Page 1 of 1

Qnap NAS TS221 and Sonos Connect Music Streamer

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 6:21 am
by mziese1
A Newbie here,

I just wanted to pick the brains of some more experienced users who use their NAS to store and stream music. I have my Sonos Connect set up and also my NAS. I was successful navigating to the share folder on the NAS where I want to store my audio files (named the root directory Music)….

I have a Qnap TS-221…with two 3tb WD Red’s in a RAID-1 configuration. For reasons I can’t fathom and I wasn’t aware of when I purchased the unit, Qnap comes automatically set up with default directories that I will never use, and you can’t delete them. The only alternative at this time is to hide them. How lame is that. Hopefully in a new iteration of firmware they will resolve this issue.

Any way to my inquiry. I was aware of the limitations that the Sonos has with the number of tracks the unit can handle. I doubt that in my lifetime I will ever exceed that limit (64k)… Well maybe or maybe not…! Because I also came upon a thread in the forums somewhere that stated, and I may have misread it, that the amount of tracks the unit can handle will also lessen if and when your directory structure or metadata tagging becomes too involved / lengthy. I have an eclectic taste in music. From Sinatra to Classical to the Beastie Boys. I’d like to include the artist, album title and art. And set up a directory structure as follows….. from the root directory (Music), create genre folders, RB for rhythm and blues, RR for rock and roll (mild, older style rock and roll), HR for hard rock, AR for Alternative Rock, MT for my Motown stuff. EUC for European Classical music (Mozart, Beethoven, etc), SPCG for Spanish Classical Guitar ( Julian Bream, John Williams, and Leona Boyd and similar), LA for Latino music, Gypsy Kings and other groups in that genre. And Brazil or BN for my Bossa Nova (Tom Jobim, Flora Purim, Elis Regina, etc).

In each of these top level genre folders will be separate folders for each of the individual albums. I would appreciate any suggestions or tips on what to watch out for and avoid.

I also placed this question on the Sonos site... but thought that maybe a few users here might also have a setup similar to mine that they may have some suggestions.

Thanks

Re: Qnap NAS TS221 and Sonos Connect Music Streamer

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 7:31 pm
by Briain
mziese1 wrote:A Newbie here,

I just wanted to pick the brains of some more experienced users who use their NAS to store and stream music. I have my Sonos Connect set up and also my NAS. I was successful navigating to the share folder on the NAS where I want to store my audio files (named the root directory Music)….

I have a Qnap TS-221…with two 3tb WD Red’s in a RAID-1 configuration. For reasons I can’t fathom and I wasn’t aware of when I purchased the unit, Qnap comes automatically set up with default directories that I will never use, and you can’t delete them. The only alternative at this time is to hide them. How lame is that. Hopefully in a new iteration of firmware they will resolve this issue.


Hi

A very warm welcome to the Qnap community users forum! :)

To first answer your point about the shares, isn't at all 'lame'. These shares (and thus Linux directories) are for use with the built in services like Download Station, Media Station and Photo Station. If you don't use them (don't put data on them), they just sit there doing nothing, so they are completely 'harmless'. Conversely, if they were created only when (for example) users that started these services, it could lead to support issues. To pick an example, say someone created one called multimedia, then put all their media onto it, then later starting the Stations created a new one called Multimedia, the Media Stations wouldn't see the media (causing user confusion, and possibly also confusing Windows 'shortcuts' as it doesn't disambiguate case differences); down that road all sorts of potential madness lies, so the current arrangement actually makes good sense. :)

If you have no intention of using the Music Station and Photo Station apps that come with the Qnap, the best thing to do is to create a bespoke share for your media (mine is called 'Media', but you could call it 'Sonos' etc). This means you don't have to worry about disabling Media Library (the scanner for the two Stations) to stop it creating thousands of thumbnails and slowing things down for ages whilst it does so. In addition, it means you are 'protected' against any future firmware update 'bugs' which enable the Media Library scanner by mistake.

mziese1 wrote:Any way to my inquiry. I was aware of the limitations that the Sonos has with the number of tracks the unit can handle. I doubt that in my lifetime I will ever exceed that limit (64k)… Well maybe or maybe not…! Because I also came upon a thread in the forums somewhere that stated, and I may have misread it, that the amount of tracks the unit can handle will also lessen if and when your directory structure or metadata tagging becomes too involved / lengthy. I have an eclectic taste in music. From Sinatra to Classical to the Beastie Boys. I’d like to include the artist, album title and art. And set up a directory structure as follows….. from the root directory (Music), create genre folders, RB for rhythm and blues, RR for rock and roll (mild, older style rock and roll), HR for hard rock, AR for Alternative Rock, MT for my Motown stuff. EUC for European Classical music (Mozart, Beethoven, etc), SPCG for Spanish Classical Guitar ( Julian Bream, John Williams, and Leona Boyd and similar), LA for Latino music, Gypsy Kings and other groups in that genre. And Brazil or BN for my Bossa Nova (Tom Jobim, Flora Purim, Elis Regina, etc).

In each of these top level genre folders will be separate folders for each of the individual albums. I would appreciate any suggestions or tips on what to watch out for and avoid.

I also placed this question on the Sonos site... but thought that maybe a few users here might also have a setup similar to mine that they may have some suggestions.

Thanks


I have a Sonos (for test purposes) and it can handle my 40,000 FLAC files, but I believe there is an upper limit. I've not pulled the Sonos to bits, but my guess is that it scans the media (i.e. indexes it) to create links in flash memory (or maybe even a SQLite database in flash memory). When you have more than one Sonos, it must propagate that index to other Sonos boxes (or switching the one you scanned the media on would break the menu). This is different to how media servers work (Twonky, MinimServer, Squeezecentre, etc) as they store the database (or links) on the actual device that they are installed on (in my case, on my Qnap) so there isn't a limit due to flash size; it's on the Qnap's HDD.

Assuming that's correct (about how the Sonos does it) then it makes sense that if it is a memory capacity issue, the more complex the directory hierarchy and the more complex the tagging, it will likely use more memory per track (so the limit might be reduced). I can't see any way to fix that as it's a Sonos issue and not a NAS issue, but you could get round it by using the Sonos in UPnP mode (the Sonos can be operated in two modes; one being with its bespoke software and internal database, the other being in UPnP mode and talking to a media server and control point) and in conjunction with a media server (Twonky or MinimServer) so there the upper limit is governed by the media server capabilities, but that also has two issues you should be made aware of (and I'll get back to them later).

The good aspect of that for folks with large music collections is that in the case of Twonky, you can install the 6.0.39 QPKG and then install one of my custom Twonky trees to suit large music collections (there is a far more up to date post here, but you would have to join that forum to see the screen shots, and also instruction to use WinSCP as opposed to PuTTY). You could then control it on an iPhone/iPod/iPad/PC using a UPnP control point like Kinsky as opposed to using the Sonos software to control it. Doing that means you get a more useful menu structure (particularly so with MinimServer as that can recognise custom tags; i.e. custom Vorbis comments) and by alpha-grouping the containers (menu items) it means far less scrolling to get to the music you want.

So where is the downside of doing that? Well, when using the Sonos in UPnP mode it means you have to have the controller in continuous communication whilst the music is playing; closing the iThing would stop the music. The other downside is that most UPnP media player systems insert a small gap between tracks, and whilst that's fine for most albums, it is not fine where tracks are meant to flow seamlessly together (so a live concert would have a small gap in the clapping between tracks, or an album like 'Pink Floyd - Shine On You Crazy Diamond' would have a gap in the continuous music, which would be really annoying).

I believe the gapless playback issue can be sorted out server side (I must check to see if MinimServer has that and thus whether it cures that issue on a Sonos) but the continuous control point communication issue is not possible to fix.

So, given all that (and how the basic UPnP system is 'flawed' in some pretty key areas) and given that Sonos is somewhat limited in that it can't handle anything above 16 bit files, if you are serious about music and having a large collection, I would recommend eventually considering a second hand Sneaky DS (which will handle up to 24 bit / 192 KHz tracks) and using MinimServer on your Qnap. The way Linn have sorted this out is to use the UPnP control point with some clever 'extensions' to the standard scheme. What happens is you browse the music (on an iPad or PC) in the normal way (served by something like Twonky or MinimServer) then when you add tunes to the playlist, the playlist is sent to the media player (like the Sneaky DS) and then that handles it all. This means you get gapless playback and also means you can switch off the control point (like the iThing) and it doesn't stop the playing; that's all been handed over to the media player to deal with.

Hope that answers your questions and gives a few ideas on what can be done to overcome the Sonos limitation (thought it introduces other problems that can only be overcome by moving away from Sonos).

Bri

Re: Qnap NAS TS221 and Sonos Connect Music Streamer

Posted: Fri Sep 06, 2013 8:08 pm
by yairf
Hi
Few comments, based on my experience with numerous installations:
1. I usually go for the 212 or 412 QNAP units, mainly due to their competitive price. However, one must keep in mind that these products are brilliant as media storage units, less so as media-servers, especially with large library size (say 2.5 TB, all FLAC files). The key reason is slow CPU and little available RAM, which means slow response time when searching or browsing large library.
2. The Sonos limitation of 65000 tracks, becomes much lower (around 30000), if the majority of tracks are classical music, which means long file names, and long Meta-Tags.
3. The solution I usually go for to overcome those limitations, is add a small HTPC (typically Atom-based) running JRiver (Windows-7), with Media-Network feature enabled, and use it as a media server with UPNP control.
4. This way the Sonos units become just UPNP end-points, and the control + indexing is handled by JRiver. As for remote control - iPhone users can control it with J-Remote, Android users with Gizmo app.
5. The benefits of using JRiver are mainly ease of use, quick response time and powerful indexing and editing capabilities, which are very useful with very large music library.

Hope this helps, Yair

Re: Qnap NAS TS221 and Sonos Connect Music Streamer

Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 3:06 am
by schumaku
@Yair:

Are all SONOS devices DLNA Digital Media Receiver (DMR) capable - assuming this is what you designate as a UPNP endpoint?

Why use another DLNA Digital Media Server (DMS) but the pretty nice Twonky readily available on every QNAP NAS?

Last but not least, any DLNA Digital Media Controller (DMC) capable devices (computers, mobile phone apps, ...) can be used to as a remote control the system.

No need for another system, and other media server, I'd say.

Re: Qnap NAS TS221 and Sonos Connect Music Streamer

Posted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 4:58 am
by ChrisRG
Hello, completely new here!

I have a TS-221 and a Sonos system, just installed the 221 and plan to copy my FLAC ripped CD's to it. All my rips have been made with "XLD" as I'm a mac user, and I simply store them in a folder named "XLD-FLAC on my imac with a backup copy on a separate portable hard drive. I was simply going to copy this to the 221 and as I understood it if I set up a separate folder outside of those already provided then the 221 software would not scan them and index all the files, which is good because I just want to point my Sonos system to the files and let it organise them using the metadata. But when I downloaded the firmware update 4.1.1(20141003) I think there was a note of a new feature that suggested that even folders outside those provided would also be scanned and indexed, is this true and if so can I turn this off or avoid the scan in some way?

Thanks for any help you can offer, this is all very very new to me!

Best regards

Chris

Re: Qnap NAS TS221 and Sonos Connect Music Streamer

Posted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 5:50 am
by Briain
Hi

I wasn't aware that the latest firmware now indexes all shares, but if you don't wish it to do so, simply untick (to disable) the Media Library service (the scanner for the various Qnap 'Stations') before you upload all your media, and it wont do so. Personally, that's how I run things as I don't wish additional hidden thumbnails and meta files cluttering up my file system (simply because it's completely pointless for my system as I don't use these 'Stations'), but at the end of the day, these hidden files are harmless, so even if you did leave the Media Library service active, it wouldn't be anything to worry about. The indexing process will certainly slow your NAS down whilst it is initially indexing everything, but once that's completed, it will have no impact on the unit's operation.

Bri

NB I'm even thinking of enabling it on one of my standby Qnap units, just to see what all these various 'Stations' actually do; I'm getting mildly curious. :D

Re: Qnap NAS TS221 and Sonos Connect Music Streamer

Posted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 8:37 pm
by ChrisRG
Bri

Many thanks for the speedy and informative reply!

I may have misread the box that appeared when I updated the firmware re all shares scanned, but I think that's what it implied. Yes exactly, I don't intend to use the NAS as anything other than a reliable storage for my FLAC files for the SONOS system at this time. Should I move to Naim Audio or Linn or some other streamer then I'll add the appropriate server software at that time, I want to keep it as simple as possible at the moment! If this is an obvious question I apologise in advance, but where do I untick the Media Library Service....I told you I was very new to this??

It would be good to hear your results in enabling the various "stations".

Thanks again.

Best

Chris