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View Full Version : Considering Squeezebox, rhapsody questions



pedz
2006-12-28, 18:11
Any help you can give in answering these questions would be greatly appreciated. i am considering the squeezebox and roku and overall prefer the squeezebox, but it all comes down to how well it supports rhapsody. i have the following questions (i did a search but had trouble finding the exact answers):

- from the squeezebox can i access my rhapsody library AND playlists? My wife does not want to keep two libraries and sets of playlists.
- my rhapsody library is a mixture of streamed music and ripped music, will i be able to access both on the squeezebox through the rhapsody server? again, don't want to use two separate servers, would make the playlists useless (i don't mind if the rhapsody server chooses to stream music i ripped, as long as it works.)
- i read some posts talking about not needing the rhapsody client anymore, has that happened yet? And when it does will i still be able to access my rhapsody library and playlists, including both streamed and ripped music?
- is it possible to browse rhapsody beyond my library from the squeezebox and get access to the full rhapsody collection? This isn't a must have, but would be nice, accessing my own library is more important.
- i saw a post about having to restart the squeezebox everytime rhapsody is retarted, is that true, it would make it difficult?

thanks for any help you can give,
peter

azinck3
2006-12-28, 20:43
Any help you can give in answering these questions would be greatly appreciated. i am considering the squeezebox and roku and overall prefer the squeezebox, but it all comes down to how well it supports rhapsody. i have the following questions (i did a search but had trouble finding the exact answers):


Hi, Peter. I use Rhapsody extensively so I hope I can help.



- from the squeezebox can i access my rhapsody library AND playlists? My wife does not want to keep two libraries and sets of playlists.

Yes, you CAN access your Rhapsody playlists. I should mention one caveat, though, and it's really more of a Rhapsody problem than a Slimserver problem: you may have noticed that Rhapsody sometimes removes tracks from its catalog (oftentimes they add them right back again, probably rearranging things in their database?). Well, this practice causes big problems with playlists since the playlists seem to point to specific tracks and if you have a playlist with lots of tracks that have been removed/moved then the SB will just throw an error and stop playing when it hits that track. You then have to hit skip a couple of times to get past the track. I've mainly noticed this on my massive holiday playlists that I've been playing lately. Seems like every 5th track or so on my holiday playlists has this issue (perhaps the popular holiday tracks get moved around quite a bit?). It's quite annoying when trying to use Rhapsody for background music to have it keep stopping. Don't know if Slimserver could be modified to try to jump to the next track when this happens, but that'd sure be nice...



- my rhapsody library is a mixture of streamed music and ripped music, will i be able to access both on the squeezebox through the rhapsody server? again, don't want to use two separate servers, would make the playlists useless (i don't mind if the rhapsody server chooses to stream music i ripped, as long as it works.)

Yes, this works. Truly anything that's in "My Library" in Rhapsody, along with your Rhapsody radio stations and playlists is available in slimserver. I should expound a bit on this, though. You mention the "Rhapsody server". Indeed, the Rhapsody application does run a UPnP server but, unlike the Roku, the Squeezebox does not talk to it directly. The Squeezebox ALWAYS talks to Slimserver, and Slimserver, in turn, talks to Rhapsody. Since you never "change servers" (as you must with the Roku) you always have access to your local music library and can actually create playlists in Slimserver that are a combination of tracks from your local Slimserver music library (even tracks that aren't in Rhapsody's "My Library") and music from Rhapsody.

In short: if you have your local music library imported into Rhapsody you have 2 options of how to stream it at any given time: 1) Directly, through Slimserver's built-in music management and streaming capabilities (assuming you've pointed slimserver at the appropriate music directory), or 2) From your Rhapsody Library (but ultimately still, of course, through slimserver, as described above). "Switching" between the two shouldn't really be called switching, it's just a matter of choosing to browse either your Slimserver music catalog or your Rhapsody Library from the main Browse Music menu.

I always use Slimserver's in-built management and streaming functionality for my local music because it's far more responsive and feature-laden than the Rhapsody UPnP interface. There are better search features and you have access to loads more information about your music (a major limitation of Slimserver's Rhapsody implementation is that once a track has been loaded to the Now Playing playlist you cannot view any track info besides the title of the track; no album or artist info is available).



- i read some posts talking about not needing the rhapsody client anymore, has that happened yet? And when it does will i still be able to access my rhapsody library and playlists, including both streamed and ripped music?


No, this has not happened yet. I have no idea as to the timeframe of a potential rollout nor what specific functionality might be planned for this.



- is it possible to browse rhapsody beyond my library from the squeezebox and get access to the full rhapsody collection? This isn't a must have, but would be nice, accessing my own library is more important.


Unfortunately, no. Strangely, the original third-party plugin (called Realslim) that added Rhapsody support to Slimserver 5.x several years back actually offered this functionality and I really loved it (in fact, it worked so well I almost never used Rhapsody's My Library feature back then--I'd just search for the artist directly in the main Rhapsody catalog). The new "officially supported" Rhapsody support is really much more limited in comparison. That said, Realslim was a bit flaky and required some coercion to get setup the first time.



- i saw a post about having to restart the squeezebox everytime rhapsody is retarted, is that true, it would make it difficult?


Nope, not true. You can start and restart Rhapsody at will and Slimserver should just detect it's running and add Rhapsody as an option to the "Browse Music" list. Once or twice I've had it not recognize Rhapsody and shutting Rhapsody down and restarting it has seemed to fix it.




thanks for any help you can give,
peter

Hope this has been helpful. I'd encourage you to download Slimserver for yourself. It's a free download and you can try everything out--including exploring Rhapsody. Slimserver even comes with a free software Squeezebox emulator called "softsqueeze" ( http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cgi?SoftSqueeze ) which you can use to see exactly what it would be like to have a squeezebox accessing Rhapsody.

pedz
2006-12-29, 20:22
this has been extremely helpful, thanks.

i will probably try the slimserver as you suggest, sound like a nice device. i just want to see how it performs from the rhapsody library because many of our playlists include local and streamed trackes, so i wouldn't want to treat them separately. you say the slimserver direct access performs better, i want to try it through rhapsody to make sure it performs well enough since that is how i will use it.

not too worried about not being able to access the full rhapsody collection, that was just a nice to have. the rest of it sounds good as long as the performace is good.

thanks,
peter

pedz
2006-12-29, 21:04
sorry, just a couple more questions. I downloaded slimserver and softsqueeze as you suggested and it is a great way to try out the interface, thanks for the suggestion.

A couple of things seem strange and may be specific to the softsqueeze program. When playing a playlist or album from my rhapsody library i cannot skip to the next song, the forward button does not work, is this a limitation of the rhapsody server or the softsqueeze software? That would proabably be a non-starter if you couldn't skip songs (i don't want to create playlists evertime just to skip some songs.)

Also, when i try to play songs that stream it says 'connection no longer' and the rest of the error is cut off. it does let me play my local music through the rhapsody server, but not the streamed tracks.

Final question, when i do play local tracks they play for about 15 seconds and then restart, so i never get past one track.

Sorry to bother you with all of these questions, but the device looks great and i want to make sure it will meet my needs before jumping in. any answers you can give will be much appreciated.

thanks,
peter

azinck3
2006-12-30, 11:20
sorry, just a couple more questions. I downloaded slimserver and softsqueeze as you suggested and it is a great way to try out the interface, thanks for the suggestion.

A couple of things seem strange and may be specific to the softsqueeze program. When playing a playlist or album from my rhapsody library i cannot skip to the next song, the forward button does not work, is this a limitation of the rhapsody server or the softsqueeze software? That would proabably be a non-starter if you couldn't skip songs (i don't want to create playlists evertime just to skip some songs.)

Also, when i try to play songs that stream it says 'connection no longer' and the rest of the error is cut off. it does let me play my local music through the rhapsody server, but not the streamed tracks.

Final question, when i do play local tracks they play for about 15 seconds and then restart, so i never get past one track.

Sorry to bother you with all of these questions, but the device looks great and i want to make sure it will meet my needs before jumping in. any answers you can give will be much appreciated.

thanks,
peter

Short answer: none of the problems you're experiencing will be issues with the squeezebox.

I just had a more extensive play with softsqueeze (it's been a while since I've messed around with it) and you're right, it doesn't support Rhapsody streaming. It must be some sort of licensing restriction or something. If you can browse your Rhapsody library (which it sounds like you can) then I'm sure you have everything setup properly and it will just work when you get a squeezebox (or transporter). You CAN skip tracks. I'm going to guess that you're probably only cueing a single track to the playlist, so when you try to skip tracks it won't go anywhere--there's nothing to skip to. The whole softsqueeze interaction with Rhapsody is rather botched up. Don't take it as representative of the real device. I'm sorry I pointed you there... I should have checked it out better first.

I am, however, a bit perplexed by your problem of only being able to stream 15 seconds of a local track. I really don't have an answer to that. I just streamed an entire local Rhapsody track through softsqueeze without issue. I am inclined to believe it's another softsqueeze anomaly, but can't be entire sure. It really doesn't make any sense.

pedz
2006-12-30, 17:06
Thanks for the response, sounds like you are right and it is specific to the demo software. i found that if i double click the skip button it goes to the next song. it still only plays 15 seconds of each song but i am guessing that is the software also.

thanks again for your help,
peter

CouchPotatoe
2007-01-02, 17:59
Is there a chance that a future SoftSqueeze will work with Rhapsody (via
SlimServer) or is this, as was suggested, a licensing issue ?

Being able to search the whole Rhapsody library from a Squeezebox would
be great too - Yotta has done a really great job of showing that fast
searching (AJAX) is very do-able so I'm hopeful . The last icing on the
cake would be a Rhapsody inbuilt client within SB (similar to Sonos) but
I think that's expecting too much. Actually I'm surprised Real haven't
release an embedded server/appliance for this purpose.

I can quite see services like Rhapsody totally changing the way people
purchase and play music at home. But maybe not for the audiophiles who
need uncompressed audio.

K

msiebach
2007-01-02, 23:46
In response and agreement to CouchPotatoe, I love using Rhapsody to discover new bands and listen to a lot of the recommendations that people give in the Music section in these forums.

If I really enjoy the album, I will buy it and FLAC it. Otherwise, it's nice to have the album to stream, but not have to pay for it (other than the Rhapsody subscription fee).

The only thing that I dislike about Rhapsody with the SB is that I cannot pick one particular song in a playlist, press play, listen to the track, and have it progress to the following track. It just repeats the same track that I pressed play on. You have to start the playlist from the playlist menu, then skip tracks until you reach the one you wanted to hear. Only then, when that track ends, will the playlist, or album, continue to the next track.
Does that make sense or bother anyone else? It's a small annoyance, but one I have learned to live with.

pedz
2007-01-03, 18:07
Thanks for the additional info, i appreciate it. Does the annoyance regarding playing individual tracks in a playlist apply to albums and artists? meaning that if i am browsing artists and albums in my rhapsody library can i play individual songs in an album? And will it continue on to the next song or repeat? Having written the question i am not sure what i would prefer actually. Can i add individual tracks from my rhapsody library to a 'now playing' list and build that up? That would probably be ideal.

thanks again.

I also ran into a guy at work who raved about the squeezebox, so it looks like squeezebox will be the winner for me at this point.

azinck3
2007-01-03, 19:27
The only thing that I dislike about Rhapsody with the SB is that I cannot pick one particular song in a playlist, press play, listen to the track, and have it progress to the following track. It just repeats the same track that I pressed play on. You have to start the playlist from the playlist menu, then skip tracks until you reach the one you wanted to hear. Only then, when that track ends, will the playlist, or album, continue to the next track.
Does that make sense or bother anyone else? It's a small annoyance, but one I have learned to live with.

There's a setting in Slimserver that makes it behave how you want for local music (the setting is called "play other songs in album or directory"), but I don't believe the setting applies to Rhapsody content.

While I'll allow that some people might prefer to have all songs in an album played when selecting an individual song (I personally don't), I don't totally understand your complaint in the context of Rhapsody since what you want to do can't even be accomplished in the Rhapsody software itself! In the Rhapsody software I don't believe there's any way to begin playing a specific track while simultaneously loading the entire album or playlist it belongs to into the "Now Playing" playlist. You must load the album or playlist into Now Playing, then select the specific song you want to have start playing. This is precisely how the Squeezebox works, too.

And once you've loaded the playlist you don't have to "skip tracks" to get to the one you want. You can just use the up and down arrows to select the song you want in Now Playing and hit play there. Since the squeezebox's menus accelerate as you hold down the up or down keys it's a much faster (and aurally pleasing) method than actually skipping through each and every track.

azinck3
2007-01-03, 19:28
Can i add individual tracks from my rhapsody library to a 'now playing' list and build that up? That would probably be ideal.

Yes. You can even do this on the fly, while the music is playing.

msiebach
2007-01-03, 22:57
There's a setting in Slimserver that makes it behave how you want for local music (the setting is called "play other songs in album or directory"), but I don't believe the setting applies to Rhapsody content.

While I'll allow that some people might prefer to have all songs in an album played when selecting an individual song (I personally don't), I don't totally understand your complaint in the context of Rhapsody since what you want to do can't even be accomplished in the Rhapsody software itself! In the Rhapsody software I don't believe there's any way to begin playing a specific track while simultaneously loading the entire album or playlist it belongs to into the "Now Playing" playlist. You must load the album or playlist into Now Playing, then select the specific song you want to have start playing. This is precisely how the Squeezebox works, too.

And once you've loaded the playlist you don't have to "skip tracks" to get to the one you want. You can just use the up and down arrows to select the song you want in Now Playing and hit play there. Since the squeezebox's menus accelerate as you hold down the up or down keys it's a much faster (and aurally pleasing) method than actually skipping through each and every track.

I'll try that out. And yes, it's true that what I wish it would do is not allowed in the Rhapsody program itself. Regardless, I still wouldn't use any other program right now. I love the Rhapsody + SB combination.

andyg
2007-01-08, 14:09
You might be interested in this news... :) http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=31438