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View Full Version : Playlists: best practices?



rhuffman
2007-01-07, 12:16
My SB3 arrived a couple of days ago, and I'm blown away. It's just as good as all the reviews say.

However, I am very impressed with support for playlists in SlimServer, so I would like to hear suggestions for creating and maintaining them.

First, how the heck do you create one in SlimServer? Everyone says you can, but I can't find a single thread in the forum or wiki that explains how, and I don't see anything in the web interface. Am I really this stupid?

Second, even if I figure out how to create them in SlimServer, I suspect there are better ways. At the moment I'm just using MonkeyMedia to create playlists, then exporting them. The problem there is that the file names are all absolute, and it looks to me like SlimServer doesn't like absolute file names. So after exporting them, I have to open them up the M3U files and edit them. There HAS to be a better way.

Third, I rip my CDs to both FLAC and MP3. I only scan the FLAC files into SlimServer, but the FLAC and MP3 directories end up being identical. It sure would be nice if there were a way to create two playlists at the same time, one for FLAC and one for MP3. Has anyone figured out an easy way to do that other than copying one playlist, then doing a global search-and-replace for the file extensions in an editor?

Finally, is it possible to generate playlists using tags? For instance, MediaMonkey gives you a really rich "classification" scheme. You can tag files for mood, tempo, etc. It sure would be cool to generate smart playlists based on something richer than "genre".

Thanks for any suggestions.

(If nobody has a good way to do any of this, I guess I'm going to have to figure out how to write SlimServer plugins.)

Siduhe
2007-01-07, 12:36
To create playlists via the web interface, once you've added a bunch of songs, there should be a button marked "Save". Position of the save button will depend what skin you're using but should be near the top of the right hand pane.

If you can't see the Save option, you need to specify a directory in server settings and make sure your playlist directory can be accessed and written by slimserver.

To save a playlist from the remote, I think you need to install the Save Playlist plugin (see the top of this page).

Lots of options to create and manage playlists, but for dynamic playlists from within Slimserver itself, you should look at Erland's excellent plugins, maybe DynamicPlaylist:

http://erland.homeip.net/download/

steve4586
2007-01-08, 01:18
I have to agree that playlists are probably the worst feature of the Slimserver/Squeezebox. Once you realise how they work, things improve, but understanding that the + next to each song, artist, album etc adds to the current playlist is essential, could there not be a - next to each as well to remove? Once you've added to the playlist, you can save by looking in the player window at the top of the play list. It isn't brilliantly obvious.

There maybe better ways for managing playlists, but as my SB3 arrived on Friday I'm still learning.

One thing I find frustrating is that you can add music to the play list by album, artist etc, but have remove individual tracks. Again, if someone know all about playlists could they let us know?

Another feature that would be nice is nested playlists. Playlists created from playlists. I don't know if this is possible.

And finally, I must say that I have not been able to find out all the inner workings of the system as I have been enjoying the music far too much - brilliant system

Steve

rhuffman
2007-01-11, 12:06
Thanks for the tips. When browsing, I was selecting the right arrow button for albums in the left pane, thus adding the entire album to the playlist. I didn't realize you can click on the album name in the left side, then select individual tracks instead. I also didn't see the "save" button at the top of the playlist. All in all, it wasn't very intuitive (at least for me). I was looking for a "create playlist" button somewhere in the menus on the left.

I still haven't found a good way to create playlists with relative file names. If I want to use a third-party tool like MediaMonkey, it exports file names with absolute paths. That means I have to do some editing if I move my library or want to generate the same playlist for both FLAC and MP3 files.

Oh well: guess I should quit whining and go write some code.

Siduhe
2007-01-11, 12:13
Not exactly a playlist creator, but have you looked at MusicIP (formerly MusicMagic) ? It's more of a playlist generator, but is supported from within Slimserver and will create playlists with relative paths.

http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cgi?MusicMagicMixer

rhuffman
2007-01-11, 12:21
I've definitely been planning on using Music Magic. I'm still only about a third of the way through ripping my CDs: I want to have all my music digitized before I give it a try. It's really good to hear it generates relative paths.

Siduhe
2007-01-11, 12:31
I think that there is a limitation in that you would have to use the MIP GUI to create the mixes (rather than creating a mix from within Slimserver) because MIP uses relative paths for playlists on "disk based devices" only (but you can mount your music folder as a disk based device to get round this limitation and Slimserver would pick up the playlists when you did a rescan).

MIP also offer a free tool which will allow you to clean up .m3u lists and convert these to relative paths with a few clicks...shouldn't be too hard to tweak this to your particular needs.

http://www.musicip.com/freetools.jsp

HTH

Pale Blue Ego
2007-01-11, 12:56
The playlist creation in Slimserver isn't totally horrible, just a little clunky. One thing to remember is that whenever you are playing music, the current queue is essentially an unsaved playlist. Saving it and giving it a name puts it in the permanent playlist folder.

The "+" button of course adds stuff to the current playlist; what you may not realize is, pressing "+" while displaying a track in the current playlist actually REMOVES the track from the list.

Finally, there are some other front ends that may be easier for creating and fine-tuning playlists. Look for Moose and SlimRemote on the following page:

http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cgi?PluginRemoteControls

morberg
2007-01-11, 14:34
I think that there is a limitation in that you would have to use the MIP GUI to create the mixes (rather than creating a mix from within Slimserver) because MIP uses relative paths for playlists on "disk based devices" only (but you can mount your music folder as a disk based device to get round this limitation and Slimserver would pick up the playlists when you did a rescan).
I don't quite understand what you're saying so this comment might be way off, but I have no problems creating MusicIP playlists through slimserver; either via the web interface or directly from the remote.

You need to install MusicIP as a service though, see http://www.musicip.com/mixer/server.jsp .

Siduhe
2007-01-11, 16:34
I don't quite understand what you're saying so this comment might be way off, but I have no problems creating MusicIP playlists through slimserver; either via the web interface or directly from the remote.

You need to install MusicIP as a service though, see http://www.musicip.com/mixer/server.jsp .

Morberg, you're quite right - me too - but the playlists created via Slimserver don't use relative paths (so you can use the same playlist in several places on your networked system), which is what the OP was asking about.

Brian Ritchie
2007-01-11, 19:22
I'm fairly sure that SS can cope with absolute paths in playlists, though at least one version I had early on interpreted different paths to the same file (e.g. "C:\Docs etc\..." and "\\My Served Music\...") as two different files, so if two playlists used different paths to the same file, I'd get two listings for it in SS.

This stopped me from sitting in the living-room listening to one playlist whilst making others on the laptop using the network path to the server. (Memo to self: must sort out remote desktop stuff for non-Professional XP ...)

While I'm here, I'll put in a plug for one of the features of SS playlist construction that I really like: the ability to click "x" on an artist, album or genre and have all matching tracks removed from the active playlist. So if I decide I've had my fill of Yes after all (or, more likely, if my wife turns up - she can't stand 'em), I can remove them all with one click (OK, and some navigation) but leave the rest intact.

One thing I'm less happy with is that if I'm part-way through a shuffled playlist and add some more stuff, then the whole thing is reshuffled, so that things that have already been played come up again. Then again, I wouldn't want it just to add the new stuff to the end of the list. Maybe what I want is to be able to set an option so that tracks are removed from the active list once they've been played.

-- Brian

shabbs
2007-01-11, 19:35
Memo to self: must sort out remote desktop stuff for non-Professional XP
Have you looked at RealVNC?

http://www.realvnc.com/

Cheers.

Wirrunna
2007-01-12, 00:24
Rhuffman, I'm another MusicIP (MIP) supporter. I generate playlists from the Slim Server remote and these days rarely save them, I just generate another using the same seed song. There is a parameter in the MIP plugin that you can set to adjust the variety, set it to 0 and you will always generate the same mix, set it to 9 and you won't recognise the mix after it plays your seed song.
When I started re-ripping (due to finger trouble I lost my RAID5 library) I had MIP running and analysing in the background, this way I was not faced with a great long analysis. (The first time it took 5 days straight).
To answer your other questions, to generate the same playlist to two libraries identical except for format, well you could do it but you would have to have two different login accounts, one library in each and it would be a bit fiddly.
Generating playlists on tags, well MIP analyses each song and generates its own info that it uses. You can set a bunch of different parameters to get mixes that vary from depressingly similar songs to mixes that make you say "Who put that in my music library??"

Brian Ritchie
2007-01-16, 19:07
Have you looked at RealVNC?

http://www.realvnc.com/

(Well, I think I'm going senile... I was *sure* I'd replied to this, but can find no record of it now. Maybe I forgot to hit Submit; or maybe I'm looking in the wrong place. Maybe (since I was almost certainly saying rude things about rubbish Microsoftware) it got filtered out by some NetNanny. Anyway...)

Many thanks for the pointer! I'd shied away from looking into other virtual networking solutions, because they seemed to require a PhD in networking just to follow the README (and I only have a PhD in computing theory :-)) But this was pretty easy to install and set up, and seems to do pretty much what I need.

(Well, once I'd worked out that despite my answering YES to some bit of WinXP asking me "are you sure you want to run this Dangerous piece of software?", Windows Firewall *still* didn't open up the necessary ports. This is the point where I probably used Bad Words last time... "Genuine Advantage" my <Jim Royle>.)

The free version doesn't support encryption, but then I'm only using it over my encrypted (albeit WEP) WiFi network. They might deserve a registration anyway.

-- Brian