Multi-room music at home

2 minute read (401 words)

me and slimserver

Today, I wanted to play music/radio in more than one room, and since BBC Radio 4 was playing The Archers, that ruled out the FM/Radio 4 simple option!

So, not liking to do anything the simple way, I set about searching for a way to broadcast sound to multiple rooms, preferably with a UDP/multicast type setup. Didn’t manage that in the end, but have got something quite cool running.

Initially came across firefly media server, from an article [pdf] in linux magazine. Was put off by its absence from the ubuntu repositories.

I have a mate with a slimdevice, which is an awesome device. The server side of it is available free as it is OSS, and it is in the ubuntu repo (universe). So install was trivial:

sudo apt-get install slimserver  

I could immediately connect with a web browser to http://localhost:9000/ and see the web interface (which is very good), and point any of my media players to http://localhost:9000/stream.mp3 and listen to the selected music. Nice. (Requires mp3 codec support to be installed. See easyubuntu)

Two things tripped me up connecting remotely. I had already spotted “Server Settings / Security / Allowed IP Addresses” and added my local subnet, but wasn’t able to connect from another pc.
netstat showed that the server had only bound to the local ip address:

$ netstat -tln  
Active Internet connections (only servers)  
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address Foreign Address State  
tcp 0 0* LISTEN  

Through chance I knew about defaults files in ubuntu. Looking in /etc/defaults/slimserver, what do I find? Only bind to localhost. duh!

# This limits http access to the local host.  
# Comment it out for network-wide access, or change  
# to enable a single interface.  

So, I commented out the http_addr line, and restarted the slimserver.

sudo /etc/init.d/slimserver restart  

Slim server was now listening on *:9000

The other thing that tripped me up is that slimserver doesn’t multicast, it maintains an independent stream & playlist for each connected device. So when I connected remotely I hadn’t added music to the right playlist. In the web based interface there is a drop down list to select which device’s playlist you want to modify. Once I figured that out it all worked. Yay. :-)

Didn’t solve the original problem of playing the same audio simultaneously in multiple rooms, but it’s cool nonetheless.

Tweet This || Post to LinkedIn || Page Source

Subscribe for updates on software development, contracting, side projects, blog posts and who knows what else. Read the archives for an idea of content.

Mailing list powered by the excellent