Dead silent dedicated Linux music server for USB DAC's.

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nyc_paramedic

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Re: Dead silent dedicated Linux music server for USB DAC's.
« Reply #20 on: 27 Jul 2009, 12:05 am »
NYC paramedic,

Going to check out the MPD clients to see how well they work with my screen reader software (blind access software for PCs.  If either the XP or web client works acceptably well, then I might just go ahead and give this a try -- for various reasons I prefer terminal access on linux anyway.

Thanks for all the links too -- very helpful.

There are several console MPD clients that are very popular. You can check the MPD wiki page for a full list.

jrebman

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Re: Dead silent dedicated Linux music server for USB DAC's.
« Reply #21 on: 27 Jul 2009, 12:22 am »
I will eventually look into the curses based clients, but right now MCC and one of the web-based clients look to be pretty good.  Got my hardware last week, now just have to clear a couple other projects off my bench before I start this one.

One question -- do you need a null modem cable for initial setup, or is ethernet sufficient?  If I need a null modem, then I'll have to install the optional serial port on my desktop machine.  Not a problem as I already have the hardware, just curious more than anything.

I really wasn't prepared for how small this thing really is -- the power supply is about the size of half a pack of cigarettes and the case is approx. 7" square and maybe an inch tall.

Thanks again for bringing this to our attention.  I haven't used linux in about 10 years, so it's time to brush up a bit.

-- Jim

nyc_paramedic

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Re: Dead silent dedicated Linux music server for USB DAC's.
« Reply #22 on: 27 Jul 2009, 12:32 am »
I will eventually look into the curses based clients, but right now MCC and one of the web-based clients look to be pretty good.  Got my hardware last week, now just have to clear a couple other projects off my bench before I start this one.

One question -- do you need a null modem cable for initial setup, or is ethernet sufficient?  If I need a null modem, then I'll have to install the optional serial port on my desktop machine.  Not a problem as I already have the hardware, just curious more than anything.

I really wasn't prepared for how small this thing really is -- the power supply is about the size of half a pack of cigarettes and the case is approx. 7" square and maybe an inch tall.

Thanks again for bringing this to our attention.  I haven't used linux in about 10 years, so it's time to brush up a bit.

-- Jim

With the current Voyage Linux there is no null modem required. Your initial setup will be done via SSH. You will log in as root --default password is voyage-- and then add a normal user via the adduser command. I'll do my best to answer any other questions you might have.

I love the size too. Width and depth is about the same as a standard CD jewl case.


JDUBS

Re: Dead silent dedicated Linux music server for USB DAC's.
« Reply #23 on: 27 Jul 2009, 02:01 am »
Very cool!  What are you guys using for an enclosure for the board?  Does it come with a power supply?  Do you install Linux on a CF card?

I recommend Minion for Firefox as a means of controlling MPD.  I use it with my ioBox which runs MPD (also silent but outputs audio via digital coax) and it works great.

-Jim

nyc_paramedic

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Re: Dead silent dedicated Linux music server for USB DAC's.
« Reply #24 on: 27 Jul 2009, 02:25 am »
Very cool!  What are you guys using for an enclosure for the board?  Does it come with a power supply?  Do you install Linux on a CF card?

I recommend Minion for Firefox as a means of controlling MPD.  I use it with my ioBox which runs MPD (also silent but outputs audio via digital coax) and it works great.

Enclosures are available from PC Engines or the retailers that sell the boards. They come in colors too.

Power supply is a separate purchase, as the boards are also sold in 220V Europe.

The entire OS fits on a 512Mb CF card with room to spare.


I'm currently researching E-Ink (think Amazon's Kindle) hardware that is Linux compatible and would make a nice MPD remote.

JDUBS

Re: Dead silent dedicated Linux music server for USB DAC's.
« Reply #25 on: 27 Jul 2009, 02:34 am »
Good stuff.  I use a netbook for MPD remote control.  It works great and is also  silent (Dell Mini 9).

Thanks for starting this thread.

Jim

nyc_paramedic

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Re: Dead silent dedicated Linux music server for USB DAC's.
« Reply #26 on: 28 Jul 2009, 01:43 am »
Good stuff.  I use a netbook for MPD remote control.  It works great and is also  silent (Dell Mini 9).

Thanks for starting this thread.

No problem.

You might want to check out this little blog from a gentleman in Switzerland. He was a total Linux newbie, but with a little help got his ALIX up and running in no time. There are some cool pics too.

Link: http://cheap-silent-usb-linux-music-server.blogspot.com/


JDUBS

Re: Dead silent dedicated Linux music server for USB DAC's.
« Reply #27 on: 14 Aug 2009, 11:57 pm »
nyc_paramedic

Do you really need a Linux PC to install the software? 

Also, do you have any pics of your setup?  I'd love to see this thing in action.

thanks,
Jim

jrebman

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Re: Dead silent dedicated Linux music server for USB DAC's.
« Reply #28 on: 15 Aug 2009, 12:57 am »
And what size flash card are you using?  I just wonder as you say you have MPD set to queue whole songs and given the OS and MPD overhead, I'm guessing that wouldn't leave much room for tunes unless that is just using the RAM.  If that's so, can,or did you expeand the RAM too?

Jim "dub", I think you can just plug the box into your existing network and configure it there, at least that's how I think voyager is configured by default.  Still haven't put mine together -- doing a lot of woodwork while the weather is good.

-- The other Jim

nyc_paramedic

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Re: Dead silent dedicated Linux music server for USB DAC's.
« Reply #29 on: 15 Aug 2009, 02:03 am »
And what size flash card are you using?  I just wonder as you say you have MPD set to queue whole songs and given the OS and MPD overhead, I'm guessing that wouldn't leave much room for tunes unless that is just using the RAM.  If that's so, can,or did you expeand the RAM too?

Jim "dub", I think you can just plug the box into your existing network and configure it there, at least that's how I think voyager is configured by default.  Still haven't put mine together -- doing a lot of woodwork while the weather is good.

-- The other Jim

The flash card I'm using is 512MB, but I'm using less than half of that even with MPD and NFS client installed. The minimum recommended is 128 MB. And yes, we are running *everything* in RAM. The CF only gets written to when editing config files or updating/installing/removing software.

There is *very* little overhead with the kernel compiled for the ALIX board. Remember, Linux is GPL'ed code and fully customizable. The Voyage install for ALIX is running a very streamlined kernel and drivers: CPU & chipset,USB, serial, and ethernet. You can't do that with Windows, much less install the OS without the graphic user interface.

Even with only 256MB RAM, we can buffer entire FLAC files to RAM and have plenty for the OS, MPD, and other small ancillary services running. The RAM is not expandable, but I don't think you need more than that for this particular application.

The MPD software is also unique and efficient in that were are only installing and running the daemon on the Alix. You run your client on another machine, such as your laptop, iPhone, Android phone, etc.You can get as fancy as you want with the client without having to bog down the Alix. My Alix averages around %3 CPU when playing a FLAC file; slightly higher when decoding MP3's. Only yesterday did I see my CPU usage climb to approximately %78, and that was when I connected to a very unique Czech classical station that *streams* in FLAC! I can honestly say that even under these circumstances I have yet to have my Alix hiccup, crackle, pause, or distort my sound in any way.

nyc_paramedic

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Re: Dead silent dedicated Linux music server for USB DAC's.
« Reply #30 on: 15 Aug 2009, 02:12 am »
nyc_paramedic

Do you really need a Linux PC to install the software? 

Also, do you have any pics of your setup?  I'd love to see this thing in action.

thanks,
Jim

I'll have to confirm your first question before I give you an answer.

As for pictures, I'll see if I can take a few pics over the weekend.


jrebman

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Re: Dead silent dedicated Linux music server for USB DAC's.
« Reply #31 on: 15 Aug 2009, 02:14 am »
Gracias.  Looks I am set then.  Hope to get some time to really sit down and work with it soon.  Something to do while glue and paint dry :D.

-- Jim

JDUBS

Re: Dead silent dedicated Linux music server for USB DAC's.
« Reply #32 on: 16 Aug 2009, 06:42 pm »
Thanks Jim and nyc_paramedic!  I use MPD on my Networked Media Tank and it was completely configurable over the network without the need for a Linux PC...which made it easy for a Linux newb like myself.  :D

-Jim 

JDUBS

Re: Dead silent dedicated Linux music server for USB DAC's.
« Reply #33 on: 16 Aug 2009, 06:45 pm »
Another nice thing about MPD is that it supports streaming of files up to 24bit / 192khz.  Take that Transporter!

-Jim

jrebman

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Re: Dead silent dedicated Linux music server for USB DAC's.
« Reply #34 on: 16 Aug 2009, 06:54 pm »
Jim,

Great news on the 24/192.  Got a pair  of 1 tb WD Caviar drives coming for the D-link box -- got them on sale for a good price so I should be able to test out that little guy soon.

-- Jim

JDUBS

Re: Dead silent dedicated Linux music server for USB DAC's.
« Reply #35 on: 16 Aug 2009, 08:00 pm »
Jim, the D-Link should make for an awesome combo with your Linux/MPD box!

-Jim


nyc_paramedic

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Re: Dead silent dedicated Linux music server for USB DAC's.
« Reply #36 on: 17 Aug 2009, 01:52 am »
Thanks Jim and nyc_paramedic!  I use MPD on my Networked Media Tank and it was completely configurable over the network without the need for a Linux PC...which made it easy for a Linux newb like myself.  :D

Jim,

Can you elaborate a bit in regards to what the Networked Media Tank is?

And yes, you can install Voyage without explicitly installing Linux. You can do the install via the Linux live CD.

Here:

README.live-cd
=============================================================================
                     __  __
                     \ \/ /___ __  __ ___  ___  ___
                      \  // _ \\ \/ /,-_ |/ _ |/ -_)
                       \/ \___/ \  / \___,\_  |\___|
                               _/_/        _'_|
                         { V o y a g e } - L i n u x
                          < http://linux.voyage.hk >
==============================================================================

This README.live-cd provide information on how to install Voyage Linux from the
Live CD.

==============================================================================
Installing Voyage Linux to a hard disk from Live CD
==============================================================================

Afte booting the Live CD, login as root (password: voyage)

1. Create distribution directory for installation
   
   # mkdir /tmp/root
   # mount -o loop /live_media/casper/filesystem.squashfs  /tmp/root
   # cd /tmp/root
   
2. Make a mount point for installation disk

   # mkdir /tmp/cf

3. Format target disk device

   # /usr/local/sbin/format-cf.sh /dev/hda   
   
This will create /dev/hda1 ext2 partition on /dev/hda disk device.
** Note that this operation is very dangerous since it will erase your disk!
   Make sure what you are doing and must do it right!
   
4. Start voyage.update installation script
   
   # /usr/local/sbin/voyage.update

Following the instruction to select /tmp/root as distribution directory, and
/tmp/cf as mount point.  After the installation complete, simple reboot the
board and Voyage will be started!

There are some additional packages installed for PXE and NFS server.  After
starting Voyage, you can safely remove them by:

   # remountrw
   # apt-get remove casper syslinux atftpd nfs-user-server \
                     bzip2 unionfs-tools sg3-utils minicom

After all, remove the last line in /etc/dnsmasq.more.conf:
   conf-file=/etc/dnsmasq.pxe.conf


==============================================================================
Installing to a Thumb-drive or Disk-constraint system (net4826)
==============================================================================

Follow the instruction to install Voyage Linux to a ext2 partition with root
squashfs filesystem like the Live CD format.  This is done by extlinux. 

1. As usual, create mount point for the installation disk and format it

    # mkdir /tmp/cf
    # /usr/local/sbin/format-cf.sh /dev/hda

This will create /dev/hda1 ext2 partition on /dev/hda disk device.
** Note that this operation is very dangerous since it will erase your disk!
   Make sure what you are doing and must do it right!
   
2. Mount the disk and copy CD content to disk device
   
    # mount /dev/hda1 /tmp/cf
    # rsync -aHx /live_media/* /tmp/cf
   
3. Create extlinux.conf and install extlinux
   
    # cp /tmp/cf/isolinux/isolinux.cfg /tmp/cf/isolinux/extlinux.conf
    # extlinux -i /tmp/cf/isolinux
   
4. Update master boot record for disk device
   
    # cat /usr/lib/syslinux/mbr.bin > /dev/hda
   
After all, reboot! 

There are some notes when using this installation method:

a. You will have a read-only squashfs root filesystem on a CF that consumes
   just 36MB and you cannot modify the rootfs.
b. By default, all changes made to the system reside on tmpfs.  i.e. Changes
   are lost after reboot.  You can preserve the changes by creating another
   partition and labeled it as "casper-rw", or create a loopback file called
   "casper-rw" at /
   (see https://help.ubuntu.com/community/LiveCDPersistence: this is not tested
   and need more exploration)
c. You will still be able to boot Live CD again after the installation.  But
   once the CD is booted, the installed disk with be mounted as rootfs and you
   are unable to umount it.  To get around this, you need to specify the
   following command at boot prompt (assume CD-ROM device is /dev/hdc):
   
         linux bootfrom=/dev/hdc

         
         

In the future this will hopefully be simplified. The Voyage customization process will allow one to download one file and install that to the CF card. That file will be ready to go for an MPD appliance with all the appropriate packages installed.

Link:   http://wiki.voyage.hk/dokuwiki/doku.php?id=customization

JDUBS

Re: Dead silent dedicated Linux music server for USB DAC's.
« Reply #37 on: 17 Aug 2009, 02:40 am »
nyc_paramedic

Thanks!  That doesn't look to bad at all. 

Check this out for info on the Networked Media Tanks:

www.networkedmediatank.com

Basically a $200 media box (of different makes but all with the same underlying Linux-based software) that sits on your network and plays back video and audio.  MPD was recently adapted to it, although development has been (temporarily I hope) halted due to some licensing dispute.  Its current iteration works great, however.

One thing that's nice about the Networked Media Tanks is that they have onboard digital out (coax for my ioBox).

http://www.networkedmediatank.com/showthread.php?tid=17306&highlight=mpd

Thanks again!
Jim




panomaniac

Re: Dead silent dedicated Linux music server for USB DAC's.
« Reply #38 on: 1 Sep 2009, 11:27 pm »
I like this idea a lot.  Very slick.  I'd love to do the same.
For me the interface is important, so what are you using as your client?  Or what would you recommend?

For me a 24/96 s/pdif output is important, so I looked for a board that had it.  Only one I saw at the Swiss shop was sold out - of course.  But there are other boards.

Something like this could make a great music box.   Thanks for the info!

jrebman

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Re: Dead silent dedicated Linux music server for USB DAC's.
« Reply #39 on: 1 Sep 2009, 11:36 pm »
Hi Michael,

Welcome back!

I have only played around with a couple of the clients, and not on a live system -- as much playing around as one can do in that situation anyway.  Of course my needs are a little different and I'm looking for a screen reader friendly windows client or a web based one.

The good news is that there are lots and lots of clients to choose from, so probably something for everybody.

Which board did you see with the spdif output?

Thanks,

Jim