Music server on the cheap

I used to keep all my music on my mac, but after downsizing to a smaller (but zillion times faster) SSD drive, I can’t seem to jam everything in any more.  So, I’ve been using a portable 500Gb USB drive to keep my music.  Gets the job done, but even though its small, its hassle to haul around.

At various times, I’ve run a home file server.  But, its always on whatever clunky old pc hardware I had lying around.  Eventually, some hardware dies, or I just get sick of the fan noise of old power supplies.

Its been on the to do list to checkout using a raspberry pi based server.  Super low power, no fans, and hopefully, easy to set up.

So, last week I finally gave it a go and picked up a raspberry pi model 2, a case, and a 16Gb microsd card.  Beyond the hardware, you just need some music server software, after a brief search, I settled on SqueezePlug; mainly because it supports my aged SqueezeBox Boom.

Setup goes something like this:

  1. Format the microsd using SD Association Card Formatter.
  2. Download the SqueezePlug Noobs image.
  3. Unzip it.
  4. Copy the unzipped files to the formatted microsd card.
  5. Put the card in the raspberry pi.  I connected a monitor and keyboard, but I don’t think I really needed them. I jacked in a USB key drive with a few songs to test things out.
  6. Let the installer run its magic.  It takes a long time, 20 minutes.
  7. If you watch the install on screen, at the end of the process it reboots and at the end of all the boot up messages, it tells you the IP address for the raspberry pi.
  8. Use a browser on another computer in your network to continue the setup process.
  9. I then followed the one screen prompts to download and setup the Logitech Media Server.  Pretty idiot proof, but another long wait as the 125Mb file downloaded.
  10. In Logitech Media Server, I just pointed it the files on the USB key drive.
  11. I went over to my SqueezeboxBoom and it found the new server without much fuss and was able to find all the songs I added.
  12. Finally, I turned on samba file sharing.  So, I can easily add new music over the network (though I might just copy files directly to the drive over USB connected to the mac and then move to raspberry pi as network transfer seems slow) and play the files directly on the computer.

That wasn’t much work at all.  Kinda regret not doing it sooner.

Squeezeplug also has other features that allow it to be an airplay end point.  Basically, be a remote set of speakers for an apple device.  I tried it just now, but I’m not seeing the raspberry pi as an air play destination.  I suspect it might be because the pi is connected by wire and not wifi, which seems be an airplay requirement.

 

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