. The server is fairly beefy, but it only functions as a file server as I have a weird personal quirk that a lot of data on the machine is non-replaceable and so I only want it to run as a file server. The rPi I have is running network services, but I'm planning on moving it to another server I have with Proxmox.
 
You only need power for the DLNA server if you expect to have to do real-time transcode . If you're just playing your own ripped collection, then you don' have that problem,because you can assure that your chosen playback device supports all your desired codecs.

The Pentium will be plenty. And even if you have to transcode, that Pentium has Quicksync wih 1080p 60 h.264 transcode support
 
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That's the problem, everything is disorganized so Plex won't like it. I guess I can try it out, but last time I looked into Plex the forums and such that I read said everything had to be fairly tidy for it to work. Organizing my music collection has proven to just be kind of a mess, so I leave it how it is as I know how to find what I want (usually). I once tried to let iTunes (years ago) have a go at organizing my collection, and it turned into a huge failure. I've worked on MusicBrainz and stuff and that hasn't really worked out as I'd hoped, either.

The files are on a generic FreeBSD server running Samba and ZFS. The server is fairly beefy, but it only functions as a file server as I have a weird personal quirk that a lot of data on the machine is non-replaceable and so I only want it to run as a file server. The rPi I have is running network services, but I'm planning on moving it to another server I have with Proxmox.
The thing is it will take all of ten minutes to install Plex and see how it goes. Is your music in folders by album? Or old school with a ton of mp3s thrown in a folder?
 
I forgot to add, right now my TV has a soundbar, but I sort of have two living rooms. The second has a receiver with floor speakers, but no TV. I think I'm going to re-arrange things so the receiver is with the TV, and add some more speakers.

You only need power for the DLNA server if you expect to have to do real-time transcode . If you're just playing your own ripped collection, then you don' have that problem,because you can assure that your chosen playback device supports all your desired codecs.

The Pentium will be plenty. And even if you have to transcode, that Pentium has Quicksync wih 1080p 60 h.264 transcode support

OK, I will try it out then. I might just plug the machine in as-is and see what I think (once it's done being a utility box). I just recently realized it doesn't have HDMI, but

The thing is it will take all of ten minutes to install Plex and see how it goes. Is your music in folders by album? Or old school with a ton of mp3s thrown in a folder?

Both, actually. You're right, it won't take much to try it out. I have multiple sets, my original stuff is all sorted as music in folders by genre. My FLAC stuff is nicely organized by artist/album, and I have a couple of intermediate sets that are MP3 by author/album (I think). It's all over the place.
 
For what it's worth, I am also organizing my music catalog in Plex. It is a HUGE undertaking, and that's no joke. It's good for complete discographies or albums, but I haven't found a good way to organize the onsies and twosies that we all have.
 
For what it's worth, I am also organizing my music catalog in Plex. It is a HUGE undertaking, and that's no joke. It's good for complete discographies or albums, but I haven't found a good way to organize the onsies and twosies that we all have.

That's everything that I had indicated, and why I was trying to avoid it. I spent a ton of time a few years ago trying to get a lot of it organized, and it was a lot of manual work. It's not worth the effort if I can do something else. :)

I haven't had a chance to set up the machine, as it's been busty doing other tasks for me but will try and get it moving this weekend maybe.
 
Yeah, I gave up organizing my "one-offs" downloaded music collection. I decided to just buy the CDs for the tracks that I liked, and let the CDDB do it for me. There's even a standard for embedding album art into each track (which means that if you ever end-up with the same problem of a "mess of tracks" it's already clearly marked.)

Digital tracks you download from Amazon already have these all applied, if you would rather just buy individual tracks.
 
this is great, I've been attempting to organize all my music files for years now. Over 100gbs worth of music, very daunting. I finally have it all in mp3/ALAC format. had most of it in FLAC but stupid apple wont support it so had to convert to ALAC.
 
I've been kicking around the idea of setting up a Plex server for my ridiculous music collection (over 3TB) which is mostly all FLAC with some MP3 stuff thrown in here and there for the stuff that is just ridiculously hard to find anymore. The thought of having to go through it all to get it all to play well with Plex has been the only issue stopping me so far.
 
Just as an update, I finally set this up. I was going to use the G3258 that I had sitting around, but it was kind of loud and had no HDMI output. I have a Supermicro J1900 X10SBA-L that I used to use as a router. I was going to use it again for a homebrew router (previously Sophos), but honestly my Edgerouter Lite works just fine. So, I put a SSD in it, and have a completely silent little machine. I installed Windows 10 on it, just because mostly I was being lazy and wanted to see what it would do, and it performs better than I thought it would. It's faster than I expected on a desktop, and the HDMI works perfect through the screen.

My Roku is older, and I've subscribed to Philo--but it keeps crashing the Roku when I try to start it. This thing runs everything, although the browser viewers do tend to crash occasionally.

So far it's doing exactly what I was looking for, so I'm fairly happy.
 
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