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Serving my own music to Playbar, NAS?.

  • 8 September 2017
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Hello all, I have boxes full of CD's and would like to make these available to my Playbar/ Sub.

I have Playbar and Virgin Superhub 2 wifi router with good coverage.

Can someone possibly talk me through it in laymans terms?.

Do I plug a NAS drive into my router, then strip the CD's onto the NAS drive?. What's the best format to conver the songs to?.

I'm pretty handy with the laptop but not had anything to do with NAS or Sonos until today.

Will any NAS drive do or are some better than others?.

Any help appreciated!.
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Best answer by Stanley_4 9 September 2017, 01:36

I use a CD ripper program to copy the CD contents to my local drive, many available so pick one you like. I like the FLAC format for CD copies since it is lossless. You can make copies in other formats if you want to use them on other devices.

I then edit the files with a tag editor, again many out there that work well. I try to standardize all the tags so that the music sorts well on the Sonos controllers. You may hit a few songs that have issues with extended characters in the names or tags but that can be fixed as you notice the issues.

For a NAS I was using a WD Live Drive but WD quit sending firmware updates and it has become a security concern for me. I'm now using a Raspberry Pi ($50) tiny computer and a USB drive. Easy to get updates and much cheaper than another NAS that may go out of date on me. Setup is easy, they have instructions designed for kids to follow.

Once everything is tweaked to your content then move it to the NAS, much faster to fiddle stuff on your local drive.

Do make a backup, don't want all your hard work lost to a computer glitch. I use an old hard drive and a SATA to USB adapter I picked up for around $20. No case or anything fancy I just toss it in a static bag until I need it again.

If you have several computers set up a production line for the ripping, goes a lot faster if you have multiple computers going at it at once.
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18 replies

Userlevel 7
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I use a CD ripper program to copy the CD contents to my local drive, many available so pick one you like. I like the FLAC format for CD copies since it is lossless. You can make copies in other formats if you want to use them on other devices.

I then edit the files with a tag editor, again many out there that work well. I try to standardize all the tags so that the music sorts well on the Sonos controllers. You may hit a few songs that have issues with extended characters in the names or tags but that can be fixed as you notice the issues.

For a NAS I was using a WD Live Drive but WD quit sending firmware updates and it has become a security concern for me. I'm now using a Raspberry Pi ($50) tiny computer and a USB drive. Easy to get updates and much cheaper than another NAS that may go out of date on me. Setup is easy, they have instructions designed for kids to follow.

Once everything is tweaked to your content then move it to the NAS, much faster to fiddle stuff on your local drive.

Do make a backup, don't want all your hard work lost to a computer glitch. I use an old hard drive and a SATA to USB adapter I picked up for around $20. No case or anything fancy I just toss it in a static bag until I need it again.

If you have several computers set up a production line for the ripping, goes a lot faster if you have multiple computers going at it at once.
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Thanks!, do you have a folder per album/ artist or all songs in one big folder?.
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I've started convering to FLAC with "Exact Audio Copy" with 1 CD per folder.

Looking at the WD My Cloud 4tb for storage.

Will do 20 as a test and see how I get on..
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I start out with a master music folder, in that I have A, B, C... folders to keep the list of files more manageable. In each letter folder I have artist folders so Abba, Air Supply, Alabama... then I have the album folders.

I have multi-volume sets saved two ways, I can't decide which is better and it doesn't seem to matter to Sonos. Under the Album folder having a v1, v2, v3... or having multiple album folders like "Album Disk 1." What didn't work so well is putting all the songs from a multi-CD set in one folder.

Looking at my directory I realized I hadn't mentioned the .directory, folder and .folder files, if you add these Sonos will pick up your album art from them. Can't recall why I had both the JPG and PNG versions of tha album art at this late date.

The directory file is easy, just contains:

[Desktop Entry]
Icon=./.folder.png

Your 4 TB drive will hold a lot of music, I have roughly 600 CDs in 130 GB which includes the FLAC and image files.



Play with the album tagging and update your music library then see how Sonos is dealing with your tag choices. Getting something you are happy with early in the process will save a lot of re-working on the tags.
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Thanks!, will have a play around tomorrow before I get too far into it!. Does Sonos rely more on filenames or meta data?.
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Just looking again you've answered my question, filename seems key..
As far as I know, Sonos does not care about organisation as long as all the music you want it to play is in one flat folder that Sonos is pointed to, or if that folder is then subdivided into more folders. Sonos does its own indexing of the songs for its Music Library which looks the same, regardless of the folder architecture.

Folder organisation may be used by Sonos for folder views, but I seldom use this view. File organisation may therefore be more important for reasons other than Sonos playing the music.

Note that Sonos will not weed out duplicate tracks from the library, so that is something to know before moving files to the NAS.

Finally, keep safe back ups of the effort, so as to not have to do it again if the WD crashes.
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15 albums in and getting the hang of it now!. As above it seems Sonos ignores most of the filenames and uses the metadata.

I've connected the laptop for now to Sonos for testing.

I have probably 500+ cd singles as well, just working out best way to organise them, maybe have a "Singles" album to keep the clutter down a bit.

Priced up a 4tb WD My Cloud at £160, was going to buy one this morning but WD have an offer on their shop, 3TB for £85 with free delivery so I have gone for that one!. Should be plenty big enough..
I also suggest doing this first for the 20% or less of the CDs you play more than 80% of the time, which kind of listening is what almost everyone does. As you discover music streaming services, you may find yourself not having the need of locally hosted music at all, and may not bother about the remaining 80% of CDs. Or rips only those rare few that aren't available in the music service libraries.
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Yeh not a bad idea, shame to have all the music boxed in the loft though. This makes it far more accessible!.
Starting in 2009, I ripped all my CDs to a NAS and moved them to the loft; never seen them since. Starting 2013, I haven't bought a CD, only bought new music as downloads from iTunes. In 2017, I find myself listening to Apple/Google music, and very little to the music hosted in my WD NAS because it is usually available from these services as well. That's why I suggest to rip selectively. And find other uses for all the TB!
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On the WD drive, if it is going to be within about 10 feet of any one of your Sonos components check your network matrix and screenshot it. Fire up the WD and start moving files and get another look at your matrix. My older WD live puts out a lot of radio noise for a device with no radio!

On your singles, maybe just drop them into your artist folders along with any album folders you have there.

Having my old stuff ripped and available is a big plus for me, a lot of it isn't on Napster or the basic Amazon music offering. Also handy when the cable company is having issues. I converted it to MP3 for use in the car too, once I was happy with the names and tags in the FLAC copy.
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It's going quite well so far, had 9 hours of flawless streaming from the laptop while ripping so can't ask for any better than that!.

Folder art works well, some I've had to add the folder.jpg, what does directory do?.

Can anyone recommend a good tag editor for Windows?.
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I think the .directory file sets the image that will be used for the folder in your file manager.

No clue for a Windows tag editor but I love this one in Linux and they have a Windows version. The batch operations are really great once you figure them out and make correcting goofs a lot less work.

https://infogalactic.com/info/EasyTag

Download: https://wiki.gnome.org/Apps/EasyTAG Down near the bottom of the page, Windows Installer
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Cheers!, I added a directory.jpeg but it didn't seem to do anything. Will have a play about tonight after work..
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Pretty sure Sonos would only use (and see?) folder.jpg
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The .directory file is just plain text that contains these two lines.

[Desktop Entry]
Icon=./.folder.png

I think Stuart_W is right about which Sonos uses, the .directory file and folder.png are used by my Linux storage system, not sure if Windows would use it too or not.
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If you Have Office 365 or some other online storage equivalent (Googledrive?) that Sonos supports you can also use that rather than a NAS. I have my Music folder on my Main PC synced to Onedrive and also I copy to a separate NAS drive.

On Sonos I tend to use the NAS for playing my own collection but I could also do the same through Microsoft Groove Sonos service which has full access to the Onedrive music. This solution means I play anything from my Onedrive music collection from any device through an app or just a we browser session.

It's belt and braces but quite handy for the few times my NAS has shut down and i can't be bothered to go into the house to reset it, I just switch to Groove 🙂