Fri 7th Sep 2012 at 11:00

In search of a music player

Ever since I ripped my first CD onto a computer I have dreamed of building a MP3 Jukebox. I drew designs and everything. Over the years the idea has gathered a lot of dust, at first due to the cost of computer components and then later the advent of portable MP3 players with their docking stations.


For a while I contented myself with plugging a audio cable into the headphone of my iPod and the feeding that into the Aux port on the back of my HiFi. The itch for something better, more elegant brought the idea of my jukebox to the forefront of my mind. The issue I have with the majority of docking stations for iPods, is that they seem insistent on speakers and no composite out, just a headphone socket. However, eventually I came across a great little docking station for my iPod. No speakers, just composite out and remote control. Once again, my dream was placed into the bottom draw.

A couple of years on and I'm staring at my Samsung Q1 that is now just gathering dust and a light bulb goes on inside my brain and I think to myself "It's touch screen would make a great media player front end" and so I start researching and almost immediate stumble across XBMC and although I could not use the LiveCD as the wireless card was not supported (at the time), I tried the windows version. Immediately I started getting irritated by the fact it seemed totally focused on video and images, and while it supports music playback, it just didn't feel right. Stuck on the idea of using the Samsung Q1 I tried the basic Windows Media Player, but that came up short on the interface front and the remote control options were limited. Then, earlier this year, a friend mentioned they were playing with Logitech's SqueezeBox and the SoftSqueeze Java client. Once again, quirks and bugs caused me to abandon this idea and infact the Samsun Q1 was returned to a draw.

A few months ago, my wife phones me up and asks if I have seen the "Raspberry Pie yet", after being quite confused, she explained "it's like Arduino, but better". Well after reading up, I must admit I had butterfly's in my stomach. I did explain to here that her statement about the Arduino was kind of correct, I would not agree it was "better", just different and more the sort of thing I have been looking for for from Jukebox idea. As a consequence, we ordered 3 Type B's. While waiting for them to arrive (from Farnell as RSComponents will never have the stock!), I sat down and started to work out what I wanted from a media server and came up with the following list:

      1. Plays Music (obviously)
      2. Plays files from the fileserver
      3. Plays internet radio streams
      4. Plays music from CD's (I can then stop using my portable cd player)
      5. Can sit in the Hi-Fi cabinet connected to Aux
      6. Can be remotely controlled (to allow headless operation)
      7. Not cluttered with pictures and video stuff

In my search I have come across the following website´╗┐. The Music Player Deamon seems a very attractive idea. It's command line and can be controlled via the command line. This means that I can produce a web-interface myself if I need to.


So that's it. My weekend has been planned. So fingers crossed...


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