Plex Now Available in Beta on Sonos



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MP3tag is really powerful. give it another try. you can mass edit and make changes using ALT 5 and various fields. for example change all albums or artist or year or genre... read the help and the website. its REALLY very powerful.

I'll have another look, but I don't really think that the concept is for me... It's just another dataset to maintain and backup...


actually its not . its a utility that edits the ID3 tags. and its very powerful. the data is updated on the file itself. in the metadata... no extraneous files nothing to back up . i find it very useful
actually its not . its a utility that edits the ID3 tags. and its very powerful. the data is updated on the file itself. in the metadata... no extraneous files nothing to back up . i find it very useful

I'm aware what type of software MP3Tag is, and am very glad that you find it useful - I do too...

However, my point about data is that, if I were to adjust my music files, I would never work on the originals, only copies. I would then keep multiple backups of both versions (i.e. original and adjusted) and would also have to maintain them through time. The dataset is currently 670Gb, and can only get bigger.

So I can either find the time to spend time learning yet another bit of software and take quite a hit on disk space and convenience, or I can wait and see... Although it's becoming more pressing (i.e. 90% of store), it's not imminent - I buy a lot less CDs, now.

It's possible that, with a bit of speeding up and a folder option, that Plex may give me most of what I want without making any changes at all to my data, and I'd still retain the more meaningful file names/tags.

Alternatively, kit may become available that better suits my needs... Personally, I don't think that there is anything better than Sonos on the market at the moment (at this price point), but that may change... The Sonos market is now focussing on streaming, something that I currently have no interest in whatsoever.

My needs are actually very simple - whilst it's a talking point to have music playing in sync, it's not an 'Esssential', to me, more a 'Nice to have'. All I really need is something to stream flac files to an AV amp and to a speaker in another room, which are usually listened to one at a time. So new options (at all different price points) are becoming available that may well change my view.
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System;
I have had Sonos for almost 11 years and passed the 65k track limit about 6 years ago. The capability to access all my ~120+k tracks made the Plex/Sonos beta worth trying.
All my music files are stored in FLAC format. The tracks for each album are stored together in ~8,600 album folders named "Artist Name - Album Name" with an album art "folder.jpg" file in each folder of 950 x 950 pixel resolution.
I downloaded the Plex Media Server software onto my Synology DS1515+ NAS with 32GB memory. The software loaded without any problem. I started the indexing process on my music library. I have painstakingly input/edited my tags to eliminate errors and keep a consistent naming format so i opted to use my tag values. The Plex indexing process took 20 days to complete.

Observations;
Great to see all my music in one place at one time!

Plex doesn't recognize the "folder.jpg" file in each album folder like Sonos does. Sonos displays the album art for each track in the album without having to have any artwork inside the track files. It would be nice if Plex could do the same thing but I could live with Plex embedding a copy of the "folder.jpg" file into each track during the indexing process.

There doesn't seem to be a way to jump to a letter like the Sonos controller can with the Music Library. The Sonos controller displays the alphabet along the right side of the window with "A" at the top and "Z" at the bottom. You can click on any of those letters and the display immediately jumps to that letter. Example - The default displayed list starts at "A." If you want to browse for something starting with the letter "P" you click on the letter "P" along the right side of the window and the list immediately displays values starting with "P". On controller devices with keyboards, you can type the letter on the keyboard and the list immediately jumps to that value.

There doesn't seem to be a way to see all the tracks by an artist in one list. Sonos always displays "All" in addition to the individual albums by an artist. Clicking on "All" returns a list of all tracks from all albums by that artist in one alphabetically ordered list.

The responsiveness of the index being on my NAS is not as fast as the index being on the Sonos zoneplayers. Is there a way to put the complete Plex index into memory on my NAS so the response becomes faster?
I know nothing of Plex, as I haven't tried it, but a couple of general comments.

All my music files are stored in FLAC format. The tracks for each album are stored together in ~8,600 album folders named "Artist Name - Album Name" with an album art "folder.jpg" file in each folder of 950 x 950 pixel resolution.
I downloaded the Plex Media Server software onto my Synology DS1515+ NAS with 32GB memory. The software loaded without any problem. I started the indexing process on my music library. I have painstakingly input/edited my tags to eliminate errors and keep a consistent naming format so i opted to use my tag values. The Plex indexing process took 20 days to complete.


Both the Plex server s/w, and your flac files, are on your NAS, and the indexing process took 20 days!? ... or was that a typo?

If it did take 20 days it may have been accessing the internet and messing with your tags or album art.

The responsiveness of the index being on my NAS is not as fast as the index being on the Sonos zoneplayers. Is there a way to put the complete Plex index into memory on my NAS so the response becomes faster?

No, if the Sonos units had that much capacity Sonos would already be allowing indexing of larger collections.

What index are you using? If you are accessing a folder index it may be faster if your folder structure had a top level for artist directories, and the albums were at a lower level of directories, within their artist. Most s/w bogs down with extreme quantities of directories per folder.
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I know nothing of Plex, as I haven't tried it, but a couple of general comments.
I downloaded the Plex Media Server software onto my Synology DS1515+ NAS with 32GB memory. The software loaded without any problem. I started the indexing process on my music library. I have painstakingly input/edited my tags to eliminate errors and keep a consistent naming format so i opted to use my tag values. The Plex indexing process took 20 days to complete.
Both the Plex server s/w, and your flac files, are on your NAS, and the indexing process took 20 days!? ... or was that a typo?

If it did take 20 days it may have been accessing the internet and messing with your tags or album art.

Actually, Plex maintains its own database, and yes, it will confirm data and retrieve more data from internet sources. But nothing is changed in the original file. For example, I actually run my Plex server on a desktop computer (more processing power for video transcoding) which has a mapped drive with read-only access to the media share on my NAS. With this setup, I've never had Plex give me any errors, which tells me that Plex only reads the media files and doesn't write to them.

To go back to yungadunga's original post to respond to some of their points...

Plex doesn't recognize the "folder.jpg" file in each album folder like Sonos does. ... I could live with Plex embedding a copy of the "folder.jpg" file into each track during the indexing process.
Just like Sonos, Plex takes a hands-off approach to the actual media files. The info in them is used as a basis for what Plex will use, but Plex does a lot of its work with its own database. But album art isn't likely stored in the database, as with a library of thousands of albums, the database could easily become gigabytes in size (depending on the size of the album art).

There doesn't seem to be a way to jump to a letter like the Sonos controller can with the Music Library. The Sonos controller displays the alphabet along the right side of the window with "A" at the top and "Z" at the bottom...
This is something that has been asked for a few times over in the Plex forums... I think Plex is currently focused on improving connectivity (there are many having issues playing music from their Plex server through Sonos), then will work on improving views.

There doesn't seem to be a way to see all the tracks by an artist in one list. Sonos always displays "All" in addition to the individual albums by an artist. Clicking on "All" returns a list of all tracks from all albums by that artist in one alphabetically ordered list.
You might want to mention this over in the Plex forums... like I said above, they're fixing some connectivity issues that many are experiencing right now, but this seems like a legitimate idea/feature that others would also find useful. I'd be happy to give it a +1, as I like to see/listen to all songs from an artist at times.

The responsiveness of the index being on my NAS is not as fast as the index being on the Sonos zoneplayers. Is there a way to put the complete Plex index into memory on my NAS so the response becomes faster?
Part of the slowness is likely because of how Plex functions given the limitations imposed by Sonos. Plex on Sonos functions very similar to a regular internet music service. As you browse your music library through Sonos, the data is actually going from your NAS to a Plex cloud server, then back to your Sonos. Plex is able to tell Sonos to load the album art and actual music file directly from the Plex server though, so those items don't make the round-trip through the cloud. This is evident as some folks run into the connectivity issue of being able to browse their music libraries, but don't see album art and get errors when trying to play music.
Actually, Plex maintains its own database, and yes, it will confirm data and retrieve more data from internet sources. But nothing is changed in the original file. For example, I actually run my Plex server on a desktop computer (more processing power for video transcoding) which has a mapped drive with read-only access to the media share on my NAS. With this setup, I've never had Plex give me any errors, which tells me that Plex only reads the media files and doesn't write to them.
No way to turn this Internet enrichment feature off if one is happy with their own tags?

A 20 day indexing duration seems unworkable. I only have only one third of the tracks that yungduga has, and I can load them all onto one of those relatively cheap battery powered WiFi/ USB 2tb drives, and its puny little cpu chip with the small amount of RAM in the drive can index and build its DLNA database in under 2 hours.

No way to turn this Internet enrichment feature off if one is happy with their own tags?


This should be possible - when setting up your music library, go to the Advanced tab and ensure you select 'Personal Media Artists' in the 'Agent' dropdown AND enable the 'Use embedded tags' option on the same page. This prevents Plex from querying Last.fm and/or Plex Premium Music and uses only your tag and artwork. Only downside is that Artist thumbnails will all be blank... album art will still appear though.
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Yes - the Plex indexing process took 20 (twenty) days to complete on ~120,000 tracks in ~8,600 album folders! i knew it was still proceeding because "Retrieving Metadata" and "Matching" messages popped up at the bottom of the screen for each album every couple minutes. My internet access is 30 gigabits/second. The processor in the Synology DS1515+ isn't a speed burner but it isn't a slouch either. Indexing ~65,000 tracks in ~5,000 album folders takes about 20 minutes for Sonos's Music Library so I was surprised that the Plex indexing took that long since I opted to use my tags as they are.

The only tag I've populated beyond the 6 tags that Sonos recognizes is the "Year" tag. I would like to be able to select tracks/albums that came out in a given year or range of years. I also noticed since my original post that I cannot browse by "Folder" or "Genre" with Plex like I can with the Sonos Music Library. I rarely browse by Folder or Genre so they're not that important to me but I hate to lose any capability I already have with Sonos's Music Library.
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No way to turn this Internet enrichment feature off if one is happy with their own tags?


This should be possible - when setting up your music library, go to the Advanced tab and ensure you select 'Personal Media Artists' in the 'Agent' dropdown AND enable the 'Use embedded tags' option on the same page. This prevents Plex from querying Last.fm and/or Plex Premium Music and uses only your tag and artwork. Only downside is that Artist thumbnails will all be blank... album art will still appear though.


This is exactly what I selected and it took 20 (twenty) days to complete the Plex indexing of ~120,000 tracks in ~8,600 album folders.


This is exactly what I selected and it took 20 (twenty) days to complete the Plex indexing of ~120,000 tracks in ~8,600 album folders.


That's really weird - my collection of 78,000 tracks took maybe 8 hours. Hardware is an HPN40L microserver / Win 10 / 8GB RAM so not sure if this would be better or worse performance than your Synology NAS (I used to have a DS411+ that was much slower than this server, but I'd expect newer NAS systems to be quicker?)
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It's now been 5 weeks since I started using the Sonos / Plex beta.

The initial indexing took 20 days for ~8,600 albums with ~120,000 tracks. Initially, no artwork was being displayed in the Plex library either by using the Plex controller software on my MacBook or the Sonos controller software on my iPhone, iPad, or MacBook. The artwork gradually started showing up over the weeks. Here are the four main issues I've found with using the beta Sonos controller / Plex library for the past month;

#1 - Compilation Albums
I have close to a thousand compilation albums. Artists who only appear on one or more of these compilation albums do not appear when I browse by Artist. Example 1 - I have 3 compilation albums that artist W appears on but I have no albums by artist W. When I browse by Artist , that artist does not appear. That artist does appear using the Sonos Music Library.
Example 2 - I have 10 albums by artist X and 5 other albums that artist X has contributed a track. If I browse by Artist, I see artist X listed and the 10 albums by artist X but I do not see any of the 5 albums that artist X has contributed a track. Sonos's Music Library shows all 15 albums that artist "X" appears on. My Track Artist tags are populated with the artist name for each track. My Album Artist tags are all null.

#2 - List Of All Songs By An Artist In One List
Browsing by Artist with the Sonos Music Library shows all the albums on which an artist appears. It also includes a virtual "album" at the top of that artist's album list called "All" which contains an alphabetical list of all the songs from all the albums. The Plex library does not have this feature. You have to open up each album individually to find the song by that artist that you're looking for. And the compilation albums that that artist has contributed to do not appear.

#3 - Power Scroll When Browsing
Sonos allows you to "power scroll" to a location on a browsing list either by clicking on a letter in the alphabetical list displayed to the right of a list or by typing a letter on the keyboard. This is not supported using the Sonos controller with the Plex library. It is supported by the Plex controller with the Plex library.

#4 - Browse By Genre
Sonos allows browsing by Genre. My wife browses by Genre around Thanksgiving every year for "Christmas" which displays every Christmas album in one big list. She adds the whole list to the queue and saves it as "Christmas" playlist so she can play Christmas music in the kitchen all the way to New Year's Day. Plex does not support browsing by Genre. It's not going to be a merry Christmas here if this isn't implemented by Thanksgiving.
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yungduga, #1 could be a tag issue... or you might have a setting in the Sonos controller enabled that allows it to show additional tags. For example, I have a handful of "Various Artist" albums... the Album Artist tag is "Various Artists", but the artist for each track (Contributing Artists is the tag name, I believe) is the artist for the song. When I browse both Sonos and Plex, they both show "Various Artists", but the artists for each song do not appear in the Artists list. Now, in the Sonos controller, there's a checkbox that can be enabled to allow Sonos to show the Contributing Artists in addition to the Album Artist, so you might have that enabled.

3 and 4 have both been raised over in the Plex forums, and I think 2 has as well. Not sure if 3 is something Plex can do anything about... they're just sending data to the Sonos app, so it may be up to Sonos to support such a capability for their internet services. 2 and 4 are just different ways for Plex to take its data and send it on to Sonos for display in the app. It shouldn't be hard for them to add those..

I think the lack of updates from Plex on Sonos support is a result of their recently announced DVR functionality for Plex Pass customers (the folks paying for a premium Plex experience)... I think they've put a lot of development effort into that right now, so Sonos isn't getting much attention at the moment. Once they get back to it, I would imagine they'll be working to improve the whole "NAT Reflection" or "Hairpin NAT" issue, since there are many people who have routers that don't support that capability, preventing them from using Plex and Sonos together. Different views/listings of songs/artists/genres should be trivial for them to add... though they might save that for last as a result.
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MikeV,

I did a web search of "Plex Compilation Albums" to see if I could find some guidance on how tags should be set for compilation albums in Plex. I did not find anything from Plex specifying how to tag compilation albums. I found many postings by Plex users who were having the same issues that I'm seeing. Users have tried numerous kluge tagging schemes to try to get their compilation albums to display in Plex with varying degrees of success. Most of them populate the Album Artist tag with a value such as "Various" or "Various Artists" while some make up multiple variations such as "Various Christmas Artists", Various Country Artists", etc.. These tag values cause these virtual artist names to appear in the list of artists when browsing by Artist. Plex assigns "Various Artists" as the value of the Album Artist tag when it indexes the music library and finds null values for the Album Artist tag. When browsing by Artist in my Plex Music Library and clicking on "Various Artists", a list of all my ~1,000 compilation albums is displayed in alphabetical order by Album Name. Clicking on an album shows a list of its tracks with no indication of the artist's name. What would happen if there was a band called "Various Artists" and I added them into Plex? Their albums would be found mixed in with my ~1,000 compilation albums!

During indexing of Sonos's Music Library, only 6 tags (Track Name, Track Number, Track Artist, Album Name, Genre, and Composer) are read and it does compilation albums right in my opinion. Sonos does not read the Album Artist tag. In my Sonos Settings / Manage Music Library, I have Compilation Albums set to "Do not group compilations" and View Contributing Artists set "Off." I do not check the Compilation tag when ripping a CD to add to my music library. When browsing by Artist, Sonos displays every unique artist value found in the Track Artist tag of all tracks included in the Music Library index. Clicking on an artist in this list shows a list of all albums on which that artist appears. Clicking on an album then shows the track(s) on that album by that artist. I can browse by Album and see a complete alphabetical list of all Album names and select the desired album from that list. With Plex, browsing by Album is a misnomer - it should be called browsing by Artist/Album since the albums are subgrouped by their artist. There's no way to see album names in one alphabetical list regardless of the artist.
Sonos does not read the Album Artist tag. In my Sonos Settings / Manage Music Library, I have Compilation Albums set to "Do not group compilations" and View Contributing Artists set "Off." I do not check the Compilation tag when ripping a CD to add to my music library.
Sonos does read the AlbumArtist tag.

I have set AlbumArtist tag on compilation albums to Various Artists. This doesn't seem such a kludge to me as the album is "owned" by a group of artists, rather one specific artist.

My ripper does not have a compilation tag setting. I have the Sonos Group Albums setting at AlbumArtist.

I don't use Plex. The Sonos advantages (to me) for this arrangement is that:
* incidental artists (ie. those who don't own an album) don't pollute the Artists index, meaning that it is smaller and more focused
* incidental artists can be located via the Contributing Artists index. This index can be turned on or off for each controller, so there is no index size or time saving if is turned off. ... Unfortunately these index entries are not available to the Search facility for some disappointing reason.
* compilation albums are grouped together in the artist index, as you say, which I find helpful

The main difference between your and my outcome is that I also have a lean index focused upon artists who "own" at least one whole album. ... Or are your 1-track artists also accessible by the Sonos search facility? .... even if this was the case, I would prefer my lean artists index ... I think.
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Hello.

So, I am experimenting with this Plex solution to help re the 65K limit.
I've installed and configured the server, and despite not being able to resolve the remote access issue (not an important need for me), Plex is currently indexing my library, and so far, all is looking good.

A couple of questions :

- After this initial library index, when I update the library next time, does it scan for changes, or restart from scratch and redo the whole index again !?

- What are the advantages of Plex over Subsonic, as I have checked the Subsonic solution, and that looks like a very nice solution.

ta

Mark
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A couple of questions :

- After this initial library index, when I update the library next time, does it scan for changes, or restart from scratch and redo the whole index again !?
- What are the advantages of Plex over Subsonic, as I have checked the Subsonic solution, and that looks like a very nice solution.


Plex has a variety of settings regarding its library update/rescan. If you browse to your server with a web browser (i.e. http://desktoppc:32400/web, if the computer name of your Plex server is desktoppc), click the wrench/screwdriver icon towards the upper right, click Server, then on the left side click Library. Here is Plex's support article on the Library settings, but there are a variety of them to adjust whether it does a full rescan or partial, whether it does it automatically when changes are detected, and whether a periodic rescan is done after a certain period of time

Can't speak to Subsonic though... never used it..
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Was pleased to see this as an option, but just can't make it work consistently.

Can occasionally get tracks to play, but then get the "can not connect to Plex" message.

Have tried all the various settings on the router (the standard Sky HUB), but to be honest I'm not really sure what I am doing.

Hoping the final version makes things a lot clearer- to be honest a lot of the solutions I've read are in "techno-babble", which is weird for a solution that is meant to make things easier!

Keith
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Yeah, it's clear that there's work Plex needs to do, but I think there are a handful of things working against them in the way some routers handle redirecting connections within the router. Manual port forwards (rather than using UPnP) for Plex Remote Access seem to produce better results, but still doesn't fix all cases.

Hopefully Plex will be able to have some folks return to working on the Sonos integration soon... they seem to have abandoned their own Sonos forum.
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That's interesting, Mike V. I guess we will just wait and see.
It's not a major issue for me. I only want to stream audiobooks through Plex, which are in a completely different folder to my main music folder. My main music folder is well below the 65k max anyway.

Would be nice to have the option, though. Here's hoping!
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I too have been having a lot of problems recently re Plex.
I had it all working, my library scanned etc.
But the last couple of days, it just cannot connect.
I have reauth'd the app/connection - which worked without error.
I have restarted the laptop on which the media server process is running, I have optimised the library, i have disabled/re-enabled the remote access option.
But still, I am now unable to browse the library via Plex.
Hey ho.
Thankfully, I have the M3U4U solution that was mentioned elsewhere to get around the 65K issue, and that (despite the lack of a search function) is working like a dream.
Mark
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I responded to an email sent to me by Sonos on November 01, 2016 welcoming me to the Beta 7.0 program. I thought I was still participating in the Sonos/PLEX beta program so I responded to the email;
The Sonos/Plex beta program was announced July 20, 2016 and in 100+ days, there's been no updates or responses to beta testers comments/suggestions/complaints from Sonos or Plex. The silence is deafening! It's tough to participate in a beta when there's no communication.

The response from Dave P. of Sonos Customer Care;
Thank you for contacting Sonos Customer Care today. I apologize for the wait, but I can happily inform you that PLEX is out of the Beta stage and is now fully supported on Sonos! If you have any questions or problems while setting this Service up, please let us know.

I obviously missed the announcement that the Sonos/PLEX integration was out of the beta stage. It feels good knowing that all the hours spent by the Sonos/PLEX beta users during this time resulted in such a great product. After this experience, I think I'll pass on participating in any more Sonos betas.
Uhhhh, you do realize that the Plex implementation is the product of Plex's development, not Sonos'? Sonos only supplies the API and testing, Plex does the rest. Also, I find it hard to believe you mistook the 7.0 beta email for Plex. The announcement specifically stated the beta was for Spotify Direct Connect.
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Yes, I was surprised about that update, because quite frankly the Plex/Sonos beta doesn't work well, and would have been very surprised if, at that state, it had gone from beta to full implementation.

I think Plex aren't bothered in delivering a finished, easily understood and reliable product- I hope I'm proved wrong
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I think Plex has taken all of their development efforts and put them elsewhere for the time being, into features that are available for their paying Plex Pass customers. Cobwebs have been appearing here and there in the Sonos forum on their own website since there have been 0 posts by anyone from Plex in months. The Sonos forum on Plex's site still identifies it as a public beta, so Sonos may consider it to be done, but Plex hasn't said anything about it being done.

It also wouldn't surprise me if maybe Plex is waiting for more info on Sonos' control API, thinking that maybe you could instead play music from your Plex app to your Sonos speakers, just as you can now do with Spotify in the beta that's available. That might also change things as far as Sonos speakers accessing a Plex server on the same network, which many have issues with right now.
Plex is still showing as a beta in the Sonos app section "add services"