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Feedback on a great audio server software - Printable Version

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Feedback on a great audio server software - minim-user - 04-11-2018 22:47

Hi,

I'm currently evaluating UPnP server software for my home. I'm looking for a solution that supports flexible browsing of content and management of multiple server instances. So far, (only) Asset UPnP and MinimServer look very promising. Both products seem to be very reasoned and mature pieces of software. I'd like to give feedback on MinimServer here.

First of all, thanks to Simon for your amazing work. MinimServer is stable, feature-rich and thought-out well. It has a lot of documentation of really good quality, is scriptable and allows for multiple instances. This is really good.

I found a few drawbacks, too:
  1. I regret that artwork is not resized. I have a lot of audio files that have artwork included, mostly sized ~600px, but some of my control point devices (radios) are limited to 480px. I'm not willing to re-tag my files because of these control point devices, so I won't see the artwork on them when I decide to use MinimServer.
  2. My collection contains a lot of rips of single CDs and vinyl. These singles contain one track in different versions (e.g. Radio Mix, Extended Mix, Foobar Remix). I decided to use the title tag field for the title and the subtitle tag field for the version. MinimServer perfectly supports that (while Asset does not, by the way), at least for Vorbis and ID3 tags. Unfortunately I also have a few M4A tracks, and MinimServer doesn't support the subtitle tag on them because it does not map the MPEG4 atom 'desc' to subtitle as MP3Tag does.
  3. I read that the tag field AlbumArtist does not allow multiple values (Conflicting album artist values, Multiple AlbumArtists). I have some albums that are affected by this limitation. I don't really understand why an album must not have two album artists (as long as all tags contain both). It's not really a big deal for me, but I think this limitation is not necessary from a non-technical point of view (when I read it right, the design decision has been made because of technical reasons only).
  4. A tiny shortcoming concerning groupings: consider a large series of albums (~150) whose names all begin with the same letter. MinimServer will create a single group for this letter, which is needless actually (see attached screenshot). [attachment=1608]

That's it for the drawbacks. Let me emphasize once more that MinimServer outperforms most other audio server software that I've seen. One can really see that Simon is very much committed to this project and created an awesome piece of software for audio maniacs.

- Christian


RE: Feedback on a great audio server software - timster - 05-11-2018 07:41

On your point 3. It's not really a limitation, and you'll find it reported only as a warning. I have some albums that are collaborations and hence 2 albumartist entries. The albums appear under both artist's albumartist entries. I think it's down to the tagging standard not allowing for it, but both Asset and Minim seem to handle it.


RE: Feedback on a great audio server software - simoncn - 05-11-2018 16:01

Regarding point 1, as I explained in the thread you linked, it isn't possible for MinimServer to know which control point you are using, so any resizing would result in a loss of quality for other control points that can display higher resolutions.


RE: Feedback on a great audio server software - simoncn - 05-11-2018 16:29

Regarding point 4, I think it would make sense for MinimServer not to show the alphaGroup menu if all items in the selection belong to the same alphaGroup.


RE: Feedback on a great audio server software - simoncn - 06-11-2018 15:56

Regarding point 2, according to this thread it is no longer possible (from iTunes 12) to set the Description field ("desc" atom) for music files, only video files. As far as I have been able to discover, the use of the "desc" atom as a mapping for Subtitle is specific to Mp3tag and is not a standard mapping that is used by any other tagging program.


RE: Feedback on a great audio server software - minim-user - 07-11-2018 07:12

Phew, I feel a bit disarmed now... Big Grin
Thanks a lot for your feedback on my feedback which I'd like to give a little feedback on Wink
  1. Quote:Regarding point 1 [...] isn't possible for MinimServer to know which control point you are using
    I understand your point. I thought once more about it, and I believe that my requirement in fact is not (only) about resizing, but about client-dependent behavior. To cover my scenario, MinimServer would have to behave differently dependent on the client, where client identification could be done with user agent and/or IP address. This would allow to resize the cover on a per-client basis, but could also be used for other features like transcoding audio or custom title representation per client. I guess that implementing this feature probably requires a lot of work, but I'd like to put it onto the feature request stack.

    Remark about the term client: I know that there are different kinds of client in UPnP - control point and renderer - but since my devices have both of those roles, I cannot distinguish between them currently; I will analyze this using a separate control point in the near future.
  2. Quote:Regarding point 2 [...] is no longer possible to set the Description field for music files
    Thanks for your analysis on the desc atom. I didn't know this is a proprietary mapping by MP3Tag only. I prefer non-custom mappings wherever possible, so maybe I should change my tagging here. I've read about a MP4 tag field ----:com.apple.iTunes:SUBTITLE on Hydrogenaudio that is used by Picard. I don't know neither understand that yet, but I will have a look into it.
  3. Quote:On your point 3. It's not really a limitation
    That's OK for me then, although it's a little bit hard to distinguish these warnings from other warnings in the log.
  4. Quote:Regarding point 4
    Nice to hear, see this post as a feature request then.
  5. I wrote that
    Quote:I'm looking for a solution that supports [...] management of multiple server instances
    MinimServer certainly does that. I'm currently working on a few scripts to easily setup and manage several instances on a single machine with little manual effort, one configuration file per instance in a central directory, optionally running as separate systemd services. Please let me know if you're interested in this feature, I could provide my code here or on GitHub then.
Last but not least: Thanks once more for your fast and detailed responses!

- Christian


RE: Feedback on a great audio server software - simoncn - 07-11-2018 14:36

(07-11-2018 07:12)minim-user Wrote:  I understand your point. I thought once more about it, and I believe that my requirement in fact is not (only) about resizing, but about client-dependent behavior. To cover my scenario, MinimServer would have to behave differently dependent on the client, where client identification could be done with user agent and/or IP address. This would allow to resize the cover on a per-client basis, but could also be used for other features like transcoding audio or custom title representation per client. I guess that implementing this feature probably requires a lot of work, but I'd like to put it onto the feature request stack.

It is very unlikely that MinimServer would support customization based on detecting which control point or renderer is being used. I think it is better to be straightforward about this than raise expectations that this might be supported in future.

Quote:I'm currently working on a few scripts to easily setup and manage several instances on a single machine with little manual effort, one configuration file per instance in a central directory, optionally running as separate systemd services. Please let me know if you're interested in this feature, I could provide my code here or on GitHub then.

Thanks very much for your offer. The problem with this approach is that multiple Java processes are running, which consumes a lot of system resources. As one of the design goals of MinimServer is to run efficiently on low-end hardware, a different approach would be needed. The solution that I would like to implement at some point is to enable a single MinimServer process to support multiple media server instances, each with its own configuration. This requires significant restructuring of some parts of the MinimServer code but I think the effort would be worthwhile.


RE: Feedback on a great audio server software - minim-user - 07-11-2018 21:39

Thanks for your comments. I agree that multiple instances within a single process are the better way, I consider my scripts an interim solution. Keep up the good work!


RE: Feedback on a great audio server software - simoncn - 07-11-2018 22:44

(07-11-2018 07:12)minim-user Wrote:  Thanks for your analysis on the desc atom. I didn't know this is a proprietary mapping by MP3Tag only. I prefer non-custom mappings wherever possible, so maybe I should change my tagging here. I've read about a MP4 tag field ----:com.apple.iTunes:SUBTITLE on Hydrogenaudio that is used by Picard. I don't know neither understand that yet, but I will have a look into it.

This tagging for SUBTITLE on MP4 would work with MinimServer (and probably all other servers) because MinimServer maps all MP4 fields of the form ----:com.apple.iTunes:TAGNAME to TAGNAME.


RE: Feedback on a great audio server software - minim-user - 09-11-2018 07:04

Thanks again, I can confirm that it works this way. I didn't manage to set the iTunes tag with MP3Tag (custom tag mapping didn't work), but I had success using Picard.