Homegrown motorhome media servers? | MotorhomeFun | The Motorhome Support and Social Network

Homegrown motorhome media servers?

Jun 10, 2013
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I'm just ripping our CD collection. I'm using foobar2000 on Windows. It has a library and playlist capability, but are you all using something more sophisticated? One obvious thing that occurs to me in using a tablet/mobile to interface with a webserver rather than the media server direct?
 
OP
ToBoldlyGo
Jun 10, 2013
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Oh and one more thing, where does your sound get output to? At the moment I've a quite cheap and cheerful mono Bluetooth speaker :confused:
 

Kannon Fodda

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It may depend on the capabilities of your inbuilt cab radio, but for most a MP3 player / USB stick into the cab radio system will suffice. These days you can store an incredible amount on a very cheap USB stick, and that won't eat your power. If you are really keen and want video, again you can get some decent sized USB sticks that the Avtex (and no doubt other) TVs should be able to read. Both music and video will come down to using the right format.

Power consumption will be the biggest concern with anything that isn't using your cab radio. If you need to run a laptop, even tablet, you'll need to power that on top of whatever is creating the noise.

You only need a "server" system if you are trying to playback on two or more devices. And then you will have the complexity of how you connect those devices. So keep it simple in the MH, and use "sneakernet" i.e. plug and play from that USB stick.

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OP
ToBoldlyGo
Jun 10, 2013
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No, it's just music I want to play but it does need servers. I'm not to walk all the way to the cab to put a usb stick in't radio and then use the radio's very limited interface. The flacs will be on a nas server (say) with the media server on a dedicated laptop together with a webserver. Power is obviously not an issue if we're on hookup, but that's a good point when off grid, I can't power a nas server oh dear ... so perhaps a 2tb portable disk is simpler. My Bluetooth speaker runs for about 10 hours off its battery.
 

Kannon Fodda

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Feb 26, 2019
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Ah OK, my cab radio has a sort of remote control so I could sit in the back of the van pressing some buttons - although seeing what I'm doing on the cab's screen from back there would need binoculars ;)

I've just googled "portable wireless nas" which raised all sort's of interesting possibilities that could give you a few ideas.
 
Jun 1, 2019
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My ripping: after using Winamp initially I heard about and used Exact Audio Copy for a bit but ditched that for a paid for copy of dbPowerAmp ages ago. That’s a lot faster and I wouldn’t notice their FLAC output being different.
I rip as FLAC to a media server (an old Netgear EVA9150) and mp3 v0 to Google Play.

I use SONOS to play from either the media server or GooglePlay.
One of my SONOS boxes has a fibre optic connection to my hifi so I rarely play music directly from the server via the hifi.
Edit: got me EVA model # wrong
Edit2: more info on playback: -
“Hifi” is a Marantz AV amp with Wharfedale Diamond 8 floorstanders with several rooms fitted with SONOS

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Jun 1, 2019
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In the Motorhome I use the mp3 copies with iTunes via a Bluetooth speaker.
 
Oct 7, 2019
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I use either a small usb with 100's of mp3's on it in the Avtex Tv and then through the soundbar.
OR
Bluetooth my Amazon prime downloads (for when I'm offline) from my phone to the Avtex tv .
The added advantage of that is that the Tv shows the album cover and often lyrics while the sound is played through the soundbar.
This combined with my disco ball, mankini and some brandy ensures a good night >)

Graydo
 
Jun 29, 2015
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I have a large sd card in my phone and play through bluetooth on the radio when driving and a bluetooth speaker when camping

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Sep 12, 2016
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When using cab radio, I have a 8gb stick that holds enough music for what I need. Although I have unlimited data so I can stream any radio stations I feel like
 
Jun 1, 2019
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ToBoldlyGo Is this for a motorhome application?
I can have a month of good quality mp3 on an iPad to use with a Bluetooth speaker.

Using NAS & the wifi that needs is OTT. ymmv
My wifi is currently via a 4g router. Each of 10 possible devices goes separately to the internet, i.e. there's no direct device to device linking. I found that out the hard way by burning thru 2GB of data before I switched off my usual device syncing :eek:

mitzimad what's the 'this' you mention?
I'll try be general for CD role: -
1. You need to 'rip' a CD content to your preferred music files: -
mp3 is most common. It is lossey so keep it at a bitrate of 320 or v0 (a quick Bing = what is that???)
FLAC is the CD music but without a quality loss.
Above we mentioned EAC, dbPowerAmp & WinAMP or just Windows Media Player :confused:
2. copy the ripped music to a USB stick or NAS or iTunes library, etc.
3. play the copy via the music player of your choice.

Keep the CD you ripped - just making a backup has been on unclear ground already without losing the CD...

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Minxy Girl

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I've been reading this lot as I thought it might be something I may need, however I think I've just fallen into another universe as most of it is gobbledigook to me and I'm usually pretty savvy on working out 'riddles!! :giggle:
 
Jun 1, 2019
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I've been reading this lot as I thought it might be something I may need, however I think I've just fallen into another universe as most of it is gobbledigook to me and I'm usually pretty savvy on working out 'riddles!! :giggle:
Happy to try other ways to help explain some of the details of getting & listening to digital music.
Where’s the worst gobbledegook? ?
 
Jul 5, 2013
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I am getting confused too, as I thought everything was simple.

I rip my CDs onto my laptop using the standard Windows app. Then I transfer them to my Android phone. I also have Amazon Prime so download other music to my phone using the Amazon music player app.

From my phone I Bluetooth all this music, again using Amazon player, to either my portable battery speaker, my built in dashboard audio system or my wireless headphones. Both the headphones and speaker can be recharged using my 12v jab system and do not use much electricity.

As for music quality, frankly everything is against true hi-fi in a motorhome. The only exception is the nice new top end Sony headphones I have treated myself to. And they sound pretty good when playing from my phone.

Or have I missed something?

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Jun 1, 2019
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Or have I missed something?
No. That all sounds fine.

I may be part of the threads confusion. Sorry for that ?
The OP - as indicated by the thread title - asked about media servers in the Motorhome & then I wrote about my home setup before realising I was meant to give an opinion on there usage in a motorhome. Doh!
 
Jan 28, 2008
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i tried to copy a commercial cd to a stick recently ly and it didnt work so i assumed its protected is there a way to do this
simple step by step guide with no tech terms please
 
May 7, 2016
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If you want to maintain the high quality of the original FLAC (or ALAC/WAV) files you will need to avoid any copying, conversion or transmission that involves compression e.g. MP3. With my Apple devices this seems to rule out everything except direct digital connection or AirPlay but I am interested in any other solutions people have found for lossless transmission.

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DBK

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i tried to copy a commercial cd to a stick recently ly and it didnt work so i assumed its protected is there a way to do this
simple step by step guide with no tech terms please
I use the free program Audacity to copy radio programs but it would work with CDs. Although for CDs I haven't found one yet which Windows Media Player couldn't rip, but I haven't bought a CD for years so modern ones may be better protected.

Using Audacity is a bit long winded, you have to play the program/CD on your computer and record it in real time as an Audacity file. You can then export it as an MP3 and it can do this at various quality levels.
 
May 7, 2016
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If you want to maintain the high quality of the original FLAC (or ALAC) files you will need to avoid any copying, conversion or transmission that involves compression e.g. MP3. With my Apple devices this seems to rule out everything except direct digital connection or AirPlay but I am interested in any other solutions people have found for lossless transmission.
 

Coolcats

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Jan 24, 2019
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I'm just ripping our CD collection. I'm using foobar2000 on Windows. It has a library and playlist capability, but are you all using something more sophisticated? One obvious thing that occurs to me in using a tablet/mobile to interface with a webserver rather than the media server direct?
iTunes can be used on Windows or Mac.....you could use an iPod I suspect this is not the answer your looking for. So a NAS something like MY Cloud https://shop.westerndigital.com/en-gb/c/nas-and-cloud-storage and Plex https://www.plex.tv/your-media/ Plex loads on to a NAS that allows you to organise your stuff

Guess what though I use my iPhone to access the stuff but have my iTunes music on my phone. on My Cloud (PR4100) I have 4 x 6 TB drives split in two RAID arrays so that is 6TB on A and 6TB on B (for those who might not know what RAID is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_RAID_levels#RAID_1).

My Cloud also allows me to drag and drop documents videos and pictures to a folder from my phone or access fees remotley

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Jun 1, 2019
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i tried to copy a commercial cd to a stick recently ly and it didnt work so i assumed its protected is there a way to do this
simple step by step guide with no tech terms please
Record labels releasing Copy Protected CD's was a temporary thing many years ago.

I've had few that dbPowerAmp would fail to rip tho.
The internet can help with specific CD ripping issues.
 

HillRunner

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May 14, 2019
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ToBoldlyGo - I chose not to implement a media server in the motorhome for the moment. I found that sticking my music on a spare 500GB USB disk was OK. The interface on the motorhome audio is not great but it suffices for now. I can see some advantages in implementing a media server but I am not sure it is worth the effort.
If I decided to add a media server then I would probably use Max2Play with the squeezebox implementation on Raspberry Pi. I have been using the Squeezebox for many years and whilst the products are no longer produced by Logitech, the infrastructure is still thriving. However, it does come with a warning. You do need to get your hands a little dirty at a technical level! The advantages of a Raspberry Pi solution are the low power consumption (particularly relevant for this application), small footprint, the many options that are currently available (e.g. different output cards) and the low price.
Sonos would also be a good solution if you wanted something easy to set up and were prepared to spend more money.

I have also heard quite a few good reports of people using Rune Audio. That also runs on the Raspberry Pi and is simpler than the Squeezebox implementation.

I would agree with kevenh that dbPowerAmp is a great ripper for CDs. I too used to use Exact Audio Copy (EAC) but dbPowerAmp provides a much better interface and supports multiple simultaneous encodings. I rip to FLAC for the Media Server and to mp3 for some mobile devices in a single run.

mitzimad - EAC or dbPowerAmp should be able to rip most copy protected CDs. I have certainly had success in the past. The rips of these CDs generally take much longer as they have to do a lot more passes. The reader that is used can also make a big difference. I found that newer drives are generally not as good as some of the old drives. I use an old Lite-On CDRW drive as it is very reliable for ripping.
 
Jul 5, 2013
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The acoustics in a crowded space like a motorhome with multiple surfaces means that you will never get true hi-fi quality sounds. So I really don't think it is worth trying to get lossless transfers. Having said that my phone pairs with my headphones using a FLAC connection.

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Mar 23, 2018
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All our Cds are on the PC (via Itunes).
An old Classic Ipod is plugged into the 'van radio and, with 4 speakers, seems satisfactory within the hard surfaces of the inside of the 'van.
At home we use MyMedia to connect with Alexa Input and onto the HiFi. "Alexa, ask my media to play some Diana Krall"
 

Gellyneck

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mitzimad
Hopefully a simple process map for you -
  • download Exact Audio Copy and install on a Windows desktop \ laptop - http://exactaudiocopy.de/
  • download LAME and extract the compressed folder to the same directory as EAC installed in - https://www.rarewares.org/mp3-lame-bundle.php (pick either 32 or 64bit as appropriate)
  • stick a CD in the desktop \ laptop disc drive
  • open EAC
  • it should automatically find the CD and list the individual tracks (only as track numbers but we can get mp3 tag detail once you've got the basics working)
  • on the left-hand side of the EAC screen you want to click the CMP button
  • 1582027141323.png
  • it will open a drop down box asking where you want to save the resultant mp3's to (as said above, the inside of a motorhome is not conducive to high fidelity music so compressed mp3 format will be fine)
  • pick a location and click OK (if you want you can make this the USB drive \ stick you'll take away in the van assuming you've plugged it into the desktop \ laptop)
  • EAC will start ripping the CD tracks to the location chosen
  • it will show any errors encountered (hopefully none as you'll have taken care of your CD collection)
  • it will tell you when it's finished (you can print out a log of the process but don't bother)
  • that's it your done (well the first one!)
  • assuming you can get that done OK come back and we can guide you through some of the detail on how to fine tune the quality, etc.
Get back if still struggling.
 

Attachments

Oct 7, 2019
183
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It may depend on the capabilities of your inbuilt cab radio, but for most a MP3 player / USB stick into the cab radio system will suffice. These days you can store an incredible amount on a very cheap USB stick, and that won't eat your power. If you are really keen and want video, again you can get some decent sized USB sticks that the Avtex (and no doubt other) TVs should be able to read. Both music and video will come down to using the right format.

Power consumption will be the biggest concern with anything that isn't using your cab radio. If you need to run a laptop, even tablet, you'll need to power that on top of whatever is creating the noise.

You only need a "server" system if you are trying to playback on two or more devices. And then you will have the complexity of how you connect those devices. So keep it simple in the MH, and use "sneakernet" i.e. plug and play from that USB stick.
Ha ha
"sneakernet"
Haven't heard that term for a long time, used to describe moving floppy discs from one machine to another IIRC.

Graydo

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Jan 28, 2008
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walthamstow east london
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renault burstner delphin
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7 years campers before that
mitzimad
Hopefully a simple process map for you -
  • download Exact Audio Copy and install on a Windows desktop \ laptop - http://exactaudiocopy.de/
  • download LAME and extract the compressed folder to the same directory as EAC installed in - https://www.rarewares.org/mp3-lame-bundle.php (pick either 32 or 64bit as appropriate)
  • stick a CD in the desktop \ laptop disc drive
  • open EAC
  • it should automatically find the CD and list the individual tracks (only as track numbers but we can get mp3 tag detail once you've got the basics working)
  • on the left-hand side of the EAC screen you want to click the CMP button
  • View attachment 363412
  • it will open a drop down box asking where you want to save the resultant mp3's to (as said above, the inside of a motorhome is not conducive to high fidelity music so compressed mp3 format will be fine)
  • pick a location and click OK (if you want you can make this the USB drive \ stick you'll take away in the van assuming you've plugged it into the desktop \ laptop)
  • EAC will start ripping the CD tracks to the location chosen
  • it will show any errors encountered (hopefully none as you'll have taken care of your CD collection)
  • it will tell you when it's finished (you can print out a log of the process but don't bother)
  • that's it your done (well the first one!)
  • assuming you can get that done OK come back and we can guide you through some of the detail on how to fine tune the quality, etc.
Get back if still struggling.
Thank you for that ive got that working,next question is ive ripped two cds and saved them to the same place but it has alphabetised them so now they appear as a list intermingled. I had already transfered the first to my stick so now i have one cd on stick and the second intermingled with the first on computer is there a way to keep them in their normal playlists ie one cd at a time
 
Jun 1, 2019
539
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Thatcham
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Thank you for that ive got that working,next question is ive ripped two cds and saved them to the same place but it has alphabetised them so now they appear as a list intermingled. I had already transfered the first to my stick so now i have one cd on stick and the second intermingled with the first on computer is there a way to keep them in their normal playlists ie one cd at a time
Oh!! Does EAC need some filename setup?
Not sure if you've the same version as the one used for this help site but around 3/4 the way down there's a section on Filename Configuration

It'd be easier if some simple defaults were used at install...
EDIT: When you come to play the new rips, a media player may read the id3 tags and give you two separate Albums ;)
 
Last edited:

Kannon Fodda

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Feb 26, 2019
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Almost a N00B !
Ha ha
"sneakernet"
Haven't heard that term for a long time, used to describe moving floppy discs from one machine to another IIRC.

Graydo
What can I say - I'm old school :)

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