Author Topic: Streaming from a NAS - super confused  (Read 19981 times)

musicmahn

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Hi all -
You'll quickly see that I know little of what I'm talking about but I promise I'm trying to understand, every day!  Kind of ready to rip my hair out with confusion though :)

So I recently set up a synology NAS - put plex on that and my android phone and I also got a chromecast audio that I can stream easily to.
Thing is I never sit at my PC, so the interface (controller) I'll be using in the living room is my phone or rather, a future tablet purchase.  The problem I'm having is that plex just doesn't have the look and feel i'm going for. 

The dream would be to have MB on a tablet and be able to stream directly from NAS to chromecast - but I see this isn't so easy (if not impossible because I don't understand how the various software interact).  I'm well confused about renderer, controller, library etc.  I know there is the UPnP trick to be able to stream to my chromecast - but would that be a direct NAS to chromecast stream??  Or would it be first going through my tablet and then to the chromecast?  And would I actually be using MB on the tablet or would I have to use the UPnP interface?  Managing my music is one thing - but the issue I'm coming with today is the ability to use it as my player.

I see there is a subsonic plugin, and subsonic supports chromecast.....but I'm still getting the impression that on the tablet I would have to use Dsub or some kind of subsonic related app rather than musicbee itself?

Putting chromecast aside, is there any solution out there that would match my desire here?  To be able to pick up a tablet and use musicbee as my player that will stream content direct from NAS to my receiver?

Thanks much for reading my woahs here.
Very sensitive topic as music means so so much to me.  Just want to get this right and start looking forward to pure enjoyment :)

captain_paranoia

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You are having trouble because you are mixing a number of media streaming systems, and trying to get them to work together.

MusicBee is a standalone media player, that runs on Windows. It is primarily intended to access a storage device (either a hard drive or a NAS), and create its own library index, and play music by fetching music from the storage device, and sending it to an audio device on the PC (either internal to the PC, or via some interface such as USB or SPDIF). Using the UPnP/DLNA plug-in, it can also send music to a DLNA Digital Media Renderer (DMR). I see that you have found the sticky thread on how to use the UPnP plug-in to cast to Chromecast:

https://getmusicbee.com/forum/index.php?topic=22318.0

As a secondary function, MB can also access a Digital Media Server (DMS), such as is provided by Plex running on your NAS. in this case, Plex provides the library index, and MB accesses this index, and you can select music to play. It's not clear which method you are using when running MusicBee on your PC. [edit: actually, MusicBee can't access a DLNA server: the only two DLNA functions the plug-in offers are casting to a DLNA renderer, and providing a DLNA Server. Other media players can access DLNA servers as described, though]

When using your Android device, you are accessing the Plex server (either using Plex' own protocol, or DLNA), and using its Chromecast ability to send music to your Chromecast Audio (CCA) devices. In this case, MusicBee has no part to play in your use; everything is done by Plex and Android and Chromecast. If you are using the BubbleUPnP app on Android, that can cast directly to CCA, without needing Plex to do it.

Now, if you wish to use MusicBee as a means to access and control playback of music, that you can carry around your house, without needing to use your PC, you will need a Windows tablet, as MB only runs on Windows. If you want to stream music from MusicBee to CCA, you will need something to act as an intermediary between MB and CCA; see the sticky thread. I would suggest you install the BubbleUPnP Server on your tablet or NAS (if you can find a build of Bubble Server for your Synology). Bubble Server will take a DLNA stream and cast it to CCA. You will need the UPnP/DLNA plug-in for MB, and you will need to select Bubble Server as the DLNA DMR ('Output To'), and configure Bubble Server to forward to CCA.

If you are going to buy a Windows tablet to run MB, I would get MB to access the file server on the NAS, to allow MB to operate in its primary function mode, creating its own music library index, and not relying on Plex. Note that this would only work within your local network; you could not take the tablet away from home and play your music.

I have MB running on a small Linx7 tablet, accessing my NAS, and streaming to various DLNA DMRs around the house. I bought the tablet secondhand, costing £25 for a 32GB/1GB Win8.1 device. There's one in my local secondhand shop that is very similar (a Tesco 'Connect' device). These are from the period when Intel & Microsoft were trying to promote Atom and Windows over ARM and Android as a cheap tablet platform. This runs MB very nicely; in fact, it was the main reason I started using MB, having been a long-running user of MediaMonkey, which would not run well on the 1GB RAM of the tablet, whereas MB does. I have used Bubble Server (running on my MyCloud NAS) to act as an intermediary to my CCA devices, but I don't at the moment.

So, my advice would be:

Buy cheap Windows tablet
Install MusicBee (portable mode)
Install the MusicBee UPnP plug-in
Create music library by accessing the NAS file server, NOT the Plex media server

Install Bubble Server on your NAS (preferred) or the tablet
Configure Bubble Server to forward to CCA
Set MusicBee to Output To the Bubble Server DMR
Play music...

Of course, you could just access the Plex Server's UI using a web browser on any device... Lots of people seem to like the pretty Plex front end. Use MusicBee as a media library manager, not for playing music.
Last Edit: July 22, 2019, 11:13:02 PM by captain_paranoia

musicmahn

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OK!  Let me first say thank you so much for taking the time to read my issues and give such a response.  I've been asking these questions on a few different forums for a few weeks now and your answer here has been by far the clearest, easiest to understand (though I'm still getting there lol), and specific to what I'm after.  Awesome!
Please allow me to continue with the confusion - this thread could go down in history as the true "streaming from NAS to CC for dummies" :)

-So all that you describe in your suggestion - would the stream be going straight from NAS to CCA (via bubblpnp) - or would it go to the tablet and then to CCA?  Is the latter thought even an issue?  Coming from analog and hard connections we know the shortest and most direct link gives the best fidelity - is this still essentially the case when stuff is rolling through LAN/WiFi connections?  Or is it all just "pure digital" that either works or doesn't?

-BubbleUPnP is confusing me.  I suppose there are different offerings out there? one that allows me this CCA trick and another that would serve to create a library index and have a UI and player use just as i would plex?  I obviously would have no need for any of that - i want MB to control the library and where I'm triggering playback/playlists etc.  Why is installing on the NAS preferable?  Would that make the NAS to CCA direct connect I mention above?

-Do you know if there is subsonic solution that I mention above?  I know there is a MB subsonic extension to be had and also that "subsonic can stream to CCA" though I put that in quotes because I'm not exactly how that streaming occurs.  Again this would not be a solution for me it if has be using the subsonic UI or library.

-Windows tablet it would be then!  And with that my understanding is that I could have MB installed on my tablet, and also on my PC.....and they could both access the same library correct?  I don't care about sharing playlists or anything.  This would allow me to be sure i could get things going to my satisfaction before opting for a windows tablet - and it would be nice to do the UI work and tag tweaking etc from a PC rather than tablet.  I suppose I would have to transfer those template settings somehow once i'm settled on how i want it to look.

-Absolutely MB library and ditching plex!  I wouldn't mind it's sleek interface so much if it would just be more able to be customized and allow me to then browse easier.  It doesn't recognize album artist and generally doesn't allow for a lot of tag fixing/customizing to get things in the buckets i want them in.

-You mention MB portable mode.  I'm reading the forums and Steven's explanation but not sure i really get it in terms of advantage one or the other.  Is portable like I could take the MB folder on my PC and just copy it to a thumb drive then I would have my custom MB ready to throw on a laptop etc?  If so why is the other full install version offered?  Why wouldn't everyone just get portable for that extra flexibility?

-Finally, could I do all we are talking about right and now and still keep everything I currently have with plex?  MB could do what it wants with my NAS and it's library and plex will behave and allow to still easily listen on android phone/online/via xbox.  Would doing this whole "bubbleupnp will transform your CCA" change my chromecast so that it would not be able to receive from my plex/android anymore?  Would I be doing something to the firmware/software that would cause me to have to reverse some things to be able to use plex again??  What i'm getting at is an easy fallback should all of this not work - and also pondering if i have this added flexibility.

sorry to overwhelm - i literally aired out and feel better for having done it.  there truly is a lot of emotion and passion in those questions if you can understand in this way lol
again thanks so much for your help i've been getting close to losing hope but feel a bit of it come back.  I've been looking at jriver as well as it seems to have similar achievable UI/tag abilities/able to customize.  it too has the same issue with chromecast though and idk.  MB is free and from the music sites i frequent people really just rave about it.  I love some of the screenshots they post :)

cheers!
Last Edit: March 16, 2019, 06:08:11 PM by musicmahn

captain_paranoia

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There's a lot to respond to in that post. I won't try to answer every question individually, but I'll try to provide an explanation that might help you understand streaming systems.

Firstly, let's start with the music library. There are two aspects to this; 1. the physical library, consisting of a set of media files on a storage device, and 2. the logical library; essentially, a database of information about the physical library, maintained by a media management tool, such as Plex or MusicBee.

You can modify the physical files using one of a number of media manager tools, e.g. to change metadata, add artwork, change file location, add volume levelling tags, etc. If you use multiple media management tools on the same physical library, the others will usually automatically pick up any changes made by other tools. I use MediaMonkey and MusicBee to manage my physical library.

Now, it is possible to get multiple instances of a media manager (e.g. on laptop and PC) to access the same library database; I believe this is true with MusicBee, but I don't do that; I create a logical library on each on my machines. You would need to store the database file on your NAS, and point the multiple MB instances at that file. I'm not sure that it could cope with concurrent use of multiple MB instances (they'd fight over the file). Search the forums for threads on such shared logical library database. But you can have Plex and MusicBee accessing your physical library at the same time, without any problems.

Now for the streaming protocols... Let's start with some basics:

A Digital Media Server (DMS) stores your media, catalogues it (using metadata) into a database, and streams it to devices when instructed to do so.

A Digital Media Renderer (DMR) takes a digital stream sent to it, and converts that stream into audio, or still or moving images.

A Digital Media Controller (DMC) interrogates the database held by the DMS, and allows the user to instruct the DMS to stream selected media to one or more DMRs.

Things get complicated by Digital Media Players (DMP), which can combine DMC & DMR, or sometimes all three DMS/DMC/DMR. One can think of an MP3 player as a DMP of all three parts, but very closely integrated.

All this relies on the availability of a data network, but, since you already have the Chromecast Audio DMR, and you're posting on the internet, I'm going to assume you have that...

DLNA is a widely-adopted, open digital media networking protocol (initially developed by Sony, but made open), providing the three functions of DMS, DMR and DMC, and is supported by a huge number of media devices and servers. Airplay is Apple's, proprietary digital media networking protocol.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Living_Network_Alliance

BubbleUPnP is an Android app that can provide all three parts of a DLNA system, or any subset. I use it as a DMC on my phone, accessing the Twonky DLNA DMS on my NAS (a bit like Plex on your Synology). The phone controls the Twonky DLNA DMS to stream media to any of the DLNA renderers around the house, some of which are BubbleUPnP apps running on Android media boxes. BubbleUPnP, running on an Android media box, can also act as a DMS, indexing a physical media library on an HDD attached to the media box.

BubbleUPnP Server is a program that runs on PCs, NAS devices, etc. It is intended to provide support facilities for the BubbleUPnP app (or other DLNA services). One of these services is to provide a virtual DLNA DMR that casts to a Chromecast audio device. Bubble Server also provides transcoding and remote access to a DLNA DMS (from outside the local network).

https://bubblesoftapps.com/bubbleupnpserver/

Don't worry about the route data takes; it remains in the digital domain until it reaches the DAC, so is not degraded like analogue signals might be; that's the major benefit of digital transmission systems.

I prefer MB portable install, because it keeps all the files in one place; on a conventional install, they are spread over multiple, obscure locations within Windows application directories. I like to be in control, or at least know where to find things...

I can't help with the subsonic plugin; I've not used or looked at it.

Hope this helps.
Last Edit: March 18, 2019, 09:58:47 PM by captain_paranoia

frankz

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You would need to store the database file on your NAS, and point the multiple MB instances at that file. I'm not sure that it could cope with concurrent use of multiple MB instances (they'd fight over the file). Search the forums for threads on such shared logical library database.
It can't handle concurrent use of multiple MB instances.

But you can happily use multiple instances of MB on the same networked library database at different times.  I do this all the time.

Here's an overview of how I set mine up if needed: https://getmusicbee.com/forum/index.php?topic=23076.msg134880#msg134880
A smile is happiness you'll find right under your nose.

captain_paranoia

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It can't handle concurrent use of multiple MB instances.

No, I didn't think it would be able to, for the reason I gave.

musicmahn

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Hi guys just for clarification I'll need to ask the following one more time and then I think I'm going to roll up the sleeves and see what i can't do :) :) :)

-So bubbleupnp server is what I need - Why is it preferable to have this installed on the nas rather than the tablet? I think the latter would be easier and just trying to understand more of what's going on there
-You are saying I should be able to do all of this while at the same time running plex just as i have.  And I take this to mean that CCA will then be able to function as designed receiving the communication it's used to getting from Plex, but I can also run this layer to make it DNLA and use bubblupnp etc.  What I was getting at there is just that this DNLA mod isn't "changing" anything with the CCA - there is no way I can "break" it and lose the normal functionality I already get from it by trying to work this out??  I'm not like jailbreaking it kind of thing.


Thanks so much I'm feeling that this could really work out :)

captain_paranoia

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Running Bubble Server on the NAS is preferable, since the service will be available to any client devices you wish to add, which may not just be your laptop. A NAS is normally a 24/7, always on device, so the Bubble Server would be available 24/7, without needing your tablet or pc to be on.

Bubble Server merely provides a conversion between DLNA/UPnP and GoogleCast protocols; it does not modify your CCA device in any way. It is not 'jailbreaking' anything

musicmahn

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ah gotcha
putting on the NAS does make sense as you say then I can use the android app should i wish.
just seems a bit involved so I'll have to see if i have the courage.  if not i could live with it on a tablet and keep plex for the on the go option.  i rarely use it that way anyway as i have a DAP and phone with a good ton of music on them as is stands ;)

this is exciting thank you so much I hope to report back soon some great results!


captain_paranoia

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putting on the NAS does make sense as you say then I can use the android app should i wish.

Just to be clear; the BubbleUPnP Android app is a standalone app, and doesn't need the BubbleUPnP Server to be installed.

BubbleUPnP Server provides some additional facilities that can be used by the BubbleUPnP app.


https://bubblesoftapps.com/bubbleupnpserver/#what_is_bubble_upnp_server

musicmahn

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Indeed - was just thinking ahead about having the option should i choose.
So last night very very late i installed both on my work laptop.  i'm not ready for all this to touch my home PC and music just yet lol.  Bubble found my chromecast immediately and I created the DNLA renderer so I think that's ready to go as long as I can select it in MB (haven't tried yet).
I put two albums on the laptop this morning so when i have a minute hopefully tonight i will fire this up and see what i can see.
or hear what i can hear rather ;)

captain_paranoia

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Do let us know how you get on; share your experience for others to benefit from.

musicmahn

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Indeed!
So the other night I quickly and easily connected to the stereo, once I realized I needed the MB BubbleUPnP extension ;)
Very brief test thus far.  Sounded fine but for some reason the MB interface was very laggy when switching between tracks or to the middle point of a song.
Is this to be expected due to the way I have things set up?  Will it be even worse if I get this pointed to my NAS?
Weekend is here so I'll have more time to dig into this more and see if it can be my permanent solution.



UPDATE - Got home tonight and MB is not seeing BubbleUPnP
Realized then I cannot open the Bubbleupnp UI???
"The site cannot be reached" is what Chrome tells me.....yet I've opened it fine more than once before?
Not sure what I did...rebooted that didn't work and then i started looking at the some of the shortcuts and it said something about not pointing to javaw.exe or something like that windows found a similar whatever and I said ok fix it.  That still didn't work yet when i clicked my desktop shortcut once again it magically worked.
Hmmmm
Last Edit: March 23, 2019, 01:49:30 AM by musicmahn

captain_paranoia

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Sounded fine but for some reason the MB interface was very laggy when switching between tracks or to the middle point of a song.

It's common for DLNA devices not to support indexing within files, so you can't do FF, RW or jump to position.

The other issue sounds like Windows mucking about. Have you made the Bubble Server and java engine start automatically when you boot the PC?

musicmahn

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Ah I see.  I've noticed the inability to FFWD when using VLC Android direct to chromecast as well.  Pretty beat when you have like an hour long track :)
Anyway I'm not sure if Bubble is set to startup - definitely not sure the java part I'm not sure how to check that.
I will look into this tonight.  At the moment I'm still a bit hesitant to proceed if things will be wonky for me but I still have plenty of hope.  Been playing around with the panels etc and getting some things in order and anticipation ;)