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Thread: Missing an opportunity?

  1. #1
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    Missing an opportunity?

    I'll preface this thread by stating that I'm a non-techie end user of the Lubuntu Linux OS. I am an avid music lover, and I'm currently riding the wave of the huge surge in popularity of PC-based high resolution digital audio playback. To that end, I'd like to use this thread to "wonder out loud" if Linux may be missing an opportunity to bring it's product to the masses by taking the lead on offering a distro that make hi res audio playback a snap, while also.offering sonic advantages to Windows (and maybe even Mac).

    So, let's define terms - what is meant by his res playback? Playback of audio files at CD resolution or better. CD's have a resolution of 16 bits / 44.1 kHz. Along with ripping your own CD's for playback, there are a number of music download services that sell music files (even whole CD's) for download with resolution equal to or even greater than CD. HD Tracks is an example of a service that sells many albums with resolution of 24 bit / 96 kHz or greater.

    Linux can do a great job of playing these files, and even outputting the audio signal to an external digital to analog converter in a high quality (audiophile) home stereo system. I use Lubuntu, which doesn't come loaded down with Pulse Audio, and makes playback of high res tracks very easy to achieve with he default audio player Audacious.

    The dirty secret may be that setting up Linux to achieve high resolution playback of music may be even easier than it is in Windows (XP or Win 7). It may also - at least to my ears - sound better!

    So, I’m suggesting that maybe someone with far more skills that I have take on tailoring a distro to the home music crowd. Something that makes set up easy, and playback fun. Seems to me that Lubuntu would make a great starting point since it lacks Pukse Audio, which down samples music to 16/44.1 by default. It's also light and fast, and can accommodate older hardware.

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by whell; April 8th, 2012 at 07:41 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Missing an opportunity?

    Just a add a couple caveats -

    Simplicity is a must. Don't even get me started on MPD. It may be wonderful, but set up,is anything but intuitive. And is you have you music files on an external hard drive or NAS, forget it. Now, if there were a GUI - based set up program for MPD... I've seen MPDpup, but it still ain't easy.

    Flexibility will also be needed. Folks are typically storing music on a home network, not a hard drive or thumb drive.

  3. #3
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    Re: Missing an opportunity?

    Well,wellwellwelll
    MPD is teh #one.

    You may not say bad things about it - and it is super simple to set up (really it is not hard at all). However it does require editing a text file, but you really only need to do it one time ever.

    I use mpd/alsa to play Hires flacs over fiber optic cable (and can control it from everywhere), and i use 2 mpd streams to stream around the house (1 low quality for poor wireless connects, one high quality). The down side to mpd's native streaming, and icecast, is that your reencoding... As an audiophile you can't really stream around the house losslessly without some other file sharing (or netcat) but that does get more complicated.

    But whell, there is a frontend for mpd, called gmpc (my favorite gui client) that has an autompd feature. It makes mpd use a snap.
    Last edited by ridetheteapot; April 8th, 2012 at 07:57 PM.

  4. #4
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    Re: Missing an opportunity?

    Quote Originally Posted by ridetheteapot View Post
    Well,wellwellwelll
    MPD is teh #one.

    You may not say bad things about it - and it is super simple to set up (really it is not hard at all). However it does require editing a text file, but you really only need to do it one time ever.

    I use mpd/alsa to play Hires flacs over fiber optic cable (and can control it from everywhere), and i use 2 mpd streams to stream around the house (1 low quality for poor wireless connects, one high quality). The down side to mpd's native streaming, and icecast, is that your reencoding... As an audiophile you can't really stream around the house losslessly without some other file sharing (or netcat) but that does get more complicated.

    But whell, there is a frontend for mpd, called gmpc (my favorite gui client) that has an autompd feature. It makes mpd use a snap.
    I'm glad it's easy for you. However, if that is Linux' definition of easy, then this suggestion is going nowhere. Heck, last time I checked, MPD would not read files from an external hard drive, which is where quite a number of folks store their music files.

    No, it must be intuitive to use, and editing cryptic config files is no small feat for the average Joe computer user.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    Distro
    Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

    Re: Missing an opportunity?

    I think Ubuntu has even greater potential for music makers. For the last number of years, Mac OS X has been the industry standard platform for music making - but now it seems that Apple are making OS X more iOSsy. They're really focusing on the consumer market rather than power users. A few good open source DAWs and the like could possibly gain a few users that are having to leave OS X. Even now, when OSX upgrades a version, it's years before all the plugin manufacturers fix their software to run on it.

  6. #6
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    Re: Missing an opportunity?

    soz whell, was just mostly joking around (it really isn't too bad though). I'm a fanatic for mpd. Gmpc does make it easy to use mpd though (no need to make a config it will do it on the fly). mpd doesn't have any problem reading files from external drives or nfs/samba shares for that matter. The main reason I use mpd is it handles huge collections like a champ. I have a ton of 24bit live recordings. On the other hand I have a some dts 5.1 and dolby albums that I have never tried with mpd, always have used a custom mplayer script for that (custom cause mplayer doesn't do gapless on its own).


    But as for a distro, it would be pretty easy to include a preconfigured mpd server, and then just link the music collection to any predefined place, making it transparent to the user.
    I wonder though if jackd wouldn't be the ultimate way to do an audiophile distro, its very nice for studio application like hughr mentioned.

    Really though why make a separate distro? All the tools are available, and not that much customizing is needed to get a nice sound. On that point though there is a audiophile distro aimed at embedded devices.

  7. #7
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    Re: Missing an opportunity?

    Quote Originally Posted by ridetheteapot View Post
    soz whell, was just mostly joking around (it really isn't too bad though). I'm a fanatic for mpd. Gmpc does make it easy to use mpd though (no need to make a config it will do it on the fly). mpd doesn't have any problem reading files from external drives or nfs/samba shares for that matter. The main reason I use mpd is it handles huge collections like a champ. I have a ton of 24bit live recordings. On the other hand I have a some dts 5.1 and dolby albums that I have never tried with mpd, always have used a custom mplayer script for that (custom cause mplayer doesn't do gapless on its own).


    But as for a distro, it would be pretty easy to include a preconfigured mpd server, and then just link the music collection to any predefined place, making it transparent to the user.
    I wonder though if jackd wouldn't be the ultimate way to do an audiophile distro, its very nice for studio application like hughr mentioned.

    Really though why make a separate distro? All the tools are available, and not that much customizing is needed to get a nice sound. On that point though there is a audiophile distro aimed at embedded devices.
    You're not understanding me, I guess. You're talking from the perspective of someone familiar with Linux, and is comfortable tweaking it. The distro / product I'm suggesting needs to be built for the type of car driver who,never looks under the hood, not for the mechanic.

    MPD is just not the right interface for that purpose. A lightweight player like Audacious of gmusicplayer maybe would be better. Heck, I tried for days to get MPD working for me, and while I fall in between an astute user and a techie, I could've get MPD to read music files from a USB hard drive.

    Also, the idea for a separate distro is exactly so folks don't need to mess with customizing much to get good sound.

  8. #8
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    Re: Missing an opportunity?

    no no, i get you. I agree with your perspective.
    But I did add that if you(or anyone) where going to build a audio distro... including mpd preconfigured would be a cinch. What I mean by transparent is that the user would never have to even know it was there or running. Nevermind the details, but it would be easy as 3.14

    ___EDIT__
    Actually if you wanted a pointer or two to get mpd working i'd help you out. If you never want to mess with it again, just ignore this.

  9. #9
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    Re: Missing an opportunity?

    Quote Originally Posted by ridetheteapot View Post
    no no, i get you. I agree with your perspective.
    But I did add that if you(or anyone) where going to build a audio distro... including mpd preconfigured would be a cinch. What I mean by transparent is that the user would never have to even know it was there or running. Nevermind the details, but it would be easy as 3.14

    ___EDIT__
    Actually if you wanted a pointer or two to get mpd working i'd help you out. If you never want to mess with it again, just ignore this.
    I actually don't think that mpd, in its current incarnation, can work for me. I have my music connected on a USB hard drive. mpd is not currently set up to recognize music libraries on external hard drives from what I've learned. I'd love to be wrong, so if you or someone has a tip on this, please let me know!

  10. #10
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    Re: Missing an opportunity?

    sure. i do not know who told you such a thing, but mpd absolutly has no trouble with an external drive.
    First off just for reference http://linux.die.net/man/5/mpd.conf . I only add that becase the mpd.conf man page is different from the mpd man page.

    The one prerequisite is that your external drive mounts to the same spot each time you use it. Well that and you need read access to the files. (I would imagine that any player would need both)

    Pretty much the only option you NEED different would be
    "auto_update no"

    That is just so mpd doesn't recreate an empty library if your external drive is not attached when you start mpd up.
    Even if you don't use that option there should be no problem reading the files though.

    options that you need in general (each with the location of your choosing):
    Code:
    music_directory
    playlist_directory
    db_file
    log_file
    pid_file
    state_file
    _______________________________
    IGNORABLE (you do not have to do this, its just an nice way to consolidate your music if you have multiple drive/folders):
    the music directory option can be totally arbitrary. like you can use /usr/share/mpd/music/ as your directory, and then just link to your music folders.
    for instance,
    Code:
    ln -s /media/external_drive/music /usr/share/mpd/music/
    would create a (symbolic) link from your xternal music folder to a folder inside /usr/share/mpd/music/ .
    If you used this method you'd want to also use
    Code:
    follow_outside_symlinks yes
    so that mpd will respect your awesome decision.
    _______________________________________


    Things to know:
    mpd will create a library upon first run, otherwise you can (always) update the library with a client. GMPC will let you update by folder, i.e you do not have to update the whole library if you just added a new album to your rick&roll () folder.

    You will also 'need' an audio_output section in your configuration file - this is very easy to deal with, esp with pulseaudio. But if you don't add this specifically mpd will try to guess, so you could try without this option if you wanted.

    There are many options that you can use to expand and enhance your mpd usability. I use mpd to handle my sansa fuze mp3 player simply by using
    Code:
    save_absolute_paths_in_playlists no
    and a little cp script to copy the files in a playlist and the playlist itself to my player. But there are many optionally optional options to play with...

    Hey sorry for getting your thread of topic, I kind of feel like a prick.



    ____EDIT___
    I just looked at your join date, and your post count. I thought I had a low ratio! High Five dude, much respect. (not sarcasm if it reads that way)
    Last edited by ridetheteapot; April 10th, 2012 at 05:05 AM.

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